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Mayock: As many as nine defensive ends could go in the first

Clemson v Auburn

AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 18: Da’Quan Bowers #93 of the Clemson Tigers against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock has been following the postseason all-star game circuit over the past several weeks, making stops in Orlando for the East-West Shrine, Mobile for the Senior Bowl, and San Antonio for the NFLPA game (formerly “Texas vs. Nation”). Mayock appeared on Total Access Monday evening for an update on the most talented position in this year’s draft class.

It’s defensive end by a long shot. Mayock projected as many as nine defensive ends being drafted in the first round, adding “You’re certainly gonna see seven or eight.”

Mayock pinpointed Clemson’s Da’Quan Bowers as the cream of this year’s crop, calling him a “top-five pick” with the potential to go No. 1 overall to the Panthers.

Added Mayock of Wisconsin defensive end J.J. Watt, “He’s a beast. He’s a first-round pick.” Mayock says he just finished watching tape on Watt, and ranked the onetime Central Michigan tight end as the premier 3-4 defensive end in the 2011 class. Cal’s Cameron Jordan and Ohio State’s Cameron Heyward are second and third, respectively.