Draft Rankings Updated: Defense
By: Les Barnhart 
Posted: 2005-04-21
Category: Washington Redskins News
With only days left until the start of the 2005 Draft, we have put the finishing touches on our defensive rankings.

The deepest position on the defensive side of the ball comes from the defensive end spot. Leading the list of prospects is “Lights Out” Shawne Merriman from Maryland. He has played his way up the list and has put together an incredible combine and workouts to have himself atop the heap. David Pollack of Georgia also has moved up the rankings as he has shown that he is as advertised and should be an impact player in the NFL. Iowa’s Matt Roth and Dan Cody may have seen their stock fall a bit, however they remain solid prospects.

Staying on the defensive line, the defensive tackle position also has some quality depth and it starts with Florida State’s Travis Johnson and Shaun Cody of USC, who should hear their names called in the first round of the draft. Two prospects from the Big 10 that have been mentioned lately, Anttaj Hawthorne of Wisconsin and Luis Castillo of Northwestern, for their failing drug tests at the combine in February, maintained their positions. Castillo still remains a very solid choice despite the failed test, which was for androstine which he took to help with a nagging elbow injury and should get credit for being proactive in letting NFL brass know about it before even taking the test. Sione Pouhe of Utah is also turning heads as he marches up the board.

The stable of linebackers is also solid at both the inside and outside positions. At the outside position, Derrick Johnson (Texas) and the young playmaker from Florida, Channing Crowder hold the top spots with Kevin Burnett of Tennessee making the biggest jump up the boards. On the inside, Odell Thurman of Georgia and Nebraska’s Barrett Ruud gives the linebacker corps several solid options for NFL teams.

The secondary also offers it own standouts at cornerback. We have Adam “Pac Man” Jones of West Virginia slightly ahead of the Miami standout, Antrel Rolle, but either would be great picks. Making the biggest jumps are Justin Miller of Clemson, with his explosive ability to return kicks and Nebraska’s Fabian Washington, with his ability to neutralize opposing receivers. At safety, Georgia’s Thomas Davis and Brodney Poole are as good as they get and will have defensive coordinators itching to get them into the fold and opposing receivers growing alligator arms.

Be sure to check out our final mock draft and our continued coverage of the 2005 Draft as only TheHogs.net can offer.

-- Wingman
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