Putting together the Big Board : Defensive End

The Patriots have two very good DE's, but they have played a lot of snaps in recent years and could use a guy who can come in and contribute.

The Patriots have two very good DE’s, but they have played a lot of snaps in recent years and could use a guy who can come in and contribute.

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

Well, my plan of having my big board series completed by Friday went up in smoke when my beloved 1997 pickup truck decided to break down and leave me stranded.  The good news is, she is back up and running, the bad news, I have fallen behind by a couple of days. Getting back to it, today I focus in on the defensive ends in this draft and there are some intriguing guys at the position.  Let’s take a look at who jumped off the tape for me.

Current Roster: Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Zach Moore, Michael Buchanan(edge) Jabaal Sheard (edge)

Position Need:  Medium to High

Position Overview:

For the Patriots, the position has been anchored by Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich.  Those two guys have played a ridiculous amount of snaps over the past few years and it might be in the best interest of the Patriots to bring in another player who can be apart of a rotation and give those guys a breather.  Before Sheard was brought in, I felt this was going to be a huge need for the Patriots to address in the draft, now it may not be as big of a priority, but another guy who could play in that rotation would not be a bad thing.  Zach Moore played very little as a rookie, but has the desired measureables and if he can continue to develop, he could be a valuable asset. Buchanan is another late round pick that has shown some flashes, but will be coming off an injury.  There is talent in this draft, and some of my favorite prospects were from the defensive end position, so if they do decide to grab one, hopefully it is from the list below.

Draftable Options:

Owamagbe Odighizuwa, UCLA (6’3″, 267 Lbs.) 1st round

One of, if not my favorite prospects in this entire draft.  I think he could excel in a similar role to Ninkovich with the upside to be a better pass rusher.  He is a little stiff when turning the corner, but he is a high effort guy who is constantly disrupting the play. I think he could bump inside on passing downs if the Patriots want to go with a smaller lineup.  He plays with power, active hands, and a non stop motor. It will be sad when I hear his name called and it is not to the Patriots because I am not sure the Patriots will go this high on defensive end after signing Sheard. Here is my original article on him from earlier this season. http://www.nepatriotsdraft.com/2015/02/scouting-report-owamagbe-odighizuwa-de.html

Danielle Hunter, LSU (6’5″, 252 Lbs.) 1st round

Hunter is another guy I am really high on, probably more than others.  I think what he was asked to do at LSU did not allow him to showcase his athleticism and take advantage of his speed and length.  Hunter reminds me of Chandler Jones coming out of college with a little more flexibility and speed.  He is not as developed as Jones was, but I think with time, this kid is going to be special. My hope is the Patriots feel the same way and that he is available at the end of round 2 where I think the Patriots might see him as good value.  Here is my original report on him. http://www.nepatriotsdraft.com/2015/01/scouting-report-danielle-hunter-de.html

Preston Smith, Mississippi State (6’5″, 271 Lbs.) 3rd round

I struggled with this next group of guys including Smith. I am much lower on them than most of the draft community and they probably will be drafted higher than I would take them.  I do think that these players have qualities that the Patriots look for and maybe one of these guys will fall to a place in the draft where the value meets up with their skill set. Of all these guys, I will say that Smith plays with the most power and he uses it to his advantage. Here is what I wrote on Smith. http://www.nepatriotsdraft.com/2015/02/scouting-report-preston-smith-dl.html

Trey Flowers, Arkansas (6’2″, 266 Lbs. ) 3rd round

Flowers does not fit the typical mold of the Patriots, but he has long arms and good bulk.  He looks like he could add additional weight to his frame without sacrificing his athleticism.  Flowers has good strength and a great motor for the position. He plays the position with good field awareness and reacts quickly to the play.  He is fantastic against the run, but I would not draft him if I am looking for him to be a pass rusher.  He struggles to maintain his speed and stop his momentum when changing directions.  Flowers played both right and left end in college, so he has some versatility.

