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Redskins Eye Defensive Ends In Draft



When the Redskins signed Albert Haynesworth, it was thought to be good news for Jason Taylor.

Haynesworth's presence would give Taylor more one-on-one matchups with offensive tackles and improve the Redskins' pass rush.

It turned out that Taylor, according to team officials, was reluctant to participate in the Redskins' off-season workout program.

So he was released.

Taylor's departure left a big gap at left defensive end. The Redskins signed veterans Phillip Daniels and Renaldo Wynn, but it's clear they want to get younger at the position.

Since 1998, the Redskins have drafted just two defensive ends--and both were seventh-round selections. The club has mostly addressed the position in free agency in the last decade.

The Redskins should have several defensive ends to choose from when they pick at No. 13 in the first round of the NFL Draft.

Here are some of the top defensive end prospects available in the draft (listed in no particular order):

-- BRIAN ORAKPO, DE, TEXAS

Orakpo, 6-3, 263 pounds and nicknamed "Rak,", is regarded as a classic speed rusher. He posted 22 career sacks for the Longhorns, including 11 last year. He won the Nagurski Trophy, given to college football's top defensive player, and the Lombardi Award, given to the top defensive lineman. He could shift to strong-side linebacker in the pros.

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Everette Brown

-- EVERETTE BROWN, DE, FLORIDA STATE

Brown is smallish at just 250 pounds, but he makes up for it with solid technique and a burst off the line of scrimmage. Compared by some to the Cowboys' DeMarcus Ware, Brown logged a career-high 13.5 sacks last year for the Seminoles. Like Ware, he could be a rush linebacker in a 3-4 defense in the pros.

-- TYSON JACKSON, DE, LSU

At 6-4 and 296 pounds, Jackson is bigger in size than many of the defensive ends in the draft. He's an "old school" prospect in that regard. Jackson, a former LSU teammate of Redskins safety LaRon Landry, logged 19.5 sacks, including 10 in 2006, in four years with the Tigers.

-- ROBERT AYERS, DE, TENNESSEE

Ayers does not have impressive statistics at Tennessee--just three sacks as a senior--but the 6-3, 270-pounder has been rising up draft boards. He out-played Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith in an Alabama-Tennessee SEC matchup last year and then shined during the Senior Bowl week.

-- MICHAEL JOHNSON, DE, GEORGIA TECH

Johnson is 6-7 and 258 pounds and has drawn comparisons to Tennessee Titans defensive end Jevon Kearse. Johnson emerged as a starter as a senior and logged nine sacks. He has good range and speed, but may need to work on playing more consistent against the run in the pros.

-- AARON MAYBIN, DE, PENN STATE

Maybin, 6-3 and 240 pounds, is a classic speed rusher but will need to bulk up to play defensive end in the pros. He was productive as a senior, logging 20 tackles for a loss and 12 sacks. Penn State is not known for producing elite defensive ends, with notable busts Courtney Brown and Michael Haynes. Kansas City's Tamba Hali has been able to establish himself in the pros, though.

-- LARRY ENGLISH, DE, NORTHERN ILLINOIS

English, 6-2 and 255 pounds, was a steady performer the last three years, recording 30.5 sacks in that span, but he did not play against top competition in the Mid-American Conference. Still, he was a dominating presence despite facing double teams every game and was named the MAC Defensive Player of the Year.

-- LAWRENCE SIDBURY, DE, RICHMOND

Sidbury had a strong 2008 campaign, logging 56 tackles, 20 tackles for a loss and 11.5 sacks. He impressed at the NFL Scouting Combine, where he ran the fastest time in the 40 among defensive lineman. Sidbury, 6-7 and 266 pounds, did not play against elite competition in college. Like other speed rushers in the draft, he could shift to outside linebacker in the pros.

-- MATT SHAUGHNESSY, DE, WISCONSIN

As a freshman in 2005, Shaughnessy played for current Redskins defensive line coach John Palermo at Wisconsin. Shaughnessy was a four-year starter for the Badgers, but he needs to build up his 6-5, 260-pound frame. He posted 15 sacks in his college career.

