We are officially in the same month as the 2018 NFL Draft. With that said, it is time to break down the draft position by position and identify values, steals, and overrated players. This series will go through each position and tier each prospect to their respective group. Keep in mind that team fit and coaching are huge indicators that will affect the outcome of each prospect. This is why looking at the tier, rather than the ranking is much more important. This post will feature edge rushers.
1. Bradley Chubb, North Carolina State
Strengths: Technically sound player with power, force and consistency. Stays clean in the run game and dominates in upfield penetration and run stuffing.
Weakness: Does not have great burst or bend around the corner to be a high upside sack artist. Does not play fluidly in space.
Skinny: Chubb is a high floor run stuffer who can use power and leverage to get into the backfield, disrupt pockets and flatten quarterbacks.
2. Harold Landry, Boston College
Strengths: Has elite bend and athleticism that present a high pass rushing upside. 2016 season was better than any season Bradley Chubb had, statistically, and on tape.
Weakness: Not a consistent run defender. Saw a major drop in production after an ankle injury in 2017.
Skinny: The upside of Landry is a ten-plus sack option. However, questions have to be answered about his floor and why his production dipped and his play became inconsistent.
3. Josh Sweat, Florida State
Strengths: Strong burst off of the ball into the backfield. Strength to put an offensive lineman on skates and blow up the run. The floor of a run stuffer with upside and athleticism of a top end pass rusher.
Weakness: Not a refined pass rusher. Spent a lot of time at Florida State in a three-technique taking on guards. Missed time throughout his career with injury issues.
Skinny: If the medicals check out, Sweat has an enormous ceiling. He understands leverage and how to use his power, and with more refinement out on the edge against tackles, his sack totals can rise.
4. Marcus Davenport, UTSA
Strengths: Size and strength athlete with speed that presents plus upside. Plays with great power and looks to punish lineman.
Weakness: Technically raw. Does not diagnose the run well. Plays too high at times and tends to lose power and speed around the edge.
Skinny: Davenport is extremely raw but the upside could wind up being worth it in his case.
5. Lorenzo Carter, Georgia
Strengths: Elite athlete. Speed to chase running backs sideline to sideline and strength to get into the backfield and take on power. One of the higher upside players n the class.
Weakness: Does not pass rush with a plan. Does not use hands well and relies on athleticism. Mostly used out in space and could move off-ball in the future.
Skinny: The team that drafts him will have to come in with a specific plan for his usage and his progression. If that happens, the upside is enormous. Without it, he will fade out.
6. Sam Hubbard, Ohio State
Strengths: Plays with great technique. Fluid and understanding in both the run and passing game. Great athleticism to get around the edge with speed.
Weakness: Does not explode off of the ball. Needs to learn how to convert speed to power.
Skinny: Hubbard has a solid base in the NFL, but may have the most limited ceiling due to his initial burst off of the ball.
7. Rasheem Green, USC
Strengths: Size, length, speed and athleticism to translate to the NFL. Green plays with synchronized hands and feet to move fluidly and get upfield clean with power. Combination of age and athletic profile present high upside.
Weakness: Spent most of his college career at defensive tackle. Size will force him to the edge where most of his play will be projection based. Can be sealed off in the running game.
Skinny: While the ceiling is sky high, Green currently is an unrefined project without a true position in the NFL.
8. Kemoko Turay, Rutgers
Strengths: Has the speed, hand usage, and flexibility to become an impact pass rusher.
Weakness: Inexperienced as a pass rusher. Plays a bit too high and loses a lot of his speed around the edge. Does not have great playing strength against the run.
Skinny: Turay can be used as a pure speed situational pass rusher. His role is needed in the NFL, and if he can develop a repertoire and run defense he can become a higher upside bet.
9. Duke Eijiofor, Wake Forest
Strengths: Best hand fighter in the class. Throws punch with power, precision, and understanding of how and when to use counters. Ejiofor is an upfield penetrator with speed to blow things up in the backfield.
Weakness: Older prospect with injury concerns that did not allow him to participate in offseason activity. Ejiofor is not explosive off of the line and does not project to be a high upside pass rusher.
Skinny: Ejiofor has the floor of a premier run stuffer with the hands to at least hold his own and fight upfield against the pass. If his injury history and athletic profile check out, he is likely ranked too low.
10. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Oklahoma
Strengths: Relentless pass rusher with speed and foot quickness to consistently rush the passer. Has played out in space and can move off of the ball
Weakness: Does not have the size or length to consistently set the edge. Can be overpowered and flattened out by longer tackles. May not have the size to maintain on early downs.
Skinny: Okoronkwo has the desire and relentless effort to find himself a role in the NFL. However, due to his size, he may need to off of the ball on early downs, and be used as a passing down rushing specialist.
11. Arden Key, LSU
Strengths: Size and length and knows how to utilize it. Offers a variety of pass rushing moves and works with speed and quick feet.
Weakness: 2017 season from hell. Vast jumps in weight loss and gain affected his speed and burst. Walked away from the team after offseason shoulder surgery and has many teams worried about his off of the field demeanor.
Skinny: Arden Key was a top ten player at this point last season. Over the past year nothing but bad vibes have come from him. The reward is high, but at this point, the risk is higher.
12. Kylie Fitts, Utah
Strengths: High upside athlete who was a former four-star recruit. Bursts off of the ball and gets into the backfield quick
Weakness: Suffered a series of injuries in his last year at school. Does not possess elite power due to some technique issues. Does not consistently disengage from blocks, especially against the run.
Skinny: The upside of Fitts could put him in the tier above him. However, he has some refinement to do in his game when it comes to bending the edge and disengaging. Add in the injuries and this is why he is going to slip in the draft.
13. Chad Thomas, Miami
Strengths: Knows how to convert speed into power. A power player with the ability to burst off of the ball and push pockets. Premier athlete with plus change of direction for his size.
Weakness: Trouble bending the edge and using his hands affect his upside as a pass rusher. Not a technically sound player.
Skinny: Size and athletic traits present a high upside 4-3 defensive end, but his struggles with technique may limit him to a third down inside pass rusher.
14. Tyquan Lewis, Ohio State
Strengths: Plays with power and explosion into the backfield. Will be perfect as an upfield rusher from the inside on third downs.
Weakness: Heavy feet cause for him to be slow around the edge. Lacks speed after his initial burst. Much better at pushing pockets than disengaging blocks and heading upfield with speed.
Role Comparison: Mario Edwards
He may be a bit too slow for the outside, but a bit too small for the inside. Still, he can explode upfield, and as an inside rusher on third downs, he is going to find a role in the NFL.
15. Uchenna Nwosu, USC
Skinny: Does not have the size to live on the edge. However, as a blitzer from a variety of alignments and speed rusher with the elite burst to knock down passes at the line he can find a role in the right scheme.
16. Marcell Frazier, Missouri
Strengths: Plus athleticism with quick feet to grind into the backfield. Active hands and quick feet present a combination that can turn into a plus pass rusher.
Weakness: Does not have great playing strength. Struggles to set the edge, and some of his punches can fall flat.
Skinny: Has upside to be the next in a long line of Missouri pass rushers in the NFL, but will have to develop more power to stay on the field for three downs.
17. Ade Aruna, Tulane
Skinny: Project who has most of the athletic skills to translate but does not have the refinement or experience on the edge.
18. Dorance Armstrong, Kansas
Skinny: Long armed effort pass rusher who lacks strength and tends to rely on his speed and length more than technique.
19. Hercules Mata’afa, Washington State
Skinny: Former defensive tackle who does not have the size to translate. Bursts out of his stance like a superior tackle, but does not have the athleticism and is raw coming around the edge. Will be a project player.
19. Jeff Holland, Auburn
Skinny: Smart, intuitive pass rusher who hustles to get the job down. However, lacks elite athletic traits matched with inconsistent tape that present a limited upside
20. Joe Ostman, Central Michigan
Skinny: High effort rusher with precise movements. Lack of desired length hinders NFL future, but special teams present a floor.
22. Kentavius Street, North Carolina State
Strengths: Plays with power and toughness. No issues when it comes to setting the edge. Can slide inside for pass rushing downs.
Weakness: Tore his ACL in the pre-draft process. With lateral agility questions on top of that, his questionable athletic profile and stability in the NFL are now in question.
Skinny: The predratft ACL issue definitely is going to hinder his draft stock, and it will be on him to climb the ladder into the NFL.
23. Leon Jacobs, Wisconsin
Skinny: Poor mans version of Lorenzo Carter with high upside athleticism but lacking instincts and no pass rush plan. Could move off ball in the NFL.