If you can protect the passer and rush the passer most likely you will be passing the Lombardi trophy in February. Defensive linemen are getting faster and more athletic every year. While the 2020 draft was about the offensive tackles in round one, 2021 looks to be a pass rushers paradise. Here are the top five QB killers and one super sleeper.
Carlos Basham jr. – 6’5” 285 – Wake Forest – Senior – Rating (3.92)
2019 Stats: 57 Tackles / 18 Tackles for a loss / 10 Sacks
Strength: Strong as a run stopper and pass rusher. Plays with a high motor
Weakness: Will freestyle and come out of his rush lane.
Player Comparison: Myles Garrett defensive end Cleveland Browns
Overall: Basham not only has a great last name for a defensive end but also lives up to that name with his play. He is a powerful classic 4-3 defensive end who is a strong defender against the run and has an array of pass rush moves. Basham plays off down blocks well and is patient verse the zone read. He is a player who will be a day 1 starter in the pros and make an instant impact.
Greg Rousseau – 6’7” 253 – Miami – Red Shirt Sophomore – Rating (3.78)
2019 Stats: 54 Tackles / 19.5 Tackles for a loss / 15.5 Sacks
Strengths: Long Arms, versatile, pass rushing
Weakness: Plays with a high pad level at times and needs more bend in his pass rush.
Player Comparison: Jason Taylor former defensive end Miami Dolphins
Overall: Rousseau size and athletic ability is off the charts. Last year he terrorized quarterbacks in the ACC. Against the runs away from him he does a great job on getting down and chasing down ball carriers. Has to improve on runs at him and keep his pad level down. Miami lines him up all over the field defensively and he is effective both inside, outside, as a stand up defender, and in a 3 point stance. Rousseau is a raw talent who is mature for his age and a good teammate.
Marvin Wilson – 6’5” 305– Florida State – Senior – Rating (3.71)
2019 Stats: 44 Tackles / 8.5 Tackles for a loss / 5 Sacks
Strengths: Strong, consistently collapses the pocket.
Weakness: Needs to recognize blocks better.
Player Comparison: Malik Jackson defensive tackles Jacksonville Jaguars/Denver Broncos/ Philadelphia Eagles
Overall: Any guy who wears a tailbacks number at defensive tackle has to be a prime time player (he wears 21). Wilson uses his hands relentlessly to get off blocks. His 5 sack total does not tell the story for his effectiveness in the pass game. He takes on double teams and gets great push that opens up opportunity for the defensive ends and blitzers to make plays. Wilson is the undisputed team leader at FSU and an intense competitor. He is the best interior in this draft.
Quincy Roche – 6’3” 245 – Miami/Temple – Senior – Rating (3.64)
2019 Stats: 49 Tackles / 19 Tackles for a loss / 13 Sacks
Strengths: Has great bend around the edge with the speed rush.
Weakness: Gets too far up field on his pass rush.
Player Comparison: Dee Ford defensive end/edge rusher San Francisco 49ers
Overall: Roche is a senior transfer from Temple. He is a highly productive pass rusher who fills up the stat sheet. Roche is an explosive tackler. Against the run Roche plays high and doesn’t disengage with blockers consistently. NFL football teams can never have enough pass rushers and Quincy Roche can be a specialist on 3rd down. He will need to become more balanced against the run to become an every down player.
Patrick Jones II – 6’5” 260 – Pittsburgh – Senior – Rating (3.64)
2019 Stats: 41 Tackles / 11.5 Tackles for a loss / 8.5 Sacks / 4 forced fumbles
Strengths: Has an excellent arsenal of pass rush moves.
Weakness: inconsistent tackler.
Player Comparison: Markus Golden defensive end/edge rusher New York Giants
Overall: Jones is the most polished pass rusher in this group. His dip and rip, inside swim, and straight arm throw by are very sharp moves. He is a high energy player who pursues the football relentlessly. If he adds more strength he could be an productive 4-3 defensive end or an edge rusher in the 3-4.
DeAngelo Malone – 6’4” 230 – Western Kentucky – Senior – Rating (3.50)
2019 Stats: 99 Tackles / 20.5 Tackles for a loss / 11 Sacks / Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year
Strengths: Good block reaction and speed.
Weakness: He is a tweener position wise at the next level.
Player Comparison: Danielle Hunter defensive end Minnesota Vikings
Overall: Malone has the raw talent to be an impact defensive player at the next level. He needs to get stronger, develop more pass rush moves, and use his hands better in defeating blocks. The best attribute is his engine never stops and he is always around the football. He can easily get to 250 pounds and be a wide 9 defensive end in the NFL or a 3-4 outside backer.