Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon
Height: 6-6. Weight: 248. Arm: 33.78. 40 Time: 4.60. Projected Round (2013): Top-10 Pick. 4/24/13: Jordan's stock has continued to rise in the lead up to the 2013 NFL Draft to the point that he is a consensus projection to be a top-five pick. Jordan could add enough weight to play defensive end in the NFL, or he could maintain in the 250s and still play outside linebacker.
Jordan notched 44 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss, three forced fumbles and five sacks this season. His pass-rushing opportunities were hurt because the Ducks often dropped him back into pass coverage. Jordan plays well in space and would definitely fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL, but he is so fast and athletic he could play outside linebacker in a 4-3 defense.
Jordan put on a clinic in the field drills at the Combine. He was extremely fast in the 40, fluid in the field drills and a natural as an outside linebacker. Jordan is having shoulder surgery and could start to add weight to his frame once he is done rehabbing.
Jordan could become an elite pass-rusher off the edge in the NFL due to his speed and athleticism. He has a ton of upside and appears to be just scratching the surface of his talent.
8/27/12: Jordan is a raw prospect who has some upside. He was a tight end early in his college career before switching to defensive end in 2010. Jordan had 33 tackles and 5.5 tackles for a loss as a sophomore. Jordan made real strides last year and produced a lot more with 42 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss and 7.5 sacks. The junior was a First-Team All-Pac-12 selection.
Jordan needs to fill out his frame to hold up on the edge in the NFL. If the senior continues to improve his production this season, he could move up higher on the second day of the draft.
Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
Height: 6-5. Weight: 274. Arm: 34 5/8. Hand: 10. 40 Time: 4.63. Projected Round (2013): Top-20 Pick. 4/24/13: There is a lot of variety in the opinions on Ansah. Some see him as a legitimate top-10 pick while others view him as a mid-first-rounder. There is the possibility for him to slide on draft day.
Ansah is this year's version of Chandler Jones or Jason Pierre-Paul; great athletes with little college production who go in the first round of the draft. Like those two edge-rushers, Ansah is a tremendous athlete with a rare combination of size, speed and power.
The Senior Bowl week could be indicative of how Ansah's career will trend in the NFL. He was quiet early in the week while getting his bearings against the higher level of competition. Ansah steadily improved from there to flash his superb athletic skill with the size, power and speed to be a force. By the end of the week, he was dominant.
Ansah can beat offensive tackles with speed or power. Once he develops more pass-rushing moves and the ability to use his hands in combination with his feet, he could be deadly. The senior totaled 62 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, nine passes broken up, a forced fumble and an interception in 2012. He exploded on the scene after making a grand total of 10 tackles as a junior and sophomore.
Ansah showed off his superb athleticism at the Combine with a great 40 time and explosiveness. He could function as an end in a 4-3 defense or an outside linebacker in a 3-4.
Barkevious Mingo*, DE/OLB, LSU
Height: 6-4. Weight: 241. Arm: 33.68. 40 Time: 4.58. Projected Round (2013): Top-20 Pick. 4/24/13: Mingo was said to look good at his pro day, but teams have real concerns about his lack of strength. He also has admitted in team interviews to taking plays off, and entire games off. His lack of work ethic on and off the field is a big red flag for a lot of teams.
Mingo had a disappointing junior season which has proven that he should be a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL. Mingo is very undersized and not strong enough to be a 4-3 end. However, he could play 4-3 outside linebacker in a role similar to the Broncos' Von Miller.
Mingo was on fire against Clemson in his final collegiate game. He was a disruptive presence and was dominating the right tackle. Mingo produced some sacks and other tackles for a loss before having to leave the game in the fourth quarter with an abdominal issue. He really helped himself in that bowl outing, and it was probably his best performance of 2012.
Mingo played well versus South Carolina. He picked up four tackles and a sack, and had other pressure on quarterback Connor Shaw. Mingo started out well against Florida a week earlier. He pressured Jeff Driskel to help force a sack for Bennie Logan. Logan ripped the ball out and Mingo recovered the loose ball inside the Gators' 10-yard line. He was getting pushed around in the ground game during the second half, and Florida had a lot of success running at him.
