Commentary

Ranking the defensive players

Senior Bowl week was a chance for players to help or hurt their draft stock. Scouts Inc. goes position by position and ranks the players who were in Mobile.

Originally Published: January 27, 2009
By Todd McShay | Scouts Inc.

Senior Bowl week helped some players' draft stock, while hurting others. Scouts Inc. goes position by position and ranks the players who were in Mobile, Ala.

Raji turned in a dominant performance during Senior Bowl week. Not only was he the best defensive lineman on the field, he was the best overall player. Barring an injury or some other sort of colossal setback, he should go in the top 15 picks. Behind Raji, Jerry and Brace turned in rock solid performances themselves though their playing styles are a study in contrast. While Jerry is a disruptive one-gap defender, Brace is a stout two-gap run-stuffer. Both should come off the board by the end of the second round. Magee is a late entry who made the most of the opportunity flashing above-average quickness while moving well in space.

It's important to point out that several of the top defensive end prospects project as rush linebackers in 3-4 schemes and are listed at outside linebacker. As a result, there aren't any elite prospects here and the depth is adequate at best. That being said, Ayers and Sidbury both improved their draft stock this week. Ayers showed above- average quickness for his size and did a nice job of setting the edge. Meanwhile, Sidbury is a small-school prospect who has made the most of the all-star circuit. He was so impressive at the East-West Shrine Game that he got invited to Mobile, where Sidbury continued to display speed and power coming off the edge. He is now a fringe first-day selection in our opinion. On the flip side, Davis and Jamison turned in relatively underwhelming performances and are fringe late-round picks.


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