Bob McGinn is one of the best writers to follow during the draft, and his Draft Review piece is full of amazing information. McGinn talked with NFL scouts and his report is awesome. You can check out the other defensive ends here in his piece, but this is what the scouts said about the top 6 defensive ends in the draft.
1. JOEY BOSA, Ohio State (6-5, 272, 4.82, 1): Third-year junior from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “This guy is such a stormin’, all-out football player,” one scout said. “He absolutely gives every inch of his soul to the game. He’s out of control at times but he bounces up. (Clay) Matthews is a little like that. He compares as closely to Matthews as anybody.” Finished with 150 tackles (50 ½ for loss) and 26 sacks. “He could stand up but I don’t know why you’d do that,” a second scout said. “He’s a 4-3 left end and in nickel he’s (inside). Great hands, great balance. He’s a glass-eater.” Scored 37 on the 50-question Wonderlic intelligence test, second at the position behind Penn State’s Carl Nassib (39). “Little bit of a loose cannon,” said a third scout. “I’ll call him a meathead. He also likes to go out and have a good time. Hell of a player. Plays hard.” Father, John, was a bust (seven sacks in three seasons) as a DE drafted with the 16th pick by Miami in 1987. “I did his father and he was kind of a stiff, straight-line guy,” said another scout. “This guy must have got the mom’s flexibility or something. Justin Smith is a pretty good comparison. He was so technique-oriented, too. He uses his hands like a third-year pro.”
2. DeFOREST BUCKNER, Oregon (6-7, 288, 5.04, 1): “He’s a huge, long, really ideal 5-technique (3-4 DE) with advanced hand use,” one scout said. “Not a speed off the edge guy but knows how to play.” Finished with 232 tackles (36 for loss) and 18 sacks, including 10 ½ in ’15. “I think he has enough strength,” another scout said. “Is that his main game? No. He’s a pretty good athlete, he goes hard, he’ll retrace on passes and chase things down. He’s got that length (34 3/8-inch arms) that you like.” His hands (11 ¾ inches) were the largest of any player at the combine. Improved from 9 to 15 on the Wonderlic. “The kid’s very intelligent,” a third scout said. “Great family. From a work standpoint and loving the game, he’ll do everything he can to succeed. His weight-room numbers (21 reps on the bench press) weren’t off the charts but the kid plays very stout.” From Waianae, Hawaii. “It’s more hype,” said a fourth scout. “Truth be told, I watched that (Jack) Conklin kick his (expletive) (Sept. 12). I don’t like him for the value where you have to select him.”
3. VERNON BUTLER, Louisiana Tech (6-3 ½, 325, 5.23, 1): Can play anywhere across the front. “He wore a single-digit jersey, No. 9, that really made him stand out in terms of his movement skills,” said one scout. “I wouldn’t classify him as a grinder type of D-lineman. He really relies on his athletic ability. He’s got a lot of potential.” Finished with 170 tackles (29 ½ for loss) and 5 sacks. “He’s got some quickness for a big man,” said a second scout. “He’s more of a nose but he has some movement skills. He can push the pocket and get an edge on occasion.” Long arms (35). From Summit, Miss. “His body balance, bend, acceleration is very good,” a third scout said. “He’s a big finesse athlete. This year, he used his hands much better and played with better strength. He’s a little bit of a goofball, in a good way. Not a bad kid. Athletic as hell. You need the right D-line coach and then coach the crap out of him.”
4. KEVIN DODD, Clemson (6-5, 274, 4.82, 1): Five scouts said they all preferred Dodd to Shaq Lawson, his teammate. “He’s more sudden as an athlete,” one scout said. “He was a small-town (Taylors, S.C.) guy, 215 to 220 pounds when he came in. Everything hit like they thought it would this year. He was sitting behind some really good players when he was developing. As long as his work ethic stays the way it is, he’s got a big upside.” His career stats of 82 tackles (26 ½ for loss) and 12 ½ sacks included 62 (24) and all 12 ½ sacks in ’15. Fourth-year junior who was raised by his great grandmother. Wonderlic of 12. “I went in there in August and I didn’t hear one peep about Kevin Dodd,” another scout said. “I went back in November and he’s kicking (expletive) and taking names. He’s a one-year wonder there.” And that concerns some teams. “He can do that (play outside LB) but he’s going to be a moving-forward player,” a third scout said. “He’s a fluid, athletic guy. Wins on quickness. Not a powerful guy.”
5. EMMANUEL OGBAH, Oklahoma State (6-4, 275, 4.62, 1-2): Fourth-year junior from Houston. “Prototypical 4-3 defensive end,” said one scout. “Got a high ceiling and he’s made of the right stuff. Just starting to figure out how good he can be. He’s a pretty darn good total package.” Best vertical jump (35 ½ inches) and longest arms (35 ½) of the DEs. “That Big 12 is like Arena football,” a second scout said. “It’s no huddle, and these pass rushers are asked to mush rush because they’ve got these quarterbacks that can slip through there. That’s an old (Bill) Belichick word. It slows down the rush. It’s hard to show pass rush. Emmanuel Ogbah, I love him.” Finished with 133 tackles (35 ½ for loss) and 26 ½ sacks. “He’d be better standing up,” a third scout said. “One of those guys with phenomenal height, weight, speed. Tested tremendously well. But he doesn’t play hard all the time, he’s stiff and he’s not naturally instinctive. There’s probably a 65% chance he busts and a 35% chance he’s a double-digit sack guy. Boom or bust type.”
6. SHAQ LAWSON, Clemson (6-2 ½, 271, 4.66, 1-2): Third-year junior from Central, S.C. “I don’t think he struck a lot of fear into his opponents,” one scout said. “I didn’t get a sense of urgency in the way he played. With a hand down I’m not sure he’s going to be much of a point-of-attack player. You put him in a two-point and let him play in space and use his athleticism, you’ve got a different cat.” Finished with 123 tackles (45 1/2 for loss) and 20 sacks. “You really like him because he just works and works and works,” said another scout. “Active, aggressive, tenacious. He might be one you move outside in a 3-4 because he is a good athlete.” Shortest arms (32 ¾) of the top 15 DEs. Wonderlic of 10. One team said he needs shoulder surgery. “More hype than reality,” said a third scout. “Strictly a speed rusher. Once you get him you’ll probably have to sew him up (post-surgery). He was at the (medical combine) recheck and said he would not be getting a shoulder surgery this year. He wants to play. He’s saying that so he gets drafted high. That’s a concern.”