FILE - In this Sept. 18, 2015, file photo, Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey (8) runs back the ball for a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Boston. Ramsey is one of the top defensive players available in the NFL
AP Photo
April 19, 2016

Top defensive players available in the NFL draft, which starts with the first round on April 28.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

Joey Bosa, DE, 6-5, 269, Ohio State

Notable: Sacks dropped off from 13 1-2 in 2014 to five last season, but still played at an All-America level.

Strengths: Rarely takes a play at less than max effort. Fast and strong hands keep blockers from locking him up.

Weaknesses: Lacks that explosive first-step speed that many elite edge rushers have.

Outlook: Was talked about as a possible first overall pick, but will have to settle for top seven or so.

DeForest Buckner, DE, 6-7, 291, Oregon

Notable: Pac-12 defensive player of the year in 2015.

Strengths: More power and quickness than speed. Perfect size, quick off the snap, relentless and can wreck a running game.

Weaknesses: Tends to stand straight up, which negates his power.

Outlook: Either he or Bosa will be the first defensive linemen taken.

Shaq Lawson, DE, 6-3, 269, Clemson

Notable: All-American last season who had 25 1-2 tackles for loss.

Strengths: High-effort pass rusher, with good strength and power to stand up run blockers.

Weaknesses: Doesn't have elite speed off the edge.

Outlook: Middle of the first round sounds about right.

Kevin Dodd, DE, 6-5, 277, Clemson

Notable: Outshined teammate Shaq Lawson late last season. Had three sacks against Alabama in the national title game.

Strengths: Another big motor defensive end, like Lawson and Joey Bosa. Locates the ball well.

Weaknesses: Hand technique needs work to shed blockers better.

Outlook: Which Clemson defensive end goes first?

Sheldon Rankins, DT, 6-1, 299, Louisville

Notable: Had 14 sacks playing on the interior for the Cardinals.

Strengths: Gets off the ball very fast. Often blockers simply can't get to him. Very productive.

Weaknesses: Short and some questions about whether he can stand up to the power of NFL linemen.

Outlook: Playmaker who is a good bet to be taken somewhere between 10 and 20.

Jarran Reed, DE/DT, 6-3, 307, Alabama

Notable: Second-team All-SEC, despite having only one sack and 4 1-2 tackles for loss.

Strengths: Disruptive player against the run. Holds down the point of attack and ties up double-teams with excellent technique.

Weaknesses: Not much of a pass rusher.

Outlook: Late first-rounder for a team looking for a run stuffer.

A'Shawn Robinson, DE/DT, 6-4, 307, Alabama

Notable: Former five-star recruit had three highly productive seasons at Alabama.

Strengths: Powerful and thickly built defensive end that can slide inside. Rarely does a ball carrier break free from his grip. Team leader.

Weaknesses: Doesn't play with great quickness off the edge, which limits him as a pass rusher.

Outlook: Could hear his name called during second half of the first round.

Andrew Billings, DT, 6-1, 311, Baylor

Notable: All-American last season.

Strengths: As dominant as any defensive linemen in the country at times in 2015. Very strong and can pursue from behind.

Weaknesses: On the short side and technique needs work because he won't be able to overpower opponents as easily at the next level.

Outlook: Just turned 21. Huge upside could get him into the middle of the first round.

Robert Nkemdiche, DT/DE, 6-3, 294, Mississippi

Notable: Off-the-field issues and character questions, along with tantalizing talent.

Strengths: Rock solid for close to 300 pounds. Good quickness and speed.

Weaknesses. The production comes and goes. Had 6 1-2 sacks in three seasons.

Outlook: First-round talent. But we'll see.

Chris Jones, DT, 6-6, 310, Mississippi State

Notable: Big freshman season followed by sophomore slump followed by strong junior campaign.

Strengths: Has power to push the pocket backward and moves up and down the line well.

Weaknesses: Doesn't have many pass rush moves.

Outlook: Could go ahead of Ole Miss' Robert Nkemdiche, which would make Bulldogs fans happy.

Noah Spence, DE, 6-2, 252, Eastern Kentucky

Notable: Former Ohio State player who transferred after failing drug tests.

Strengths: Speed pass rusher who plays with great effort.

Weaknesses: Linebacker size makes him a tweener with a defensive end's game.

Outlook: Character issues and not ideal size, but he can rush the quarterback, and that can get him into the first round.

Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, 6-4, 273, Oklahoma State

Notable: Co-Big 12 defensive player of the year.

Strengths: Good size/speed/power package.

Weaknesses: Plays stiff and doesn't make many moves when taking on blockers.

Outlook: Hey, look, another pass rusher who could slip into the first round.