D.J. Fluker, Alabama's right tackle, struggled all year in pass protection, yet Mingo was a non-factor against him aside from two plays. Mingo drew a holding penalty and batted down a third-down pass attempt, but overall, Fluker kept him from making an impact against the Crimson Tide.
Mingo recorded his first sack of the year versus Towson. He came close to a number of sacks against Auburn and Washington, but put regular pressure on the quarterback. Mingo saw a number of double-teams his direction in 2012. He finished the year with a total of 38 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss, two passes batted and 4.5 sacks.
8/27/12: Mingo is a fabulous athlete and a pure speed-rusher. The sophomore was constantly making plays in the backfield last season. Mingo recorded 46 tackles with 15 tackles for a loss, eight sacks and a forced fumble in 2011. The lower weight gave him some problems in run defense, so he'll need to add strength for the next level. Mingo had 35 tackles with 2.5 sacks, 5.5 tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles and six passes batted as a freshman.
Mingo was more disruptive and had more pass pressure than his 2011 sack total indicates. He helped create sacks for fellow end Sam Montgomery by flushing quarterbacks towards Montgomery. With a great supporting cast around him, Mingo looks poised for a huge 2012 season.
Like Montgomery, Mingo should be able to add weight as he has a tall frame. Mingo and Montgomery are capable of producing huge seasons that vault them to the top of their draft classes.
Jarvis Jones*, OLB, Georgia
Height: 6-2. Weight: 242. Arm: 33.08. 40 Time: 4.9. Projected Round (2013): Top-25 Pick. 4/24/13: Scouts at the East-West Shrine told WalterFootball.com that Jones would slide on draft day because they believed he would test poorly before the draft and isn't a hard worker in the weight room. The scouts said that watching the game tape, Jones is worthy of being a top draft pick, but they don't believe he will go that high. Jones passed on working out at the Combine.
The scouts predictions were validated at Jones' pro day when he ran the 40 in an ugly time of 4.9-5.0 seconds. NFL.com's Gil Brandt said that he could see Jones falling to the second round. That might be an exaggeration, but him falling to the mid-teens seems likely.
Jones is an elite edge-rusher who also is phenomenal in pursuit. He had 85 tackles, 14.5 sacks, 24.5 tackles for a loss, seven forced fumbles, three passes broken up and one interception in 2012. Jones finished the year strong with two sacks against Nebraska and announced he would skip his final collegiate season to enter the 2013 NFL Draft. Jones led the nation in sacks, tackles for a loss and forced fumbles.
Jones notched two sacks and a forced fumble against Alabama. His sack-fumble was a phenomenal play on which he beat blocks from right tackle D.J. Fluker and running back Eddie Lacy to take down A.J. McCarron. Jones picked up another coverage sack later, but the Crimson Tide had a lot of success running straight at him. It was an ugly game for Jones as a run-defender.
The junior missed the Kentucky game with a knee injury and didn't look the same against South Carolina, but he came back with a vengeance against Florida. Jones turned in a massive performance to push his team to a huge victory over the Gators. He totaled 13 tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
Jones also made the game-saving play with a forced fumble around the Georgia 5-yard line in the final minutes. It was a tremendous outing that illustrated his ability to make big plays in big games.
Jones had a similar showing in Week 2 against Missouri with a game for the ages. He stepped up with huge plays to help lead the Bulldogs to a win. Jones had nine tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, a pass batted and an interception returned 21 yards to the goal line. The turnovers he created came late in the game and sealed the win for Georgia.
8/29/12: The USC transfer was a pass-rushing terror last year for the Bulldogs. The sophomore tied for fifth in the nation in sacks with 13.5. He also had 70 tackles with 19.5 tackles for a loss, two passes broken up and two forced fumbles. Jones' season was highlighted with a four-sack game against Florida, but he was held in check against Michigan State in the Outback Bowl.
Jones is an explosive pass-rusher off the edge who is a perfect fit in Georgia's 3-4 defense. His speed and agility make him extremely difficult for tackles to get a hold of. He has a non-stop motor and gives relentless effort.
Jones is best in pursuit in run defense. He isn't particularly stout at the point of attack when runs come directly at him. Even though Jones could use more bulk, he is a very good tackler. He wraps up ball carriers and quarterbacks well. Jones also skillfully goes for strips when hitting quarterbacks. His closing speed is phenomenal as both a run-defender and a pass-rusher.