Arik Armstead, Oregon (6’7″, 292 Lbs.) 3rd round

To be honest, the only reason he is on here is so I don’t get 100 comments that I forgot Armstead. This is one guy that I just didn’t see it with. I acknowledge his size, speed, strength potential, but nothing about what he did in college tells me he is going to be anymore than he is right now.  If you want to know more on my thoughts on Armstead, read this. http://www.nepatriotsdraft.com/2015/02/scouting-report-arik-armstead-de.html

Za’Darius Smith, Kentucky, (6’4″, 274 Lbs.) 3rd/4th round

If you read my post on edge rushers, you will have seen my affinity towards Bud Dupree, but I have to admit, there were times that Smith was the guy that jumped off the tape. Smith has a nice combination of quickness and strength to go along with his size.  He has very active hands and plays with a nice balance of speed and power and can win both ways.  Smith has the size to play either defensive end positions and can bump inside on occasion as well.  He plays the game the right way with good toughness, aggressiveness, and passion. Smith has good, not great speed and he struggles with change of direction.  As a fringe top 100 pick though, he could be really good value.

Henry Anderson, Stanford (6’6″, 294 Lbs.) 3rd/4th round

Here is what I wrote about him earlier. http://www.nepatriotsdraft.com/2015/03/scouting-report-henry-anderson-de.html

Lynden Trail, Norfolk State (6’7″, 259 Lbs.) 5th/6th round

Here is what I wrote about Trail earlier this year. http://www.nepatriotsdraft.com/2015/01/scouting-report-lyden-trail-deolb.html

Geneo Grissom, Oklahoma (6’3″, 262 Lbs.) 6th round

Grissom was a guy I wasn’t exactly sure where to put for my rankings, I just know that I liked his game. He is athletic with good bend to be a pass rusher and he has good enough movement skills to drop into coverage on occasion. He has long arms and a solid frame that he can add muscle to.  If he can get stronger against the run, he could be a valuable asset. Grissom is more of an athlete right now without a true position, but if he can be coached up, he has a chance to out perform where he gets drafted.

Ryan Russell, Purdue (6’4″, 269 Lbs.) 7th round

Russell looks the part from a size, strength, and speed perspective. He is more of an athlete right now and needs a lot of work from a technique perspective to harness his athletic gifts.  If a team has patients and gives him the proper coaching, Russell could develop into an above average NFL player.

Interesting UDFA’s:

Corey Crawford, Clemson (6’5″, 283 Lbs.)

Ray Drew, Georgia (6’4″, 265 Lbs.)

Kristjan Sokoli, Buffalo (6’5″, 289 Lbs.)

Cory Morrissey, Iowa State (6’3″, 255 Lbs.)









13 Responses to “Putting together the Big Board : Defensive End”

  1. Russell says:

    Here is my Patriot Mock WITH Trades,
    BB trades #32 to Kanas City for #49 and #80.
    BB then trades #96, #101, # 177 to Jacksonville for #67

    #49 – Laken Tomlinson OG
    #64- Davis Tull OLB
    #67- Josh Shaw CB
    #80- Kenny Bell WR
    #97- Xavier Williams DT
    #131- Anthony Chickillo DE
    #219- Karlos Williams RB/S
    #253- Brey Cook OL

  2. Dan Sullivan says:

    Patriots Mock Draft.
    1 Andrus Peat OT Stanford
    2 Shaq Thompson OLB Washington
    3 Rashad Greene WR FSU
    3 Obum Gwachum DE Oregon St.
    4 Derrick Lott DT Chattooga
    4 Javorius Allen RB USC
    6 Ramik Wilson ILB Georgia
    7 Nick O’Leary TE FSU
    7 Cody Weichmann G Fresno St.

  3. MM-II says:

    Trey Flowers – same size as Hightower with better drill numbers across the board (except the 40). Strong, good field awareness and reaction time, fantastic against the run.

    3rd round? Sign me up.

    • acm says:

      Flowers is a prospect, who’s been on and off my board multiple times. He is a very well rounded DE, especially good at setting the edge, but think he lacks the bend and burst one would ideally want from a speed-rusher. At the same time I don’t think he’s played at LB consistently in college, so I am not sure about any positional versatility with respect to instincts, play recognition, playing in space, etc. I read that he did go thru LB drills at his pro-day but didn’t look fluid in those.

