2020 NFL draft positional breakdown: Defensive end


Every day leading up to the 2020 NFL draft, we’ll be taking a look at this draft class by position. We’ll highlight a few players who will fit the Eagles and separate them into three categories based on where they’re likely to get drafted. 

We already looked at tight ends, receivers, linebackers, running backs, cornerbacks, offensive tackles, quarterbacks and defensive tackles

Up today: Defensive ends

At 21 

K’Lavon Chaisson, LSU, 6-3, 254

Chase Young is clearly the top edge rusher in this draft class and he might be the best overall player in this draft. But Chaisson is widely considered to be the second-best edge rusher in the class. He didn’t have tremendous production at LSU, but he has all the freakish tools to become a great pass rusher at the next level. 

Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State, 6-5, 266

In his final two seasons with the Nittany Lions, Gross-Matos piled up 17 1/2 sacks and 35 tackles for loss. He’s a skilled pass rusher who needs more refinement but is also solid against the run. He projects as an early starter with a high ceiling. 

A.J. Epenesa, Iowa, 6-5, 275 

Epenesa filled up the stat sheet his final two years at Iowa, where he had 10 1/2 sacks in 2018 and 11 1/2 in 2019. While the Eagles have probably put too much stock into college production in recent years, Epenesa’s is hard to overlook. He’s not as quick as some other rushers, but he’s very powerful and is still explosive in his own way. Epenesa is also stout against the run. 

In the middle

Terrell Lewis, Alabama, 6-5, 262

There are some injury concerns with Lewis, who missed significant time in 2017 and 2018 with an elbow injury and a torn ACL. But he returned in 2019 and had a relatively productive season. The Eagles reportedly had him in for a visit, so they had a chance to check out any medical concerns. Lewis uses his length well and is a high ceiling rusher in this draft. 

Bradlee Anae, Utah, 6-3, 257 

Like Epenesa, Anae was very productive in college. He had 30 sacks at Utah. He’s a high-floor guy who might not have as much potential as others. But he has the traits the Eagles have prioritized in recent years, namely college production and great effort and motor. 

Darrell Taylor, Tennessee, 6-4, 267 

Before you roll your eyes at another Tennessee defensive end, know that Taylor is not the same player as Derek Barnett. Taylor is a really fun player to watch because at times he looks downright dominant. He also has solid production with 16 1/2 sacks in his last two years. He’s a really impressive athlete who needs some polish but has great potential. 

Late-round sleeper(s) 

Kenny Willekes, Michigan State, 6-3, 264 

He’s not an eye-popping athlete, but he’s athletic enough and also had a productive college career. He went from being a walk-on to having 26 total sacks for the Spartans. Another high motor player, he would probably figure into the rotation immediately if the Eagles drafted him. 

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