After leading the SEC in sacks in 2011, Jones won't take anybody by surprise this season and will see plenty of extra attention. The junior should still produce a quality season, and if he does, he could be a high first-round pick next April. If Jones can add 8-10 pounds of muscle for the NFL, that would make him an even better prospect.
Bjoern Werner*, DE, Florida State
Height: 6-3. Weight: 266. Arm: 33.28. 40 Time: 4.83. Projected Round (2013): 1-2. 4/24/13: Werner seems to have slid down draftboards in this last few weeks. Some think that he could even fall out of the first round and go on the second day of the 2013 NFL Draft.
The junior received extra blocking attention in 2012 following Brandon Jenkins exiting the lineup due to injury, and that helped teammate Tank Carradine have a breakout season. Werner started 2012 with four sacks in a dominating performance against Murray State.
Werner saw extra blocking attention from Clemson. He was active and had some pressures on quarterback Tajh Boyd. Werner totaled four tackles and one pass breakup. When Florida State needed a pass rush badly late in the game against N.C. State, he was a non-factor in the upset loss.
Werner recorded six tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, a fumble recovery and 3.5 sacks in this year's rivalry battle with the Gators. Prior to that, he had cooled down some in the second half of the year after a hot start to his final season.
Werner amassed 42 tackles, 13 sacks, 18 tackles for a loss, seven passes batted and a forced fumble in 2012. He had an underwhelming Combine performance with a slow 40 time, but that is not an event that suits what he does well on the football field.
8/27/12: Werner is strong, physical beast at the line of scrimmage. He pushes offensive line around and plays with violence. The Berlin, Germany product combines a good motor with a mean streak. Werner is a tough run defender at the point of attack.
The sophomore occasionally outplayed teammate Brandon Jenkins last season. Werner (6-4, 273) broke out with some dominating games and seven sacks in 2011. He also had 37 tackles, 11 tackles for a loss, one interception, one forced fumble and eight pass breakups.
Werner had 3.5 sacks as a true freshman in 2010. Don't be surprised if Werner has a massive 2012 season.
Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State
Height: 6-4. Weight: 276. Arm: 34.68. Projected 40 Time: 4.75. Projected Round (2013): 1-2. 4/24/13: Carradine was finally able to workout for scouts in just the last week that was said to be very impressive. He ran well and showed that he is ahead of schedule in his rehab. That workout helped improve his chances of being a first-round pick.
Carradine totaled 38 tackles, eight tackles for a loss and 5.5 sacks as a backup to Brandon Jenkins and Bjoern Werner in 2011. Carradine made the most of his opportunity to start as a senior. He took over as the starter after Jenkins was lost for the season in Week 1.
Carradine had 80 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss, 11 sacks and a forced fumble in 2012. He regularly beat one-on-one blocks as teams sent double-teams against Werner.
The season ended terribly for Carradine. He was destroyed by Florida as the Gators had a ton of success running straight at him. Then, late in the game, Carradine blew out an ACL, so he wasn't able to participate in the Senior Bowl or the NFL Scouting Combine. Some still project him as a first-rounder.
Damontre Moore*, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
Height: 6-4. Weight: 250. Projected 40 Time: 4.70. Projected Round (2013): 1-3. 4/24/13: Recently, scouts told WalterFootball.com that they believe Moore's off-the-field problems will sink his chances of being a first-round pick. It only takes one team to fall in love with him, but he looks likely to be a second-day selection. A draft-day free fall out of the top-60 picks is very possible.
The 20-year old junior was one of the most consistent pass-rushers in college football in 2012, amassing 12.5 sacks - one of the larger totals in the country. Perhaps even more impressive than that, Moore led his team with 85 tackles - four more than the next closest defender. He had 21 tackles for a loss, two passes broken up, a blocked kick and a forced fumble, too.
Moore was moved to defensive end before the season, and he took to the position quickly. Moore has demonstrated ability as a pass-rushing terror, and his speed around the edge is a mismatch against offensive tackles.
Moore picked up 10 tackles and three sacks against Florida in the Aggies' 2012 opener. He later collected a sack and five tackles against Alabama. The junior was banged up some this season, but played productively through the injuries. Moore had a great game against LSU. He played well despite an injury with 10 tackles, two tackles for a loss, one sack and a pass batted.
