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NFL Draft prospects

Best defensive line prospects in NFL Draft

PLAYERSCHOOLHEIGHTWEIGHT40 TIMEROUND
DE Jadeveon Clowney*South Carolina6-52664.531

Subpar junior season is a bit of a concern, but Clowney is a physical freak, a perfect edge rusher for a 4-3 defense and most likely the No. 1 overall pick. The only question is, will it be made by the Texans?

DT Aaron DonaldPittsburgh6-12854.681

Undersized for a defensive lineman, Donald is otherwise a relentless pass rusher who dominated the Senior Bowl and can play multiple positions on the line. Possible top-10 pick.

DE/DT Stephon Tuitt*Notre Dame6-53045.001-2

Versatile player who could provide solid pass rush and run defense from the inside or outside. Has good size and length, is an excellent athlete, and could be an option for the Patriots at the end of the first round.

DE Kony Ealy*Missouri6-42734.921

Strong, quick, and tough, Ealy had 9½ sacks and 14½ tackles for loss last year and looks like a natural three-down defensive end in a 4-3.

DE Demarcus Lawrence Boise State6-32514.801-2

Didn’t have a great combine, but still had a fantastic senior season (10½ sacks, 20½ tackles for loss) and is gaining buzz as a late first-round pick.

DT Ra’Shede HagemanMinnesota6-63105.021-2

Showed impressive quickness and an ability to take on double teams as a senior, but also lacked consistency and production, with only two sacks in 2013.

DT Louis Nix* Notre Dame6-23315.421-2

Perfect fit as a 3-4 nose tackle, Nix wasn’t the most explosive player at the combine, but can take on a double team and was the linchpin of the Irish defense for three seasons.

DT Dominique EasleyFlorida6-22884.851-2

Would likely be a lock for the first round if not for a torn ACL suffered in practice last season. Can play inside or outside and has the best burst of any prospect not named Clowney.

DT Timmy Jernigan*Florida State6-22995.061-2

Reportedly failed a drug test at the combine in February, which certainly won’t help his stock, but, despite only six sacks the last two seasons combined, is a versatile, disruptive lineman who can play in multiple fronts.

DT Ego Ferguson*LSU6-33155.002

Started only one season for the Tigers and probably should have returned to school, but showed excellent quickness and strength in the pass and run games. Solid fit as a 4-3 defensive tackle.

Best of the rest: DE/DT Will Sutton, Arizona State (6-0, 303, 5.36, 2-3); DE Marcus Smith, Louisville (6-3, 251, 4.68, 2); DT Anthony Johnson, LSU (6-3, 308, 5.25, 2-3); DE Scott Crichton, Oregon State (6-3, 273, 4.84, 2-3); DT Daniel McCullers, Tennessee (6-7, 352, 5.54, 2-3); DE Kareem Martin, North Carolina (6-6, 272, 4.72, 2-3); DT DaQuan Jones, Penn State (6-4, 322, 5.35, 3-4). * Underclassman

Ben Volin can be reached at ben.volin@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @BenVolin.
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