With the NFL Draft rapidly approaching, over the next few days, I plan on breaking down the best and brightest talents in this year’s class. This class is full of some unique prospects. There is a plethora of depth, but there are 5 guys who really stand out to me.
1. Chase Young, Ohio State
Pro Comparison: Jadeveon Clowney
I don’t know if there is a single-player as talented as Young in this class. Young wreaked havoc on college football this year. Young is going to be an absolute ANIMAL at the next level. He’s going to be an absolute superstar. There’s not much for me to nitpick in his game so I won’t even try. Clowney is a physical specimen just like Young and I think Young is going to be that type of game wrecker at the next level.
2. Zach Baun, Wisconsin
Pro Comparison: T.J. Watt
Zach Baun is one of my favorite prospects. Baun is another high IQ linebacker who is very good with his hands to come from Wisconsin. He’s explosive and he’s put up solid numbers at Wisconsin. Baun could struggle if he doesn’t gain a little more size, but Baun has the makeup to be a very talented player at the next level. Watt was a great edge rusher from Wisconsin and Baun can continue that trend.
3. Yetur Gross Matos, Penn State
Pro Comparison: Cameron Wake
Gross Matos was one of my favorite players to watch last year. He was so good against the run, in fact, he was a lot better than Chaisson and Epenesa last year, two guys he’s often bundled with. He was a very productive edge rusher last season. He was able to be a force against the run and against the pass. He also allowed for stellar production from the guys around him. At the very least, he’s going to be an average defensive end. At best, Gross Matos could be a very productive edge rusher. The ceiling is high, but his floor isn’t low. He’s a safe prospect. He lacks the speed that guys like Chaisson and a Young have, but he makes up for it in strength and size. Wake was a productive edge rusher who’s a unique blend of size and speed is reminiscent of Gross Matos.
4. K’Lavon Chaisson, LSU
Pro Comparison: Vic Beasley
I’m not entirely sold on Chaisson. I think he’s a very good edge rusher. He’s good at disrupting the pass with good speed and good hands. Overall, Chaisson has great potential as an edge rusher. However, Chaisson has bust potential. He struggles with the run and he definitely needs to develop as a run stopper. Chaisson reminds me of Beasley because of his ability to be a productive sack producer and average in the run game.
5. Bradlee Anae, Utah
Pro Comparison: Kamalei Correa
Bradlee Anae is a unique prospect. Anae plays with a chip on his shoulder and demonstrates a lot of heart on the field. He’s a good run stopper and a good pass rusher. He’s not elite, but he’s efficient. Anae has good speed and strength. Anae does struggle with really asserting his dominance and using length to an advantage. He’s kind of the opposite of Gross Matos where Anae would be best suited at linebacker rather than at the end. Anae reminds me of Correa because if their abilities to play with lots of energy and effort and both are high character guys with versatility.