Bargain Hunting: Value on Defense

One of Jerry Angelo's favorite terms this time of the year is "value." With no picks in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears have to get real value in Rounds 3-7. Remember these names ...

Yesterday, we examined where the best draft values were for each team on offense. Today, it's the defense's turn.

The position-by-position breakdown below is designed to help get a handle of where teams believe their selections might best be used. It also identifies the areas of the draft where trades are likely to occur. Teams picking late in the second round know they'll miss out on a top linebacker or receiver, for example, if they wait for one to fall into their lap.

Players are split into selection value tiers below – instead of rounds – as a range of picks is a more accurate predictor of that value. The number of picks per round is an arbitrary number having nothing to do with player grades, but rather the number of teams in the league (plus free-agent compensatory picks in later rounds).

Here are the top defensive picks:

Defensive Tackle

Top 20: Gerald McCoy, Ndamukong Suh, Dan Williams
Picks 21-50: Terrence Cody, Brian Price
Picks 51-100: BEST VALUE...

Teams will reach for big bodies that can anchor the middle of their defense, especially those looking for a nose tackle in a 3-4 defense. Cam Thomas and Torrell Troup will go higher than some expect because of the need for stout run stuffers, as may Arthur Jones and Jeff Owens. Tyson Alualu, Geno Atkins and Lamarr Houston could also get calls in the second or third round to be defensive ends in three-man fronts.

Picks 101-150: Linval Joseph, Mike Neal, D'Anthony Smith, Al Woods

Defensive End

Top 20: Everson Griffen, Derrick Morgan, Jason Pierre-Paul
Picks 21-50: Carlos Dunlap
Picks 51-100: Alex Carrington, Jermaine Cunningham, Austen Lane, Corey Wootton
Picks 101-150: BEST VALUE...

There are major questions about all of the ends listed in the top 100, save Derrick Morgan. Greg Hardy, George Johnson, Brandon Lang, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, C.J. Wilson and Lindsay Witten all have enough upside that their value isn't significantly different from Carrington, Cunningham or Lane, meaning teams might be better off waiting to meet this need until Saturday.

Linebacker

Top 20: Rolando McClain
Picks 21-50: BEST VALUE...

One reason the defensive end class lacks value in the top 50 is that shorter but productive players like Brandon Graham and Jerry Hughes could end up late first-round picks as 3-4 linebackers. One of the 3-4 teams in the top 20 may take Sergio Kindle because of his pass-rushing skills, but otherwise, he, Koa Misi, Sean Weatherspoon and Daryl Washington will all be gone by the mid-second round.

Picks 51-100: Donald Butler, Thaddeus Gibson, Sean Lee, Koa Misi, Ricky Sapp, Jason Worilds
Picks 101-150: Navorro Bowman, Rennie Curran, Eric Norwood, Perry Riley, O'Brien Schofield, Brandon Spikes, Dekoda Watson

Cornerback

Top 20: Joe Haden
Picks 21-50: BEST VALUE...

Look for a run on corners starting somewhere around the 20th pick, with Kareem Jackson, Devin McCourty and Kyle Wilson probable first rounders likely to land with the three or four teams looking for quality help at the position. Chris Cook and Patrick Robinson won't be far behind the top tier. Depth at corner continues to be very good in the next two group, as well, with Franks and others potentially sneaking into the mid-second round and strong value likely available in the early-to-mid fourth round.

Picks 51-100: Dominique Franks, Brandon Ghee, Jerome Murphy, Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, Amari Spievey
Picks 101-150: Javier Arenas, Perrish Cox, Walter McFadden, Kevin Thomas, Alterraun Verner

Safety

Top 20: Eric Berry, Earl Thomas, Taylor Mays
Picks 21-50: Nate Allen
Picks 51-100: BEST VALUE...

Though some consider the safety class as deep as it's ever been, the value of this year's class is in the same place it usually is: the late second and third rounds. Morgan Burnett could sneak into the top 50, but Chad Jones, Reshad Jones, Darrell Stuckey and Major Wright will all contend for starting jobs as rookies for several teams looking to upgrade their defensive backfield.

Picks 101-150: Larry Asante, Kam Chancellor, Myron Lewis, T.J. Ward


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