NFL Draft: Positional Rankings and Big Board

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Edge/Defensive End & Linebacker

Sep 6, 2014; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators defensive lineman Dante Fowler Jr. (6) rushes during the second half against the Eastern Michigan Eagles at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Florida Gators defeated the Eastern Michigan Eagles 65-0. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Edge/Defensive End

1. Dante Fowler
2. Vic Beasley
3. Randy Gregory
4. Owamagbe Odighizuwa
5. Preston Smith
6. Bud Dupree
7. Eli Harold
8. Nate Orchard
9. Frank Clark
10. Mario Edwards Jr.
11. Hau’oli Kikaha
12. Davis Tull
13. Shaquille Riddick
14. Shane Ray
15. Lorenzo Mauldin
16. Max Valles
17. Anthony Chickillo

The top six have first round grades.

Fowler gets the slight edge because of versatility. I think he can play standing up, and also hold up at DE better than Beasley and Gregory.

Odighizuwa and Preston Smith are both very good, and could be targets if the Raiders were to trade down. Dupree is an incredible athlete, but he showcased almost no bend, and has no idea how to use his hands.

I’m very low on Shane Ray, and this ranking was set before his toe injury and marijuana citation. He’s too small and not strong enough to hold up at DE and he is not nearly athletic enough, nor does he have enough pass rushing moves to be productive as an outside linebacker.

Ray was productive in college thanks to great snap anticipation, a quality first step and a relentless motor. Snap anticipation and the motor are nice, but they are two traits that mean much less than others in terms of what skills translate at the next level.

Next: Positional Rankings: LB