have addressed defensive end in free agency by re-signing Fernando Smith
and going out and acquiring Lance Johnstone, so the position likely wont
be a top priority when the Vikings get on the clock. They may have the
wish to grab one later in the draft, especially is someone like DeLawrence
Grant or Cedric Scott slips to them.
BEST OF THE BEST
JUSTIN SMITH, Missouri, 6-4, 268 A
third-year junior who started every game with the Tigers...Two-time All-Big
12 selection, Freshman All-America...All-time leader for Missouri with
22.5 sacks, to go with 257 tackles and 53 tackles for a loss...Amazing
initial quickness off the snap...Never gives up on plays and often makes
tackles on the other side of the field from where a play starts...Very
good weight room man, his strength allowed him to never miss a game with
injury...Not as tall as many personnel men want for a DE, but makes up
for lack of size with great quickness...Didnt run at the Combine,
but did 26 reps with 225 pounds and had a 34-inch vertical jump.
PROJECTION: While still a little raw and will need some refining, his
skills outweigh his lack of experience and he should go in the top 10
picks, perhaps as his as No. 2 to Arizona.
ANDRE CARTER, California, 6-4, 255 Has
NFL bloodline as the son of former Denver Bronco Rubin Carter...Four-year
starter who became a starter midway through his true freshman year...Two-time
first team All-Pac 10 selection and All-America in 2000...Last two years
he had 112 tackles, 39 tackles for loss and 23 sacks...Locker room leader
who passes the test with NFL scouts as being a coachable player with leadership
qualities...Has long arms and is capable of batting down a lot of passes...Is
likely not going to get a lot bigger, since he weighed only 230 as a freshman
and was about as big as he would get when he played at 260 pounds last
year and weighed just 249 at the Combine...Has a lot of upper body strength,
which is the result of a 415-pound bench press...Reminds some scouts of
Michael McCrary of the Ravens, who uses speed and strength to make up
for lack of size...Incredible jumping ability allows him to swat down
passes...May be too small to be full-time, every-down lineman...Didnt
run at the Combine, but did 20 reps and had an incredible 38-1/2 inch
PROJECTION: A great athlete with the personality a coach wants, hell
go midway in the first round.
JAMAL REYNOLDS, Florida State, 6-3, 268 Four-year
player who didnt become a starter until his junior year, playing
behind Tony Bryant and Greg Spires for the Seminoles...In two years as
a starter, he had 115 tackles, 26 tackles for a loss and 19 sacks...All-America
in 2000 and won the Lombardi Trophy, given to the countrys best
lineman...Wore down as teams double teamed him last year, getting
10 sacks in first five games and only two sacks the rest of the way...Quick
enough to chase down players like Michael Vick last year...Uses speed
to beat slower left tackles...A little short and undersized for ideal
DE...Perhaps the best instinctive pass rusher available in the draft...Ran
a 4.63 40-yard dash at the Combine, but didnt lift of jump.
PROJECTION: Odds are his pure athletic ability will keep him in the first
round of the draft.
THE NEXT BEST THING
AARON SCHOBEL, Texas Christian, 6-4, 263 One
of the older top prospects, he graduated high school in 1996...Fifth-year
senior...Two-time All-WAC player and WAC Defensive Player of the Year in
2000...In three full seasons as a starter, he had 192 tackles, 49 tackles
for loss and 24 sacks...Started his last 45 games with TCU...A blown up
linebacker in terms of size and may end up as a LB in the pros...Extremely
tough player...A little too small to be a dominant DE at the next level...Didnt
run or lift at the Combine, but had a 36-inch vertical jump.
PROJECTION: Another in-between player who could go anywhere from early in
the second round to the middle of the third round.
KYLE VANDEN BOSCH, Nebraska, 6-4, 270 Two-year
starter who has suffered through some injuries in his playing career...Extremely
intelligent, he earned his college degree in less than four years...In
two seasons as a starter, he had 93 tackles, 28 tackles for loss and 10
sacks...A good combination of strength and speed...Relentless hustle...Gets
swallowed up by huge OTs...Impressed at the Combine, running a 4.68
in the 40, doing 26 reps and showing off a 36-1/2 inch vertical jump.
PROJECTION: If you saw him at the Combine, youd say hes among
the best DEs available, but hell likely slide to late in the
second or early in the third round.
DeLAWRENCE GRANT, Oregon State, 6-3, 279 Only
played two years of D-I ball after spending two years at junior college...All-Pac
10 as a senior...In two years as a starter, he had 75 tackles, 18 tackles
for a loss and 12-1/2 sacks...Natural pass rusher...Started the 2000 season
weighing 260 pounds, but bulked up to 280 by the end of the year...Wore
down as the year progressed last season...Bench presses 415 pounds...More
of a pass rusher than run stopper so he may have trouble if asked to play
linebacker...Did not work out at the Combine.
PROJECTION: He could have helped himself a lot by working at the Combine.
Now he looks to be a late-second or early third-round pick who may have
to work a lot harder at being an NFL player than most.
DAVID WARREN, Florida State, 6-2, 255 One
of the most recruited defensive players coming out of high school, he
was USA Todays High School Defensive Player of the Year as a senior...Never
a full-time starter
Incredible burst off the ball...Likely too small
to be an every-down lineman...Despite small size, doesnt have the
functional skills to immediately move to a LB position...Didnt run
or jump at the Combine, but did 21 reps.
PROJECTION: There are teams that are high on him because of his speed,
but designated pass rushers dont go until the third round of the
draft at best.
CEDRIC SCOTT, Southern Mississippi, 6-6, 281
A fifth-year senior, who was a two-year starter...All-Conference
USA pick last year and Co-Defensive Player of the Year...In two years
as a starter, he had 119 tackles, 33 tackles for loss and 16 sacks
12 of those coming last year...Excellent at batting down passes because
of long arms...Played his best at the Senior Bowl against the top OTs
in the college game...Plays too high and gets pushed away too often by
offensive linemen...Ran a 4.75 at the Combine, along with 23 reps and
a 35-1/2 inch vertical jump.
PROJECTION: Despite having all the physical qualifications to be a prototype
DE, he isnt likely to go in the first two round because of the lack
of experience faced in Conference USA.
Paul Toviessi, Marshall, 6-6, 260
Karon Riley, Minnesota, 6-3, 264
Fred Wakefield, Illinois, 6-7, 286
Derrick Burgess, Mississippi, 6-4, 257
Monty Beisel, Kansas State, 6-4, 270
Reggie Hayward, Iowa State, 6-5, 255
Ellis Wyms, Mississippi State, 6-3, 284
Dwayne Missouri, Northwestern, 6-5, 259