Mayock's draft analysis: Defensive line

Posted: April 24, 2014

NFL NETWORK draft analyst Mike Mayock once again will break down the top draft prospects for the Daily News. He will assess the best player at each position, as well as a player who is rising up the draft board and a late-round sleeper to keep an eye on later in the draft.

Mayock, 55, resides in Newtown Square and is a graduate of the Haverford School. The former safety was a 10th-round pick of the Steelers in 1981 and played two seasons with the Giants (1982-83).

4-3 defensive ends

THE BEST

Name: Jadeveon Clowney

School: South Carolina

Height, weight: 6-5, 266

40 time: 4.53

225 bench: 21 reps

Vertical jump: 37 1/2 inches

Arms: 34 1/2 inches

Round projection: 1

Mayock: "He's the most talented player in the draft. A physical freak. The only downside to him is whether or not he's motivated to be the best every week. It looks to me like he's not a bad kid. There aren't any of those kinds of issues with him. It's just that he plays better when he's motivated, when he feels like he has a challenge. When they played Clemson, the Clemson tackle, Brandon Thomas, had a heckuva game against him. Handled Clowney fairly well. Then you put the Tennessee tape on and he was hissed off at [Tennessee offensive tackle] Tiny Richardson for saying he handled Clowney the year before, and Clowney threw the entire Tennessee offensive line around like they were rag dolls that day. Every time he's been motivated, he had a great game. I just think he has to get in a good defensive line room at the next level. Get mentored by the right people. If he wants to be the best player on the planet, he will be."

THE RISER

Name: Will Clarke

School: West Virginia

Height, weight: 6-6, 271

40 time: 4.77

225 bench: 22 reps

Vertical jump: 32 inches

Arms: 34 5/8 inches

Round projection: 3-4

Mayock: "He's got long arms and has some pass-rush ability. Coming out of school, people were looking at him as a late-draftable guy. He's got a good-looking body. He's very raw. At the East-West Shrine Game, he showed some twitchiness and some ability to rush the passer. I think because it's not a deep edge class, he'll get pushed up into the third or fourth round."

THE SLEEPER

Name: Rakim Cox

School: Villanova

Height, weight: 6-4, 266

40 time: 4.94

225 bench: 20 reps

Vertical jump: 32 1/2 inches

Arms: NA

Round projection: 6-7

Mayock: "He got a break when he got selected to play in the NFLPA game and took advantage of it. He got some good feedback after that game from scouts. It kind of got him on the radar as a potential draftable player. He could go in the sixth or seventh round, or he could be a priority free agent. But I think he's going to make somebody's team."

3-4 defensive ends

THE BEST

Name: Stephon Tuitt

School: Notre Dame

Height, weight: 6-5, 304

40 time: 4.92

225 bench: 31 reps

Arms: 34¾ inches

Round projection: 1-2

Mike Mayock: “When he’s in shape, you’re talking about a 320-pound athlete that flashes an ability to rush the passer in addition to being stout against the run. He was coming off surgery last year and was heavier than he should’ve been starting the season, and didn’t always play the way he should have. But the talent is there. I think he’ll go somewhere between 25 and 40. Teams are going to like him because, in sub-packages, you can move him in or out. If you wanted, on first down, he could line up as a base 4-3 end and kick inside to tackle [in nickel].”

THE RISER

Name: Ed Stinson

School: Alabama

Height, weight: 6-3, 287

40 time: 4.87

225 bench: 27 reps

Arms: 33¾ inches

Round projection: 2-3

Mayock: “Stinson runs well. He’s a really strong guy. His point of attack is excellent. He played at a high level at Alabama. It’s easy to see that he fits a 3-4 defense because of where he’s coming out of. He’s one of those guys who’s going to play a lot of years in this league. I initially had him pegged as a fourth- or fifth-round guy. But then I started to get into his tape and said he’s better than that. There’s been a buzz on him. I think he’s going to be a second- or third-round player.”

THE SLEEPER

Name: Josh Mauro

School: Stanford

Height, weight: 6-6, 271

40 time: 5.21

225 bench: 21 reps

Arms: 33 inches

Round projection: 5-6

Mayock: “A lot of people are overlooking Mauro. They don’t think his physical traits are outstanding. But I think he’s a bulldog. He’s a tough kid. He’s a rotational guy who I think will play in the league for a long time.”

Defensive tackles

THE BEST

Name: Aaron Donald

School: Pittsburgh

Height, weight: 6-1, 285

40 time: 4.68

225 bench: 35 reps

Arms: 32-5/8 inches

Round projection: 1

Mayock: “First and foremost, he was productive in college. He was dominant at the Senior Bowl. And then he showed rare testing ability at the scouting combine. He’s best suited to be an ‘under’ [tackle] in a 4-3. If he gets drafted highly, he should send a piece of his signing bonus to [Bengals All-Pro defensive tackle] Geno Atkins. He’s not quite as thick as Atkins or as country strong. The knock on him is his lack of length, and he can get stuck on blocks. But you can say that about a lot of those 290-pound defensive tackles. I just think he has special traits with quickness and explosion.”

THE RISER

Name: Justin Ellis

School: Louisiana Tech

Height, weight: 6-1, 335

40 time: 5.27

225 bench: 25 reps

Arms: 33 inches

Round projection: 3-4

Mayock: “Ellis is a nose tackle, but could play ‘5 technique’ [3-4 d-end] if he needed to. He could play base end. He’s mostly a two-down plugger. He played well at the East-West Shrine Game and got called up to the Senior Bowl. He’s just one of those guys who’s slowly risen from a small-school interesting prospect to a legitimate third- or fourth-round nose tackle.”

THE SLEEPER

Name: Kaleb Ramsey

School: Boston College

Height, weight: 6-3, 293

40-time 5.24

225 bench: 36 reps

Arms: 32-7/8 inches

Round projection: Priority FA

Mayock: “He’s a sixth-year senior. Strong, athletic kid who did 36 reps at 225. He was a high school tight end. The knock on him, and it’s a legitimate one, is durability. When he’s been healthy, he plays at a pretty high level. But he’s just been injured so much, he probably won’t even get drafted.”

Tomorrow: Linebackers

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