Let’s take a look at some of the best defensive linemen in this April’s NFL draft. Of course, some players’ stocks will rise or fall based on who drafts them, but it will help to get a quick “scouting report” on these players to see if they may be able to help your team (dynasty or otherwise) next year and in seasons to come.
Ndamukong Suh (DT - Nebraska): We’ll start the discussion on DLs with quite possibly one of the most dominant college football players ever. Yeah, ever. Suh was a game-changer; will he be able to make huge plays at the NFL level? Will his game translate into fantasy worth? This is a tough question to tackle. He will probably have more tackles than the normal interior linemen, but probably not enough to be a normal DL starter in redraft leagues. In dynasty formats, or leagues that start DT, though, he’ll be quite valuable.
Derrick Morgan (DE - Georgia Tech): Morgan had an impressive 19.5 sacks in his final two seasons for the Ramblin’ Wreck and a sick 29.5 tackles for loss. He should start out right away as a situational pass rusher, and with a good camp, could challenge for a starting gig if drafted into the right situation. He’s big and has all the physical tools that the great ones like Julius Peppers and Mario Williams have at the next level.
Carlos Dunlap (DE - Florida): If Dunlap is able to shake his propensity to do stupid stuff off the field, he’ll be an asset to an NFL team’s defense for sure. He, along with LB Brandon Spikes, led a talented Gator defense. Nearly a third of his total tackles were for losses in his final two seasons, and had 18.5 sacks in those two years also.
Jason Pierre-Paul (DE - South Florida): Pierre-Paul will likely show as a workout warrior at the combine, and will likely have one of the best 40 times for a DL. After two dominating junior college seasons, he had a solid season for South Florida, racking up 16.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks, despite being double teamed frequently. He’ll obviously come with a little risk, coming from a non-BCS school and only one year of D-1 under his belt, but this guy has all the physical tools to be a beast in the NFL.
Jerry Hughes (DE - Texas Christian): Unfortunately this sack artist will probably land in a situation where he’s one of those LB-DL hybrids, thereby killing his fantasy value. He’s rather undersized for a true DE, but has one of those non-stop motors and has a nose for the QB and football. He only had 26.5 sacks in his final two seasons for the Horned Frogs, and 35.5 tackles for loss to boot. If he adds a bit of bulk and is given an opportunity to play DL full-time, he could turn out to be the best of this bunch.
Gerald McCoy (DT - Oklahoma): McCoy is a stud, plain and simple. But only dynasty owners and/or those in leagues that start DT need read further here. He won’t put up the tackle or sack numbers necessary to be an option where you lump DE and DT together. Like Suh, he’s a tackle that makes big plays and is a physical, dominating force in the middle. Hopefully he’ll be drafted into a scheme that allows him to play a bit on the outside, thereby increasing his chances at sacking the QB in the NFL.
Lamarr Houston (DT - Texas): Houston was a three-year stud for the Longhorns, and was often overlooked by the bigger names on the line. He had an impressive 22 tackles for loss in his senior season and could be a nice, deep sleeper for dynasty formats.
George Selvie (DE - South Florida): Selvie was projected to come out after his junior season after a huge sophomore campaign where he amassed 14.5 sacks and a ridiculous 31.5 tackles for loss. But a somewhat quiet junior season kept him in school and followed that up with an even quieter senior season. If properly motivated and drafted into the right scheme, Selvie could be a nice surprise in dynasty formats.