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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New Orleans 28 FINAL
Carolina 10
Tampa Bay 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
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Houston
NY Jets 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Jacksonville 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
San Diego 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Washington 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
St. Louis 11/2/14 3:05 PM
San Francisco
Denver 11/2/14 3:25 PM
New England
Oakland 11/2/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Baltimore 11/2/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Indianapolis 11/3/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 105 FINAL
Orlando 98
Detroit 91 FINAL
Minnesota 97
New York 95 FINAL
Cleveland 90
Utah 102 FINAL
Dallas 120
Oklahoma City 90 FINAL
LA Clippers 93
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
Buffalo 2
Winnipeg 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
Chicago 5 FINAL(SO)
Ottawa 4
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Arizona 1 FINAL
Florida 2
San Jose 3 FINAL(SO)
Minnesota 4
Anaheim 0 FINAL
St. Louis 2
NY Islanders 0 FINAL
Colorado 5
Montreal 2 FINAL(OT)
Vancouver 3
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Louisville 31
Troy 10 FINAL
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Hamilton 6:30 PM
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Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Ottawa 11/7/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Calgary 11/7/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Montreal 11/8/14 3:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 11/8/14 6:00 PM
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