How I Evaluate Each Position:
By Bill Walsh
PSX Draft Insider Special
Ideal size: 6-5, 275
Must have explosive movement and the ability to cover ground quickly in three to five yards of space. The ability to get your shoulder past the shoulder of the tackle. This makes for a pass rusher. With that there is quickness because it sets up a lot of other things.
Upper body strength, ala Fred Dean, becomes important. Because you can start one way and when the blocker adapts to your move up the field, then you can arm over him or slug him past as Fred would do, and come underneath him.
So it takes quickness, in this case, to help make things happen.
However, you cannot be turned out -- turned to the outside, away from the play -- on down after down. So you have to have enough girth and technique so you don't get yourself off balance and are turned out play after play by the tackle.
That way you cannot recover back inside for running plays when they come your way. So that type of strength is a must.
Upper body strength is somewhat different than that of a defensive tackle. The defensive end does not come into contact with an offensive tackle until you often see what happens, or after you set him up. Where the defensive tackle has to do it right at the snap. So it does take hands to use your techniques to get past him.
There are those defensive ends who can take a tackle back into the quarterback. They can be just as effective with that as a man who makes spectacular sacks once or twice a game. Something that is not given due credit too often is the player who can take that offensive lineman back to the quarterback. Everybody keeps waiting for the pass rusher to be past somebody and make a move, where in reality you can have an excellent pass rush and not sack anybody. You break his rhythm, force him to move out of the way of his own man.
These men are basically the substance of the defensive team. Their ability to put pressure on the quarterback is a focal part of defense. Reggie White, Bruce Smith, Chris Doleman -- these are among the athletes who showed us the abilities needed at this position.