The Top 10 Defensive Ends for 2010

Continuing our unit-by-unit look at the top players in the land, here are my top 10 defensive ends for 2010:

1. Robert Quinn, Jr., North Carolina–More of a fantastic athlete than a fantastic football player right now, but he’s improving rapidly in the latter department.  Well-built with long arms, he carries his 270 pounds well on this 6-5 frame.  Has great change of direction and burst coming off the edge, but could maybe stand to get a little stronger at the point of attack.  Still, that’s nitpicking.  Had 52 tackles, 11 sacks and an amazing six forced fumbles last season!  He’ll be a top 10 pick in the next draft.


2. Sam Acho, Sr., Texas–A great playmaker and disruptive force.  He’s one of those guys that always seems to be around the ball.  Has the quicks to rush the passer and the leverage to stop the run.  Relentless competitor and outstanding student (both on and off the field).  Had 63 tackles, 10 sacks and recovered four fumbles last season.

3. Adrian Clayborn, Sr., Iowa–Powerful, thickly-built player who had 70 tackles and 11.5 sacks for the Hawkeyes last year.  Turned down the NFL for the chance to terrorize the Big Ten for another season.  Moves amazing well at 6-4, 290, and will likely be a 3-4 end in the pros.  Incredibly strong with a non-stop motor.  Active player who also forced four fumbles and blocked a punt which he returned for a score.

 4. Allen Bailey, Sr., Miami–Big-bodied end at 6-4, 290, but displays surprising versatility as Miami uses him with both his hand on the ground and standing up, on both the strong and weak sides, and also inside on occasion.  A punishing tackler with good ball recognition, who also might end up being a 3-4 end in the pros.  Last year had 34 tackles and seven sacks.

5. Jeremy Beal, Sr., Oklahoma–Tough, consistent player who led Oklahoma with 11 sacks in 2009, to go with 70 tackles and an interception.  He recorded three sacks in two different games last year, the first Sooner to do so in a season.  First started as a sophomore so he’s as experienced as they come, but may not be as productive in 2010 with the loss of Gerald McCoy on the inside.   (sorry, the only highlights I could find were from HS)

Read the rest after the jump…

6. Von Miller, Sr., Texas A&M–A sack machine who could also be considered an outside linebacker at 6-3, 240, but I think he rates better in college as an end.  Led the nation with 17 sacks among his 48 tackles.  Sort of a one-dimensional player from an end standpoint as he will not hold the point of attack against the run, but very effective in the passing game and must be accounted for at all times.

7. Da’Quan Bowers, Jr., Clemson–Great athlete with size (6-4, 280) who has huge potential but hasn’t put it all together yet in his college career.  Incredibly light on his feet with quick change of direction, but doesn’t always play with the highest intensity.  Had 58 tackles with just three sacks last year.  However, I look for him to have a big season as a junior.

8. Cameron Heyward, Sr., Ohio State–Typically physical Ohio State end, with the size and skill to be a dominant player.  Plays a bit upright at 6-5, 290, but balances that with nice instincts.  Had 46 tackles and 6.5 sacks last year, but only played an estimated 60 percent of the snaps due to the Buckeyes’ line rotation. 

9. Datone Jones, Jr., UCLA–Fast emerging player for the Bruins who contributed 30 tackles and 11 tackles for loss last season.  At 6-4, 270, he’s not the biggest guy on this list, but he’s a good, rangey all-around player who can rush the passer and stop the run.  I look for him to make All-Pac-10 this season.

10. Kenny Rowe, Sr., Oregon–Undersized at 6-3, 235, and will play linebacker in the pros, but he’s got a real knack as a rush end.  Last year, he had 43 tackles and 11.5 sacks and forced three fumbles.  A disruptive force who plays fast, he’ll be the face of the Duck defense in 2010.

Just missed the cut: Greg Romeus, Pittsburgh; Marcell Dareus, Alabama; Thomas Keiser, Stanford; Nick Perry, USC; Cameron Jordan, California; Bruce Miller, UCF

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Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of, a site dedicated to analysis of the Heisman Trophy and college football. Dubbed “the foremost authority on the Heisman” by Sports Illustrated, HP is regularly quoted or cited during football season in newspapers across the country. He is also a regular contributor on sports talk radio and television.

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15 Responses to The Top 10 Defensive Ends for 2010

  1. Adam Nettina July 23, 2010 at 4:07 pm #


    Where is Ryan Kerrigan? The dude only had 13 sacks, 18.5, and 7 (!!!) forced fumbles last year, all the while playing with much less help than most of the guys you listed.

    What’s next, he gets labled an “overachiever” who “isn’t the fastest guy” but will always “outwork you”?

    Dude is a STUD.

