1. Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska.
The 2009 National Player of the Year, Suh outperformed Gerald McCoy in every single statistical category last season, offers far superior measurables, and is the heavy favorite to be selected immediately after Sam Bradford.
Draft Prediction: Lions, No. 2 overall.
2. Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma.
An explosive underclassman, McCoy started all three years on the Sooners’ line as a one-gap, penetrating tackle and combined for 12.5 sacks to go with 26.5 tackles for loss in his final two seasons.
Draft Prediction: Buccaneers, No. 3 overall.
3. Jared Odrick, Penn State.
At 6-foot-5, 301 with plenty of power, Odrick beat out Michigan’s Brandon Graham for 2009 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors and projects as a 3-4 defensive end at the next level.
Draft Prediction: Ravens, No. 25 overall.
4. Dan Williams, Tennessee.
Williams flourished in Monte Kiffin’s scheme after three ho-hum seasons to open his career, exhibiting underrated pocket-pushing versatility in addition to the ability to two gap as a nose tackle at a Wilforkian 6-foot-2, 330 pounds.
Draft Prediction: Bills, No. 9 overall.
5. Brian Price, UCLA.
Price was the 2009 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year, easily pacing the conference in tackles for loss (23.5), but disappointing pre-draft workouts may cost him a spot in round one.
Draft Prediction: Giants, No. 46 overall.
6. Terrence Cody, Alabama.
Cody’s weight fluctuations are an obvious concern, but he is pro-ready coming from Nick Saban’s NFL-like 3-4 system and was a consensus first-team All-American as both a junior and senior.
Draft Prediction: Chargers, No. 28 overall.
7. Tyson Alualu, California.
One of Mike Mayock’s favorite players in the draft, Alualu plays with a non-stop motor, never missed a game in college, and led all Pac-10 defensive linemen in tackles a season ago.
Draft Prediction: Chiefs, No. 50 overall.
8. Alex Carrington, Arkansas State.
Carrington dominated the Sun Belt Conference en route to 94 tackles (33.5 for loss) and 19.5 sacks between his junior and senior seasons, and is built to play end in a 3-4 defense at 6-foot-5, 284.
Draft Prediction: Browns, No. 85 overall.
9. Linval Joseph, East Carolina.
Joseph struggled to keep his weight under control early in his college career, but possesses monster upside at 6-foot-5, 328 with explosive up-the-field pass-rush ability.
Draft Prediction: Texans, No. 81 overall.
10. Torrell Troup, Central Florida.
Troup, who goes 6-foot-3 and 310 pounds, was a two-gapping nose tackle in George O’Leary’s Golden Knights defense and showed impressive power in his lower half during East-West Shrine Game practices.
Draft Prediction: Dolphins, No. 73 overall.
11. Cam Thomas, North Carolina.
Thomas improved his stock with standout performances on the Senior Bowl practice field and the potential to play nose tackle in a 3-4 defense, but compiled just 3.5 career sacks as a Tar Heel and will have to be removed on passing downs in the pros.
Draft Prediction: Cardinals, No. 88 overall.
12. Lamarr Houston, Texas.
The Longhorns’ leader in tackles for loss (22) as a senior, Houston is strictly a one-gap tackle but displayed a relentless style in 2009 and could be a steal for a 4-3 team in the middle rounds.
Draft Prediction: Bengals, No. 84 overall.
13. Arthur Jones, Syracuse.
Jones missed the final three games of his career with a torn lateral meniscus and is just now starting to get healthy, but was considered a first-round prospect before the injury with the ability to both defend the run and explode up field.
Draft Prediction: Panthers, No. 78 overall.
14. Clifton Geathers, South Carolina.
A massive man at 6-foot-8, 299, Geathers never met expectations for Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks and will be viewed as a long-term, if high upside, developmental project by NFL teams.
Draft Prediction: 49ers, No. 113 overall.
15. Earl Mitchell, Arizona.
Mitchell offers little versatility at 6-foot-1 and 290 pounds, but was highly productive in the Wildcats’ 4-3 defense and could settle in as a passing-down specialist in the pros.
Draft Prediction: Saints, No. 130 overall.