Pass rushers are extremely valuable pieces for an NFL team. With the increase in the number of 3-4 defenses and hybrid looks, the value of pass-rushing linebackers is skyrocketing.
Thus, Dion Jordan and Barkevious Mingo are getting quite a bit of love leading up to the draft. With the combination of length and athleticism that each possesses, both should hear their name called early on Thursday night. But which guys will drop, either because they don't have the measurables or production?
It can be tough to sift through the late rounds and find pass rushing gems, but here a few names to keep an eye on.
First team: Chase Thomas, Stanford
Chase Thomas isn't as long as Jordan or as athletic as Mingo. But what he lacks in height and speed, Thomas makes up for with a relentless motor and tons of consistent production throughout his career at Stanford. Once considered a fringe first round prospect, Thomas has fallen off a bit and could be sitting around in the third round. Despite being a bit undersized and needing to put on strength, his instincts and hustle would be enough to take a shot on with a day two pick.
Second team: Tourek Williams, Florida International
Tourek Williams played mostly defensive end in a 4-3 at Florida International, earning three all-conference selections in his time with the Panthers. The best bet for his NFL future will be for him to make the transition to 3-4 outside linebacker. He was asked to drop back occasionally at FIU and displayed some fluid movement skills that suggest he could refine his coverage ability. As a pass rusher, he doesn't do the best job using his hands, but he showed excellent flexibility around the corner and a quick first step. As an outside rusher, he could cause some issues in the NFL.
Honorable mention: Trevardo Williams, Connecticut
Trevardo Williams is a classic example of a tweener. He doesn't have the prototypical size to play the 4-3 defensive end position he is accustomed to, but will he have the ability to play in space and make the transition to 3-4 linebacker? I think he has a chance, if for no other reason because he has tons of speed and has shown his outstanding athleticism. He attacks the edge in a hurry but needs to keep getting stringer and quicker to round into a complete player. As either a LEO, or a 3-4 outside linebacker, Williams could thrive.
More from SB Nation: