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2018 NFL Draft scouting reports: 3-4 edge rushers

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Taking a look at the pass rushing prospects with the draft just two weeks away.

NCAA Football: Texas Kickoff-Oklahoma vs Houston Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

This year’s edge rusher class in the 2018 NFL Draft lacks top talents that we have seen in years past. There are not four or five guys that are guaranteed locks to go in the first round. In fact, there is no lock that one goes in the top five. The need for quarterback plays a role in that, but there will be two or three chances for one to come off the board in the top six picks. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen.

What this class does bring is a lot of speed. This might be the fastest group of edge rushers I have ever seen. There are a lot of guys that can run like corners and have really good hips. This is good news from a versatility standpoint since a 3-4 defense often asks outside linebackers to drop in coverage. While this year’s group can really turn the corner, it will be interesting seeing how they develop as overall defenders. There are not a lot of safe picks this year.

As is the case every year, I will use my scale to determine grades and overall grades. I have laid out charts to help identify what an overall grade means and where that players falls on the scale. However, a players overall doesn’t necessarily mean that he will be ranked higher than another player, as the ceiling of a player has to be taken into consideration as an athletic player’s overall can get a boost that an average athlete can not get.

The Grades

Overall Meaning Grades
Overall Meaning Grades
50-60 Career Backup/ST D-
61-70 Needs to Devvelop 1-3 yrs D
71-79 Instant Starter/Yr One Contributer C
80-89 Rookie of the Year B
90-100 Rookie All-Pro A

Grade Breakdown

Grade Meaning
Grade Meaning
1 Terrible
2 Bad
3 Poor
4 Needs Attention
5 Below Average
6 Average
7 Above Average
8 Very Good
9 Game Changer
10 Elite

Boston College Eagles EDGE Harold Landry

H. Landry

Skill Rating
Skill Rating
Bull Rush 6
Spin 7
Speed rush 9
Swim 9
Rip 9
Bend 7
Athleticism 8
Run Defense 7
Counter 8
Motor 9
OVERALL 79

Landry has arguably the most natural pass rush ability in the class, but one part of his game that goes unnoticed or is underrated is his ability to play the run. When healthy, he was one of the better players in the country against the run. However, it’s his pass rushing prowess that is going to get him paid. Landry has a unique ability to bend the corner. He reminds me in that regard to Robert Quinn pre-back injuries. The most impressive part of his game is his ability to turn speed into power. He has consistently violent hands, and strikes with force and aggression when engaging the offensive lineman. Landry has the athleticism to drop off into coverage and cover backs as well. His biggest weakness, is having his counter moves prepared in the trenches. If you can take away his first attempt, at times, he is slow to regroup and try his next move. This should be easy to correct since he is good at every move, and even has a decent bull rush due to his violent engagement off the snap.

Player Comparison: Atlanta Falcons OLB Vic Beasley

UTSA EDGE Marcus Davenport

M. Davenport

Skill Rating
Skill Rating
Bull Rush 8
Spin 5
Speed rush 8
Swim 6
Rip 8
Bend 6
Athleticism 8
Run Defense 6
Counter 6
Motor 9
OVERALL 70

Davenport is extremely long and quick off the snap. My biggest drawback with him is his inconsistent motor. Yes he is raw, but if you have a high motor you can dominate with his length and strength even when you are raw. I don’t see that often enough. Because he is so raw, he does not have a big repertoire of moves. As of right now he is strictly a speed rusher. He plays high, but when he turns the corner he can really bend. He also plays much stronger than testing will reveal. He has one move he uses often when he is not just running around the edge. He essentially gets his hand under the armpit of the lineman, and pushes them to the outside to open a line inside. It’s a pure power move. But its highly impressive. Los Angeles Rams DL Aaron Donald uses this move occasionally, but for Davenport it’s one of only two moves he possesses. He is very good at both though. There’s a lot to work with with this lump of clay, but to expect a huge impact early on is crazy talk. Too many flaws, and to be so long playing high can never be an option.