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When the Redskins signed Albert Haynesworth, it was thought to be good news for Jason Taylor.

Haynesworth's presence would give Taylor more one-on-one matchups with offensive tackles and improve the Redskins' pass rush.

It turned out that Taylor, according to team officials, was reluctant to participate in the Redskins' off-season workout program.

So he was released.

Taylor's departure left a big gap at left defensive end. The Redskins signed veterans Phillip Daniels and Renaldo Wynn, but it's clear they want to get younger at the position.

Since 1998, the Redskins have drafted just two defensive ends--and both were seventh-round selections. The club has mostly addressed the position in free agency in the last decade.

The Redskins should have several defensive ends to choose from when they pick at No. 13 in the first round of the NFL Draft.

Here are some of the top defensive end prospects available in the draft (listed in no particular order):

-- BRIAN ORAKPO, DE, TEXAS

Orakpo, 6-3, 263 pounds and nicknamed "Rak,", is regarded as a classic speed rusher. He posted 22 career sacks for the Longhorns, including 11 last year. He won the Nagurski Trophy, given to college football's top defensive player, and the Lombardi Award, given to the top defensive lineman. He could shift to strong-side linebacker in the pros.

33939.jpg


Everette Brown

-- EVERETTE BROWN, DE, FLORIDA STATE

Brown is smallish at just 250 pounds, but he makes up for it with solid technique and a burst off the line of scrimmage. Compared by some to the Cowboys' DeMarcus Ware, Brown logged a career-high 13.5 sacks last year for the Seminoles. Like Ware, he could be a rush linebacker in a 3-4 defense in the pros.

-- TYSON JACKSON, DE, LSU

At 6-4 and 296 pounds, Jackson is bigger in size than many of the defensive ends in the draft. He's an "old school" prospect in that regard. Jackson, a former LSU teammate of Redskins safety LaRon Landry, logged 19.5 sacks, including 10 in 2006, in four years with the Tigers.

-- ROBERT AYERS, DE, TENNESSEE

Ayers does not have impressive statistics at Tennessee--just three sacks as a senior--but the 6-3, 270-pounder has been rising up draft boards. He out-played Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith in an Alabama-Tennessee SEC matchup last year and then shined during the Senior Bowl week.

-- MICHAEL JOHNSON, DE, GEORGIA TECH

Johnson is 6-7 and 258 pounds and has drawn comparisons to Tennessee Titans defensive end Jevon Kearse. Johnson emerged as a starter as a senior and logged nine sacks. He has good range and speed, but may need to work on playing more consistent against the run in the pros.

-- AARON MAYBIN, DE, PENN STATE

Maybin, 6-3 and 240 pounds, is a classic speed rusher but will need to bulk up to play defensive end in the pros. He was productive as a senior, logging 20 tackles for a loss and 12 sacks. Penn State is not known for producing elite defensive ends, with notable busts Courtney Brown and Michael Haynes. Kansas City's Tamba Hali has been able to establish himself in the pros, though.

-- LARRY ENGLISH, DE, NORTHERN ILLINOIS

English, 6-2 and 255 pounds, was a steady performer the last three years, recording 30.5 sacks in that span, but he did not play against top competition in the Mid-American Conference. Still, he was a dominating presence despite facing double teams every game and was named the MAC Defensive Player of the Year.

-- LAWRENCE SIDBURY, DE, RICHMOND

Sidbury had a strong 2008 campaign, logging 56 tackles, 20 tackles for a loss and 11.5 sacks. He impressed at the NFL Scouting Combine, where he ran the fastest time in the 40 among defensive lineman. Sidbury, 6-7 and 266 pounds, did not play against elite competition in college. Like other speed rushers in the draft, he could shift to outside linebacker in the pros.

-- MATT SHAUGHNESSY, DE, WISCONSIN

As a freshman in 2005, Shaughnessy played for current Redskins defensive line coach John Palermo at Wisconsin. Shaughnessy was a four-year starter for the Badgers, but he needs to build up his 6-5, 260-pound frame. He posted 15 sacks in his college career.

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