Joined: March 31st, 2005, 11:43 am
Location: Grand Rapids
Gil Brandt s Top 5 Defensive Ends
1. Demarcus Ware, Troy (6-4, 251)
He had a complete workout at the combine. He ran two 40s in 4.56 and 4.57. He also ran the short shuttle in 4.07 seconds, the three-cone drill in 6.83 and the long shuttle in 10.93. He had a 38?-inch vertical jump, a 10-foot-2 broad jump and 27 reps. He went to high school in Auburn, Ala., but weighed only 170 pounds. In high school, he played linebacker and wide receiver. He also was on the track, basketball and baseball teams. As a true freshman at Troy, he played but did not start. He started 11 games at left end in 2002, and started all games in 2003 and 2004. He was the Sun Belt Conference player of the year in 2004, when he had 11 sacks. He had 28 sacks in his career. He is very raw in his pass-rush technique; he has the ability and will get better. He has a great upside -- a raw, explosive athlete with all the tools and skills you look for in an end. The only question on this player is his weight potential. He has great character and works hard in the weight room (8 percent body fat). He could also be an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense; of course, one must wonder how well he will play against the run at his weight. He could be a Dwight Freeney type of player.
2. Shawne Merriman, Maryland (6-4 3/8, 272)
All he did at the combine was bench press 225 pounds 25 times. At Maryland's Pro Day on March 16, he ran two 40s in 4.72 and 4.75, and the short shuttle in 4.25 seconds. He had a 40-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot broad jump. In high school, he played linebacker, then defensive end. He was the Maryland player of the year his senior season. He also was a three-year starter in basketball. At Maryland, he started one game and played in all 14 as a true freshman in 2002. He started five games in 2003 and every game in 2004. He had 8? sacks last season in 22 in his career. He is an outstanding competitor and very intense. He has the speed to make plays rushing the passer or playing against the run. He was 20 pounds heavier in 2004 than he was in 2003. This player might best be used as a rush linebackers in a 3-4 defense. If he can't adjust to that position, he still can play defensive end in a 4-3 defense. To play linebacker, he has to be able to play in space and be able to cover pass receivers, which sometime is hard to do at this weight. (He worked out at linebacker for NFL people after regular drills on Pro Day.) He had the best vertical jump by a defensive lineman at Maryland. He will not turn 21 until May 25.
3. Erasmus James, Wisconsin (6-4 1/8, 266)
He had a complete workout at the combine, but did not lift. He ran two 40s in 4.81 and 4.84. He also ran the short shuttle in 4.37 seconds, the three-cone drill in 7.56 and the long shuttle in 12.22. He had a 37?-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot-2 broad jump. He ran again March 9 at Wisconsin's Pro Day and ran two 40s in 4.74 and 4.78 on a very fast Astro strip track. In high school, he played only one year of football. Basketball was his sport until he started playing in his senior year; he had 14 sacks. He entered Wisconsin in 2000, but did not play. He missed the 2003 season with a hip injury he suffered in preseason workouts. He was having an outstanding 2004 until he injured his ankle in the seventh game of the year (Purdue). He missed the next two games, then returned, but didn't play as well. He had eight sacks last season and 18 in his career. He has natural pass-rush ability. He plays with good body control and has good quickness. He needs to get stronger against the run.
4. David Pollack, Georgia (6-2 1/8, 265)
He had a complete workout at the combine. He did position drills as a defensive lineman and linebacker. He ran two 40s in 4.75 and 4.80. He also ran the short shuttle in 3.90 seconds, the three-cone drill 6.86 and the long shuttle in 10.91. He also had a 37-inch vertical jump, a 10-foot broad jump and 25 reps. He performed position drills at Georgia's Pro Day. In high school, he played defensive line and fullback; he also lettered in basketball and wrestling. At Georgia, he played as a true freshman in 2001 and started four games. He started the past three seasons and was named SEC player of the year in 2002. He broke Reggie White's SEC record with 36 career sacks. He's an outstanding competitor with great work habits. He has a great first step and is very strong with great body control. His arms are only 31? inches long. NFL teams are looking at Pollack as a 3-4 outside linebacker; you would like your defensive ends to be a little taller. He's an outstanding person who will play in the NFL for a long time at a high level.
5. Marcus Spears, LSU (6-4, 307)
He did not work out at the combine or at LSU's Pro Day on March 9. He had a knee 'scoped after the season and was not cleared to work out until March 31, when he ran two 40s in 5.10 and 5.10. He also ran the short shuttle in 4.48 seconds and the three-cone drill in 7.75. He had a 31-inch vertical jump and lifted the bar 23 times. In high school, he was an outstanding basketball player who could have gone anywhere in the country. He was the first football player since 1991 to be named first-team all-state in offense and defense. At LSU, he played as a true freshman at tight end, fullback and defensive end. He had nine sacks in 2004 and 19 in his career. He's very athletic with size and speed, but he needs to keep his weight around 285 pounds to play his best. He can explode off the edge, but he needs to use his hands better when rushing the passer. He has long arms with good strength and big, thick legs. He's a good person with no off-the-field problems. He turned 21 in March.
"Roy Williams hasn't even scratched the surface yet, at some point he is going to explode"-Mooch
Last edited by LionsInsider on April 11th, 2005, 2:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.