With Doom's situation still in flux, we may or may not be looking for spend our first pick on a defensive end in the 2013 draft. However, even if we resign Doom or sign another aging FA DE, we will still most likely draft a defensive end this year. It is only a matter of how early/late we choose to pull the trigger on a DE. We have had a recent post on this
DEs, so I will try to stick mostly to discussing thinks that were not previously covered.
With our pick at 28, we would most likely end up with the 4th or fifth best DE in the draft (by rating). Mostly likely that would mean we don't get the gentleman pictured above (Ziggy Ansah) as he is now the #1 or #2 DE in the draft (Jordan) after his combine. Here is where the third DE has been taken in the draft in the past decade
2012 – 18 (Ingram)
2011 – 14 (Quinn)
2010 – 16 (Morgan)
2009 – 18 (Ayers)
2008 – 8 (Harvey)
2007 – 13 (Carriker)
2006 – 32 (Kiwanuka)
2005 – 18 (James)
2004 – 27 (Babin)
2003 – 14 (Haynes)
a couple of rankings for DEs
Mayock's DE analysis. Mayock lists Dion Jordan and Michael Buchanan as a 3-4 OLBs not a 4-3 DEs. He lists Moore as a 4-3 DE.
So if things go as predicted (and they never do), the best DE on the board at 28 would be Okafor or Moore. There is some debate about whether Moore is an NFL 4-3 DE (which is what he played at A&M). Has he already maxed out on his bulk at 250 lbs? Does he have the somatype to play every down at DE ala Doom? Moore entered college as a 6-4 227 lbs kid. He has added 23 lbs of muscle while at A&M, but based upon the pictures I have seen, there is no more room on his frame to add muscle (see below). In college Moore played with his hand in the dirt, coming out of a 3-point stance in all of the game tape I have watched - even against the gargantuan OL of the Crimson Tide. I don't think he could be an every down DE in the NFL, but others will surely disagree.
So let's step back and look at the DEs in this years draft as a group. According to draftmetrics all of the combine tests EXCEPT bench have a positive correlation to being a 3 or more year NFL starter. In other words, the DEs who perform better than average at the combine have a 56% or greater chance of being a long-term NFL starter. So here are the numbers from the combine (most of these guys have already been profiled by KK):
Power Numbers (EN = explosion number)
|Weight||Arm||Bench||Norm Bench||Vert||Norm Vert||Broad||EN||TEN|
Based purely on True Explosion Number (TEN), which normalizes for weight on vertical and arm length on bench, Hunt and Washington look like they are going to be great. The caveat is that many top guys skipped tests (by choice or by injury) so they don't have ENs - Jordan, Carradine and Okafor. Also I would not read to much into Devin Taylor's low EN. Taylor has 36" long arms making it much more work to do the same number of reps on the bench as a guy with 31" arms. His TEN looks better than his EN, but still not great. The second caveat is that EN or TEN do not make a player great. Moore's numbers have his pro-day bench, which improved from 12 to 19 reps. Goodman had the longest arms of the DEs at the combine (36.4") which makes his 26 reps on the bench more impressive.
So let's look at the speed/quickness/agility drills
For a DE quickness is more of an asset than straight-line speed. 10-yd split on the 40, 20-yd shuttle and 3-cone are fairly good measures of reaction time. 20-yd shuttle and 3-cone drill measure not only reaction time, but ability to stop, change direction and accelerate. I have not been able to find the 10-yd split numbers for DEs yet. From this group the three guys who really shined are Taylor, Ansah and Hunt. Ansah is amazingly quick and fast for his size - which is why some team will probably take him in the top 10. Taylor is amazingly quick (and did I mention he has Clady arms?). Hunt is a great combination of size, speed, power and quickness. I put lateral agility, LA, on the table despite my disdain for it. In terms of historical analysis of the numbers, draftmetrics notes that the only red flag for a guy becoming a starting DE has to do with a slow first step: "Only two of the 12 Combine participants who ran the 10-yard split slower than 1.77 became 1-year starters and only one became a 3-year starter"
I use a similar formula to get a Quickness Score to that which is used to get a Speed Score. I start for the CoD score and factor in weight.
So he is a breakdown of how these guys fared in college thanks to KK DE production ratio
Does size really matter?
I know I am going to catch some flack for discouting the smaller guys, particularly since Doom was only 257 at his combine. Dumervil however has the frame to add muscle and has played at 275 in the NFL. Guys like Davontre Moore don't have the width to add that much muscle while maintaining their quickness. Dion Jordan (248 lbs) and Buchanan (255) and Maponga (256) are all on the small side. Jordan and Buchanan are long lean and he might have room to add muscle mass to their light frames (see below), but both played as 3-4 OLBs in college. Buchanan would switch between a 2-point and 3-point stance in the same game, so he was used really as both. Maponga (third pic) is already pretty thick, but he could add a little more muscle given the sturdiness of his frame. Maponga played 100% of the time with his hand in the dirt.
Dion James showing off his Duck wings
Buchanan showing that he has little or no body fat.
Stansley Maponga showing that he has some "sand in his pants."
I may be off-base and we may consider a guy similar in mass to Doom when he was drafted. JDR went to battle with some small starting DEs when he was HC at JAX
Harvey (252), Groves (250), McCray (261), Favors (255), Brackens (267)
so it is possible that we draft one of the lighter guys in the hopes that he has the ability to play against some of the massive OTs in the NFL who will outweigh him by 60 lbs.
The curious case of Cornelius Washington
Washington had a great combine, similar to Hunt. Washington's explosion number, 85.7, brings to mind another player whose stock soared after a great combine, Dontari Poe (Poe's EN was 82.3). Washington, however, was almost a non-entity statistically in his final year at UGA, hence his current projection to be drafted in the 4th round. Similarly, Poe was almost almost a statistical non-entity in his final year at Memphis. In Washington's defense, he was miscast as a 3-4 DE in Georgia's system. His job was to tie up blockers some that the LBs could make the tackles. He did that well, at the expense of his personal stats. He both strong and fast. His 4.55s 40 was the best for the DEs at the combine. Unfortunately he didn't do the quickness drills, so until UGA's pro-day we won't know how quick he actually is. In 2011 he had a much more productive year playing as a more traditional 4-3 DE. He's a risk, but he's a risk that I would be willing to take in the 4th.
So now what?
I am still holding out hope that Doom comes back, which would make the need for an every down DE less acute - presumably allowing us to draft another position at #28 (or to trade down). However, even if he comes back, I have no doubt that we will draft a DE, it's just a matter of when in the draft.
For the sake of the poll, assume Doom returns (or that we sign an aging FA DE to replace him - Abraham, Freeney or Osi). Sound off in the comments if you think that we will NOT pick up a FA DE and will look to draft a starting every down DE in the draft, because that really changes the calculus (at least for me). You've now seen the combine numbers and the on-the-field production numbers (if you looked at KK's link) - what do you do?
FWIW Walterfootball has us taking Carradine at #28 (despite him coming off an ACL tear) in his latest mock.