Moore needs to add more weight to be a 4-3 end in the NFL. That was visible at the Combine when he put up a disappointing total of 12 reps on the bench press. He also ran slowly in the 40. Moore did better at his pro day, but still there are a lot of questions around him.
Scouts told WalterFootball.com that Moore has a lot of off-the-field issues. They believe that he is going to enjoy the lifestyle of the NFL with parties, money and women. They also felt that Moore gets pushed around in run defense at times. However, they said he plays balls to the wall and has natural pass-rushing ability. Figuring out Moore and where to draft him has been a challenge.
8/27/12: Moore was initially beaten out for a starting spot entering the 2011 season. Still, the sophomore worked his way into the lineup and showed his natural pass-rushing skills. He totaled 72 tackles with 17.5 tackles for a loss, 8.5 sacks and four forced fumbles in 2011. That exceeded his excellent production as a freshman - 5.5 sacks, 6.5 tackles for a loss, three forced fumbles, and 40 tackles.
Moore is a speed-rusher off the edge who combined with Sean Porter to produce a tough Aggies pass rush last season. They saw a lot of pass-rushing opportunities in the pass-happy Big XII, but those should be reduced with Texas A&M now in the more balanced SEC.
Moore is very fast and is adding size. He could push his stock into the first round, but he may be best off to stay for his senior season. Moore was arrested for marijuana possession prior to his sophomore season. His best fit in the NFL would probably be as a 3-4 outside linebacker.
Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
Height: 6-4. Weight: 261. Arm: 33 1/8. Hand: 9. Projected 40 Time: 4.73. Projected Round (2013): 2-3. 4/24/13: Okafor had a good senior season and was a consistent pass-rusher. His job got harder after Jackson Jeffcoat went out for the season with a torn pectoral, but Okafor remained productive. The senior totaled 54 tackles, 12.5 sacks, 16.5 tackles for a loss, four forced fumbles, a blocked kick and a pass batted in 2012.
Okafor performed well at the Senior Bowl. He started out the week on fire before cooling down some. Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson told WalterFootball.com that Okafor was the best pass-rusher he went against in college; NFL teams value that kind of feedback.
Okafor went out with a bang this season as he dominated Oregon State with 4.5 sacks, eight tackles, 5.5 tackles for a loss and a forced fumble. Okafor came close to a few other sacks and set up his teammates to sack the quarterback. He was dominating the right tackle with speed rushes and bull rushes.
Johnson and Oklahoma held Okafor in check, and it was his worst game of the season. However, he was Texas' best defensive lineman and a more consistent producer of splash plays than teammate Jackson Jeffcoat was. Okafor beats offensive tackles with speed, strength and a repertoire of pass-rushing moves.
Okafor made two massive plays to help his team almost pull out a win against West Virginia. He beat the right tackle with a speed rush just before halftime, dropped his shoulder to get leverage and planted Geno Smith on his back. The hit forced the ball out and Jackson Jeffcoat recovered it just over the goal line for a Longhorns' touchdown.
In the fourth quarter with Texas down by three, Okafor made a game-changing play. He bull-rushed the right tackle straight into Smith. Okafor reached out while falling to the ground and slapped the ball out of Smith's hand. The Longhorns recovered the ball at West Virginia's 12-yard line, but they missed their field goal attempt. Okafor also registered a blocked kick in the game and a number of other pressures on Smith.
8/27/12: Okafor was one of the top defensive ends in the Big XII in 2011. He was a First-Team All-Big XII selection. Okafor totaled 58 tackles with 14 tackles for a loss, seven sacks, three passes batted and two forced fumbles. He had 2.5 sacks as a sophomore in 2010.
Like Jeffcoat, Okafor has a nice skill set with speed and physicality. Plus, he is adept at getting upfield and is a disruptive rusher. Okafor is very solid as a run defender. He holds his ground at the point of attack and does not get pushed around.
The Longhorns have lined Okafor up in a variety of places. He has done a lot of stand-up edge rushing over the tackle as well as blitzing over interior linemen as a linebacker. Okafor definitely has the length and athleticism to be an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.
