No doubt the NFL Draft had many, many gems throughout the draft. GM’s, player personnel guys, and teams that really did their homework have received a reward that has even surpassed their expectations and draft evaluations. But there was one incredibly disappointing aspect of the 2016 NFL Draft – the high-end pass rushing talent. Most notably, the outside edge rushing position. (4-3 DE’s or 3-4 OLBs)
With no disrespect to guys like Joey Bosa or Leonard Floyd, there was very little top-end edge rush talent throughout the 1st round. Drafting Leonard Floyd in the top 10 is reason in itself to be discouraged by the lack of talent. Shortly thereafter in the draft, teams were lining up to battle for those few top picks in the 2nd round to draft guys like Jonathan Ogbah and Kevin Dodd. Really….? Yeah, exactly what I was saying.
Don’t get me wrong those guys were good college players, but trust me in the 2017 NFL Draft there will be pass rushers SIGNIFICANTLY higher rated still on the board at the same point in the draft. How can I be this confident?
As I began to dig into the tape and study of these outside edge rushers, I was floored. These guys aren’t ‘try hard’ guys that have ‘excellent motors’ or are ‘powerful guys with very little athletic upside.’ No, these guys in the 2017 NFL Draft are guys that are fast-twitch, athletic freaks, guys that can play either on the right side, left side, or as OLBs in a 3-4 system. I’ve already seen 10-12 edge rushers that have borderline 1st round grades, and I’m absolutely convinced they can be 10+ sack a year guys. Many of them will drop into the 2nd round and possibly even 3rd round.
Mind you, I NEVER thought Joey Bosa was a 10+ sack a year guy. He was a very good NFL prospect, but I never thought pass-rushing monster. So I’m not liberally giving out compliments to everyone. These guys are completely different. They are a rare breed.
Who are ‘these guys?’ And aren’t some of them going to stay in school?
Well in future articles I plan on giving out more scouting reports on these players. But I will give you just an idea of guys that fit the ‘edge rusher’ criteria I am looking for. Yes, it is true, some of these underclassmen will likely stay in school for there junior or senior seasons. The overwhelming majority of underclassman listed here will more than likely get drafted when they see the high probability of them getting drafted in the 1st couple of rounds. Here’s just a quick snapshot of a few of the players:
Myles Garrett TEXAS A&M: An athletic freak. Already getting comparisons to guys like Jason Pierre-Paul and Khalil Mack. Has the size and the length of JPP and the explosiveness of an elite pass rushing stud. Excited yet?
Derek Barnett TENNESSEE: Every bit the pass rusher of Myles Garrett, some say even better. Possesses a rare blend of strength, size, and raw pass rush ability.
Tim Williams ALABAMA: A ridiculously quick-twitch guy who is as explosive as it comes when it comes to 1st step quickness and acceleration. Showed an ability to consistently beat the best offensive tackles in college football.
Carl Lawson AUBURN: Had one of the most dominant tapes I’ve ever watched against Mississippi State. Single handily took over the game.
The exciting thing is…..this is just a snapshot of the 1st round names that will be likely called. I CANNOT WAIT. By the way, did I mention it’s a good year to need a pass rushing edge rusher?