Top 5 defensive end prospects

Jadeveon Clowney is the top defensive player going into the 2013 season. Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

As you read the list below, remember that I'm not simply classifying a defensive end based on how the player is listed on a college depth chart. I project the prospect based on how I believe he'll fit in at the NFL level. So you'll see a mix of players who, at a basic scheme level, could project as either 4-3 defensive ends, or the 3-4 version. There are guys who might be closer to 250 pounds and could be considered potential 3-4 outside linebackers, or others whom some teams could consider 3-technique defensive tackles in a 4-3.

But looking at this class, there's no question about who currently sits at No. 1. Had Jadeveon Clowney been eligible for the 2013 NFL draft, I believe he would have gone No. 1 overall.

Here's a first look at the top defensive ends for 2014.