2014 NFL Draft defensive end rankings

Streeter Lecka

We may have found the 2014 NFL Draft version of Ziggy Ansah. He's in Kentucky of all places. Of course, that would be junior Za'Darius Smith. If you've listened to any of the MtD podcasts, you should have seen this coming. Smith was unrated entering the season coming out of junior college. But the lanky pass rusher has all of the skills to rise into the first round of the draft. He looks good for now. It will be exciting to see how Smith progresses the rest of the season.

Jadeveon Clowney remains entrenched in the No. 1 spot, as you'd expect. But you should have also expected to see Clowney's numbers drop this season. He routinely faces teams scheming against him with double teams and quick passes. It also doesn't help Clowney that he has bone spurs in his foot that require offseason surgery. There are plenty of Clowney dissenters out there, but those people seem to be box score scouts. Gross.

Another hot riser early in the season as been Vic Beasley of Clemson. He's a speedy pass rusher who might end up in the outside linebacker rankings by the end of the year. After the top three of Clowney, Smith and Beasley, there is a distinct drop off.

1. Jadeveon Clowney | 6'6, 272 pounds | Defensive end | South Carolina *- Preseason notes
2. Za'Darius Smith | 6'6, 254 pounds | Defensive end | Kentucky *
3. Vic Beasley | 6'2, 235 pounds | Defensive end | Clemson *
4. Stephon Tuitt | 6'5, 303 pounds | Defensive end/tackle | Notre Dame - Preseason notes
5. Aaron Lynch | 6'6, 244 pounds | Defensive end | South Florida **
6. Jackson Jeffcoat | 6'5, 250 pounds | Defensive End | Texas - Preseason notes
7. Kareem Martin | 6'5, 260 pounds | Defensive end | North Carolina - Preseason notes
8. Cassius Marsh | 6'2, 270 pounds | Defensive end | UCLA
9. Chaz Sutton | 6'4, 248 pounds | Defensive End | South Carolina
10. Scott Crichton | 6'3, 265 pounds | Defensive end | Oregon State *
11. Deion Barnes | 6'4, 249 pounds | Defensive end | Penn State **
12. Henry Anderson | 6'6, 295 pounds | Defensive end | Stanford *
13. Trevor Reilly | 6'5, 255 pounds | Defensive end | Utah
14. James Gayle | 6'4, 255 pounds | Defensive end | Virginia Tech
15. Kony Ealy | 6'5, 260 pounds | Defensive End | Missouri*
16. Ben Gardner | 6'4, 277 pounds | Defensive end | Stanford
17. Martin Ifedi | 6'3, 265 pounds | Defensive end | Memphis *
18. Demarcus Lawrence | 6'3, 245 pounds | Defensive end | Boise State *
19. Devon Kennard | 6'3, 260 pounds | Defensive end | Southern California
20. Ed Stinson | 6'3, 282 pounds | Defensive end | Alabama
21. Jamil Merrell | 6'4, 255 pounds | Defensive end | Rutgers
22. Darryl Cato-Bishop | 6'3, 266 pounds | Defensive end | North Carolina State
23. Jonathan Newsome | 6'3, 236 pounds | Defensive end | Ball State
24. Ryne Giddins | 6'3, 253 pounds | Defensive end | South Florida
25. Chris Smith | 6'2, 266 pounds | Defensive end | Arkansas
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