Top DE prospects for 2015

Randy Gregory could have a big season for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Bruce Thorson/USA TODAY Sports

Soon after the 2014 NFL draft concluded I released my "too-early" Big Board for the 2015 NFL draft, a ranking which includes players who will be underclassmen during the 2014 college football season. It goes without saying that these rankings are preliminary, as I have hundreds of hours of evaluation ahead on the 2015 class.

A couple of important notes about the rankings below:

• This isn't a straight "top 10" list, because I've split these between seniors and underclassmen. I think it's important to rank seniors alone, as those are the only players I can guarantee will be a part of the 2015 NFL draft process.

• In some instances I've included more than 10 players; if two or three guys are extremely close on my board, I simply tacked on the names.

With those parameters in mind, here's an early look at the top DE prospects in the 2015 draft class.

Top five senior defensive ends

1. Cedric Reed, Texas Longhorns: Reed broke through last season with 10.0 sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss. He has good length at 6-foot-6, and holds up well at the point of attack. He lacks elite quickness, but can create some separation with his long arms and can be moved around. He's a player I'll be watching closely.

2. Markus Golden, Missouri Tigers: Golden had 13.0 tackles for loss after moving from linebacker to defensive end last season.