Okafor should be primed for a big season and could be an early-round pick. He will get plenty of opportunities to rush the passer given the passing-driven nature of the Big XII. With teammate Jackson Jeffcoat on the other side of the line, Okafor should still see plenty of one-on-one pass-rushing opportunities.
Corey Lemonier*, DE/OLB, Auburn
Height: 6-3. Weight: 255. Arm: 34.48. 40 Time: 4.60. Projected Round (2013): 2-3. 4/24/13: Lemonier totaled 34 tackles, 5.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a blocked kick in 2012 while playing through an ankle injury. He added weight before the Combine and it helped him to have a good performance. Lemonier ran a fast 40 and did well on the bench press (27 reps). He did his part to confirm a second-day grade.
8/27/12: Lemonier broke out as a sophomore with 47 tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss, 9.5 sacks and five forced fumbles in 2011. He is a speed-rusher who is a superb athlete and rushes with nice leverage.
Lemonier should gain weight for the NFL because he gets pushed around at times in the ground game. He could return for the 2013 college season, and that may be a good idea. Lemonier is raw; he could use more experience to develop his awareness, run defense, pass-rushing moves and strength.
Jamie Collins, OLB, Southern Miss
Height: 6-3. Weight: 250. Arm: 33 3/8. Hand 9 7/8 40 Time: 4.64. Projected Round (2013): 2-3. 4/24/13: The fast and physical Collins was a consistent producer for Southern Miss. The senior totaled 92 tackles with 10 sacks, 20 tackles for a loss, five passes batted and four forced fumbles this season. He racked up 98 tackles with 19.5 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks, eight passes broken up, one forced fumble and one interception in 2011.
Collins put a serious athletic skill set on display at the Combine. He was fast, strong and fluid. Collins is an interesting prospect who could either be a 3-4 outside linebacker or as a 4-3 linebacker. An injury knocked him out of the Senior Bowl.
Sio Moore, OLB, Connecticut
Height: 6-1. Weight: 245. Arm: 33.58. 40 Time: 4.65. Projected Round (2013): 2-3. 4/24/13: Moore helped his draft stock by performing well at the East-West Shrine and the Senior Bowl. He showed nice speed, instincts and a physical nature. The senior totaled 72 tackles with 15.5 tackles for a loss, eight sacks and 11 passes broken up this year.
2012 was Moore's third straight quality season for Connecticut. He finished 2011 with 86 tackles with 16 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks, six passes broken up and two forced fumbles. He had 110 tackles with an interception, 11.5 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks, one pass broken up and two forced fumbles as a sophomore.
Moore demonstrated a serious combination of strength and speed at the Combine. He is a good sleeper linebacker who could develop in the NFL.
Cornelius Washington, ILB/DE, Georgia
Height: 6-4. Weight: 264. Arm: 33 7/8. Hand: 9 1/4. Projected 40 Time: 4.99. Projected Round (2013): 2-4. 4/24/13: Washington became a hot prospect late in the prospect and stands a chance of cracking the second day of the 2013 NFL Draft. As an inside linebacker, Washington recorded just 22 tackles, three tackles for a loss and .5 sacks in 2012. In 2011 and 2009, he had five sacks and four sacks, respectively. His highest tackle total was 24 in 2010. Washington had an excellent Combine performance in which he showed off that he is a size/speed specimen.
4-3 defenses are projecting Washington to defensive end in the NFL. A 3-4 defense would play him at outside linebacker.
Chase Thomas, OLB, Stanford
Height: 6-3. Weight: 244. Arm: 31 1/8. Hand: 9 1/2. 40 Time: 4.91. Projected Round (2013): 3-4. 4/24/13: Thomas is short on size, speed and athleticism. However he's a good football player and could be a nice value pick.
Thomas ended the year with 71 tackles, 14.5 tackles for a loss, one interception and 7.5 sacks for Stanford. His sack against USC came at a critical time to help seal the Cardinal's upset win. He played really well against Notre Dame even though the stat sheet didn't reflect it.
The redshirt senior placed a lot more pressure on the quarterback than the sack numbers indicate. Thomas was quiet as a pass-rusher for some time before totaling four sacks in the final two regular-season games against UCLA.
