Alabama in the Pros

Crimson Tide in the NFL: Defensive ends need improvement for starting jobs

Mark J. Rebilas - USA TODAY Sports

As we enter in to week two of our 2015 Alabama in the NFL Preview, we keep our focus on former Crimson Tide defensive linemen. After looking at players in starting positions yesterday, we preview three defensive ends that are needing to improve to see more playing time in the league.

Xzavier Dickson, New England Patriots, Defensive End

2012-2014

6’3″, 266 pounds

4 years, $2.3 million

Xzavier Dickson is entering in to his rookie season after being drafted in the 7th round by the Patriots in the 2015 NFL Draft. He finished last season with 12.5 tackles for loss and 9.0 sacks for the Crimson Tide. Dickson started for Alabama as an outside linebacker, defensive end hybrid but he is being moved the line full time in New England. The reigning Super Bowl champions bring Dickson in to an already impressive defense. He will be competing to stay on the roster, currently sitting as the fourth string left defensive end with former Arkansas star Trey Flowers. Many people in Foxboro are predicting that Dickson make the 53-man roster but there is still work to be done. He will need to show improvement in stopping the run to become the type of complete defensive end that the Patriots are looking to field.

Jeoffrey Pagan, Houston Texans, Defensive End

2011-2013

6’3″, 310 pounds

3 years, $1.9 million

Jeoffrey Pagan is entering his second year in the NFL after playing in all 16 games last season for the Houston Texans. Pagan didn’t start any games last year but the sixth-round pick made an impact on the line, recording 10 total tackles. Pagan is currently listed as the number two left defensive end for the Texans behind Jared Crick. However, being second string in the NFL, especially Houston, doesn’t mean much. The Texans have strong defensive line and rely on depth much of the time. Pagan is expected to make a big impact in 2015, even as a backup. Pagan finished with one tackle in the Texans’ preseason opener against the 49ers on Saturday night.

Ed Stinson, Arizona Cardinals, Defensive End

2009-2013

6’3″, 287 pounds

3 years, $1.95 million

Ed Stinson is now in his second season in the NFL, after finishing 2014 with 9 total tackles and 1 pass deflection. Stinson started two games last year for the Cardinals and looks to once again improve to take over as the full time starter. Stinson is listed as the back-up defensive tackle in Arizona but in a 3-4 base defense, he often plays the role of a defensive end. Stinson has improved his pass rush skills so the Cardinals often use him on passing downs. As a backup, Stinson doesn’t see primary downs but he can still have an impact on one of the league’s best defenses. Stinson saw limited playing time in the Cardinals preseason opener and didn’t record any stats. Arizona plays the Chargers next Saturday in their second preseason game.

Caleb Turrentine is a contributor at Touchdown Alabama Magazine. Follow him on Twitter,@CalebTurrentine.

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