Position Outlook

Position Rank among other positions:

  • Top-End Talent – 1st (of 11)
  • Depth – 2nd
  • 1st Round Caliber Players – 5 (1st)
  • Overall – 1st

There is a generational Edge Rusher mocked No. 1 overall on a nearly annual basis. If an NFL team has a Quarterback, usually the next most important thing is to hurt the opponent’s Quarterback. Many say the top of this draft class isn’t up to par with some of the other EDGE classes in the past, but I contend that it’s better than most. Hutchinson is right up there with the other 1st overall selections as a prospect, and we get two other players who could be Top 5 picks, deservingly so. What’s more, this class is as deep as ever, with quality starters likely to be available even on Day 3.

Top 10 Ranking

  1. Aidan Hutchinson MICH – Full Scouting Report
  2. Kayvon Thibodeaux ORE – Full Scouting Report
  3. Travon Walker UGA – Full Scouting Report
  4. Jermaine Johnson II FSU – Full Scouting Report
  5. Boye Mafe MINN – Full Scouting Report
  6. George Karlaftis PUR – Full Scouting Report
  7. Nik Bonitto OU – Full Scouting Report
  8. Arnold Ebiketie PSU – Full Scouting Report
  9. David Ojabo MICH – Full Scouting Report
  10. Kingsley Enagbare SC – Full Scouting Report

Hutchinson is the clear EDGE1 for me. Aside from his dominant football abilities and physical traits, few have the leadership he does, and the ability to change a culture. He is the safest bet in this draft, with an equally high ceiling as others in this class.
After him, KT and Walker are the only other two Edge Rushers that are game-changers. The rest are a mix of high-ceiling players or quality starters, but no one I’d feel comfortable calling a star from Day 1.
Mafe and Johnson still deserve recognition as talents, and they have set themselves apart from the rest of the player below them by displaying a ton of potential alongside polish and assuredness.

Travon Walker is one of the biggest risers in this draft, after a ground-breaking Combine

Ranking Notes

Overrated

  • George Karlaftis PUR – Insane power, but he severely lacks agility and change-of-direction. When he was left unblocked and run at directly, he was useless. This is a massive flaw for someone playing on the edge.
  • Drake Jackson USC – Not quick or powerful. That’s a rough combination to have, match that with his lean lower half and you have too many red flags for me.

Underrated

  • Boye Mafe MINN – Insane athletic potential, and he showed solid abilities across the board. He has a very high ceiling.
  • Nik Bonitto OU – Bonitto is getting dragged through the mud for his weight, but his athleticism and explosion can’t be ignored. Not to mention, he had great success at Oklahoma, and then he added weight for the Combine while maintaining his athleticism.
  • Kayvon Thibodeaux ORE – He’s still a locked-in Top 5 selection, but his effort and commitment are under severe scrutiny. While I see where it’s coming from, I disagree completely. His cockiness seems more like confidence and leadership, and his effort issues all seem to be scheme-dependant.

Sleepers

  • Josh Paschal UK – Great athlete with great length, who is also extremely explosive. Paschal has a high ceiling, to go along with his low floor.
  • DeAngelo Malone WKU – Malone showed out at the Senior Bowl, earning him some looks. He won’t drop too far in the draft.

Biggest Risers

  • Travon Walker UGA – After a jaw-dropping Combine, Walker is being discussed as the potential No. 1 overall pick. While I don’t think that’s deserved for a player who was previously a late-1st rounder and a known athlete, I understand being enamored with the freakish physical traits and potential.
  • Jermaine Johnson II FSU – Johnson dominated every player in his path at the Senior Bowl. He was the talk of the town in Mobile. While I think he is still only a mid-1st rounder, he is getting hype as a Top 10 pick in a loaded class.

Biggest Fallers

  • Kayvon Thibodeaux ORE – His effort and commitment have been under fire recently, and that’s caused him to drop out of the Top 10 in some mocks.
  • George Karlaftis PUR – Previously a consensus Top 10 pick, Karlaftis may now drop out of the 1st round entirely due to his one fatal flaw.
  • David Ojabo MICH – This is more consequential rather than deserved, but Ojabo’s injury has dropped him out of potentially being a Top 10 pick, all the way down to the 2nd round in most mocks.

Superlative Ranks

Best Relative Athleticism

  1. Travon Walker UGA
  2. Boye Mafe MINN
  3. Aidan Hutchinson MICH
  4. Kayvon Thibodeaux ORE
  5. Nik Bonitto OU

Most Powerful

  1. George Karlaftis PUR
  2. Aidan Hutchinson MICH
  3. Kayvon Thibodeaux ORE
  4. Boye Mafe MINN
  5. Jermaine Johnson II FSU

Most Agile & Bendy

  1. David Ojabo MICH
  2. Nik Bonitto OU
  3. Kayvon Thibodeaux ORE
  4. Aidan Hutchinson MICH
  5. Myjai Sanders CIN

Best Run Defender

  1. Aidan Hutchinson MICH
  2. George Karlaftis PUR
  3. Travon Walker UGA
  4. Arnold Ebiketie PSU
  5. Kayvon Thibodeaux ORE

Most Explosive

  1. David Ojabo MICH
  2. Kayvon Thibodeaux ORE
  3. Travon Walker UGA
  4. Aidan Hutchinson MICH
  5. George Karlaftis PUR

Best Length

  1. Travon Walker UGA
  2. Jeremiah Moon FLA
  3. Kingsley Enagbare SC
  4. Drake Jackson USC
  5. Jermaine Johnson II FSU
Aidan Hutchinson should be the clear-cut EDGE1, even with all the Travon Walker hype

Final Projection

This position holds the biggest question of the draft, who goes No. 1? While I think the answer should be clear, either way, it’s someone from this class.
After that, it’s almost a guarantee that 3 Edge Rushers will be taken in the Top 5 picks unless there is a run on O-Linemen. Thibodeaux may fall to 7, but it won’t be further than that, and I find that unlikely.
After the “Big 3”, it’s anyone’s guess where the rest go. Johnson is getting hype as a Top 10 pick, but with the depth, at the position, I think he will go in the ‘teens.
Mafe, Ojabo, Karlaftis, and even Ebiketie all have the chance to be 1st rounders, possibly even together. That would be a staggering 8 1st round Edge Rushers. In today’s NFL, that’s growing more likely by the day.
As with most deep positions, I don’t expect there to be many selected in the 2nd round. Teams with picks there would usually rather wait until the following round, as there isn’t a large drop-off in talent.

See the Edge Rushers’ overall ranking among other players on my Big Board.


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Uriel "Yuke" Klein

Die-hard Ravens + Lakers fan, wild sports fan to the core LeBron > MJ I will debate any topic with anyone, come at me

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