2013 draft preview: Defensive line

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 19, 2013 - 11:45 AM

This might be the most loaded defensive line draft in years.

Elite talent? Check. Substantial depth? Check.

Yep, teams in need of aid at either defensive end or tackle will have plenty to pick from. It’s possible eight or nine d-linemen will be selected on the first night of the draft.

Looking for a pass-rushing beast? Treat yourself to a few minutes of Ezekiel Ansah’s highlight tape. There you’ll find the BYU product dazzling with his athleticism and strength.

Want a force on the interior? Florida’s Sharrif Floyd brings plenty to the table.

It’s hard to remember a draft this loaded with first-round talent on the D-line. In the past quarter-century, the drafts with the most defensive linemen selected in Round 1 were 2003 and 2011 with 10 players taken. (The ’03 draft included the Vikings’ selection of Kevin Williams at No. 9 and also featured Jimmy Kennedy and Ty Warren. Two years ago, Marcell Dareus and J.J. Watt emerged as the headliners up front.)

However, this year’s class might be the best we’ve seen in a while. Even more significant than the availability of first-round difference makers is the reality that plenty of quality d-linemen will still be available on Friday and into Saturday.

That should be good news for the Vikings, who’d like to add depth at defensive tackle and must start at least thinking about life after Jared Allen, who’s now entering his 10th season at age 31.

THE FRONT-RUNNER

Sharrif Floyd, Florida

Floyd may be the most explosive defensive tackle in this draft, able to use his strength and energy to get off the ball quickly. He can be a force as a run stopper and can also clutter the pocket. On top of that, Floyd showed versatility playing nose tackle, three-technique and defensive end in college.

THE CONTENDERS

Ezekiel Ansah, Brigham Young

Ansah could go as high as No. 2 to Jacksonville. Admittedly, he’s still very, very raw after picking up football for the first time in 2010. But he has eye-catching size (6-foot-5, 271 pounds) and length and blends that with burst off the line. Originally from Ghana, he was impressive at the Senior Bowl and again at the combine, continuing to shoot up most experts’ rankings.

 

Star Lotuleilei, Utah

Lotuleilei may wind up being better than Floyd, projected as an immediate starter. After a strange heart issue was detected at the combine, he was unable to participate in drills there. But Lotuleilei has since visited with specialists and gotten full clearance. He may best fit as a defensive end in a 3-4 system. But wherever he lands, his power and agility will be useful.

 

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Cleveland 61 4th Qtr
Indiana 74
Washington 61 4th Qtr 11:12
Philadelphia 65
Golden State 54 3rd Qtr
Toronto 31
New York 41 3rd Qtr 12:00
Detroit 53
Orlando 45 3rd Qtr 10:54
Atlanta 47
Charlotte 59 3rd Qtr 7:36
Boston 50
LA Clippers 29 2nd Qtr 6:03
Memphis 32
Brooklyn 46 2nd Qtr 5:39
Houston 43
Miami 42 2nd Qtr 4:54
New Orleans 39
Minnesota 37 2nd Qtr 5:03
Chicago 36
Utah 8:00 PM
Denver
San Antonio 9:00 PM
Sacramento
Milwaukee 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
Portland
Boston 2 3rd Prd 14:54
New Jersey 0
Calgary 0 3rd Prd 18:29
NY Islanders 1
Washington 0 3rd Prd
Carolina 2
Chicago 0 2nd Prd 7:52
Tampa Bay 1
Colorado 0 1st Prd 7:43
Dallas 0
Los Angeles 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Siena 63 FINAL
Quinnipiac 73
Harvard 49 FINAL
Cornell 57
Penn 69 2nd Half 0:31
Brown 73
Fairfield 55 2nd Half 1:27
Canisius 62
Manhattan 59 2nd Half 3:11
Iona 67
Saint Peters 52 2nd Half 3:51
Marist 59
Princeton 60 2nd Half 1:12
Yale 76
Ohio 23 2nd Half
Akron 27
Dartmouth 35 1st Half 1:40
Columbia 34
Valparaiso 9:00 PM
Cleveland State
Louisiana Tech 75 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 88
Seton Hall 77 FINAL
Xavier 60
Cornell 52 2nd Half 0:22
Harvard 56
Yale 49 FINAL
(14) Princeton 67
Elon 51 FINAL
Drexel 54
Northeastern 47 2nd Half 1:00
James Madison 82
St Johns 60 FINAL
Butler 49
Creighton 71 FINAL
Georgetown 62
Brown 58 FINAL
Penn 75
Columbia 48 2nd Half 0:48
Dartmouth 59
Canisius 54 FINAL
Siena 58
St Josephs Brooklyn 35 2nd Half 1:27
NJIT 76
Western Carolina 67 2nd Half 4:23
UNC Greensboro 66
Colorado 28 2nd Half
Arizona 28
Southern Ill 38 1st Half 2:26
Bradley 37
Drake 27 2nd Half
Wichita State 39
Indiana State 32 2nd Half
Evansville 21
Illinois State 29 2nd Half
Loyola-Chicago 33
Northern Iowa 34 2nd Half
Missouri State 35
Utah 15 1st Half 9:38
(10) Arizona State 10
Providence 19 1st Half 7:05
Villanova 24

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