      • MM-II says:

        IDK. It just seems to me that many of the younger edge players the Pats have acquired in the past have had the greatest difficulty learning how to set the edge and defend the run (Chandler Jones still isn’t very good at it). So, I see a guy who’s smart, big, athletic and ALREADY has the run-D part down and I’m thinking that a late-3rd/early-4th selection (where he seems to be ranked, on average) might not be a horrible pick. It might take him a year to get to significant snaps, but …. ?

  4. Ryan says:

    As free agency has passed and the draft has come closer, it has become clearer that we have definite needs to fill. However, in the spirit of Best Player Available here are my guys in each round that I would love for us to take based on potential, not necessity. Some of these guys may not be there when we pick but I think that they would be close to the BPA for us if they fall:

    Round 1: DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa and LB/S Shaq Thompson- I can easily see Odighizuwa becoming a superstar and an extremely well-rounded edge rusher if he can put his medical issues behind him, while Thompson offers athleticism and positional versatility that could allow him to be a force from multiple positions for years to come.

    Round 2: WR Nelson Agholor and DE Nate Orchard- Agholor has been one of my favorite receivers throughout the draft process and has shown fluidity, route-running prowess, and the ability to produce on the outside. Orchard possesses irresistible pass-rushing skill and has the frame and agility to provide something against the run if properly coached.

    Round 3: OLB Ha’uoli Kikaha, CB D’Joun Smith, and WR Tyler Lockett- Kikaha led the nation in sacks and seemed to be a good overall defender, but his play against the run is in question and his pash rush ability in the NFL is in question. Smith played extremely well against weaker competition and lacks prototypical height for the outside but looks like a great overall corner. Lockett is crazy fast and gets open very easily, so even though he lacks height he has the potential to win outside and become a dynamic offensive threat.

    Round 4: SS Ibraheim Campbell and WR Vince Mayle- Campbell looks like a leader from the SS spot who can provide a box presence and predict where a play is going. Mayle has good size and put amazing numbers this year despite it being only his second year of college football, as he recently switched over from basketball.

    Round 6: FS Durell Eskridge and LB Geneo Grissom- Eskridge has great size and good athleticism for a safety, and he put up good numbers for Syracuse. Eskridge did leave early so he may be a bit of a project. Grissom would also be a project, as he has an NFL-ready frame but lacks NFL technique at this stage.

    Round 7: WR Darren Waller- Waller has Dorial Green-Beckham-like measurable and a definite lack of experience and finesse due to the run-first offense of Georgia Tech. He would probably start out on the practice squad but he has extremely high upside.

  5. Russell says:

    Of this group, ZaDuris Smith and Henry Anderson are the prospect’s I like the best, and I think have the most up-side, for differant reasons. Both are on my Patriot draft board with Anderson having a slightly higher rateing. DT Sokoli is also on my Patriot board, and could be the BEST vlaue in the later rounds.
    The only other prospect I would add to the list is Anthony Chickillo 6’4″ 278 lbs Miami, again a later round prospect the Patrots may show interest in.

    • Russell says:

      I compare Chickillo to Washington’s Ryan Kerrgan, as very similar type players.

      • acm says:

        That’s actually a good comparison. Chickillo is in fact possesses as good or better explosiveness and short area quickness coming out of college. Obviously not as polished a prospect but he is a high effort guy and a football player.

        I tried to like Za’Darius Smith and I tried hard but in the end took him off my board. His lower body seems underdeveloped and his stile of walking/running is such that he keeps his knees bent inward, which limits explosiveness, push in setting the edge and short area agility (for what it may be worth, his 3 cone and SS times were abysmal too, which tends to be important from Pats’ perspective).
        I liked the rest of him as a prospect but wasn’t blown away to the extent I’d look over his shortcomings, so I took him off my board.

    • Mike Gerken says:

      Chickillo was a player I have had very limited exposure to, I am not sure why either. He always seemed to fall through the cracks and I just didn’t get him properly watched and evaluated. I will take your word on him and if I get any time I will try and watch him before draft day.

  6. Ryan says:

    I really like Lynden Trail and Geneo Grissom as potential 6th-rounders. They have immense physical traits and should be able to contribute right away because of their skill, even if it doesn’t happen at their desired position. Unless we haven’t picked a second offensive lineman by our 6th-round pick these guys should be right on the radar.

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