1. Dante Fowler Jr (Florida)- He had an exceptional performance at the combine and he will more than likely be one of the few defensive players selected in the draft. He’s one of the most versatile defensive players I’ve seen because he’s able to play his natural position of outside linebacker and he can line up as a defensive end and cause havoc. Depending on the defensive formation, he can be used all over the defensive front whether it be both end positions or even a defensive tackle if necessary. He’s a tough guy to defend because of his footwork. He shows great speed to be a disruptive force and he’s extremely difficult to block in open space. Dante Fowler Jr. reminds me so much of Terrell Suggs in his style of play.
2. Vic Beasley (Clemson)- The one thing I immediately took away from Vic Beasley was his first step on the line of scrimmage. He has one of the quickest first steps I’ve seen. He has such a tremendous nose for the football. When he sees it, he pursues it and won’t stop so he’s a guy that plays until the play is complete. He attempts to rip the football out of the ball carriers hands on each play. He shows great space in the open field and has the tendency to sneak up on the ball carrier and tackle him from behind. Beasley is known to collapse a quarterback’s pocket and swat the ball down due to his long arms. He might be a smaller guy for the position but he’s definitely more powerful than he looks.
3. Shaq Thompson (Washington)- He’s a very active, aggressive and instinctive defender who has very good agility. He has good vision and doesn’t bite on play action which would bring a defender in. Instead, he reads the play and can get to the football with his speed and makes plays all over the field. He’s only 6 feet tall but plays a lot bigger than he appears. He is very reliable in the open field as a tackler and shows basic football fundamentals to bring a ball carrier down. He has natural ball skills and shows good body control after making contact. The only negative about Thompson is he looks more like a safety than he does a linebacker.
4. Kwon Alexander (LSU)- He had a very productive year in Baton Rouge in 2014. 90 tackles, 7.5 of those tackles were for a loss and two forced fumbles. He’ll need to add more muscle tone for the next level. He can locate the football quickly and shoves blockers out of his way. He’s an aggressive football player who seems to enjoy the physicality of the game. He shows great hand-eye coordination for the position. The one thing he has to work on is attacking gaps a little too soon. That allows many cutback plays for runners to get into the open field with ease.
5. Eli Harold (Virginia)- He stays low at all times which is extremely essential as a football player. He squares up with defenders and uses his hands to win that battle in the trenches. His motor doesn’t stop at all which is something scouts like to see. He’s always going full-speed to the football until the whistle blows. He’s at his best when he uses his length to his advantage and can drive a blocker backwards. He displays a natural dip to turn around the corner to pursue the football.