Player Comparison: Cincinnati Bengals EDGE Carlos Dunlap

UCF EDGE Shaquem Griffin

S. Griffin

Skill Rating
Skill Rating
Bull Rush 5
Spin 7
Speed rush 10
Swim 7
Rip 6
Bend 8
Athleticism 10
Run Defense 6
Counter 7
Motor 10
OVERALL 76

Griffin is a player I have been talking about for quite some time now. If you go back to the 2011 NFL Draft and watch the tape on Von Miller and you check the scouting reports, you see the exact same player. There’s only one difference, and no it’s not Griffin’s missing hand. It’s that Griffin is actually more explosive on tape than Miller was at Texas A&M. They both have/had size questions coming out, considering they specialize in rushing the passer and not playing traditional linebacker roles. The hand does not bother me as much as others for multiple reasons, actually. First and foremost, Griffin has been the best player on the field for three years straight in each and every game even with the missing hand. Let that sink in and go back and look at some of the players drafted from that conference. He was better than all of them. If not for his hand, he would likely be viewed as a top 15 pick. But nothing worries me less than the amount of players in the NFL each year that you see rocking some big bulky cast that does not allow them to use one of their hands. If they can play at a high level (see: New York Giants EDGE Jason Pierre-Paul), I say let the kid prove you right/wrong. He can really do it all. The guy is a helluva coverage assassin. It’s not easy to complete passes on him. Watch his tape. Give him two hands, and he would be a top pick without question.

Player Comparison: Denver Broncos EDGE Von Miller

USC Trojans EDGE Uchenna Nwosu

U. Nwosu

Skill Rating
Skill Rating
Bull Rush 5
Spin 7
Speed rush 9
Swim 7
Rip 6
Bend 7
Athleticism 8
Run Defense 6
Counter 9
Motor 6
OVERALL 70

Nwosu is a bit underrated because of what he could be if he ever worked to be more consistent. There are players that need to seek consistency and players that need to get physically better to to even have a chance to be more consistent. He is one of those guys that is already physically there, but is simply inconsistent too often. I actually love his ability to transition from move to move. He does a good job going from a rip, to a swim, to a pull. His hands are always moving. Watching his tape is like watching a kung-fu movie. His downfall is his feet are rarely in sync with his hands. He makes these moves but his feet are stationary rarely pushing up field. This should be something that a decent defensive coach can correct. His motor does come and go, but when it’s on he can apply pressure with the best of them. He has legit scary quickness when he pushes up field on the speed rush. Nwosu has the ability to hit 15 sacks a year, but he often shows you more of the guy that will likely settle for seven.

Player Comparison: Washington EDGE Ryan Kerrigan

Georgia Bulldogs EDGE Lorenzo Carter

L. Carter

Skill Rating
Skill Rating
Bull Rush 6
Spin 7
Speed rush 9
Swim 7
Rip 7
Bend 7
Athleticism 9
Run Defense 6
Counter 5
Motor 7
OVERALL 70

He’s eerily similar to another former Georgia linebacker: Leonard Floyd. The resemblance is stark. Maybe it’s a Georgia thing. Both are long, freakishly athletic players who underwhelm in the production department. However, both are going to make their fair share of splash plays. They’re going to get you that badly needed strip or fly off the ball around the edge for monster sack and will shock you and drop in coverage and make a play in the pass game. Still, neither is really good or great at any of the fundamentals of their position. Hand usage and technique lacks because they have gotten by for the entire life as the most gifted guy on the field. That doesn’t always work in the pros though. Carter will create a splash play, and flash from time to time, but he is raw. He is just simply gifted enough to get past that sometimes.

