NFL Draft Position Preview | Defensive Ends

With free agency now well under way and Pro Days going on around the country, Dolphins.com continues its series of draft previews with the defensive end/edge position.

Dolphins Status

The Dolphins have undergone an overhaul at the defensive end position, which will mean a much different look in 2019.

Former first-round pick Charles Harris and Jonathan Woodard are the only defensive ends on the roster who played for the Dolphins last season, though the team did add five-year NFL veteran Tank Carradine in the offseason.

Jeremiah Valoaga, who spent time on the practice squad last season, is the other defensive end currently on the roster.

Three others are listed as outside linebackers on the roster: Chase Allen, Mike Hull and James Burgess.

Gone from last season are veterans Cameron Wake (signed as a free agent with Tennessee), Robert Quinn (traded to Dallas) and Andre Branch (released), while William Hayes remains an unrestricted free agent.

The Top Prospects at the Position

Nick Bosa, 6-4, 266, Ohio State: The second son of former Dolphins defensive end John Bosa who will be a high draft pick, the only question is whether he’ll top his brother Joey’s draft spot of third. Nick’s career at Ohio State ended prematurely after he sustained a core injury in the Buckeyes’ third game last season. Nick, who followed Joey at St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, was the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year as a sophomore in 2017. Like his brother, Nick Bosa is considered a high-motor player who’s equally effective against the run and as a pass rusher.

Josh Allen, 6-5, 262, Kentucky: Among the most athletic prospects in the entire draft, Allen would have been an early draft pick had he come out as an underclassman last year. Instead, Allen went back to Kentucky for his senior year and got even better. He won the Chuck Bednarik Award and Bronko Nagurski Trophy as the best defensive player in college football after finishing second in the FBS in both sacks (17) and forced fumbles (5). Allen is a prototypical all-around linebacker who can drop into coverage or rush the passer.

Montez Sweat, 6-6, 260, Mississippi State: Sweat began his college career as a tight end at Michigan State before ending up as a defensive end at Mississippi State after a junior college stop. He earned second-team All-American honors last season after finishing with 11.5 sacks. 

Clelin Ferrell, 6-4, 264, Clemson: One of the top defensive end recruits in the country coming out of high school despite missing his senior season with a torn ACL, Ferrell was a consistent playmaker for the vaunted Clemson defensive line. Playing alongside two other potential first-round picks (Dexter Lawrence and Christian Wilkins) and two other D-linemen who were invited to the combine, Ferrell stood out enough to be named winner of the 2018 Ted Hendricks Award as the best defensive end in college football. Ferrell had 19.5 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks last season.

Brian Burns, 6-5, 249, Florida State: After starring at Plantation American Heritage High, Burns became a consistent pass-rushing threat at FSU. His best season came in 2018 when he had 10 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss. Burns’ lanky frame is reminiscent of that of Hall of Famer Jason Taylor, with whom Burns has worked in preparing for the draft. Burns played defensive end in college, but is viewed is being perfectly suited to be a hybrid linebacker.

Florida State edge rusher Brian Burns is a local product from Fort Lauderdale.

Best of the Rest

Jaylon Ferguson, Louisiana Tech: Ferguson set the FBS career record with 45 sacks, including a nation-best 17.5 as a senior in 2018. Ferguson made clear strides as a run stopper last season.

Chase Winovich, Michigan: Winovich’s playing style was described on NFL.com as “rabid.” Winovich (6-3, 256) was a third-team All-American in 2018 when he had 17 tackles for loss and five sacks. 

Rashan Gary, Michigan: Gary didn’t put up big numbers at Michigan, but he’s considered an elite athlete with the ability to become a big-time playmaker at the next level.

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