Skip to main content

Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

Defensive linemen will tempt Jaguars


The defensive line offers the area of greatest quality and depth in this year's NFL draft, and it's almost a certainty the Jaguars will make a defensive lineman one of their first two choices.

North Carolina's Julius Peppers and Ryan Sims and Tennessee's Albert Haynesworth are considered to be the plum defensive line picks of this draft, and most draftniks are predicting all three players will be off the board by the time the Jaguars make their first pick with the ninth spot in the first round.

Peppers, a defensive end who might also fit nicely at linebacker, is a pass-rusher who has the size to hold the point of attack and the speed to chase down the ball.

Sims has classic defensive tackle size, and though he lacks Peppers' dramatic physical skills, Sims is a high-intensity, slug-it-out-in-the-trenches player who would be a perfect fit next to the Jaguars' first-round pick of 2001, Marcus Stroud.

Haynesworth is bigger, faster and more athletic than Sims, but the rap on Haynesworth is that he doesn't have Sims' dedication and work ethic.

Then come two players who might tempt coach Tom Coughlin, if he finds his board devoid of Peppers, Sims and Haynesworth and also offensive tackles Bryant McKinnie and Mike Williams. What if the next-best big guys available are Tennessee defensive tackle John Henderson and Wisconsin DE/DT Wendell Bryant?

Henderson is high-cut (6-7) and may be caught between tackle and end. The rap on Henderson as a tackle is that he plays high, which was the knock on Stroud. As an end, Henderson may not be fast enough to be a third-down pass-rusher. Another concern is the health of Henderson's back. In Henderson's defense, he's a high-character and coachable player who seems to be growing into his body.

Bryant may also be a tackle/end tweener. He has great speed for his size and offers the potential for added weight and strength, but he is not considered to be a warrior.

South Carolina DE Kalimba Edwards is a somewhat-undersized pass-rush specialist, Notre Dame DT Anthony Weaver is a Renaldo Wynn clone, Georgia DE Charles Grant is an athletic and explosive pass-rusher whose best days are ahead of him, and Alabama-Birmingham DE Bryant Thomas and Syracuse DE Dwight Freeney are speed-rushers who will either become every-down linebackers or pass-rush specialists.

It is a tantalizing crop of players that offers a team with multiple needs on its defensive line the opportunity to fix the situation long-term. Brigham Young's Ryan Denney, Florida's Alex Brown and Tennessee's Will Overstreet are solid defensive end prospects who may put a team's draft over the top, and Washington's Larry Tripplett and Alabama-Birmingham's Eddie Freeman are quality defensive tackles who might sit in the middle of someone's defensive line for several years.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content