Though Thomas has the flexibility to play inside linebacker, he thrives blitzing off the edge and combines good physical skills with intelligence. Thomas has a knack for causing turnovers. He had some struggles as a 4-3 outside linebacker at the Senior Bowl and that continued to be seen in the Combine drills. Thomas had a slow time in the 40-yard dash. He could use some development in the NFL.
8/29/12: Thomas started 2011 on fire, collecting 3.5 sacks, 4.5 tackles for a loss and two forced in the first two games. He has continued to play well throughout the year, which got harder for him after fellow linebacker Shayne Skov was lost to a season-ending injury.
That caused Thomas to get more blocking attention. He still had a real presence and consistently pressuring the quarterback. Thomas recorded 52 tackles with 17.5 tackles for a loss, 8.5 sacks and five forced fumbles. He should be a perfect fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker at the next level.
Though Thomas has the flexibility to play inside linebacker as well, he thrives blitzing off the edge and combines good physical skills with intelligence. Thomas has a knack for causing turnovers. Thomas has added some bulk this offseason, and could eventually have ideal size for a 4-3. He could be the 2013 NFL Draft's version of Clay Matthews or Shea McClellin, and rise into the first round.
Trevardo Williams, OLB, Connecticut
Height: 6-1. Weight: 241. Arm: 32. Hand: 9 1/4. 40 Time: 4.57. Projected Round (2013): 3-4. 4/24/13: Williams played well overall in 2012. He picked up 42 tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss, 11.5 sacks and a forced fumble. The one game in which the senior didn't have an impact was against Rutgers.
Williams was a workout warrior at the Combine with a fast 40 time and a good total on the bench press (30 reps). The issue for him is his future postion. He is a natural 3-4 outside linebacker, but is undersized for that position. Williams may have to play in a 4-3 in the NFL.
8/30/12: Williams came out of nowhere to be one of the most prolific pass-rushers in college football in 2011. He racked up 12.5 sacks, 15 tackles for a loss, 43 tackles and two forced fumbles. However, almost a third of his sacks came in a four-sack game against Rutgers.
Williams had 6.5 sacks in his previous two seasons. He also needs to gain weight as he doesn't looks like a 3-4 edge-defender. Williams needs to become more consistent against the run this year, but still produce a quality sack total. Otherwise, he will be labeled a flash-in-the-pan one-year wonder.
Michael Buchanan, DE/OLB, Illinois
Height: 6-5. Weight: 255. Arm: 33 1/4. Hand: 9 7/8. 40 Time: 4.78. Projected Round (2013): 3-5. 4/24/13: Buchanan had a great game to start the season, making a sack, an interception, a pass broken up and two tackles for a loss against Western Michigan. He was a huge disappointment after that. Buchanan totaled 57 tackles, seven tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, five passes batted, an interception and a forced fumble in 2012. He had a mixed week at the Senior Bowl, but held his own at the Combine.
8/27/12: Buchanan was a nice complement to Whitney Mercilus in 2011 and looks primed for a big 2012 season. Buchanan had a strong junior campaign and should get better as a senior. He recorded 64 tackles with 13.5 tackles for a loss, 7.5 sacks and one forced fumble in 2011. Buchanan had 40 tackles with 5.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks as a sophomore.
Like many of the recent prospects to come out of Illinois, Buchanan is a superb athlete who has real speed. The senior needs to add some weight and power to his game, but he could be a nice option for 3-4 defenses as well.
Walter Stewart, OLB, Cincinnati
Height: 6-5. Weight: 249. Projected 40 Time: 4.72. Projected Round (2013): 4-6. 4/24/13: Stewart's 2012 season was off to a great start as one of the top pass-rushers in college football with five sacks through the first five games. He also had 22 tackles with two forced fumbles and seven tackles for a loss. The 6-foot-5, 249-pounder was a terror off the edge. However, a newly discovered spinal defect cost him the rest of the year and many thought his career was over.
Doctors have since cleared Stewart to return to football. The speedy edge-rusher could looks worthy of a late-round pick. He had 44 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, six sacks, eight passes broken up and four forced fumbles in 2011.
Brandon Jenkins, DE/OLB, Florida State
Height: 6-2. Weight: 251. Projected 40 Time: 4.67. Projected Round (2013): 4-6. 4/24/13: Jenkins went out for the year with a broken foot in the first week of the season. He would have been better off taking a medical redshirt and returning for his senior season, but he has decided to enter the 2013 NFL Draft instead. Jenkins is more likely to have a big freefall than crack the first round. He had one sack and three tackles against Murray State before the injury.
