From ESPN Insider:
Four DEs could be first-round selections
Posted by Todd McShay
My colleague Kevin Weidl wrote on Monday about the strength of the defensive tackle class, saying it is perhaps the top position in the 2010 draft. As the deadline for underclassmen to enter the draft approaches, however, the defensive ends are closing the gap.
In recent weeks we've seen four underclass defensive ends declare who could be first-round picks in April, including big names with complete games and others with a lot of talent but room to improve.
Georgia Tech's Derrick Morgan is the most complete prospect of the group, a player with speed off the edge and the size and strength to hold the edge against the run who could be a top-10 pick. Florida's Carlos Dunlap comes with some red flags because of a recent DUI arrest and questions about his work ethic and maturity, but he is a physical specimen at 6-foot-5¾ and 293 pounds.
Jason Pierre-Paul of South Florida is next on the list, and while he is still a bit raw after playing only one year at the FBS level he was very productive this season and flashes impressive pass rushing skills. Finally there's Everson Griffen of USC, who needs to polish his technique and recognition skills but is a stout 6-3, 272-pounder who can rush the passer and hold his ground at the point of attack against the run.
There is also an interesting pair of underclass ends in the class who project as outside linebackers in 3-4 schemes. Virginia Tech's Jason Worilds and Ohio State's Thaddeus Gibson are effective pass rushers but lack the size to play as traditional 4-3 ends, so look for them to become rush linebackers at the next level.
Keep in mind that the underclassmen above supplement a senior class that includes players like Texas' Sergio Kindle, Clemson's Ricky Sapp, Mississippi's Greg Hardy and Michigan's Brandon Graham, all of whom should be off the board by the end of the second round.
That makes 10 ends/outside linebackers who could be first or second-rounders in addition to eight defensive tackles with first or second-round grades, meaning we could see more than a quarter of the picks in the first two rounds come from the defensive line group. That's impressive.