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2020 NFL Draft Preview: Defensive ends who can cause havoc

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

The NFL Draft is slated for April 23-25, providing seven rounds for the Broncos and other teams to find their stars of the future. At this point, Denver is slated to have 11 total picks, five of which will fall within the first 95 selections. In other words, John Elway will have plenty of assets to work with throughout the weekend.

What will he do with those picks? That’s anyone’s guess. But in the coming weeks, will provide an overview of the best prospects.

Today, we continue by looking at a position where the Broncos will most likely be looking to add some depth – defensive end. Shelby Harris is back on a one-year deal. Dre’Mont Jones showed a lot of promise last year as a rookie. And Jurrell Casey will bounce around and play everywhere along Denver’s defensive line. So there’s some talent upfront. That said, Harris is on a one-year deal and Casey isn’t getting any younger. As a result, getting players who will be in the trenches for years to come is a good idea. If the Broncos want to add depth via the draft, here are the players to consider for the job:


Top Five on the Board

1. Chase Young – If quarterback wasn’t such a valuable commodity, Young would be the first-overall pick in the draft. He’s the most pro-ready player on the board, able to step in on day one and be an impact player. At Ohio State, he showcased all of the skills needed to thrive at the pro level. He’s strong, athletic, has a great motor and a high football IQ. He’ll be a dominant outside pass rusher for years to come.

2. K’Lavon Chaisson – At 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds, Chaisson looks the part of an outside pass rusher. And he has a lot of the physical tools needed to excel at that position. He’s quick and explosive, which allows him to hit the edge quickly. He still needs to work on some of his pass-rushing moves, but that can come with time. The only other red flag is a torn ACL he suffered during the 2018 season at LSU.

3. A.J. Epenesa – When it comes to being a disruptive force on defense, it’s hard to find someone who fit that description more than Epenesa. During his last two seasons at Iowa, he posted 22.0 sacks, 30.5 tackles for a loss, eight forced fumbles and seven passed defended. He seemed to be everywhere on the field, particularly in the opposing team’s backfield. He’s a big-time playmaker who will make an immediate impact in the NFL.

4. Yetur Gross-Matos – There’s some concern that Gross-Matos may be a bit of a “tweener,” as teams aren’t sure if he should play end in a 4-3 scheme or outside linebacker in a 3-4. His ability to excel with his hand in the dirt is the question. That said, his production at Penn State suggests getting him on the field and turning him loose is the best bet. Teams shouldn’t overthink it a player who had 17 sacks across the last two seasons.

5. Terrell Lewis – A quick first step. That’s what jumps out when watching Lewis at Alabama. He gets off the ball quickly, causing fits for offensive linemen. That said, injuries kept him off the field a lot during his college career. As a result, he still needs to develop as a player; his raw talent has to be turned into something more refined. Plus, there’s the worry about him staying healthy at the NFL level. Lewis is a gamble, but he could have huge upside.