Draft Position Preview: DEs

With the NFL's top run defense, end might not be a need but there is plenty of early-round talent to consider. One player is Penn State's Jared Odrick, who a source said the Packers are extremely high on after a big senior season and week at the Senior Bowl.

Packer Report continues its position-by-position looks at the NFL Draft with the defensive ends.

Packers position rank by need

Seventh of 13.

State of the Packers

The Packers ranked first in the NFL in stopping the run for the first time in team history, and the defensive ends were a major reason. Starters Cullen Jenkins and Johnny Jolly did yeomen's work all season with their toughness and unselfishness, and rookie first-round pick B.J. Raji provided superb depth at all of the line positions.

With those three back, along with Jarius Wynn — who bigger things are expected from after a year in an NFL weight room — the Packers seem set. But with Jolly's seemingly never-ending in-limbo status stemming from charges of possessing codeine, the Packers probably need to add someone.

Forget about ...

Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh and Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy are top-five picks.

Possible targets

A source familiar with the top defensive line prospects and the Packers' roster didn't think the Packers would take any in the first three rounds. Of course, that was his best guess.

— In the first round, Penn State's Jared Odrick (6-5, 304) has prototypical size for the position. Another source said the Packers were "extremely high" on Odrick after watching him and meeting with him at the Senior Bowl, where he was all but unstoppable all week. With 11.5 sacks over his final two seasons, he'd provide a much-needed lift to the pass rush as a bookend to Jenkins. He's a high-motor, high-character player. However, some insiders believe Odrick has reached his maximum potential.

No. 13: Quarterbacks
No. 12: Specialists
No. 11: Wide receivers
No. 10: Tight ends
No. 9: Nose tackles
No. 8: Running backs

— In the second round, the Packers might have to move up (or out of the first round and into the second) to get California's Tyson Alualu, another player who opened the Packers' eyes at the Senior Bowl with his motor and character. Alualu (6-2, 295) might not be the ideal height of 6-foot-4 or 6-foot-5, but there might not be a defensive player in this draft who plays with his passion. His 13.5 sacks over his final two seasons would be a welcome addition. The other second-rounder who won't make it to the Packers' pick at No. 56 is Florida's Carlos Dunlap, a huge man (6-6, 277) with freakish athletic ability (4.61 40 at pro day). He posted 18.5 sacks over his final two seasons but an arrest for DUI kept him out of the SEC Championship Game and sent up red flags among scouts.

— Arkansas State's Alex Carrington (6-5, 285) also impressed the Packers at the Senior Bowl and could be considered at No. 56. His 19.5 sacks over his final two seasons came against subpar competition, but he was superb during his week in Mobile. The sacks notwithstanding, his length and strength make him an ideal run-stopper.

— As a possibility late in the third round, East Carolina's C.J. Wilson (6-3, 290) had 10.5 sacks in 2008 and 5.5 in 2009, when he was named Conference USA's defensive player of the year. He has solid strength and athleticism but doesn't quite have the height teams desire as a 3-4 end.

— Purdue's Mike Neal (6-3, 294) posted 11 sacks over his final two seasons. He's as strong as an ox, and with refined technique, he might be a real beast in the fourth or fifth round. Kentucky's Corey Peters (6-3, 300) lacks Neal's strength but is a better athlete and led the SEC in sacks (four) and tackles for losses (12) among defensive tackles. He'd be an option in the fifth round. As would North Carolina's E.J. Wilson (6-3, 286), who started 32 consecutive games and had four sacks and 12 tackles for losses last year.

— Two Alabama players, Brandon Deaderick (6-4, 314) and Lorenzo Washington (6-4, 291) played 3-4 end for Nick Saban and are late-round options. Deaderick didn't produce big numbers as a senior, in part because he was shot when someone tried to steal his car before the season opener. Ohio State's Doug Worthington (6-5, 292), Duke's Vince Oghobaase (6-5, 302) and LSU's Charles Alexander (6-4, 300) all have the physical tools if not the production.

— Two early-round wild cards are Northwestern's Corey Wootton and Mississippi's Greg Hardy. Wootton (6-6, 270) and Hardy (6-4, 281) have the height and frame to play end but the athletic ability to play outside linebacker. Wootton should go in the second round. He had 10 sacks in 2008 but tore his ACL in the bowl game, then struggled in 2009. Hardy piled up 26.5 sacks in his career but scouts question his character and desire. Those concerns could push him into the fourth round.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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