Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
5. Jonathan Bullard, Defensive lineman, Florida
Age as a rookie: 22 (Birthday in October)
Listed height, weight: 6-foot-3, 283 pounds
Where He Wins: Jonathan Bullard is one of the most disruptive players in the nation on the interior defensive line. He’s a bit underweight to fill that role at the next level, but he can absolutely add muscle to his frame while filling in at defensive end to contribute immediately. Thanks to a good first step and uncanny snap anticipation, he led the team in tackles for loss (18.0) and tied the lead in sacks (7). Bullard is a dynamic, well-coached defensive lineman who can play all over the formation. He would be an ideal bookend to Saints’ Cam Jordan on the defensive line.
Bullard is a contemporary of Jacksonville Jaguars injured first rounder Dante Fowler, but opted to return for his senior year to take advantage of an athletic scholarship and get his degree. By all accounts, Bullard is a great young person off the field, having received glowing endorsements from current and former coaches as well as beat reporters. He has been a leader on Florida’s defense the last few years and could be a galvanizing presence for the Saints in 2016.
Pro Comparison: Michael Bennett. The Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman has been an important but underrated cog in the ‘Legion of Boom’ in recent years. Even with other pieces rotating alongside him, he’s led the defensive line in snaps and sacks each of the last three years. Like Bullard, Bennett is listed at a sub-290 pounds and sees action at defensive end as well as defensive tackle, kicking inside on passing-down situations to bring a little more fire. Bennett has made an astounding 24 sacks for the Seahawks since 2013, making for a great model for Bullard to look to and the Saints to hold him to if they make him their pick on draft day.