Adventures in drafting NFL defensive ends

NFC West teams have drafted 22 defensive ends since 2002, a number smaller than I would have anticipated.

An even smaller number -- two! -- start for the teams that drafted them.

One, Antonio Smith, starts for another team.

A few notes relating to this latest item in a series examining various positions:

  • Kentwan Balmer appears as a defensive end because the San Francisco 49ers drafted him to play that position. Balmer played defensive tackle in college.

  • Darnell Dockett does not appear as a defensive end because the Arizona Cardinals drafted him to play defensive tackle. Yes, Dockett plays defensive end in the Cardinals' current scheme, but the NFL lists him as a tackle for Pro Bowl voting and he is not a typical defensive end even by 3-4 standards.

  • Of the 22, only Chris Long and Calais Campbell are starting for their original teams. Smith is starting for the Houston Texans.

  • Six of the eight most highly drafted ends since 2002 came from teams most recently affiliated with the ACC.

  • Long was the only player on the list drafted before the 28th overall choice.

  • Will Davis and Parys Haralson were listed as defensive ends coming out of college, but both projected as outside linebackers. That is why they do not appear below. Cody Brown also projects at linebacker.

  • I've used the term "not active" loosely in the charts to describe players who weren't on active rosters during the regular season recently.

Now, on to the charts. I've broken them up with italicized comments representing what NFL teams might have been thinking at corresponding stages of these drafts.

Playing it safe and hoping those NFL bloodlines pay off ...

2002-2010 NFC West Drafts: Elite DE Prospects

Defensive linemen are at a premium, and we might find out why ...

2002-2010 NFC West Drafts: Second-tier Ends

The pure pass-rushers are gone by now ...

2002-2010 NFC West Drafts: Seeking Value

If these guys don't pan out, it'll be a while before we take another third-round end ...

2002-2010 NFC West Drafts: Third Round's No Charm

It's an upset if we find a starter at this point ...

2002-2010 NFC West Drafts: Seeking Depth

Time to fill out the practice squad, but you never know ...

2002-2010 NFC West Drafts: Filling Out the Roster