Jenkins checked in shorter and lighter at the Combine than he was listed at Florida State. Jenkins isn't big enough to be a defensive end in the NFL and will have to play outside linebacker.
8/27/12: Jenkins had a breakout season in 2010. A first-year starter at right end, he led Florida State in sacks while the Seminoles led the nation in sacks. Jenkins notched 13.5 sacks with 21.5 tackles for a loss. He had five multi-sack games and was voted the team's MVP.
Jenkins started his junior season slowly. He drew extra blocking coming off his stellar 2010 season, but that helped defensive end Bjoern Werner have a breakout year. Jenkins didn't play well against Oklahoma, but he bounced back against Clemson with a sack and a number of pressures on quarterback Tajh Boyd.
Jenkins finished last year with 41 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss and eight sacks. He played better down the stretch as he adjusted to the double-teams and also drew more one-on-one blocking. Jenkins's strength is his pass rushing. He hasn't been a real standout as a run defender.
Jenkins is a speed edge-rusher coming around the corner. He has a nice repertoire of moves to throw at offensive tackles. Jenkins is an excellent athlete who could fit well in a NFL 3-4 defense as an edge rusher. The biggest negative about the senior is that he could be more physical at times.
Jenkins' athletic ability is enough of a mismatch for him to record at least seven sacks this year, and he probably will approach double-digit sacks if not record 10+. That would give him a total of 30 sacks over three seasons, and that kind of production usually spells first-round pick.
John Simon, DE, Ohio State
Height: 6-1. Weight: 257. Arm: 32 3/4. Hand: 9 3/8. Projected 40 Time: 4.80. Projected Round (2013): 4-6. 4/24/13: Simon looked good in 2012 and had a lot more pressure on the quarterback than his numbers indicate. He finished 2012 with 44 tackles, 14.5 tackles for a loss, nine sacks, one forced fumble and four passes broken up. The senior has one of the best motors of any defender in college football.
Simon had a dominant game with four sacks against Wisconsin, but hurt his knee late in the contest. That caused him to miss the season finale versus Michigan. He didn't stand out at the Senior Bowl in a move to outside linebacker. Simon was unable to work out at the Combine. He is very undersized and could slide on draft day.
8/27/12: Simon was quiet in the early going of last season, but the junior came alive down the stretch. He recorded six sacks in his final seven games with a massive game against Illinois featuring two sacks, four tackles for a loss and eight tackles. Simon had 53 tackles with 16 tackles for a loss, seven sacks and three passes broken up in 2011.
Simon had 41 tackles with 8.5 tackles for a loss and three sacks as a sophomore. He is a strong player who has a great motor. While Simon is not a speed-rusher off the end, he is a good run defender. Simon is short on athletic ability and speed, but he a fighter who is very physical with offensive linemen. A double digit-sack season would be huge for his draft stock.
Stansly Maponga*, DE/OLB, TCU
Height: 6-2. Weight: 256. Arm: 34.18. Projected 40 Time: 4.75. Projected Round (2013): 4-6. 4/24/13: Maponga totaled 26 tackles, four sacks and two forced fumbles in 2012. He had a disappointing season and needs to develop some pass-rushing moves. Maponga made a mistake entering the 2013 NFL Draft, but he showed some good strength at the Combine with 30 reps on the bench press.
8/27/12: Maponga was a play-maker for TCU in 2011, and he was a disruptive force as a pass-rusher. The speedy Maponga totaled 55 tackles with 13.5 tackles for a loss, nine sacks and five forced fumbles. Not only is he quick off the edge, he has natural pad level and leverage to turn the corner.
Maponga broke into the starting lineup as a freshman and recorded 32 tackles with 2.5 sacks. TCU is planning on him being a pass-rushing force in 2012. If the junior duplicates his 2011 season, he could declare for the 2013 NFL Draft. Maponga looks like a natural 3-4 outside linebacker.
