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NFL Draft: Comparing top DEs with current recruits

The NFL Draft takes place next week, so today we continue our final look at the top players by position, moving to defensive end, along with a comparison to a class of 2020 or 2021 prospect.

NFL DRAFT: Comparing top QBs with current recruits | RBs | WRs | TEs | OL | DTs

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2022: Top 100

1. CHASE YOUNG, Ohio State

Chase Young
Chase Young (AP Images)

Recruiting: Ohio State, Alabama and Maryland emerged as Young’s favorites although he had an extensive list of programs involved. He committed to the Buckeyes during the summer before his senior high school season.

College stats: Young had 46 tackles (21 for loss) including 16.5 sacks in his junior season that was good enough to get him considered for the Heisman Trophy. In his three-year career, the former five-star totaled 98 tackles and 30.5 sacks. He also had nine forced fumbles in his career, seven this season.

Projection: Young is expected to be the second overall pick in the NFL Draft.

Comparison: Korey Foreman, 2021

Farrell’s take: Young was a freak coming out of high school and has only gotten better. Foreman has similar physical skills and could be that elite rush end at the next level and beyond.

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2. K'LAVON CHAISSON, LSU

K'Lavon Chaisson
K'Lavon Chaisson (AP Images)

Recruiting: Chaisson committed to LSU over Texas and many others. The Longhorns were once considered the frontrunner but the Tigers won out after an official visit to Baton Rouge in January.

College stats: In 24 games over three seasons, Chaisson totaled 92 tackles (19 for loss) including 9.5 sacks.

Projection: Chaisson is expected to be a mid-first round selection.

Comparison: William Anderson, 2020

Farrell’s take: Anderson, like Chaisson, was a thin and quick defensive end coming out of high school who could play some standing up and has great pass rushing moves.

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3. MARLON DAVIDSON, Auburn

Marlon Davidson
Marlon Davidson (AP Images)

Recruiting: Auburn beat out Alabama for Davidson, who played his junior season at Montgomery (Ala.) G.W. Carver before transferring back to Greenville, Ala., after the death of his mother. His brother, Kenneth Carter, played for the Tigers and they were considered the long-time favorite.

College stats: Over four seasons and 50 games, Davidson finished with 174 tackles (28 for loss) including 14.5 sacks. This past season, Davidson had a career-high 11.5 tackles for loss.

Projection: The former five-star is expected to be a late first or early second-round selection.

Comparison: Bryan Bresee, 2020

Farrell’s take: Why Bresee? Like Davidson he can play defensive end or tackle coming out of high school and is super athletic. Davidson, to me, is a first-rounder in this draft although he could slide to the second round.

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4. YETUR-GROSS MATOS, Penn State

Yetur Gross-Matos
Yetur Gross-Matos (AP Images)

Recruiting: Gross-Matos committed to Penn State over North Carolina and Virginia Tech in February of his junior year. Tennessee offered late and he did consider the Volunteers, but the Nittany Lions won out.

College stats: Gross-Matos had 111 tackles including 36.5 for loss and 18.5 sacks in three seasons.

Projection: Matos is expected to be a late first-round draft pick although he could move to the second round.

Comparison: Jack Sawyer, 2021

Farrell’s take: Gross-Matos was a thin, athletic defensive end coming out of high school who played with surprising strength and Sawyer is the same way. Sawyer is more advance at the same level.

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5. A.J. EPENESA, Iowa

A.J. Epenesa
A.J. Epenesa (AP Images)

Recruiting: An Iowa legacy since his father, Eppy, played for the Hawkeyes in the 1990s, Epenesa committed in January of his junior year. Oklahoma and others tried to get involved but Iowa always seemed like the team to beat.

College stats: In three seasons, Epenesa finished with 101 tackles (36 tackles for loss) including 26.5 sacks. In his sophomore and junior years, the former five-star had 10 or more sacks each season.

Projection: Epenesa is a fringe first-round selection but he could fall into the second round as well.

Comparison: Alfred Collins, 2020

Farrell’s take: Epenesa was a powerful end coming out of high school who could beat you inside or outside and had great balance. Collins could have a similar career at Texas.

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