Vita Vea*, 3-4DE, Washington
Height: 6-5. Weight: 332. Arm: 32.63. 40 Time: 5.10. Projected Round (2018): 1. 4/25/18: Some sources have compared Vea to Haloti Ngata in terms of ability to play defensive end or nose tackle. They feel that Vea is a special nose tackle prospect who offers more than Danny Shelton did coming out of Washington. Vea will be downgraded in the 2018 NFL Draft because of being a nose tackle, but he still is a special and rare player.
Vea has a serious combination of size, length, strength, and quickness at the point of attack. He is a heavy nose tackle who is a rock against the run and can occasionally collapse the pocket in the pass rush. Vea totaled 44 tackles, 3.5 sacks and four passes batted in 2017. He has shown the ability to contribute somewhat in the pass rush while being big, strong, and having a burst at the point of attack.
9/1/17: Vea was a load at the point of attack for Washington in 2016. On the year, he totaled 39 tackles with 6.5 tackles for a loss, five sacks, one force fumble and two passes batted. Vea has a serious combination of size, length, strength, and quickness at the point of attack.
For the NFL, Vea projects as a heavy nose tackle who can be tough at the point of attack. He is a big, thick and strong. Vea can use his size and strength eat up blockers and generally holds gap integrity. He has a quick burst off the snap, and there are times where his size, power, and quickness overwhelm smaller interior linemen. Vea is at his best when he tries to bull his way into the backfield to cause disruption. With his upper body strength and the power in his base, Vea can push off or through blocks. He has a good motor and gives a second effort, too.
Vea needs to show improvement in the pass rush during 2017. The junior needs to develop some pass-rushing moves to go with his bull rush. He has to become more consistent in creating pressure and laying hits on the quarterback in order to be a highly in-demand draft prospect. Otherwise, he could be viewed as just a nose tackle.
Taven Bryan*, 3-4DE, Florida
Height: 6-5. Weight: 291. Arm: 32.74. 40 Time: 4.98. Projected Round (2018): 1-2. 4/25/18: At the NFL Scouting Combine, Bryan showed his freakish athleticism and speed with a tremendous workout. That solidified his first-round standing. Bryan broke out in 2017 with 40 tackles with six tackles for a loss and four sacks. He had a dominant game against Texas A&M. In speaking with some scouting sources, Bryan has drawn comparisons to Denver Broncos defensive lineman Derek Wolfe. Some announcers have compared the 6-foot-4, 295-pounder Bryan to J.J. Watt, and in terms of style of play, Bryan is reminiscent of Watt when playing well, but Bryan is not consistently dominant to deserve a comparison to Watt.
Bryan has a tremendous get-off with serious explosion off the snap. He also has developed strength with active hands to shed blocks. With his length, Bryan can play end or tackle, and he would be a perfect fit as a five-technique. He had a late start in football, however, from growing up Wyoming, and that shows up in him not demonstrating good instincts. Bryan is inconsistent while lacking feel and pass-rushing moves. Thus even though he is a first-round athlete, he still needs development as a player.
Rasheem Green*, 3-4DE, USC
Height: 6-4. Weight: 275. Arm: 33.75. 40 Time: 4.73. Projected Round (2018): 2-3. 4/25/18: At the NFL Scouting Combine, Green was impressive with an incredible 40-yard dash time. Green also played well for the Trojans in 2017. The junior recorded 43 tackles with 12.5 tackles for a loss, 10 sacks, one forced fumble and four passes broken up on the year. As a sophomore, he totaled 55 tackles, 6.5 sacks, four passes batted and two forced fumbles.
Green has good instincts and play recognition. He can use those skills to bat a lot of passes to prevent completions downfield. Green played defensive tackle for USC, but in the NFL, he could play end as well. Green needs to get stronger to hold up in run support. Right now, he could be a base end in a 4-3 defense who moves inside in passing situations. Once he gains weight and strength, Green could play tackle every down, but he's undersized at the moment. Green also could be a five-technique defensive end in a 3-4 defense.
Duke Ejiofor, 3-4DE, Wake Forest
Height: 6-4. Weight: 264. Arm: 34.88. Projected 40 Time: 4.73. Projected Round (2018): 2-3. 4/25/18: Ejiofor played well for Wake Forest in 2017, totaling 43 tackles with 16.5 for a loss, 6.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one pass batted. Ejoifor is a solid, sturdy base end with size and quickness on the edge. Sources say they are grading him on Day 2 of the 2018 NFL Draft. They would have liked to see a more steady motor and consistency from Ejiofor. He may not have the skill set or consistency to be a first-rounder, but he could be a solid second-round pick. Ejiofor missed the combine workout due to his recovery from a torn labrum.
9/1/17: Ejiofor goes under the radar playing at Wake Forest, but he was a real force in 2016. On the season, Ejiofor totaled 10.5 sacks, 50 tackles, four passes broken up, forced fumbles and one interception. He had 4.5 sacks as a sophomore.
