Less than a month remains until those glorious three days in April, when teams can considerably impact their roster for the next five or so years. It is so difficult to discern actual team interest from smokescreens that the best approach might be to focus on individual rankings at this time.
In the meantime, Kay Adams (@heykayadams) and I (@JoshNorris) ran through my top interior defensive linemen and edge pass rushers in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Rankings: Top Five Interior Defensive Linemen and Edge Pass Rushers
Breaking sports news video. MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL highlights and more.
Interior Defensive Linemen:
1. Star Lotulelei, Utah
Where he wins: Pegged as a pure nose tackle, but that would be a disservice to his versatility. Can play along the front and shows agile feet for someone his size. Can be dominant for a stretch of plays and rarely took a seat on the bench at Utah.
2. Sharrif Floyd, Florida
Where he wins: Experience inside at defensive tackle or on the edge in multiple fronts. Strong at the point of attack to put his opposition on skates but displays enough foot quickness to win off the snap as well. Flashes violent hands to disengage.
3. Sheldon Richardson, Missouri
Where he wins: Great at splitting blocks, winning off the snap, or beating reach blocks. Very quick for his size and can really make his presence felt in the backfield as a three technique tackle or five technique end. Has been asked to drop back into short zones.
4. Jesse Williams, Alabama
Where he wins: Experience at nose tackle and as a five technique end. Strong upper body to absorb and hold an anchor. Shows power in hands to shed or extend and press the pocket from the interior at times.
5. Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State
Where he wins: Flashes winning in a variety of ways, specifically with strength to shed, power to drive, or quickness to shoot gaps. Runs the line well for his size and could see snaps all along the defensive line.
Edge Pass Rushers:
1. Dion Jordan, Oregon
Where he wins: A personal favorite. Extremely fluid and agile from his linebacker spot. Could see him thriving as a strong side linebacker who moves into a pass rushing role when called upon. Strong hands and flashes persistence around the corner.
2. Ezekiel Ansah, BYU
Where he wins: After generating separation or finding himself in space, his closing speed is the best in this draft. Plenty of motor to chase. Already a solid run defender and saw snaps at rush linebacker, end in a three man or four man, and inside at tackle. Strong on first contact.
3. Cornellius Carradine, FSU
Where he wins: Explosive off the snap and follows it up with strong hand use to keep separation or disengage. Plays with leverage to drive opposition back if need be or keep his position to set the edge as a run defender.
4. Barkevious Mingo, LSU
Where he wins: Tall, long, and explosive off the edge. Puts the opposition behind with his first step and although lean, shows a good amount of strength when engaging. Works down the line well in the running game.
5. Datone Jones, UCLA
Where he wins: Shows disruption from defensive end or tackle. Outside, his initial strength on contact puts offensive linemen on skates. Inside, has burst and quickness to win off the snap. Length and pad level (when asked to pass rush) helps.