This is one of the deeper drafts in recent memory when it comes to front-seven prospects. Thirty-eight of my top 100 players are D-linemen or linebackers.
When trying to pair these players with potential teams, it's instructive to break down the best position fit for each. That's exactly what I did below with all 38 of those front-seven prospects, separating them into six different categories: 4-3 DE, 3-4 OLB, 3-4 DE (5-technique), 4-3 DT (3-technique), nose tackle and off-the-line LBs. I put each player below where I think they fit best in the NFL, but some guys are scheme versatile. Those prospects have been noted with an asterisk.
I also mentioned teams that are in the market for such players, given the schemes they play and the holes on their rosters.
These guys are primarily asked to serve as pass-rushers coming off the edge. Many give up a little bit in terms of strength and ability to anchor, but they make up for it with their quickness and athleticism in getting to the quarterback.
Who needs 'em: Carolina, Dallas, Jacksonville, New Orleans, New York Giants, Tampa Bay
1. Joey Bosa, Ohio State (overall rank: 1): Bosa, a pure 4-3 DE, is both a highly effective pass-rusher and run defender. He wins with outstanding effort for all four quarters.
2. *Shaq Lawson, Clemson (17): Like Bosa, Lawson's relentlessness was his calling card. He led the FBS in tackles for loss last season with 25.5. Lawson is a terrific run defender. Could also play: 3-4 OLB.
3. *Kevin Dodd, Clemson (33): Dodd comes with some risk because he really put together only one solid year of tape. But he shows a good first step coming off the edge. Could also play: 3-4 OLB.
4. *Jonathan Bullard, Florida (42): Bullard has experience playing both inside and outside, so he profiles as a guy who could do that at the next level. Bullard doesn't have elite physical tools, but he's a grinder. Could also play: 5-technique on running downs and 3-technique on obvious passing downs.
5. Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State (57): This is an explosive athlete off the edge. If Ogbah finds a way to hone his skills more consistently on the field, watch out. He needs to improve his motor and play with better leverage versus the run.
6. Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State (75): Calhoun has the raw tools to develop into an effective pass-rusher at the next level. His impact, particularly against the run, significantly drops when he begins to tire.
7. Carl Nassib, Penn State (81): While he's not likely to replicate his FBS-leading 15.5 sacks in the NFL, Nassib has the first-step quickness and motor to develop into an effective complementary pass-rusher.
The players below are prospects who can rush the passer off the edge and occasionally drop into coverage when asked. Some schemes want 3-4 OLBs with a little more length, while others only prioritize guys who can come screaming off the edge and get after the QB.
Who needs 'em: