As a football fan, odds are high that you at least had a brief love affair with professional wrestling. Mine lingered a while. It was an obsession lasting long enough that when I think of defensive ends, they remind me of the ultimate “heels” from professional wrestling promotions: big, bad, freakish athletes capable of putting an end to their opponents with one swift and powerful move.
It’s no coincidence that Bruiser Brody and Superstar Billy Graham, who starred as collegiate defensive ends — and had brief NFL careers — fit the mold perfectly. This is because defensive ends embody the essence of what it means to be the “heel.” They’re the opponents you love to hate and secretly want to cheer. It’s the feeling that you’re doing something wrong, which is what also makes it so right.
Florida State’s Bjoern Werner and Texas A&M’s Damontre Moore are two collegiate defensive ends in this draft with the potential to join the ranks of NFL heels. Both juniors are in the range of 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds, both are early-round prospects noted for their athleticism, and both possess the upside to develop into technically capable 4-3 pass rushers and run defenders.
Although regarded among many as one-two in this class of defensive ends, the difference in potential is starker than their standing in most pre-draft positional rankings. The similarities these players share with physical dimensions, roles in scheme, and pre-draft grades also make it worthwhile to profile these two ends side-by-side.
Moore has all the physical traits to develop into an NFL starter, but I prefer both Werner’s current skill and his future upside. Werner can become a special player, and I think it becomes more apparent when using Moore as a foil for comparison.