Next up, Kiper's top five defensive ends.
Damontre Moore* - Texas A&M - 6'4" 250 lbs (1st Round)
Bjoern Werner* - Florida State - 6'4" 265 lbs (1st Round)
Barkevious Mingo - LSU - 6'5" 240 lbs (1st Round)
Dion Jordan* - Oregon - 6'7" 241 lbs (1st Round)
Ezekial Ansah - BYU - 6'6" 270 lbs (1st Round)
Jets Status: This is more the meat of what the Jets might be looking at filling with the #9 pick or even if they were able to trade back in the first round as opposed to the OLB group we did a few days back. While the OLBs had a few players the Jets might consider early (like Jarvis Jones), this is more the prototype of players the Jets would want. Tall, more mass, able to hold up against a tackle with hand in the dirt or in the flat on a fire zone. For years, the Jets have been tied with drafting an exterior pass rusher, and this might be the year that they actually do it. Mo is coming into his own as a defensive lineman and will have a Richard Seymour level of impact over the next five years in this defense. Quinton Coples played well as a rookie and benefited from Wilkerson's play, but also showed his pure and overwhelming size, strength and ability as the season wore on. If the Jets were to add the exterior piece, this group becomes fearsome quickly. But with players like Coples and Wilkerson, the Jets might not feel pressured in getting one of the very best OLBs. A rising tide lifts all boats; so even a middle-tier pass rusher could still become a force to be reckoned with when paired with Mo&Co.
Analysis: Note how this might be the first position group to have it's top five be purely first rounders? 4-3 DE / 3-4 OLB are a premier position in the NFL and are treated as such. Corners might help to shut down the passing game against an offense's top receiver, but conventional wisdom is that no other defender can adversely disrupt the passer/ballcarrier on a play-by-play basis. Damontre Moore's outstanding 2012 campaign has lifted him to the top of this group. He's a great pass rusher and a plus run defender. He is extremely versatile, which we know that Rex Ryan loves. he's played all over the defensive front in his time at A&M acting as an OLB in 2011, and lining up at both end spots and even as an interior player at times. Good, but not great "motor" and was picked up for a marijuana arrest in the summer of 2012. Werner is an intriguing prospect, the German born former exchange student picked up football at 15, and parlayed it into an impressive career at FSU. Werner has been compared to Chris Long and is a an above average pass rusher and run defender and is very versatile. His metrics are less than ideal though and that might cause teams to balk at him. Mingo is a player who was said to have a less than impressive 2012 season after a stellar 2011, and that might be hurting him now. Mingo is extremely athletic and is a play maker and superior pass rusher, but might not have the run-stopping skills right now to make him an every down player as he steps out from college. On our podcast, Tony Pauline told us he is very high on Mingo and thinks he'll be the best pro in five years compared to Jordan and Jones. Jordan is an excellent athlete, versatile but his size and lean build has teams concerned. How much bulk can he add and still be a quick pass rusher? Jordan wasn't much of a sack producer at Oregon, but he would be an excellent edge-setting DE/OLB based on his skillset. Ansah is the upside player of the group but is slated right now to go more in the 10-20 range. Could the Combine change that? He's got a little less than perfect speed, but his burst and quickness make him an excellent pass rusher and he's being compared to JPP with better overall commitment to the run in trade to the freakiness that JPP exhibited as a potential pure pass rusher.
Keep an Eye On ... : It's highly probably that two of the Moore, Werner, Mingo and Jordan grouping could be available to the Jets at 9 ... not to even mention Jarvis Jones, which bumps that number of exterior players to three. So the Jets might be able to "take their pick" of three of the best five DE/OLB prospects in this class. Not bad. The way the draft played out last year, the Jets got a good look at the DL spot, and Ryan got his guy ... who looked to be pretty promising as a rookie. That said, should the Jets go another way in the first round, there's guys like Alex Okafor or Sam Montgomery who might slip to the second round, or even guys a little further down like Tank Carradine or Corey Lemonier that might be promising players.