The NFL Draft kicks off on April 26 and preparations for the 2012 NFL season will start to really get underway. With the draft right around the corner, here is a look at the Top 5 defensive linemen on the board for the 2012 NFL Draft.
Teams Needing Defensive Linemen: Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans
North Carolina Tar Heels defensive end Quinton Coples is big and physical and will be a big time pass rusher in the NFL. He is strong off the line and can play both defensive end as well as outside linebacker. He is just a beast. There are questions about his ability to fire off the snap at the defensive end position but he will overpower a blocker and get to the quarterback.
2. Michael Brockers
Michael Brockers is a 6-5, 312 lb. powerhouse from Penn State that will be a solid clog in the middle of the defensive line. He is big and powerful and won't get pushed around. He has the distinct ability to drive the offensive line backwards. His only downfall is his lack of creativity as he just relies on his upper body power to dominate players and might get stood up on double teams.
3. Dontari Poe
Dontari Poe is a monster at 6-5, 350 lbs. However, his monstrous size disguises an athletic defensive tackle who is quick and light on his feet. He is a strong player that will stop a lot of plays behind the line of scrimmage. On the down side, he needs to work on his burst at the snap and he sometimes seems confused at where the play is heading, losing the ball carrier at times.
4. Fletcher Cox
Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox has a great burst off the line and closes better than most players at his position. He is very strong and can hold his own against most offensive linemen his size. He also has good hands and always moves his arms, making him a danger for runners. The problem here is he is not a dangerous pass rusher. In 2011, he finished with four total sacks and they came in two games.
5. Melvin Ingram
South Carolina defensive end Melvin Ingram has played numerous positions in college, including defensive tackle, defensive end and outside linebacker, so he should be good for any team looking for flexibility. He is a big play player and is as tough as they come. The problem is that, at 6-2 and 276 lbs, he might not be strong enough to be a defensive end in the NFL. He will be good but will have to bulk up some.
Other Defensive Linemen: Devon Still, Brandon Thompson, Whitney Mercilus, Chandler Jones, Jerel Worthy
Author Shawn S. Lealos has been an NFL fan since he was a child, starting out his obsession by watching the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Oilers play football with his grandfather in the 1970's.
Source: Yahoo! Sports