NFL Draft 2012: Mike Mayocks Final Positional Rankings - Defense

Bruce Irvin.

Ok - on to the defensive side of the ball. Mike Mayock's final positional rankings came out on Tuesday, and was followed by the twitters going bonkers last night because of all this Chandler Jones hype, which I addressed earlier this morning. Apart from that, nothing too shocking is included below. Let's see how the final rankings fell.

Defensive End

1. Chandler Jones, Syracuse
2. Quinton Coples, North Carolina
3. Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
4. Vinny Curry, Marshall
5. Bruce Irvin, West Virginia

New Entry: Irvin
Rise: Jones (4), Curry (5)
Fall: Coples (1), Upshaw (2)
Out: Nick Perry, USC (3)

Notes: Nick Perry takes a big slide out of the top-5, from his prior 3rd place ranking. The beneficiaries of this move are Bruce Irvin and Vinny Curry, two guys that are gathering some steam as potential 2nd rounders (Irvin has even broken into the 1st round talk today). Coples and Upshaw fall, but as we all noted earlier today, Chandler Jones leapfrogged from being the fourth best defensive end prospect on Mayock's board to the top talent on that list. Because of the Seahawks are rumored to have interest in a defensive end, these are some of the guys you should watch for tonight.

Defensive Tackle

1. Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State
2. Dontari Poe, Memphis
3. Jerel Worthy, Michigan State
4. Michael Brockers, LSU
5. Devon Still, Penn State

Rise: Poe (4)
Fall: Worthy (2), Brockers (3)
Out: Kendall Reyes, Connecticut (5t)

If Fletcher Cox falls to 12, I have to believe the Seahawks would have interest in taking him there, and there were even rumors last week that the Hawks might look to trade up in the draft so they could secure his services. Dontari Poe, interestingly, moves up to the 2nd position, and this is noteworthy because it likely is based on further film study, as opposed to the 'oh my God he ran really fast' wave that happened to everyone after the Combine.

Worthy and Brockers remain top-tier prospects, as does Devon Still. The Seahawks are likely looking long and hard at each of these players and I think the depth at DT is a little bit tenuous past Clinton McDonald.

Outside Linebacker

1. Shea McClellin, Boise State
2. Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
3. Whitney Mercilus, Illinois
4. Lavonte David, Nebraska
5. Andre Branch, Clemson

New Entry: David
Rise: McClellin (2)
Fall: Ingram (1), Branch (4)
Out: Ronnell Lewis, Oklahoma (5)

Levonte David making a hard charge here, for good reason. Apart from that, a lot of the usual suspects.

Inside Linebacker

1. Luke Kuechly, Boston College
2. Dont'a Hightower, Alabama
3. Mychal Kendricks, California
4. James-Michael Johnson, Nevada
5. Tank Carder, TCU

New Entry: Johnson, Carder
Out: Keenan Robinson, Texas (4); Sean Spence, Miami (5)

Keenen Robinson falls out of the top-5 but he's one guy that I was doing a little bit of research on the other day and found intriguing. Sean Spence seems like a fit for this defense, though possibly as a weakside linebacker. Either way, after it's all said and done, don't be surprised to see one or two of these names amongst the Seahawks picks.

Read Kip Earlywine's rankings of this year's linebackers for much, much more on some of these guys.

Cornerback

1. Morris Claiborne, LSU
2. Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina
3. Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama
4. Casey Hayward, Vanderbilt
5. Trumaine Johnson, Montana

New Entry: Hayward, Johnson
Out: Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama (4); Josh Robinson, Central Florida (5)

Stephon Gilmore is now being mentioned as possibly a better prospect than Morris Claiborne, shaking things up among mock drafts, but will almost certainly not be picked before the LSU playmaker. If either of those players somehow fall to 12 (Gilmore more likely), I could see the Seahawks taking a long hard look.

After that, if Kirkpatrick is around in the 2nd - sure why not? And Montana's Trumaine Johnson looks like a scheme fit as well. The wildcard amongst this group is of course Janoris Jenkins, who, talent-wise, could be a top-10 pick, but idiot-wise, has fallen into late-first or early-second discussion.

Safety

1. Mark Barron, Alabama
2. Harrison Smith, Notre Dame
3. Brandon Taylor, LSU
4. DeQuan Menzie, Alabama
5. Phillip Thomas, Syracuse

It's interesting to me that George Iloka is not on this list. Also - keep your eyes on Menzie! Ok, I'm going to publish now because I'm already getting burnt out and there are still four hours until the draft. I just wanted you to have your Mike Mayock rankings!!

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