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NFL Draft prospects: Ranking defensive ends heading into the 2023 NFL Draft

We rank the 2023 draft prospects at DE ahead of the NFL Draft.

Defensive lineman Tyree Wilson #0 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders lines up for a play during the first half of the college football game against the Kansas Jayhawks at Jones AT&T Stadium on December 05, 2020 in Lubbock, Texas. Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images

This year’s NFL Draft will be held from Thursday, April 27 to Saturday, April 29. After months of offseason predictions, the NFL Combine, pro days and more mock drafts than we can count, we will finally be able to find out where this year’s draft class will begin their pro careers.

The lines between defensive end, EDGE and outside linebacker have started to blur. If you look through these rankings and don’t see players you think you should be, check out our rankings for EDGE and OLBs to see if they are listed there.

Likely first player off the board

Tyree Wilson has shot up draft boards. The Texas Tech product had an impressive college career but is coming off a football injury. There isn’t much concern over it limiting him during his rookie season. Wilson played in 10 games his final year and has 61 total tackles, including 14 for loss and seven sacks. He is a do-it-all type of lineman that is expected to terrorize offensive tackles.

Biggest names

Myles Murphy is a solid talent but needs some polishing at the next level. He has great size and was productive during his tenure with the Clemson Tigers. Murphy is elite when he is able to get into the backfield, but he will need some help from his future team to make sure it happens more often.

Lukas Van Ness ran a 4.58 40-yard dash, had 4.32-second shuttle, and logged 17 reps on the bench press. He does a lot well but excels with the power that he is able to produce with his size. Van Ness needs to become more consistent with his block shedding, but his future team will be able to tweak his training and development to either push him outside or keep him in.

Will McDonald IV played for the Iowa State Cyclones for five years. He was dominant, logging 34 sacks and 40.5 tackles for loss. He consistently has been mocked in the latter part of the first round or early part of the second round. His explosiveness is unrivaled but tends to lead to his struggling to stop the run. Still, McDonald projects as a top DE in this class.

Derick Hall ran a 4.55-second 40-yard dash showing his agility despite being 6 ft. 3 and 254 pounds. He used this speed to lead the Auburn Tigers with 12 tackles for loss and seven sacks in his final year. Hall also intercepted a pass and forced two fumbles across his 12 starts to become a first-team All-SEC selection.


Zach Harrison played in 40 career games for the Ohio State Buckeyes. He amassed 97 tackles, 39 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and one interception during his tenure. Harrison has upside at the next level, but the main focus for his eventual NFL landing spot will be improving his mentality in the game. He has the size and speed needed but needs to be more consistent at locking in and playing with a purpose.

Tyrus Wheat projects as a late-round draft pick but could be a diamond in the rough. He was a solid producer for the Mississippi State Bulldogs over three years. Over 34 career games, Wheat totaled 129 tackles, 17 sacks, three interceptions, three forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries. He needs some molding, but there really isn’t a reason he won’t impress at the next level whenever he is given the chance.

2023 defensive end prospect rankings

Player Pos School Pos Rk Overall Rk
Player Pos School Pos Rk Overall Rk
Tyree Wilson DE Texas Tech 1 5
Myles Murphy DE Clemson 2 7
Lukas Van Ness DE Iowa 3 13
Will McDonald IV DE Iowa State 4 53
Derick Hall DE Auburn 5 56
Adetomiwa Adebawore DE Northwestern 6 58
Tuli Tuipulotu DE USC 7 61
Byron Young DE Tennessee 8 73
Isaiah Foskey DE Notre Dame 9 84
Zach Harrison DE Ohio State 10 122
Mike Morris DE Michigan 11 191
Yasir Abdullah DE Louisville 12 203
Tyrus Wheat DE Mississippi State 13 208
Thomas Incoom DE Central Michigan 14 219
Tavias Robinson DE Ole Miss 15 241
MJ Anderson DE Iowa State 16 287