2019 NFL Draft Edge Rusher Rankings: From The College Perspective

2019 NFL Draft Edge Rusher Rankings: From The College Perspective

2019 NFL Draft

2019 NFL Draft Edge Rusher Rankings: From The College Perspective

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Which Edge Rushers will matter in the 2019 NFL Draft, and what’s the college perspective on all of the top prospects?


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Defensive tackle is the draft’s deepest position, and the ends are good, too. But there’s a better group of hybrid pass rushers that’s as good as the NFL has seen in a long, long time.

There are at least five potential game-changing disruptive forces to go along with a whole slew of pass rushing specialists. They’re the edge rushers, and they’re the guys everyone wants to instantly ramp up a defense.

15. Sutton Smith, Northern Illinois

6-0, 233: Way, way, way too small and not quite NFL quick/fast enough to make up for it, he has a shot at turning into a great special teamer or third down outside linebacker. Or, he could be unleashed as a pure pass rushing specialist after coming up with 29 sacks and 57 tackles for loss over the last two seasons. With his motor and ability to find ways to make plays despite being keyed on, someone will take a chance to figure out where to pus him.
Projected Round: Seventh

14. Jordan Brailford, Oklahoma State

6-3, 252: The raw NFL tools aren’t quite there, and he’s a but bulked up during the workout process – he’ll play at around 245 – but he’s a pure pass rusher who can work into a rotation. He’s not a full-time NFL starter, but he can find a role early on with a good burst, fantastic motor, and strong closing ability.
Projected Round: Fifth

13. Shareef Miller, Penn State

6-4, 254: A bit underpowered and with a whole lot of technique work to do, he’s still an athletic, talented player with enough to work with to think he could turn into a late round steal. He’s always working and doesn’t take plays off, and he’s just versatile enough to find a job somewhere.
Projected Round: Fifth

12.  Jalen Jelks, Oregon

6-5, 256: He’s got a great frame and was productive at a high level over the last two years for the Ducks – coming up with 10.5 sacks and 23 tackles for loss – but he’s WAY too slow and not nearly explosive enough from a straight tools standpoint. He’s always moving, and he can hit, but he’s a 4.9 runner and will get erased by any blocker who locks on.
Projected Round: Fifth

11. Porter Gustin, USC

6-4, 255: Health, health, health. He’s got good size, a great attitude and fight, and the talent to be a big-time producer, but he has to be able to stay in one piece. He only played in ten games over the last two seasons, and but came up with 10.5 sacks during the run. Someone will fall in love with him and be ecstatic that he’s still on the board on Day Three.
Projected Round: Sixth

10. Ben Banogu, TCU

6-3, 250: The former ULM transfer proved he could produce at a Power Five level, too, with 17 sacks and 34 tackles for loss in hist two years as a Horned Frog. He might be a bit undersized, and he might be a tweener, but he’s explosive – he cranked up a 40″ vertical at the combine – and could find an instant role as a third down specialist.
Projected Round: Fourth

9. Chase Winovich, Michigan

6-3, 256: A relentless tone-setting lightning rod of a player who’s always going 100 miles per hour and always making things happen with 18.5 sacks and 43 tackles for loss over the last three seasons. If anything, he has to dial it back a little bit – he misses a few plays because of want-to – and he’s a bit too much of a tweener for the next level.
Projected Round: Third

8. Christian Miller, Alabama

6-3, 247: Don’t get hung up on the lack of big stats – he only made 56 career tackles with 11 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss in four years, missing time with an arm injury – there’s a whole lot to like. Once he got his chance last year to grow into more of a role, he produced. He could stand to get a little bigger on his good frame, the talent is untapped, and he might grow into something special with a little time and a little more coaching.
Projected Round: Third

7. Oshane Ximines, Old Dominion

6-3, 253: If you have others on the defensive front who can stop the run, then Ximanes is for you. He’s got great size for the position, he’s a quick, relentless pass rusher, and he’s got an elite knack for finding ways to make plays – 32 career sacks with 51 tackles for loss – but he’ll get blasted by anyone running right at him. Turn him loose on third downs and he’ll be fine.
Projected Round: Third

6. Jachai Polite, Florida

6-3, 258: Originally thought to be a top 15 overall talent, he quickly plummeted down the charts throughout the offseason, partly because of a well-documented miserable all-around NFL combine. But on talent and upside, everything is there to become a killer of a value pick.

He only had one great year, but he showed off his upside with 11 sacks and 19 tackles for loss. The speed and explosion weren’t there in workouts, but it he can reproduce what he came up with on the field in his one year under Dan Mullen, look out.
Projected Round: Third


5. D’Andre Walker, Georgia

6-2, 251: He’s not quite as tall as some might like, and he might not have a true fit if he doesn’t thrive as an outside linebacker, but he blossomed last season and looked and played the part of a top-shelf pass rusher who’s just scratching the surface.

While he’s more brutish and crafty-quick, he’s able to get behind the line with  13 sacks and 24 tackles for loss over the last two years. While he can be bowled over, and he’s not going to be quite for everyone, he could ended up working somewhere on the outside and turned loose.

He’s a pass rusher, and he gets off the ball in a hurry and knows how to close. Best of all, there aren’t any plays off – the motor is always going and he wills his way into big plays.

There’s a chance he slides out of the second round and into the early part of Day Three, but he’s going to start and there’s more than enough upside to think he’s just getting started.

Projected Round: Second
Real Value: Third

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