1. Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech.
Though Morgan lacks the high ceiling of Jason Pierre-Paul, the 2009 ACC Defensive Player of the Year is more polished and pro-ready after pacing the Yellow Jackets with 18.5 tackles for loss and a conference-high 12.5 sacks last season.
Draft Prediction: Jaguars, No. 10 overall.
2. Jason Pierre-Paul, South Florida.
A freakish athlete with 4.6 speed and an 81-inch wingspan at 6-foot-5, 270, Pierre-Paul needed just one season at the D-I level to become the Bulls’ leader in tackles for loss (16.5) and sacks (6.5) from the normally pass rush-unfriendly left end position.
Draft Prediction: Titans, No. 16 overall.
3. Brandon Graham, Michigan.
Graham paced the Wolverines in sacks in each of his final three seasons and is a high-motor defender, but short arms (30.5″) and a squatty build (6’1/263) may cause him to slide further than his production says he should.
Draft Prediction: Colts, No. 31 overall.
4. Jerry Hughes, TCU.
Hughes comes up just short of the 6-foot-2 benchmark for pass rushers, but recorded an eye-popping 26.5 sacks, 36 tackles for loss, and eight forced fumbles between his junior and senior seasons to become the Horned Frogs’ first two-time consensus All-American since 1935.
Draft Prediction: Dolphins, No. 43 overall.
5. Sergio Kindle, Texas.
Exceptionally versatile with prototypical size at 6-foot-3, 250, Kindle seems to be a bit overrated after managing just 5.5 sacks as a senior and exhibiting less than ideal burst in the first ten yards while running the forty at February’s Combine.
Draft Prediction: Jets, No. 29 overall.
6. Everson Griffen, USC.
Griffen started for just one year in college, but paced the Trojans in sacks in 2009 and has had perhaps the most impressive offseason of any pass rusher on this list, running 4.6-flat at 6-foot-4, 273 during USC’s Pro Day and bench pressing 225 pounds 32 times at the Combine.
Draft Prediction: Saints, No. 32 overall.
7. Carlos Dunlap, Florida.
Dunlap has the natural ability to dominate for four quarters when on his game, but off-field issues, questionable snap-to-snap effort, and a production drop from his sophomore to junior season may cause the underclassman to slip to the back end of the first round, or even out of it altogether.
Draft Prediction: Cowboys, No. 27 overall.
8. Corey Wootton, Northwestern.
Injury prone throughout his college career, Wootton will be red flagged by many teams after battling patellar tendonitis as a senior following a junior-year ACL tear, but the athletic 6-foot-6, 270-pound specimen wreaks havoc when healthy.
Draft Prediction: Steelers, No. 52 overall.
9. Austen Lane, Murray State.
Though Lane needs to add strength, the 2009 Ohio Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year’s measurables (4.83 forty, 10’5″ broad jump at 6’6/274) and production (41.5 tackles for loss, 23 sacks between 2008 and 2009) are off the charts.
Draft Prediction: Jets, No. 61 overall.
10. Jason Worilds, Virginia Tech.
Worilds, who underwent two shoulder operations at Virginia Tech, could’ve used another year in school after a 4.5-sack junior season, but posted the fastest ten-yard split of any edge rusher at the Combine and at 6-foot-1, 254 is built to play outside linebacker in a 3-4.
Draft Prediction: Packers, No. 56 overall.
11. Ricky Sapp, Clemson.
Continued knee problems following a 2009 ACL tear will keep Sapp out of the first round, but he looked to be 100 percent at February’s Combine by running 4.7-flat in the forty-yard dash and offers prototypical size for an edge rusher at 6-foot-4, 252.
Draft Prediction: Patriots, No. 44 overall.
12. Greg Hardy, Ole Miss.
A former power forward for the Rebels and a wide receiver early in his career, Hardy would be in the first-round conversation if not for a litany of character concerns and injuries, senior-season benching, and clashes with multiple coaching staffs at Ole Miss.
Draft Prediction: Buccaneers, No. 67 overall.
13. Eric Norwood, South Carolina.
The Gamecocks’ all-time leader in tackles for loss with 54, Norwood measures in just over 6-foot-0 and struggled when asked to drop into coverage at the Senior Bowl after a somewhat disappointing final season for coach Steve Spurrier.
Draft Prediction: Chiefs, No. 102 overall.
14. Koa Misi, Utah.
Misi managed just five sacks as a senior, but shouldn’t struggle making the transition from college defensive end to outside linebacker in an NFL 3-4 with plenty of suddenness and a relentless motor.
Draft Prediction: Browns, No. 105 overall.
15. O’Brien Schofield, Wisconsin.
Another high-motor prospect, Schofield dominated the Big Ten en route to 24.5 tackles for loss (second in the conference behind only Brandon Graham) and 12 sacks before unfortunately tearing his ACL during Senior Bowl practices.
Draft Prediction: 49ers, No. 182 overall.