Quanterus Smith, DE, Western Kentucky
Height: 6-5. Weight: 250. Arm: 33.28. Projected 40 Time: 4.69. Projected Round (2013): 5-6. 4/24/13: A late season ACL tear sunk Smith's draft stock even though he recorded 12.5 sacks in 2012. He also had 38 tackles with 18.5 tackles for a loss and three forced fumbles. Smith returned a fumble 75 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter against Florida Atlantic.
Smith started the year well with a three-sack game against Alabama. He destroyed Crimson Tide right tackle D.J. Fluker. Smith's sacks came in bunches this season. He has four games with sacks and eight games without any. Smith had five sacks against Florida International.
In 2011, Smith totaled 7.5 sacks, 38 tackles and 11 tackles for a loss. He had 47 tackles with four sacks as a sophomore in 2010.
Smith would be higher in the rankings if he wasn't so undersized. Smith looks like he will need to move to outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense if he can't add a significant amount of weight.
Wes Horton, DE, USC
Height: 6-5. Weight: 260. Projected 40 Time: 4.73. Projected Round (2013): 5-7. 4/24/13: Horton recorded 33 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss, two pass breakups and 5.5 sacks in 2012. He missed the opener versus Hawaii. Horton played better in the second half of the year, but wasn't the breakout pass-rushing force who many expected. He had a solid week at the East-West Shrine, but didn't work out at the Combine.
8/27/12: Horton broke into the starting lineup as a sophomore in 2010. He recorded 29 tackles with four sacks and a forced fumble. The junior was relatively quiet last year, totaling 22 tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks.
Horton has the size and speed that defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin likes in his defensive ends, so he should be part of the Trojans' plan to replace the productive Nick Perry.
Travis Long, OLB, Washington State
Height: 6-3. Weight: 256. Projected 40 Time: 4.79. Projected Round (2013): 6-FA. 4/24/13: Long turned in three multi-sack games through the first four contests of 2012. He totaled 61 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss, 9.5 sacks, four passes batted, an interception and a forced fumble for the year.
Long should definitely stay as a 3-4 linebacker in the NFL. He is very much in the mold of the Texans' linebackers Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed. Long didn't participate in the Combine or play in an All-Star game.
8/29/12: The Cougars are making the switch to a 3-4 defense and moving Long to outside linebacker. He played linebacker in high school before being moved to end in college.
Long is a much better fit as a standup linebacker who can use his speed and athleticism to attack offenses in space. If the senior performs well this season, he could be a prospect similar to Brooks Reed or Connor Barwin.
Long has had modest production over the past two years. He had 51 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss, five sacks and one forced fumble in 2010. The junior notched 42 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, four sacks and a forced fumble last season.
While Long's stat line is just decent, the coaches of the Pac-12 names him as a 2011 Second-Team All-Pac-12 selection. He had a bigger impact than his numbers illustrated.
Long definitely is an outside linebacker for the NFL game. He is a nice sleeper prospect who could be in store for a good final season to elevate his draft stock.
Dan Giordano, DE, Cincinnati
Height: 6-4. Weight: 260. Projected 40 Time: 4.89. Projected Round (2013): FA. 4/24/13: Giordano flashed at times during his senior year. He had 56 tackles, six tackles for a loss, five sacks and a number of pressures on the quarterback.
8/27/12: Giordano had five sacks with nine tackles for a loss and 34 tackles as a junior. He cleaned up off of the disruption from tackle Derek Wolfe. As a sophomore he had 36 tackles with eight tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks. He is short on speed and athleticism but he has a great motor.
Nathan Williams, DE/OLB, Ohio State
Height: 6-3. Weight: 241. Arm: 30.58. 40 Time: 4.88. Projected Round (2013): FA. 4/24/13: Williams picked up 40 tackles, one forced fumble and two sacks on the season, but played better than those numbers indicate.
8/27/12: Williams had two tackles against Toledo in the 2011 season opener, but blew out his knee. He has missed the rest of the season after undergoing surgery. Williams had 4.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for a loss in 2010 after recording 3.5 sacks and eight tackles for a loss as a sophomore. While he led Ohio State in sacks in 2010, he needs to do more than that this year to solidify his draft status.
I also think free safety is the big need, not necessarily strong safety. We can live another year with Devon Kindred and Ibraheim Campbell at strong safety. Maybe if we didn't have so many other more pressing needs I wouldn't mind addressing SS, but there are other priorities on this team.