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Draft Movers And Shakers: Defense

Posted Feb 4, 2013

Tony Pauline from TFYDraftPreview and a draft contributor for PhiladelphiaEagles.com has updated his position-by-position rankings prior to the NFL Scouting Combine which will take place later this month. Here is a look at how the college all-star games affected the draft stock of some of the top defensive prospects after already looking at the offensive players ...

Defensive Tackle

Utah's Star Lotulelei remains the top-ranked player at the defensive tackle position and is one of Pauline's top-rated players overall in this draft class. Missouri's Sheldon Richardson leapfrogged Ohio State's Johnathan Hankins for the No. 2 position. Overall, it's a strong defensive tackle class with 12 players graded in the top three rounds.

Defensive End

Florida State's Bjoern Werner is the cream of the defensive end crop, but is the only player at his position with a solid first-round grade. BYU's Ezekiel Ansah moved up to No. 2 among the defensive ends, but a better week of practice at the Senior Bowl could have locked him into a first-round grade. Instead, Ansah is slated as a first/second-round grade. LSU's Sam Montgomery dropped from No. 2 to No. 4 as Texas' Alex Okafor jumped into the No. 3 spot. After a strong showing at the Senior Bowl, UCLA's Datone Jones leaped up two spots to No. 6 and improved his draft grade from a third-round to a second-round mark.

Middle Linebacker

Notre Dame's Manti Te'o's performance in the BCS title game against Alabama and his off-the-field drama have caused him to lose his grip as the top inside linebacker as he has been supplanted by Georgia's Alex Ogletree. However, Te'o still has a solid first-round grade along with No. 3 inside linebacker Kevin Minter of LSU. There is a significant dropoff in talent from Minter to No. 4 Jonathan Bostic of Florida, who has a third-round grade.

Outside Linebacker

The entire top five remained unchanged as Texas A&M's Damontre Moore paced the group that has four players with first-round grades. Georgia's Jarvis Jones, LSU's Barkevious Mingo and Oregon's Dion Jordan were the other first-round talents. Running back Bryce Brown's brother, Arthur, checked in at No. 5 with a solid second-round grade. It should be noted that Oregon's Kiko Alonso made a big jump from No. 15 to No. 7 and from a fifth-round grade to a third-round grade after a strong Senior Bowl performance.

Cornerback

Alabama's Dee Milliner is the top cornerback and the only one with a solid first-round grade. The Senior Bowl helped Washington's Desmond Trufant move up from No. 5 up to No. 2. He also now has a first/second-round grade instead of a solid second-round mark. Other than Trufant's rise, the top five cornerback rankings remained intact with Rutgers' Logan Ryan, Florida State's Xavier Rhodes and Mississippi State's Johnthan Banks rounding out the top five. One of the biggest risers was Banks' teammate, Darius Slay, who went from a fifth/sixth-round grade to a second/third-round grade. Slay is now ranked No. 8 among the cornerbacks. LSU's talented, but troubled, Tyrann Mathieu is ranked No. 19 at the position.

Safety

Texas' Kenny Vaccaro remains at the top of the position group and is the only one with a true first-round grade. Florida's Matt Elam jumped up to No. 2 over LSU's Eric Reid. Elam is a first/second-round grade while Reid has a solid second-round mark. Notre Dame's Zeke Motta made a nice jump from No. 12 to No. 7 among the safeties, but also from a fifth-round grade to a third-round grade. Arguably the biggest riser of any position was Florida International's Jonathan Cyprien who went from being borderline draftable to now a solid fourth-round grade and is ranked No. 13 at the position.

For more NFL Draft insight, check out Tony Pauline's work at TFYDraftPreview as well as on Twitter @TonyPauline

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