R.J. McIntosh*, 3-4DE, Miami
Height: 6-4. Weight: 286. Arm: 33.88. 40 Time: 5.10. Projected Round (2018): 2-4. 4/25/18: There are some team sources who really like McIntosh and think he's one of the only pure three-techniques in the 2018 NFL Draft. Some teams see him as a second-rounder while others have him in the third or fourth round, so there is a lot of variety in the grades of McIntosh.
McIntosh had an impressive 2017 season and caused disruption for Miami at the point of attack. He totaled 52 tackles with 12.5 tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks, seven passes broken up and one forced fumble on the year. McIntosh also played well as a sophomore with 47 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for a loss. McIntosh has scheme flexibility with the ability to play tackle in a 4-3 and serve as an end in a 3-4.
Breeland Speaks*, 3-4DE, Ole Miss
Height: 6-3. Weight: 283. Arm: 33.75. 40 Time: 4.87. Projected Round (2018): 2-4. 4/25/18: Speaks is strong at the point of attack and also has some speed with athleticism. He illustrated those attributes at the NFL Scouting Combine. Speaks is sleeper who could be one of the nice value picks from the 2018 NFL Draft. He could play end or grow into a defensive tackle in the NFL.
Speaks finished the 2017 season in impressive fashion with a strong performance against Mississippi State. All night, Speaks was in the backfield, putting heat on the quarterback and playing the run well. Speaks recorded 67 tackles with eight tackles for a loss, seven sacks, one forced fumble and one pass batted in 2017. He could get second-day consideration in the 2018 NFL Draft as a base end for a 4-3 defense.
Harrison Phillips, 3-4DE, Stanford
Height: 6-3. Weight: 295. Arm: 33.75. Hand: 10.5. 40 Time: 5.21. Projected Round (2018): 2-4. 4/25/18: Phillips turned himself into a NFL prospect with a tremendous senior season. He had 103 tackles with 17 tackles for a loss, 7.5 sacks and two forced fumbles for the year. In speaking with a director of college scouting who was scouting at Stanford, they felt that Phillips is a mid-rounder. They said that Phillips struggles with double teams and has limitations as a pass-rusher for the NFL that push him down, but they think Phillips is a good run stuffer for the next level. They said his game is similar to former Stanford nose tackle David Parry. Others will probably grade Phillips higher.
As a junior, Phillips had 46 tackles with 9.5 tackles for a loss and 6.5 sacks. He missed his sophomore season with an injury after backing up as a freshman.
Andrew Brown, 3-4DE, Virginia
Height: 6-3. Weight: 294. Arm: 35.13. Hand: 9.13. 40 Time: 5.03. Projected Round (2018): 3-5. 4/25/18: In 2017, Brown notched 46 tackles with 10.5 for a loss, 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble. He possesses a lot of talent, but doesn't play up to his skill set consistently. Brown had a good combine that showed his natural physical talent.
9/1/17: Brown is a sturdy defender at the point of attack and impressed last year. Scouting sources say that Brown has a first-round skill set entering the 2017 season. In 2016, he totaled six sacks, 13 tackles for a loss and 38 tackles. Brown has good size to be a base end with quickness and athleticism to get after the quarterback.
B.J. Hill, 3-4DE, N.C. State
Height: 6-3. Weight: 321. Arm: 32.35. Hand: 10.38. 40 Time: 4.99. Projected Round (2018): 3-5. 4/25/18: Hill had a good workout at the combine and helped himself by illustrating his athleticism. Hill was part of a talented defensive line for the Wolfpack, and all four of their 2017 starters are future NFL contributors. Hill is a tough run defender at the point of attack who is tough to move and reliable to fill his gap. The senior recorded 57 tackles with 5.5 for a loss, three sacks and three passes batted in 2017. As a junior, he totaled 39 tackles with 2.5 for a loss, one sack, one forced fumble and three passes batted. Hill contributed 50 tackles as a sophomore with 3.5 sacks and 40 tackles as a freshman with 1.5 sacks.
Folorunso Fatukasi, 3-4DE, Connecticut
Height: 6-4. Weight: 303. Arm: 34.13. 40 Time: 5.29. Projected Round (2018): 4-6 4/25/18: Fatukasi notched 45 tackles, 7.5 for a loss and four sacks in 2017. He had an impressive week at the East-West Shrine. Fatukasi was quick at the point of attack and also strong to hold his ground. He showed the versatility to fit a 3-4 or 4-3 defense.
9/1/17: Fatukasi had a quality junior year for the Huskies as he notched 43 tackles with 2.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks and a blocked kick. If Fatukasi can improve his pass rush as a senior, he could rise.
Kahlil McKenzie Jr.*, 3-4DE, Tennessee
Height: 6-3. Weight: 314. Arm: 31.5. 40 Time: 5.15. Projected Round (2018): 5-7. 4/25/18: McKenzie finished 2017 with a total of 35 tackles, 3.5 for a loss and two sacks. He entered the 2018 NFL Draft rather than return to school.
