The top 10 players on defense at every position in the 2017 NFL Draft

We’re now about three weeks away from the draft and every NFL team is finishing up their last several rounds of visits, interviews and tape watching so they can formulate their team specific board. As fans we’re left filling out countless mock drafts to pass the time hoping to envision what players might fall to our favorite team. Fortunately, I’ve done a lot of the work for you. Below are the ten best players at each position. You can check out the offense rankings HERE.


EDGE, Defensive Ends:

1. Myles Garrett, Texas A&M: He’s the best player in the draft. Can’t miss.

2. Solomon Thomas, Stanford: Thomas is good in all areas, regardless of down and distance. He’s a guy you can keep on the field regardless of the scenario and he’ll do well. He’s not the most explosive edge guy, though, and might work better kicked inside on passing downs thanks to his size and power.

3. Derek Barnett, Tennessee: Less talked about because he hasn’t dazzled at the combine but you can’t deny his big time production, consistent over his entire college career, against the best competition.

4. Taco Charlton, Michigan: Very high ceiling but less polished than Thomas and Barnett. The potential is through the roof but some seasoning is needed.

5. Charles Harris, Missouri: Devastating edge guy but size isn’t the best. Scheme will have to be right.

6. Takkarist McKinley, UCLA: Similar to Harris, a little undersized coming off the edge. Should be a good pass rusher in the league, though.

7. Jordan Willis, Kansas State: One of the fastest risers, a complete player that can work in almost any scheme.

8. Carl Lawson, Auburn: A year ago many thought he’d be the best pass rusher in this class. He didn’t produce at the level some expected but he’s still a very good player.

9. T. J. Watt, Wisconsin: Don’t let the last name fool you into thinking this is a courtesy, he’s really good.

10. Tarell Basham, Ohio: One of the premiere small school prospects at any position.


Interior Defense:

1. Jonathan Allen, Alabama: He should go in the top 5. Dominant player that can do it all.

2. Malik McDowell, Michigan State: Could work at a 3-4 end or a 4-3 tackle. Versatile player that’s underrated.

3. Caleb Brantley, Florida: Could easily develop into a starter. Perfect blend of power and quickness.

4. Larry Ogunjobi, North Carolina Charlotte: His quickness and athleticism will intrigue any NFL team.

5. Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA: He’s an enormous talent that suffered an ACL in 2015 and didn’t return back to true form in 2016. If teams get past the injury concern, he can be special.

6. Jaleel Johnson, Iowa: Nice blend of power and quickness. He’s a good skillset in the modern day NFL.

7. Montravius Adams, Auburn: Versatile player that probably starts off as a rotation option.

8. Carlos Watkins, Clemson: He’s production over measurables.

9. Stevie Tu’ikolovatu, USC: If you’re looking for a strong, athletic, space eating nose – he’s the guy. Probably not a fit on clear passing downs, but will blog the middle in a serious way.

10. D. J. Jones, Ole Miss: His size, speed and athleticism make him a dream type player for any NFL team. That doesn’t explain the relative lack of production in college, though.



1. Reuben Foster, Alabama: A top 10 talent without question. The only question marks are his shoulder injury and the bizarre combine send off.

2. Haason Reddick, Temple: One of the fastest risers in the draft. He’s a do it all linebacker that has no weaknesses.

3. Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt: A late first, early second round prospect that brings terrific value.

4. Jarrad Davis, Florida: Steady, solid player that performed well in college.

5. Alex Anzalone, Florida: Measures well and has versatility to play all three spots.

6. Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State: Smart player with good cover ability.

7. Kendall Beckwith, LSU: Probably deserves to be higher if he wasn’t coming off an ACL injury.

8. Elijah Lee, Kansas State: Crazy speed but questionable size.

9. Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Tennessee: Health and size are concerns, but otherwise he’s very versatile and talented.

10. Duke Riley, LSU: Lack of play prior to his senior season leaves uncertainty, but he was fantastic this past season.


1. Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State: Most agree he’s the best corner in the draft and should go top 10.

2. Quincy Wilson, Florida: Dream size and speed, but will he put it all together?

3. Gareon Conley, Ohio State: Can play inside or out. Tremendous skills.

4. Marlon Humphrey, Alabama: Some question whether he was surrounded by too much greatness to trust his skills, but that’s unfair to a terrific player.

5. Sidney Jones, Washington: Probably a redshirt season with the injury but many felt he was the second best corner in the draft before it.

6. Tre’Davious White, LSU: With so much size and speed in this CB class, White’s height may hurt his stock… but make no mistake he’s one of the best.

7. Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado: The stock is way up on him by the day. Size is a plus.

8. Cordrea Tankersley, Clemson: Tremendous size and speed, perfect build for the modern NFL player.

9. Adoree’ Jackson, USC: Not only a good slot cover guy, he can make a huge impact as a returner.

10. Kevin King, Washington: His freakish size gives him comps all over the place. Will need polish but can compete with the biggest of receivers.



1. Jamal Adams, LSU: Likely a top 5 pick and a superstar player.

2. Malik Hooker, Ohio State: Likely a top 10 pick and a premiere defensive play maker.

3. Jabrill Peppers, Michigan: The challenge will be figure out where to play him with his linebacker/safety tweener skills. The right co-ordinator and scheme could make him a star.

4. Budda Baker, Washington: Size be damned, he’s a playmaker with unreal leadership and ball skills.

5. Obi Melifonwu, Connecticut: Another arrow pointing way up. Off the charts on every measurable.

6. Josh Jones, N. C. State: Ideal size and speed, huge hitter, but he can be a little out of control.

7. Justin Evans, Texas A&M: Some question his tackling but that can be coached. His versatility make him a fit in every scheme.

8. Marcus Maye, Florida: Had some inconsistent play but he’s shown the ability to be good in all areas.

9. Desmond King, Iowa: Doesn’t have great size or speed, but he makes up for it in skills.

10. John Johnson, Boston College: Will need development but checks out on paper filling all the boxes you’d want.

About Andrew Juge

I write about football.