2016 Preseason All-American Projections: Defensive Ends

By Charlie Campbell
Send Charlie an e-mail here: [email protected]
Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell for updates.

Heading into the 2016 college football season WalterFootball.com will debut our projections for the nation’s leaders during the fall. The All-American teams always have some surprises and the stars of next fall could be the headlining players next May in the 2017 NFL Draft.

First-Team Defensive Ends:

Myles Garrett, Texas A&M

Garrett became a superstar as a freshman for the Aggies. Instantly, he started to dominate the best conference in college football. Garrett broke the NCAA freshman sack record previously set by Jadeveon Clowney with 11.5 sacks. Garrett also had 53 tackles and 14 for a loss. He then took his game to another level as a sophomore. Even with teams sending extra blocking his direction, Garrett continued to overwhelm the opposition. In 2015, he had 59 tackles with 12.5 sacks, 19.5 tackles for a loss, five forced fumbles, two passes batted and an interception. Garrett was utterly unblockable in many games. Even in the face of double teams, Garrett is too talented to be held in check. He should produce as a junior and receive the deserved accolades.

Jonathan Allen, Alabama

A tremendous defense helped lead the way to Alabama winning a National Championship last season, and Allen was the team’s most consistent pass-rusher. He played really well with 36 tackles with 14.5 for a loss, 12 sacks, two forced fumbles and four passes batted. Alabama uses Allen creatively as the 6-foot-3, 294-pounder plays end and moves inside during passing situations. It will be interesting to see where Allen lines up this season with Alabama losing A’Shawn Robinson and Jarran Reed to the NFL. The Crimson Tide puts Allen into a lot of good pass-rushing opportunities. He should be steady as a senior and produce another excellent season for the Crimson Tide.

Second-Team Defensive Ends:

Derek Barnett, Tennessee

Barnett set records with a tremendous freshman season, totaling 10 sacks, 20.5 tackles for a loss and 72 tackles. As a sophomore, Barnett’s play was consistent throughout the season. He racked up 69 tackles with 12.5 for a loss and 10 sacks. Aside from the sacks, Barnett put a lot of pressure on the quarterback. There is no reason to think that the 6-foot-3, 268-pound Barnett won’t continue to produce as a junior.

Charles Harris, Missouri

Missouri has been a factory for edge-rushing talent in recent years. With Kony Ealy, Michael Sam, Markus Golden and Shane Ray, the Tigers have produced consecutive pass-rushers who have been impact-making players in the SEC. With Golden and Ray off to the NFL in 2015, Missouri enjoyed a breakout season from Harris as a redshirt sophomore. He totaled 56 tackles, 18.5 tackles for a loss, seven sacks and two forced fumbles on the year. Harris was a disruptive presence in the backfield and played well against good competition. He is a fast edge rusher with a fantastic first-step. It wouldn’t surprise me if Harris ends up having a massive season and is one of the most prolific pass-rushers in the nation.

Third-Team Defensive Ends:

Lewis Neal, LSU

The Tigers’ defense didn’t generate the headlines of the offense in 2015, but there was some good NFL talent on the LSU defense with Neal being the program’s top edge rusher. He was a serious pass-rushing presence off the edge, recording eight sacks. He also had 48 tackles and six passes batted. Neal (6-2, 264) is dangerous edge rusher who looks like he has upside to develop.

Demarcus Walker, Florida State

Walker (6-3, 281) had a breakout season in 2015 with 10.5 sacks, 15.5 tackles for a loss, five passes broken up and 58 tackles. He was a tough edge rusher for the Seminoles who demonstrated strength and speed. It wouldn’t be surprising if Walker matches or exceeds that production in 2016. Florida State has a lot of young defensive talent, and Walker has an easy ACC schedule. He could easily be higher than a third-teamer this season.

Honorable Mentions: Alabama’s Da’Shawn Hand, Ohio State’s Sam Hubbard, Ole Miss’ Marquis Haynes, Auburn’s Carl Lawson, Florida’s Bryan Cox Jr, Louisville’s Devonte Fields, Texas A&M’s Daeshon Hall, Alabama’s Ryan Anderson, Miami’s Chad Thomas, Utah’s Kyle Fitts, Utah’s Hunter Dimick, Ohio State’s Tyquan Lewis, LSU’s Arden Key and Florida’s CeCe Jefferson.

Fantasy Football Rankings - May 23

2025 NFL Mock Draft - May 21

NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

NFL Picks - Feb. 12