Commentary

Crowd of defenders atop the board

Intriguing D-lineman enters the rankings; fast-rising OT makes a big jump

Originally Published: November 14, 2012
By Todd McShay | Scouts Inc.

Defensive prospects continue to dominate the NFL draft board, occupying 13 of the top 17 spots in my ranking of the top 32 overall prospects for the 2013 draft.

The defensive line class is the deepest on the board, with 15 players in the top 32. That group now includes Ghana-born DE Ezekiel Ansah*, who could become one of the most memorable picks in recent years if he chooses to enter the draft.

Elsewhere, the biggest individual mover in the rankings is Michigan OT Taylor Lewan*, who has jumped from the 32nd spot all the way inside the top 20.

Among the schools represented, Georgia and LSU lead the way with three players apiece on the list, while Alabama, Texas A&M, North Carolina, Florida State, Tennessee and USC have two each.

Here is a look at the entire list, with draft-eligible non-seniors noted with an asterisk:

Big Board Bar

1
OLB
6-2
242

Analysis: Jones is a steady performer on a defense loaded with NFL prospects. He is a good overall athlete and top-notch pass-rusher, has impressive range in pass coverage and against the run, and can line up all over the defensive formation. Durability concerns are behind him, and Jones has locked down a spot in the first few picks. Previously: 2

2
DT
6-3
320

Analysis: Lotulelei is the most complete defensive lineman in the class in terms of physical tools. He dominates interior offensive linemen with his blend of quickness and power, shows strong hands, nimble feet and the ability to quickly discard blockers, and has impressive lateral range. He needs some polish as a pass-rusher, but his natural gifts are clearly a cut above. Previously: 1

3
OG
6-2⅜
325

Analysis: Warmack is a big, strong, nasty lineman with good smarts and athleticism. He shows awareness, is an easy mover in pass protection and has power as a run-blocker. The best guard I've evaluated in the past decade, Warmack is the rare interior lineman worthy of a top-10 overall pick. Previously: 4

4
ILB
6-1
248

Analysis: Te'o moves well in space for a player his size, displaying range and playmaking skills in underneath coverage and the ability to hold the point and deliver blows as a run defender. He is a three-down linebacker with the kind of intangibles teams seek in their defensive leaders. Previously: 3

5
DE
6-4
248

Analysis: He is a versatile prospect who can play outside linebacker in a 3-4, right or left end in a 4-3 and even move inside to rush the passer from the interior. Moore is quick and fluid as a pass-rusher, is able to hold up against the run and plays hard. Moore recorded another sack last week against Alabama and is tied for the lead nationally with 12.5. Previously: 5