Player Comparison: Chicago Bears EDGE Leonard Floyd

LSU Tigers EDGE Arden Key

A. Key

Skill Rating
Skill Rating
Bull Rush 4
Spin 8
Speed rush 9
Swim 8
Rip 7
Bend 8
Athleticism 8
Run Defense 6
Counter 5
Motor 6
OVERALL 69

Again, it’s another comparison to an alumni from his school: Barkevious Mingo. He could be Arden Key’s dad. Like Mingo, it may take Key a few years to adjust the NFL due to his slim build. Both players are long athletic rushers that need to add strength. Key is a pure speed rusher. That is his entire game, but he is good at it. The problem with Key is maturity. Is he mature enough to learn his craft and be a double-digit sack monster, or will he BS his way to a pedestrian five to six sacks a year? Even as a rotational player, he should get you eight sacks. He has that much burst off the edge. He needs to get stronger and put on a little more weight to not be pushed off track easily in the pros, but he has "it". He is the most polarizing player off the edge in this year’s draft.

Player Comparison: Indianapolis Colts EDGE Barkevious Mingo

Oklahoma Sooners EDGE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo

O. Okoronkwo

Skill Rating
Skill Rating
Bull Rush 6
Spin 7
Speed rush 9
Swim 8
Rip 7
Bend 9
Athleticism 7
Run Defense 7
Counter 4
Motor 7
OVERALL 71

Speed is the name of the game here. His name isn’t mentioned enough among the best edge benders in this year’s draft, but he applies pressure at a ridiculously high rate. He lives in the backfield and is one of my favorite pass rushers. He has a good motor and an even better get off. He needs to add some bulk as the more powerful offensive tackles easily push him off track on his speed rushes. He also has next to no real bullrush ability against stout linemen. But he is so good at bending the corner that his pressure disrupts a lot of drop backs. It’s not just about the sacks. He forced a handful of interceptions and sacks for teammates by making the quarterback step up in the pocket or flush him out. He impacts the game a lot, and has knack for blowing up run plays because he gets in the backfield so fast, that he often tackles the ball carriers upon receiving the hand off.

Player Comparison: Miami Dolphins EDGE Robert Quinn

North Carolina St. EDGE Bradley Chubb

B. Chubb

Skill Rating
Skill Rating
Bull Rush 8
Spin 5
Speed rush 8
Swim 8
Rip 8
Bend 7
Athleticism 7
Run Defense 8
Counter 6
Motor 10
OVERALL 75

Chubb is probably the most complete edge rusher this year’s draft class has to offer. He is equally good at rushing the passer and setting the edge. The thing that you love most about him is his motor. Throw on the tape, and you often times see him 20 yards downfield making the tackle on a receiver. He never gives up and never folds on a play. He has a nice set of moves and can really surprise some with his speed. For a big guy, he has surprising burst and get off. He can turn the corner or translate speed into power. At times, you can see he has a tendency to play too high. That bad habit will get him in quite a bit of trouble at the next level. He also can be taken out of the play at times from being overaggressive and rushing without looking. His field awareness needs to improve. Overall, Chubb might be one of the more safe picks this years class has to offer.

Player Comparison: Cleveland Browns EDGE Myles Garrett


The order in which I rank my top ten does not reflect the order or round I think they will go in. My rankings are who I like most from 1-10, but I also offer the range I think they ultimately go in regardless of my ranking.

Top Ten 3-4 Edge

Rank Player School Projected Rd.
Rank Player School Projected Rd.
1 Bradley Chubb N.C. State Top 10
2 Harold Landry Boston College Top 20
3 Shaquem Griffin Central Florida Mid 2nd Rd
4 Ogbonnia Okoronkwo Oklahoma Early 2nd Rd
5 Marcus Davenport Texas San-Antonio Top 25
6 Uchenna Nwosu USC Late 2nd Rd
7 Lorenzo Carter Georgia Late 2nd Rd
8 Arden Key LSU 3rd Rd
9 Marquis Haynes Ole Miss 3rd-4th Rd
10 Jeff Holland Aubrun 3rd Rd