Top '10 draft prospects on defense
2010 NFL Draft will be very deep on the defensive line
Florida's Brandon Spikes excels against the run and the pass
Two safeties -- Taylor Mays and Eric Berry -- have top 10 potential
NFL teams like to see an abundance of quality defensive linemen available every draft. They will not be disappointed in 2010. Three to five senior linemen could be first-round picks, and the pool almost doubles when juniors are factored in. Here's a brief look at the top NFL prospects from the defensive side of the ball. For the top offensive prospects, click here. (*Denotes underclassmen)
Greg Hardy/DE/Mississippi: A tremendous athlete with a basketball background, Hardy constantly wreaks havoc in the opponent's backfield. If he has a healthy senior campaign, he'll grade out as a top-six selection.
Corey Wootton/DE/Northwestern: . The 6-6, 275-pound Wootton will be compared to Tyson Jackson, the third pick in April's draft, because he can be used in a four-man front or as a two-gap end.
Gerald McCoy*/DT/Oklahoma: Like his predecessor (Tommie Harris), McCoy is slightly undersized but must be double-teamed. Athleticism allows McCoy to be used in a variety of defensive schemes, which is why he'll be a top-12 pick if he enters the draft.
Ndamukong Suh/DT/Nebraska: The Blackshirts leader on defense, Suh plays with a nonstop motor, chasing the action sideline to sideline. He also offers potential in a number of defensive alignments. Suh grades out in the top 15 pick and could move into top 10 if he has a big senior season.
Arthur Jones/DT/Syracuse: Jones gave serious thought to entering the 2009 draft, where he would've been a first-round pick. He's a one-man wrecking crew and is likely to be selected in the top 15.
Ricky Sapp/DE-OLB/Clemson: Sapp has been a difference maker the past two seasons at Clemson. He's very athletic and slightly undersized, which makes a move to outside linebacker very possible.
Carlos Dunlap*/DE/Florida: Dunlap is an imposing figure at 6-6, 285. He plays to his size, easily defeating double team blocks to make plays in the backfield. Dunlap offers a great amount of upside but must learn to consistently play at a high level, rather than just tease scouts with flashes of dominance.
UNDERRATED: Brandon Graham/DE/Michigan: The Wolverines top defensive player is an outstanding pass rusher and run defender. His size, 6-1 and barely 274 pounds, will get him knocked down on draft boards, yet Graham's approach to the game and nonstop motor will make him an asset on an NFL roster.
OVERRATED: Terrence Cody/DT/Alabama: Cody has immense physical skills and enters the year as the top nose tackle prospect in the nation. He tips the scales at 373 and occasionally takes plays off, which concerns scouts.
Brandon Spikes/ILB/Florida: Spikes enters the season as the most dominant linebacker in the nation. Florida's recent first-round prospects have not lived up to expectations. Spikes is set to break that trend.
Rod Muckleroy/OLB/Texas: Muckleroy is one of the lesser-known names on the Longhorns roster yet one of the team's best pro prospects. He's effective in pursuit as well as in pass coverage.
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