Now onto discussing the 2015 Draft defensive linemen that usually provide the constant pass rush and get to occupy blockers to keep their linebacker corps clean. As a general rule, it is better to grab defensive linemen that play in 4-3 schemes (JJ Watt is the exception). The reason is that in a 4-3 defense, the d-line will face less double teams and get the opportunity to stunt more (change gaps to cause confusion on the offensive line) giving them more shots at the quarterback and ball carriers. Here are my thoughts on these rookie defenders:
1) Vic Beasley, Atlanta
Right now he is a defensive end, tomorrow he could be a linebacker. Beasley creates pressure well as a pass rusher, but needs some work against the run. The defender is full of energy/talent and should raise the entire Falcons defense a notch.
2) Randy Gregory, Dallas
This undersized, skinny defender has the opportunity of a lifetime playing opposite of Greg Hardy (once he comes back from suspension). There are some characters issues present in Gregory or Hardy for that matter, but the Dallas ownership always is up for a challenge.
3) Owamagbe Odighizuma, NY Giants
They should call the Giants defensive end university. Sure OO is injury-prone, but he can play the run and pass equally well. He will get the chance to pin his ears back and get after the quarterback right away. After that he can focus on improving the rest of his game.
4) Leonard Williams, NY Jets
Here is another crowded situation. Williams has never been the third most talented player at his position, but he should get plenty of opportunity to line up at every defensive line spot for New York. His playing lime might be a little reserved year one, but that just makes the investment sweeter down the road.
5) Henry Anderson, Indianapolis
This defensive end is quick and powerful with the ability to anchor his spot on a 3-4 defense. Anderson has several pass rushing moves that will aid him to creating pressure.
6) Dante Fowler, Jacksonville
If this article got written a week ago, Fowler might have gotten top billing. ACL injuries are not the death knell that they once were. The injury occurred early enough for him to be ready for the 2016 season as a Leo.
7) Mario Edwards, Oakland
The former Florida defender has great acceleration off the ball, is very flexible and understands what he sees well. He is a better run stopper than a pass rusher though, mostly due to his limited pass rushing repertoire. Edwards can grow into his role.