NFL Draft Top 5 EDGE Rusher Rankings

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. 

Three Positions the New York Jets Could Target In 1st Round

The New York Jets have the 11th pick in the draft. It’s a solid spot to grab a blue-chip prospect. There are three spots the Jets desperately need to improve in the draft. With the opportunity to grab a cornerstone piece at 11, the Jets will target one of these three spots.

Left Tackle

The premier offensive line prospects are a great group. Tristan Wirfs is a spectacular athlete. He’s a great offensive lineman and very agile. Mekhi Becton is a FREAK athlete and very agile as well. Andrew Thomas has the highest ceiling and could be the best of the group. Jedrick Wills is an elite pass protector with incredible potential but would have to transition to left tackle. As long as one of the top 4 guys are there, Joe Douglas seems inclined to add an offensive lineman. There have been rumblings about another position, but, with two weeks to go, I’d say this pick will be a big man. If the Jets trade back, look to Josh Jones of Houston and Austin Jackson of USC to be targeted.

Wide Receiver

The receiver class is more loaded than any in recent memory. There are three key guys who could be targeted at 11 if the Jets target receiver. Henry Ruggs is the dynamic speed demon who lit up the combine. Jerry Jeudy is your prototypical receiver 1 and a crisp route runner. CeeDee Lamb is a little bit of both. Lamb has been the most connected to the Jets and wouldn’t be a surprise per Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller. Lamb and Jeudy are both can’t miss talents. Lamb can be the Hopkins to Darnold’s Watson and potentially be his key playmaker. With that said, I’d love a receiver here, but with the depth in this class at the position, Darnold could use someone at 11 who can protect Sam and give him time to throw. If the Jets trade back, the Jets could grab Justin Jefferson or Jalen Reagor, two-speed demons who could fit well in the Jets offense.

Edge Rusher

This came down to two spots for me. Edge rusher or corner. Pierre Desir and Bless Austin have a lot of potential as a corner duo for next season. I am a big Desir guy, I think he’s incredibly underrated. If they can add another corner in the later rounds then they’d be in a decent spot for the time being at corner. Edge rusher is rough. Jordan Jenkins and Tarell Basham are the projected duo heading into next season. Jenkins and Basham are not the long term duo. Jenkins is on a prove-it deal and Basham isn’t proven. The Jets could use their next star edge rusher. Chase Young will be gone at 11, but K’Lavon Chaisson is a phenomenal talent. He’s dynamic and quick, but with so many other needs, he may not be worth the pick this high or at all with the other needs. If the Jets trade down, AJ Epsensa, Zack Baun and Yetur Gross Matos would all be great targets at the edge spot.

New York Giants: PFF Mock Draft Predicts Tackle, Pass Rusher Selections

New York Giants, Dave Gettleman

It’s not yet clear if the New York Giants are going to take a player at number four overall in the NFL Draft or whether they’ll make a trade down and pick up more draft picks to use in the rebuilding process, but there’s still plenty of predictions coming out about who the team will take if they do spend their first pick without trading it.

Most areas of the team at this point need an upgrade in some way or another, and there’s a lot of positions competing for the limited draft picks the Giants have in the first couple of rounds. But according to Pro Football Focus, the Giants will deem the offensive line and the pass rusher position the most pressing needs. Those are the positions that PFF has the Giants taking in the first and second round respectively in their two round mock draft.

The two players in specific are Jedrick Wills Jr. from Alabama, and Yetur Gross-Matos from Penn State – respectively, an offensive tackle and a defensive end/edge rusher. The former, however, is believed to be a much more solid prospect in terms of safeness, while Gross-Matos has known upside and was a consistent performer for the Nittany Lions but could have put up larger numbers in college.

Here’s what PFF had to say about Wills.

Wills is the most athletic tackle in a very athletic tackle class. He is a work in progress still in pass protection, but the strides he made toward the end of 2019 — when he allowed only four pressures over Alabama’s final six games — have us encouraged.

Of course, some may be skeptical about taking a tackle – the last time the Giants took a work in progress tackle this high up in the draft, the result was Ereck Flowers, who turned out to be a major bust. There’s also other needs to be addressed, such as the defense.

But PFF also has the Giants investing in potential rather than raw numbers when taking Gross-Matos high in the second round as their second selection in the draft.

Gross-Matos’ physical tools are too much to pass up here. He may not be an instant impact rusher, as his hands have a long way to go, but the Giants can afford to swing for the fences with their current roster construction.

The Giants do, however, still need a strong pass rusher following several departures over past years that haven’t been fully replaced – the big question is, just how possible is it to find that in the second round if they decide to take an offensive tackle in the top five instead of trading down?