Preseason Positional Top 5’s: Defense

Hello again and happy hump day. Hope you all enjoyed the offensive rankings on Monday afternoon … if you missed it, well first off, WHY?!

If you want to give that a read, you can get that here.

Today it’s the turn of the defense. Let’s get straight down to it shall we?

Edge Defenders 

  1. Chase Young, Ohio State (-) 
  2. A.J Epenesa, Iowa (-) 
  3. Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State (-)
  4. Curtis Weaver, Boise State (+1) 
  5. Jabari Zuñiga, Florida (-1)


No real movement here as I stick with the same five as I had in June. Still a Chase Young over A.J Epenesa guy but those two are on a platform all by themselves and I truly hope that they keep pushing each other all the way through the season by both being great – They could both end up as top 5 players in this draft class if all goes smoothly.

I knocked Zuñiga down on consistency, I feel like he’s incredible one snap but anonymous on the next at times, however, if he can put it all together this year, he’s going to go pretty early in Vegas… He’s as quick as a hiccup.

Other players I like are Alton Robinson from Syracuse and Julian Okwara of Notre Dame. Not as high on Kenny Willikes as others at this point.

Interior Defensive Line 

  1. Reakwon Davis, Alabama (-) 
  2. Derrick Brown, Auburn (-) 
  3. Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina (-) 
  4. Rashard Lawrence, LSU (-) 
  5. Mustafa Johnson, Colorado (New Entry) 


I’m not high on this interior defensive line class at all as things stand, I’m really hoping that there are a few players who are about to burst on to the scene over the next few months because to me, this class is Raekwon Davis, who I love and that’s about it.

I know *A LOT* of people love Derrick Brown but guys, I am not one of said people… And he’s still by IDL2.

Mustafa Johnson comes in because I think he’s intriguing after his productive season last year for Colorado.


  1. Dylan Moses, Alabama (-) 
  2. Isaiah Simmons, Clemson (-) 
  3. Troy Dye, Oregon (-) 
  4. Shaq Quarterman, Miami (+1)
  5. Markus Bailey, Purdue (New Entry) 


Dylan Moses makes this another positional group with a very clear #1 player, not only that but another #1 player who plays for the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Simmons is another interesting player, he’s got length and athletic traits that you’d like to see in offensive players, so as a defender you have to be looking for him to be that tight end or big slot eraser as a versatile linebacker; is he there yet? No, but I can’t wait to see his journey towards that.

All of these linebackers, except for Moses maybe, as flawed in some way but all have great potential… This is exactly why it’s fun doing summer scouting; because there’s still time to get over deficiencies and become better.


  1. Bryce Hall, Virginia (-) 
  2. Paulson Adebo, Stanford (New Entry) 
  3. Kristian Fulton, LSU (-1)
  4. Jaylon Johnson, Utah (+1)
  5. C.J Henderson, Florida (-2)

Deepest group of players on the defensive side of the ball? Absolutely.

I can’t get enough of this group quite honestly. There are players, upon players who are just so fun to watch. I thought in June that I’d got a fair amount of them but I’d actually missed one of the best ones in Paulson Adebo, who is honestly an unbelievable prospect. Man, I love Bryce Hall but Adebo comes pretty close to knocking him off his CB1 perch.

Another guy I can’t get enough of is Jaylon Johnson; as someone who is covering the Pac 12 closely this season I can’t wait to watch a bunch of Utah games this year.

Other guys who I really like include; Trevon Diggs, who I did have as CB4, Jeff Gladney, TCU, AJ Green, Oklahoma State, Jeffrey Okudah, Ohio State AND I am reliably informed by our very own Thomas Rowberry that I need to watch UCLA’s Darnay Holmes.

It’s a great time to love scouting cornerbacks in the Pac 12.


  1. Grant Delpit, LSU (-) 
  2. Xavier McKinney, Alabama (+2)
  3. Antoine Brooks, Maryland (New Entry) 
  4. Julian Blackmon, Utah (+1)
  5. Richie Grant, Central Florida (-3)

Grant Delpit is a superhuman and barring injury he’s a top 5 player in this draft class. After that it’s a little bit fluid. I was actually way too low of Xavier McKinney at first so felt like I had to bump him up a couple of spots.

Antoine Brooks is the new entry here – the former running mate of my Son, Darnell Savage. Super aggressive box safety type who I’d like to see more out of athletically but has some versatility and plenty of stopping power.

Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for these rankings to be updated throughout the college football season.

Follow on Twitter @Full10YardsCFB

Follow Lee on Twitter @Wakefield90 

Latest College Articles

Go the Full10Yards with our email newsletter

Join our email list and get our latest news, podcasts, offers and more direct to your email every week.