NFL Scouting Combine Preview: Defensive ends

Posted Feb 15, 2013 lead writer Tim Twentyman considers defensive end the Lions' greatest position of need heading into the NFL Scouting Combine

The NFL Scouting Combine is less than a week away and every year it's an important part of the evaluation process for teams leading up to April's draft.

"Sometimes it's confirmation of what you already know," Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said of the combine.

"Sometimes a guy can benefit himself. Sometimes a guy can hurt himself in that process. The combine will be for interviews and getting to know some of these guys. It's an important part of the process for us."

With a significant turnover expected for the Detroit Lions roster this offseason, Mayhew and Co. could be relying on young players from this year's draft to come in and contribute right away. That makes next week's evaluations even more important.

The most pressing needs for the Lions right now are: defensive end, safety, a running back with speed, cornerback, interior offensive linemen and an outside receiver.

The combine will feature 333 of colleges' best talent at all of those positions.

Over the next week leading into the combine, will take a closer look at some of the players to keep an eye on next week at these positions of need.

Defensive end:

Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah, 6-5, 274, BYU

Best trait: Versatility

Concerns: Experience

The skinny: A former walk-on to the BYU track team, Ansah is a unique combination of size and speed. The Lions covet speed from their edge rushers in the Wide 9, but Ansah also has a frame that suggests he'd be able to hold up against the run at 274 pounds. He's only been playing football since 2010, so there's some concern about technique and how quickly he could make an impact, but there's no denying he's one of the more physically gifted prospects at the position

Bjoern Werner

Bjoern Werner, 6-4, 255, Florida State

Best trait: Strength

Concerns: Speed

The skinny: Werner is one of those players that offensive linemen hate to line up across. He looks to have a good first step, though it's not great. His game looks to be more predicated on strength and tenacity than it is speed.

Barkevious Mingo, 6-5, 240, LSU

Best trait: Athleticism

Concern: Frame

The skinny: Mingo is lean and tall but a terrific all-around athlete. He should run one of the fastest 40-yard dash times at the combine and will wow some scouts in drills with his quickness. The majority of his production came against elite SEC competition, which should stand out to evaluators.

Damontre Moore, 6-4, 248, Texas A&M

Best trait: Versatility

Concern: Character

The skinny: Moore has played both outside linebacker and defensive end over the last two years. He's an extremely versatile player in that he led the Aggies in sacks (12.5) and tackles (85) this past season. Teams will likely want to talk about his marijuana arrest in 2011, though.

Dion Jordan, 6-7, 241, Oregon

Best trait: Athleticism

Concern: Might be better 3-4 outside linebacker

The skinny: His tall/lean frame has some 4-3 teams wondering if he can put his hand in the dirt and get to the passer consistently at the next level. A tall frame means more space for NFL tackles to get ahold of him. He has elite athleticism for his size and was often asked to drop back in coverage at Oregon. He's one of those "tweeners".

Alex Okafor, 6-4, 261, Texas

Best trait: Production

Concern: Not elite speed rusher

The skinny: Okafor was impressive at the Senior Bowl and that comes on the heels of a very productive senior season with 54 tackles, 12.5 sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss. He's very skilled and strong at the point of attack.

Sam Montgomery, 6-5, 260, LSU

Best trait: Power

Concern: Inconsistency

The skinny: Montgomery had two productive seasons in 2011 (9.0 sacks) and 2012 (8.0), but disappears at times. That has to be a bit worrisome for teams expecting him to come in and be a difference-maker right away. He seems to get into the backfield a lot with his bull rush. At first glance doesn't look to be a player with a huge repertoire of ways to get to the quarterback, though.