Defensive Player Rankings

Mike Tuck

Defensive Ends
Peppers is the clear number one defensive end. Peppers is an awesome athlete who demonstrated his talents in football and basketball on the college level. Edwards is explosive off the edge and should make an immediate impact in the NFL. Freeney could be the next Hugh Douglas, but he could also be the next Corey Moore. I think he’ll end up somewhere in between those extremes. Alex Brown is too one dimensional to be an every-down player, but could excel as a rush DE in passing situations. 

1) Julius Peppers, North Carolina
2) Kalimba Edwards, South Carolina
3) Bryan Thomas, UAB
4) Kenyon Coleman, UCLA
5) Dwight Freeney, Syracuse
6) Dennis Johnson, Kentucky
7) Will Overstreet, Tennessee
8) Carlos Hall, Arkansas
9) Charles Grant, Georgia
10) Greg Scott, Hampton
11) Alex Brown, Florida
12) Michael Josiah, Louisville
13) Grant Irons, Notre Dame
14) Ryan Denney, BYU
15) Connor Stephens, Mississippi St.
16) Jarvis Green, LSU
17) Bernard Jackson, Tennessee
18) Raheem Brock, Temple
19) Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, San Diego St.
20) Greg White, Minnesota

Defensive Tackles
This group could be called the “Big 4” and the rest. I’m not sure who’ll emerge as the best of this group, but for now I believe Bryant will have the quickest impact. Most experts have Haynesworth rated higher than Henderson, but I am very leery about flip-flopping teammates who just 4 months ago people had rated the other way around. Tripplett could be the sleeper of the group.

1) Wendell Bryant, Wisconsin
2) John Henderson, Tennessee
3) Albert Haynesworth, Tennessee
4) Larry Tripplett, Washington
5) Ryan Sims, North Carolina
6) Alan Harper, Fresno St.
7) Dorsett Davis, Mississippi St.
8) Anthony Weaver, Notre Dame
9) Nate Dwyer, Kansas
10) Eddie Freeman, UAB
11) Josh Shaw, Michigan St.
12) Nathan Bolling, Wake Forest
13) Mike Collins, Ohio St.
14) Charles Hill, Maryland
15) David Pugh, Virginia Tech
16) Rocky Bernard, Texas A&M
17) Jerry Togiai, Kansas St.
18) Wil Beck, Idaho
19) Justin Bannon, Colorado
20) Ma’ake Kemoeatu, Utah

Inside Linebackers
Thomas is the best ILB and would be a first round pick if he was three inches taller. Thomas tackled everything that moved in college. I would compare him to Zach Thomas. Levels ran a slow 40, but demonstrated on the field he is the necessary speed to succeed. Davis is a big hitter who rebounded nicely from an injury and could make someone very happy in 2-4 round range.

1) Robert Thomas, UCLA
2) Dwayne Levels, Oklahoma St.
3) Andre Davis, Florida
4) Justin Ena, BYU
5) De’Andre Lewis, Texas
6) Billy Silva, Northwestern
7) Josh Thornhill, Michigan St.
8) Robert Taylor, Grambling
9) Bradley Jennings, FSU
10) Pernell Griffin, East Carolina
11) Nick Greisen, Wisconsin
12) Chad Carson, Clemson
13) Todd Delamielleure, Hofstra
14) Kyle Kayden, West Virginia
15) Dominique Stevenson, Tennessee

Outside Linebackers
Harris is likely the only LB that will go in the first round. He is a great athlete that plays under control. Fisher is very fast and moves sideline to sideline very well. Faulk could play inside or outside, but I believe he is better suited to lineup on the outside where he is good in coverage. Allen will be a nice surprise for somebody. Calmus and Foote were extremely successful on the college level and should be positive contributors in the NFL on defense and special teams.

1) Napoleon Harris, Northwestern
2) Levar Fisher, NC State
3) Trev Faulk, LSU
4) James Allen, Oregon St.
5) Saleem Rasheed, Alabama
6) Rocky Calmus, Oklahoma
7) Raonall Smith, Washington St.
8) Larry Foote, Michigan
9) Nick Rodgers, Georgia Tech
10) David Thorton, North Carolina
11) Tavarreus Pounds, Auburn
12) Scott Fujita, California
13) Ben Leber, Kansas St.
14) Jashon Sykes, Colorado
15) Robert Mackey, Winston-Salem State
16) John Duckett, Virginia
17) Brandon Moore, Oklahoma
18) Algie Atkinson, Kansas
19) Akin Ayodele, Purdue
20) Kevin Bently, Northwestern

Jammer would have been a high pick in last year’s draft, but went back to school and is now the top corner in this year’s draft. Jammer is a physical corner who was rarely challenged his senior year, but should be up to the challenges he’ll receive as a rookie. Buchanon and Sheppard are both great athletes who could double as return men for the team that take them. Interesting all the teammates at corner position.

1) Quentin Jammer, Texas
2) Phillip Buchanon, Miami (FL)
3) Sheldon Brown, South Carolina
4) Lito Sheppard, Florida
5) Roosevelt Williams, Tuskegee
6) Derek Ross, Ohio St.
7) Mike Rumph, Miami (FL)
8) Keyou Craver, Nebraska
9) Mike Echols, Wisconsin
10) Shawn Birdsong, Mississippi St.
11) Dante Wesley, Arkansas Pine Bluff
12) Steve Smith, Oregon
13) Kevin Thomas, UNLV
14) Rashad Bauman, Oregon
15) Markese Fitzgerald, Miami (FL)
16) Andre Lott, Tennessee
17) Andre Goodman, South Carolina
18) Bobby Sippio, Western Kentucky
19) Willie Ford, Syracuse
20) Omare Lowe, Washington

Ed Reed has supplanted Roy Williams as my number one safety. Reed gets the edge because of his superior coverage skills. Reed had my vote for the Heisman trophy last year. I felt he was the best player on the best team in the country. Roy Williams, much like Reed, just seems to always be in the right place, which is a terrific quality to have in a safety. Thompson and Lewis are big hitters who are great in the box. I include Terrance Holt simply because of the game changing ability he has on special teams by blocking kicks.

1) Edward Reed, Miami (FL)
2) Roy Williams, Oklahoma
3) Lamont Thompson, Washington St.
4) Michael Lewis, Colorado
5) Tank Williams, Stanford
6) Ramon Walker, Pittsburgh
7) Pig Prather, Mississippi St.
8) Glenn Sumter, Memphis
9) Marques Anderson, UCLA
10) Chris Hope, FSU
11) Marquand Manuel, Florida
12) Jermaine Phillups, Georgia
13) Lenny Walls, Boston College
14) Kevin Curtis, Texas Tech
15) Quentin Harris, Syracuse
16) Terrance Holt, NC State