Top 10 defensive ends in the 2020 NFL draft

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Ohio State defensive lineman Chase Young talks at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. (Video D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

Here are the top 10 defensive end prospects for the 2020 NFL draft (with their draft projections):

1. Chase Young, Ohio State, 6-foot-5, 264 pounds (first round): He was 5-6 and 160 pounds as a high school freshman before he had a growth spurt. He went on to lead DeMatha Catholic to the Maryland state title as a senior and was named The Washington Post's defensive player of the year. He was nearly unblockable the past two seasons for the Buckeyes, as he registered 10.5 sacks in 2018 and 16.5 sacks last season.

» MORE: Chase Young, a 'generational' talent

2. K'Lavon Chaisson, LSU, 6-3, 254 (first round): Chaisson has some upside. "He's an explosive edge rusher for them and got better as the season went along, tore his ACL in '18," NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said. He was named to first-team All-SEC last season after getting 13.5 sacks.

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LSU linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson talks about what separates him from other prospects at the NFL Scouting Combine. (Video by D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

3. Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State, 6-5, 266 (first/second round): He has moved ahead of A.J. Epenesa during the pre-draft process. He was a two-year starter and finished his career with 19 sacks.

4. A.J. Epenesa, Iowa, 6-5, 275, (first/second round): He was a five-star recruit coming out of high school near St. Louis. Epenesa doesn't possess the flat-out speed to get around the edge. He will add some bulk to a team's defensive line and has the ability to rush inside in passing situations.

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Iowa defensive lineman A.J. Epenesa speaks at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. (Video by D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

5. Terrell Lewis, Alabama, 6-5, 262 (second round): He had an injury-plagued career at Alabama. He was a second-team All-SEC pick after the 2019 season. He had 31 tackles, 11.5 tackles for losses, six sacks and two pass breakups in 11 games, which included three starts. Defensive line trainer Chuck Smith compares Lewis with Montez Sweat, the former Mississippi State standout who was picked in the first round (26th overall) by Washington last season.

6. Josh Uche, Michigan, 6-1, 245 (second round): He is a speedy edge rusher, who can play in nickel/pass-rush situations right away. He had 20.5 tackles for losses and 16.5 sacks over his career with the Wolverines. He has to get stronger to shed NFL blockers.

7. Curtis Weaver, Boise State, 6-2, 265 (second/third round): He picked Boise State over Duke, Virginia, and Wisconsin after he graduated from high school in Long Beach, Calif. He was named second-team Associated Press All-American and was the Mountain West's defensive player of the year after posting 18.5 tackles for losses and 13.5 sacks last season.

8. Bradlee Anae, Utah, 6-3, 257 (third round): He flashed speed around the edge on a regular basis for the Utes and was named first-team All-Pac-10 in 2018 and 2019. Last season, he recorded 13 sacks.

9. Jonathan Greenard, Florida, 6-3, 263 (third round): The former Hiram High player started his career at Louisville, but elected to transfer after he graduated and coach Bobby Petrino was fired. He was named first-team All-SEC after leading the Gators with 15.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks over 12 starts. He was slowed near the end of the season, but came back to play in the Orange Bowl.

10. Jabari Zuniga, Florida, 6-3, 264 (third round): The former Sprayberry High player helped the Gators reach the Outback, Peach and Orange bowls over the past three seasons. He redshirted a season at Florida before he had a strong season in 2016, with 25 tackles, 8.5 for loss, team-high five sacks in 13 games. He missed most of last season because of injury.

» Here's a look back at the top five defensive ends/edge rushers in the 2014 draft.

Best of the rest. Notre Dame's Khalid Kareem, Notre Dame's Julian Okwara, Tennessee's Darrell Taylor, Charlotte's Alex Highsmith, Tulsa's Trevis Gipson, Miami's Jonathan Garvin, South Carolina's D.J. Wonnum, Michigan State's Kenny Willekes, Alabama's Anfernee Jennings, Syracuse's Alton Robinson and Auburn's Nick Coe.

Teams in need. The Falcons, Seattle, Dallas, Detroit, Houston and Indianapolis.

Need area for Falcons. Yes, the Falcons let Vic Beasley and Adrian Clayborn leave in free agency. They've replaced Beasley with Dante Flower, but still need more pass-rush.

Top 5 seniors for 2021 draft. Washington's Joe Tryon, Miami's Greg Rousseau, Miami's Quincy Roche, Wake Forest's Carlos Basham and Stanford's Thomas Booker.

AJC’s 2020 POSITION BY POSITION DRAFT SERIES

Quarterbacks: Joe Burrow leads classTop 10
Running backs: Cam Akers' life lessonTop 10
Tight ends:  Harrison Bryant top prospect Top 10 
Guards/Centers:  Solomon Kindley a late-rounderTop 10 
Offensive tackles:  Austin Jackson's life lesson | Top 10 
Wide receivers: Jeudy or Lamb  | Top 10
Defensive tackles: Brown, Kinlaw stand outTop 10
Defensive ends: A 'generational' talent | Top 10
Part 9: Linebackers
Part 10: Safeties
Part 11: Special Teams
Part 12: Cornerbacks

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