You need passers rushers in the NFL. As long as you have pass throwers you will need pass rushers. These edge guys can be the difference between your team winning or losing a game. In the last two drafts, 42 defensive linemen have been drafted in the first two rounds alone. One name that sticks out is Joey Bosa. The third pick in the draft in 2016 out of Ohio State has 22 sacks in 28 career games. Another name is someone you might have never heard of is Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. Ngakoue, a third-round pick out of Maryland in 2016, has 10 sacks this seasons and is one of the best players on team that ranks first in the NFL in points allowed. Below is a top 10 list of edge rushers in this year’s draft. These are the guys that will be impact players at the next level.
1. Bradley Chubb – North Carolina State 2017 Stats: 10 sacks, 72 tackles, 23 tackles for loss.
Scouting Report: The top defensive line prospect in the 2018 class. Has a rare combination of size and speed. This guy is the prototypical size (6-4 275 lbs.) that you want for a defensive lineman. Chubb is very good against the run. He is a great fit for a 4-3 defensive scheme. Chubb will be a top-five pick.
2. Arden Key – LSU 2017 Stats: 4 sacks, 33 tackles, 5 tackles for loss.
Scouting Report: Key played in only eight games this season. Key has battled injury issues for most of the season but looked like a top-10 pick while playing against Alabama. Arden Key reminds me a lot of Jason Taylor with a slender frame, long arms and the ability to turn the edge and bend. Pass rushers are at a premium and Key could be a stud. Key will be a top-10 pick this year.
3. Clein Ferrell – Clemson 2017 Stats: 8.5 sack 62 tackles 17 tackles for loss.
Scouting Report: In what has become a defensive line factory as of late, Ferrell is just the next great Clemson pass rusher to come along. Ferrell does not have the elite speed but excels against the run and has an array of pass moves and can even drop in pass coverage as well. I think he is a 4-3 end but I could also see him playing in a 4-3. Ferrell will be a top-15 pick.
4. Harold Laundry – Boston College 2017 Stats: 5 sacks, 38 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss.
Scouting Report: Led the nation in sacks (16) and forced fumbles (7) a season ago. Only played in eight games this year because of injury. Laundry has an explosive first step and quick hands. He will be a top-20 pick.
5. Josh Sweat – Florida State 2017 Stats: 5.5 sacks, 56 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss.
Scouting Report: This guy is one freakish athlete. His hands are pretty good and he is decent against the run. I would like to see him bend around the edge better. He is too small to be 4-3 defensive end but he would be a great fit in a 3-4 system. Sweat will be late first-round pick
6. Sam Hubbard – Ohio State 2017 Stats: 4 sacks 38 tackles 10 tackles for loss.
Scouting Report: Hubbard is an excellent pass rusher and proved it on the national stage in the Big Ten championship game. This guy is a great against the run but sometimes does bite on play action passes. He has great upper body strength and is a great fit for a 4-3 base defense. Hubbard will be a late first-round pick.
7. Marcus Davenport – UT-San Antonio 2017 Stats: 8.5 sacks, 55 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss.
Scouting Report: Marcus Davenport (6-7 250 lbs.) is built like he should be playing for the San Antonio Spurs. This player is long, rangy and very athletic. He also very good against the run. His motor concerns me but I still think he has the potential to a very good player. Davenport will be a second-round pick.
8. Duke Ejofor – Wake Forest 2017 Stats: 7 sacks, 38 tackles, 15 tackles for loss.
Scouting Report: He is a prototypical player with his size. I do not think he is a freak athlete but he is a good athlete. Very good against the run. One thing I love about this guy is his motor. He will be a second-round pick.
9. Marcel Frazier – Missouri 2017 Stats: 7.5 sacks, 36 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss.
Scouting Report: I love his size, speed and his burst off the edge. He needs to stop thinking so much and just go play. His running stopping ability does concern me. Frazier will be a second-round pick.
10. Hercules Mata’afa – Washington State 2017 Stats: 9.5 sacks, 43 tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss.
Scouting Report: First of all, he has a great name. Not the biggest player in the world but can line up all over the field and rush the passer. He can be a difference maker at the next level. Hercules will be a third -round pick.