Experts on draft’s top four defensive ends

At the Combine today, Pete Carroll said the Seahawks are “totally connected to the quarterbacks coming out” in the draft.

However, other teams are likely to scoop up the top two guys, Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud, in the top three picks. That’s OK, because the Seahawks really need to use their top pick on the best combination defensive lineman they can find – a guy who can set the edge against the run and rush the passer from both inside and out.

K.J. Wright said it well on Seattle Sports 710: “Just looking at the personnel that we had on the football field this past season, in particular with the linebackers and the interior defensive line, it was not pretty. It was not pretty at all watching those guys get pushed around, just watching the linebackers get suffocated by blocks and not being able to find their way to make their plays.”

His solution matches ours: “I want more big boys up front. If you want to go 3-4, let’s get some big guys up there, some big Al Woods (type of players) at all three spots – the nose (tackle) and the two 3-techniques. … The interior guys, it’s not sitting well with me at all. I do believe (John Schneider) understands clearly what he has to bring in to this football team, but he has got to address that if he wants to bring this defense to life. You have got to stop the run. That’s where it always starts. Stop the run … I don’t necessarily love the scheme, but I believe if we get bigger up front, then we can do better against the run.”

The top of the draft is typically where you get pass rushers, not run stoppers. The Hawks need the best combo player they can get at that spot.

There are four guys the Hawks figure to have their eyes on at the Combine this week: Jalen Carter, Tyree Wilson, Myles Murphy and Lukas Van Ness.  

(UPDATED March 1) Carter was expected to be a top-three pick until arrest warrants were issued for him March 1 in relation to a deadly street race in January. Even if he is available at 5 in the wake of this, the Hawks might balk at picking him, considering his legal trouble and character questions. Malik McDowell is their cautionary tale.

The others might be available after a slight move down, although some have Murphy or Wilson in the top five as well.

Here’s a pre-Combine analysis of each from NFL Media’s Daniel Jeremiah and The Athletic’s Dane Brugler.

Jalen Carter (6-3, 300), Georgia

Jeremiah: “He is just a freak show when you are watching him. It just looks like he works at a different speed than everybody else on the field. The change of direction … he can kind of teleport from one gap to the next. … I think he is better than Quinnen Williams coming out, and I loved Quinnen Williams, so that’s the type of player you’re getting.”

Brugler: “Carter is young, which is evident in several areas of his game, but it is also clear how uniquely talented he is with his combination of body control and power. His block destruction and disruption are special.”

The Seahawks would have to pick Carter if he fell to 5, but that seems unlikely. He’s the consensus No. 1 player in the draft, according to NFL Mock Draft Database, and the No. 2 player per The Athletic’s consensus big board. It is doubtful John Schneider would want to pay the cost to move up to get him.

Tyree Wilson (6-6, 275), Texas Tech

Jeremiah: “I think there’s a lot of buzz around him around the league. … He’s got just freakish wingspan and burst and the ability to kind of use those long levers to get home. I think he is a really talented rusher. I think he is a big-time athlete.”

Brugler: “At 6-foot-6 and 270 pounds with almost 36-inch arms, Tyree Wilson is a big, powerful athlete who can be disruptive from various alignments along the defensive line.”

Wilson seems like he could be a Michael Bennett style player for the Hawks, but Jeremiah’s most recent mock has Arizona taking Wilson at No. 3, based on the aforementioned buzz. In his mock, Will Anderson Jr. slips to the Seahawks at No. 5.

Anderson amassed 27.5 sacks over the past two seasons and is considered a good edge run defender, but he is too small (6-4, 243) to play end in a 3-4. He would have to play outside linebacker for Seattle. And, if he couldn’t, he would end up a designated rusher like Darrell Taylor.

Myles Murphy (6-5, 276), Clemson

Jeremiah: “Myles Murphy is a tricky one because it’s all in there. He has it all in his body. He hasn’t got it all figured out just yet, but between his combination of length and explosiveness, I think there’s more there. I think he is going to develop more as a rusher. I don’t think he has a great plan at this point in time.”

Brugler: “Smooth, strong and long, Myles Murphy has a lot of the traits that would appeal to Bill Belichick. Given his expected testing numbers at the scouting combine, Murphy will create buzz throughout the process, even though his rush plan and setup are still in the development phase.”

Murphy is the consensus No. 5 player, but mocks have him landing all over the top 15. If the Hawks move down a bit in the top 10, he could be the pick.

Lukas Van Ness (6-5, 269), Iowa

Jeremiah: “It’s curious when you’re watching him because he doesn’t start. … That’s just the way their program (at Iowa) runs. They are going to run with the older upperclassmen, the leaders that have been in those spots, and they are going to roll those guys out there as starters even though everyone knows this was their best guy. He’s got big-time, big-time explosiveness and power. Kind of a bull in a China shop. Again, someone who is just figuring it out, but when you watch him against the best tackles he played against, he got after them.”

Brugler: “Lukas Van Ness was not even a starter for the Hawkeyes and might not have the most impressive collegiate resume. With his explosive power and upside, though, the Iowa product has the toolsy profile (to be picked in the top 20).”

Van Ness is ranked 23rd on MDD’s board and 37th on The Athletic’s board, but Jeremiah thinks he will ascend at the Combine and might end up a top-10 pick. While we all have been focused on Wilson as Seattle’s ideal pick, Van Ness could be a trade-down option after this week.


3 thoughts on “Experts on draft’s top four defensive ends”

  1. With the exception of Carter, I can’t see Schneider taking any of these guys at #5–too much development is needed in each case. If Anderson, Carter, and Young are off the board—and they probably will be—Schneider will look to trade down.

    On the other hand, if a miracle happens and Young drops because teams get the yips over his size, Schneider will sprint to the podium like he is Usain Bolt.


  2. Yeah, I think Schneider really would like to move down and pick up some good Day 2 stock. Even if Young is there, I think he would just use him as that bait. And Carter might now be just bait for some team willing to gamble on greatness. A move down seems the best strat no matter what, really …


    1. if there is no superstar on D, trade down.
      I think Carter is too much of a risk right now which means Anderson will be gone by #5.
      But some team will take him early. If Hannibal Lecter was a good college football player, his scouting report would read “has an eating disorder”

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s