2018 Combine Preview: Defensive end

The Detroit Lions ranked 20th in the NFL last season with 35 sacks and were 27th in the league against the pass.

Detroit's best rusher, Ziggy Ansah, who recorded 12 sacks this past season, is an unrestricted free agent. The Lions will have a decision to make on his future in the coming weeks and months.

The Lions expect to get 2016 sack leader Kerry Hyder Jr. back after he missed all of 2017 with an Achilles injury. How well he comes back is yet to be determined, however.

Anthony Zettel had a fine second season with the club in 2017 with six sacks.

But there's certainly room for more talent and depth to be added along Detroit's defensive edge. Pass rushers are always at a premium in this league. Like cornerbacks, teams can never have too many good ones.

That being said, let's take a look at some of the top pass rushers who will try to impress NFL front offices, coaches and scouts at the NFL Scouting Combine later this month:


School: NC State

Ht/Wt: 6-4, 275

Best trait: Size and athleticism. He looks the part from a physical standpoint, and the game tape is a spot-on match. He's extremely disruptive coming off the edge. He finished second in the FBS this season with 23 tackles for loss. He's had at least 20 tackles for loss and 10 sacks in each of the past two seasons.

Concern: Like most young pass rushers, there's some technique stuff that needs to be cleaned up, but he's even further along than most on that front.

Skinny: He's big, athletic, and teams can be versatile with him. Expect him to be the first pass rusher off the board and a likely Top-5 pick.


School: Boston College

Ht/Wt: 6-3, 250

Best trait: Burst. He's a true speed rusher off the edge with terrific bend and body control. As a junior, he recorded 22 tackles for loss and 16.5 sacks.

Concern: He doesn't have ideal size. He played in just nine games as a senior due to injury, and his tackles for loss (8.5) and sacks (5) took a significant dip.

Skinny: He doesn't have great size, but his burst and speed off the edge makes up for it. If he perfects a variety of pass-rushing moves, he could be a real threat coming off the edge at the NFL level.


School: Texas-San Antonio

Ht/Wt: 6-6, 255

Best trait: Size. Teams can't teach the size, length and speed combo Davenport possesses. He recorded 17.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks this past season. He also flashed in one-on-one pass-rushing drills at the Senior Bowl, which teams were hoping to see from a small-school prospect.

Concern: He's a bit raw. There's still room on his frame to gain muscle, and there's plenty of room for growth in his pass-rushing arsenal of moves. He might take a little time to develop.

Skinny: He has all the necessary physical tools to be a successful edge rusher at the NFL level. He has a high ceiling, which could entice a number of teams in the first or second day of the draft.


School: USC

Ht/Wt: 6-5, 280

Best trait: Athleticism. He moves extremely well for a man his size.

Concern: Most of the knocks on Green from analysts pertain to his strength and edge setting in the run game.

Skinny: All the tools are there for Green, who recorded 12.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks for the Trojans last season. Like Davenport, he's a bit raw and needs some refining, but all the traits that teams love are there.


School: LSU

Ht/Wt: 6-6, 265

Best trait: Frame. He's got a long frame with long arms, and knows how to use them to manipulate tackles. He racked up 12.5 tackles for loss and 11 sacks as a sophomore.

Concern: He left the LSU program for four months in the spring for personal reasons, and also had shoulder surgery over that span. The shoulder injury and a finger issue allowed him to play in only eight games in 2017.

Skinny: The size and the frame fit, and there's room for improvement once he gets into an NFL system. The Combine will be important for him to clear up some of the off-the-field concerns teams will no-doubt inquire about.


School: Alabama

Ht/Wt: 6-4, 289

Best trait: Strength. He's a grown man with an NFL-ready body. He big and versatile enough to play both outside and inside in a variety of schemes.

Concern: Production doesn't necessarily match the physical traits. He didn't dominate as much as he probably should have based on his physical traits. He never recorded more than three sacks in a season. Why?

Skinny: He's a player teams will likely do a lot of homework on. He's physically gifted, but didn't produce like it.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content