  2. SpartyHardy July 24, 2010 at 10:22 am #

    Clayborn at #3? Poor judgment. He’s one of the best players in the country.

  3. AUman76 July 24, 2010 at 10:46 pm #

    Humm….not a single player from the SEC? Guess we win all these crystal balls with inferior talent huh? One guy just missed the cut so there’s hope for this down trottin conference. Yep, you sure know your footbal HP. I can hear you now….this has nuthin to do with teams just individual players. That may well be true but you’re still wrong on several choices.

  4. Anonymous July 24, 2010 at 11:35 pm #

    downtrodden conference i believe you mean

  5. HP July 25, 2010 at 12:00 am #

    Agree that Clayborn is one of the best players in the country. That still doesn’t mean he’s the best end. I don’t think it is any disrespect to have him behind those other two guys.

    As for AUman, praytell which SEC defensive end should’ve been in the top 10, outside of Dareus who I already list up there?

  6. mb July 25, 2010 at 9:39 am #

    I think you are over rating Datone Jones. He is a solid player, but not spectacular. He will be even less spectacular now that Brian Price is gone. Price garnered a ton of attention, allowing Jones to operate under the radar. As the best palyer on the UCLA, DL…he will now garner that attention. JMO.

  7. TTK July 25, 2010 at 2:33 pm #

    How in the heeeeell is Cameron Heyward (from tOSU) not in the top 5? (let alone the top 2 or 3!)
    Put on the Penn State tape from last year. He dominated.
    He’s a 1st Team All-American.

  8. Anonymous July 25, 2010 at 3:54 pm #

    HP claims no one in the SEC but Dareus is even worthy of consideration? How about Cliff Matthews, Pernell McPhee, or DeQuin Evans?

    Let’s compare all those “unworthy” candidates from the SEC to the Pac 10’s Datone Jones, whom HP claims is clearly better.

    Solo + Assist = Total Tackles:
    McPhee 32 + 24 = 56
    Matthews 35 + 12 = 47
    Evans 23 + 15 = 38
    Dareus 19 + 14 = 33
    Pac 10 Jones 12 + 18 = 30

    Matthews 7
    Dareus 6.5
    Evans 6
    McPhee 5
    Pac 10 Jones 4

    QB Hurries:
    McPhee 8
    Dareus 7
    Matthews 1
    Evans 1
    Pac 10 Jones 1

    HP will always favor the Pac 10, but it’s foolish to pretend that none of these players make the cut while touting Jones.

  9. Leland July 25, 2010 at 4:35 pm #

    ACHO, ACHO, Man!

    I want to be an ACHO Man!

    ACHO, ACHO, Man!

    I want to be an ACHO Man!

  10. AUman76 July 26, 2010 at 9:36 pm #

    Thanks for the backup stats Anon, but facts never get in HP’s way of his own truth.

    • Heismanpundit July 27, 2010 at 12:56 pm #

      Yup. Just because a guy had one more sack than someone else did last year, it means he’s going to be better this year. Right?


  11. Anonymous July 27, 2010 at 6:19 pm #

    How does 1 more sack, 20 more solo tackles, 6 more assists, and 7 more qb hurries make McPhee unworthy of consideration? Maybe it’s the fact that McPhee did in one less game against the toughest schedule in the country that makes him unworthy while Jones is clearly top 10 material in your mind.

  12. AUman76 July 27, 2010 at 10:40 pm #

    Yup…just maybe it has everything to do with the conference in which you use to work? It’s also funny how most players named are from piss poor defensive conferences. None of which have defeated an SEC team for the crytal ball.

    • Heismanpundit July 27, 2010 at 11:31 pm #

      I guess I should remove Michael Dyer from the running back rankings and stop all praise of Gus Malzahn and stop touting Cam Newton as a player to watch… know, since I am so biased and all.

  13. AUman76 July 28, 2010 at 2:01 pm #

    Nah you got those right HP. lol But all Cam is at the moment is hype and Malzahl has yet to really win big at a major school. Had success? Yes, but no rings so far. As for Dyer….who knows what a kid will do at the next level till he’s actually on the field. I too think he will be a good fit in our system but that doesn’t mean he’ll set the woods on fire this year much less blaze through SEC defenses. Personally I would just as soon see Caulde, Trotter or Especially Moseley at QB. Caudle knows the offense better and Mosely and Trotter are just as good talent wise as Newton. Size wise not as big as Cam but both can air it out and have been a tad more accurate in drills and practice.
    The SEC has a lot of young talent that will step up and prove to be better than a few of your selections. But since this will be their breakout season I’ll give you a bit of a pass on the DE picks. The conference is loaded with LB and DB talent so maybe you can make it up to me by selecting a few more of them. lol