LINEBACKERS

Myles Jack, OLB, 6-1, 245, UCLA

Notable: Played both ways as a freshman and was the Pac-12 offensive and defensive newcomer of the year. Knee injury limited him to three games last year.

Strengths: Speed, athleticism and instincts are exemplary. Can be used in coverage as a safety and is tenacious enough to play close to the line of scrimmage.

Weaknesses: Aside from concerns about his healing knee, he does not have a thick, old school linebacker build. But in today's NFL that should work just fine.

Outlook: His draft slot will be determined by which teams believe his knee will be fine. He would be a top 10 lock otherwise.

Leonard Floyd, OLB, 6-6, 244, Georgia

Notable: Led Georgia in sacks each of the last three seasons.

Strengths: Long, elusive and fast off the edge and in pursuit.

Weaknesses: Not much bulk could lead him to get knocked around at the next level.

Outlook: More upside than production, but could fit nicely into a 3-4 scheme. Top 15 potential.

Reggie Ragland, ILB, 6-1, 247, Alabama

Notable: All-American last year and top tackler on a national championship team.

Strengths: Hits hard. Takes on blockers. Good instincts and clogs holes. Shows some ability to rush the passer.

Weaknesses: Questions are about how he'll play in coverage and in space, but his pass-rush skills could make him more than a two-down linebacker.

Outlook: Second half of the first round.

Darron Lee, OLB, 6-1, 232, Ohio State

Notable: Former high school quarterback turned ultra-athletic linebacker.

Strengths: Skill set is similar to Myles Jack. Fast and flexible player who excels in space. Could be used as a hybrid safety/linebacker.

Weaknesses: Undersized and an inconsistent tackler.

Outlook: Interesting upside. Lee could be drafted just outside the top 10 or in second round.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Jalen Ramsey, CB/S, 6-1, 209, Florida State

Notable: Started three years for the Seminoles, each season in a different secondary spot.

Strengths: If you could engineer a defensive back, Ramsey would be it. Size, speed and athleticism are all ideal. Played cornerback and safety and was used as a hybrid, playing almost like a linebacker. Excelled at all of it.

Weaknesses: The technique and skills that make for a lock-down cornerback need work. But that might not be the way he is used in the NFL.

Outlook: Top five pick.

Vernon Hargreaves, CB, 5-10, 204, Florida

Notable: First team All-SEC each of his three seasons with the Gators.

Strengths: Changes directions quickly, and has skills, athleticism and attitude to be a shutdown cornerback.

Weaknesses: Small frame could be a problem against big receivers and gets a little too aggressive at times.

Outlook: Second defensive back off the board, maybe a top 10 pick.

Eli Apple, CB, 6-1, 199, Ohio State

Notable: Interceptions dropped from three as a sophomore to one as a junior as opponents began to shy away.

Strengths: Height and long arms, plus good speed, make for an ideal package for NFL cornerback.

Weaknesses: Tends to grab in coverage if he thinks he is getting beat.

Outlook: Chance he gets picked ahead of Hargreaves, but probably third cornerback selected.

William Jackson III, CB, 6-0, 189, Houston

Notable: Had 23 pass break-ups last season to lead the nation.

Strengths: Good speed and locates ball well.

Weaknesses: Strength to stand up to big receivers could be an issue.

Outlook: Maybe a notch below Apple and Hargreaves. Maybe?

Artie Burns, CB, 6-0, 193, Miami

Notable: Had six interceptions last season as a junior and was one of the Atlantic Coast Conference's best cornerbacks.

Strengths: Good hands and closing speed.

Weaknesses: Better athlete than technician. Makes big plays. Gives up some, too.

Outlook: NFL teams cannot get enough talented cornerbacks.

Karl Joseph, S, 5-10, 205, West Virginia.

Notable: Was having an All-America-type season until he hurt his knee in practice during the second month of the season.

Strengths: Plays with fierce aggressiveness. Big hitter with knack for getting his hands on the ball.

Weaknesses: The knee could be a problem, plus he plays like he is 30 pounds heavier than he is.

Outlook: Could crack the first round on leadership skills and desire alone.

TJ Green, S, 6-2, 209, Clemson

Notable: Converted from receiver after his freshman year.

Strengths: Coverage skills and receiver speed make him a potentially versatile defensive back.

Weaknesses: His tackling still needs work.

Outlook: A tall safety who might be able to play cornerback could find his way into the first round.

Keanu Neal, S, 6-0, 211, Florida

Notable: Made 95 tackles despite missing two games last season.

Strengths: No safety in this draft hits harder, plus he has the athleticism to be effective in coverage.

Weaknesses: Those coverage skills need work.

Outlook: Another player who an NFL team might be able to use as a hybrid linebacker/defensive back. Late first-round possibility.

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