9/1/17: A pectoral injury limited McKenzie to only half the season in 2016. As a freshman in 2015, McKenzie flashed with 24 tackles and a sack. He has to stay healthy and produce as a junior.
Greg Gilmore, 3-4DE, LSU
Height: 6-3. Weight: 318. Projected 40 Time: 5.29. Projected Round (2018): 5-7. 4/25/18: Gilmore has some versatility to fit as a three-technique or as nose tackle in a 4-3 defense. In a 3-4, he could play end or tackle given his weight with enough length. In 2017, Gilmore totaled 53 tackles with 10 tackles for a loss, 7.5 sacks and one pass batted. He collected 34 tackles with one sack as a junior and 13 tackles as a sophomore. Gilmore has some size and strength at the point of attack, but looks limited. He did not participate in the NFL Scouting Combine.
Christian LaCouture, 3-4DE, LSU
Height: 6-4. Weight: 290. Projected 40 Time: 5.17. Projected Round (2018): 5-7. 4/25/18: LaCouture would fit best as a five-technique defensive end in a 3-4 defense in the NFL. The senior totaled 66 tackles with 8.5 tackles for a loss six sacks and five passes broken up in 2017. He had a solid week at the Senior Bowl as well. An injury cost LaCouture the 2016 season. In 2015, he had 35 tackles with a sack after recording 40 tackles and 2.5 sacks as a sophomore.
John Franklin, 3-4DE, Stephen F. Austin
Height: 6-4. Weight: 292. Projected 40 Time: 5.23. Projected Round (2018): 5-7. 4/25/18: Franklin totaled 55 tackles with 13.5 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks and one forced fumble in his 2017 season. As a junior, he had 31 tackles with seven sacks and four forced fumbles. Franklin could fit as a three-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense, or he could be a 3-4 defensive end. Franklin did not participate in the NFL Scouting Combine.
Bilal Nichols, 3-4DE, Delaware
Height: 6-4. Weight: 290. Projected 40 Time: 5.18. Projected Round (2018): 5-7. 4/25/18: Nichols was a steady interior pass-rusher for Delaware over the past two seasons with 5.5 sacks as a senior and five as a junior. In 2017, he also had 56 tackles with four passes batted. Nichols had 25 tackles in 2016 and 29 in the previous season. He could compete as a three-technique in a 4-3 defense or as a five-technique defensive end in a 3-4. Nichols did not participate in the NFL Scouting Combine.
Eddy Wilson*, 3-4DE, Purdue
Height: 6-3. Weight: 301. Arm: 33.75. 40 Time: 5.37. Projected Round (2018): 7-FA. 4/25/18: Wilson was a surprise early-entry to the 2018 NFL Draft and probably should have returned to school. In 2017, he totaled 27 tackles with one sack and two passes batted. As a sophomore, he had 36 tackles with 2.5 sacks. He notched 10 tackles in his freshman year. Wilson faced some off-the-field problems at Purdue and also missed the team's bowl game of the 2017 season because of academic ineligibility.
Parker Cothren, 3-4DE, Penn State
Height: 6-4. Weight: 304. Projected 40 Time: 5.29. Projected Round (2018): 7-FA. 4/25/18: Cothren has some length, weight and strength to him, which lets him set the edge of the defensive line in a 3-4 defense. Being a backup and rotational five-technique end in a 3-4 would be his best fit in the NFL. In 2017, Cothren had 27 tackles with 2.5 tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks. He totaled 26 tackles and two sacks as a junior.
Matt Dickerson, 3-4DE, UCLA
Height: 6-5. Weight: 292. Arm: 33.25. 40 Time: 5.06. Projected Round (2018): 7-FA. 4/25/18: In eight games as a senior, Dickerson totaled 21 tackles with zero sacks. He had zero sacks and 38 tackles as a junior. In his sophomore year, Dickerson also had 38 stops and one sack with four passes batted. He could compete to make a roster spot as a 3-4 defensive end in the NFL, or he could gain more weight to be a nose tackle in a 4-3.
Joshua Frazier, 3-4DE, Alabama
Height: 6-3. Weight: 321. Arm: 34.25. Projected 40 Time: 5.34. Projected Round (2018): 7-FA. 4/25/18: Frazier was a backup for Alabama who had 15 tackles and three passes batted during the 2017 season. He had eight tackles and a sack in 2016. Frazier will have to compete as a nose tackle in the NFL.
John Atkins, 3-4DE, Georgia
Height: 6-3. Weight: 321. Arm: 34. 40 Time: 5.36. Projected Round (2018): 7-FA. 4/25/18: As a senior, Atkins totaled 38 tackles with one pass batted and zero sacks. He had 22 tackles with no sacks and two passes broken up as a junior. Given his lack of pass rush, Atkins will have to compete as a nose tackle in the NFL.
9/1/17: Bailey was a quality run stuffer for Louisville in 2016. He totaled 58 tackles with nine tackles for a loss and two sacks on the year. Getting after the quarterback is critical to helping Bailey's draft stock.