As the Big ten season is winding to a close, and N.F.L teams are starting to establish their draft pick, I'm starting to break down where two of the big ten's best defensive ends will land. The big ten is very strong at that position with some of the N.F.L's best prospects.
Ryan Kerrigan from Purdue is having a monster year, and frankly thats an understatement. With 23.5 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks, the 263 ponder is going to be pulling in the cash in the first round. Kerrigan is an explosive pass rusher off the end and can definitely get after the quarterback. I think Kerrigan can play any where on the D-line in the N.F.L with his size and athleticism. Looking at some of Kerrigan's film, he really reminds me of Michigan's own Brandon Graham. Graham and Kerrigan are both in the 260lbs range, and attack the line of scrimmage in similar ways. I could see Kerrigan getting picked in the draft around the same spot as Graham did last year.
Let's not forget about the pre season all American defensive end in Adrian Clayborn. Clayborn may not have the numbers he was expected to have, but at 6-4, 285 pounds Clayborn may be the fastest defensive end in the draft. His lateral quickness is outstanding. You will never see a play get out side on Clayborn's side of the field. When ever Iowa has had trouble stopping the run, it was always up the middle. Clayborn also has the ability of of chasing down backs from behind, so quickness is not an issue. I think Clayborn would have success playing defensive tackle in the N.F.L with his size. Clayborn has been triple teamed all year which is why Karl Klug and Mike Daniels are having such great years.
In the first round I think Cincinnati, San Fransisco, Cleveland, Denver, St. Louis, San Diego, Jacksonville, and Kansas City are all interested in taking defensive lineman. I really dont see Kerrigan or Clayborn going any higher then 10th. I think the Broncos will take a look at both of these guys, but it all depends on who is all still on the board in the defensive lineman heavy draft. Da'Quan Bowers, Marcell Darius, Nick Fairley, and Allen Bailey will likely be the first defensive ends chosen. Ultimately Im predicting that these two guys will either go to the Broncos or Kansas city. Scott Pioli loves Iowa guys so if Clayborn fell to 15th I would not be surprised if the Cheifs picked him.
I can't wait to see who goes first in this draft between these two hard nosed, tough Big Ten defensive ends.