Official Grades and Scouting Reports: 2019 Edge Rushers

Welcome, to the seventh of my official draft reports for the 2019 NFL draft. I will be going position by position giving a full report and grade on every player that I have scouted this season. Obviously, I can’t scout every single prospect in the entire country since I am a one man army and a full-time college student. I’ve tried to get at least 20 done at each position, so I think I’ve covered a pretty good chunk of the players who will be drafted. Each article will start with the worst and get to the best, so if you want to skip down to some of the better prospects you can do that.

Each profile will have some biographic data including name, school, year, height, weight, and “Red Flags”. It will also include a numerical value between 1 and 10 that will dictate there placement in the rankings. The number is calculated based on my own personal grading formula for draft prospects. The profile will have a “round grade” that is based on a scale that I will put at the end of this introduction. Round grades are not a prediction of where a player will get drafted, but where I think they should be drafted.  Last but not least, the profiles will include a small paragraph on my overall thoughts on the prospect and some explanation on their NFL outlook. I’ll try to explain some of each players strengths and weaknesses as well.  

As always you can hit me up on twitter (@DanteCollinelli) if you want to discuss my rankings further. I love talking ball with people so please let me know what you think.

 

Grading Scale

 

First-round: 8.75-10

Second-round: 8.74-7.45

Third-round: 7.44-6.15

Fourth round: 6.14-4.85

Fifth round: 4.84-3.55

Sixth round: 3.54- 2.25

Seventh round: 2.24- .095

UDFA: 0.94-0.0  

 

 

Number 27: CeCe Jefferson, Florida

Image result for cece jefferson

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6’1 and 242

Round Grade: 7

Number Grade: 1.66

Red Flags: None

 

Cece Jefferson is someone I had high hopes for coming into the college football season, but he fell way short. Jefferson has a pretty good first step out of his stance which can give him an early advantage. He does a good job in the run game using his hands to stack blocks and holds the edge on the outside. Jefferson starts to lose me when you get into his major pass-rushing traits. He doesn’t possess the bend that is required at the position and that’s my most important trait for an edge rusher. If Jefferson is gonna play in the NFL he’s gonna have to make an impact on special teams.

 

Number 26: Sutton Smith, Northern Illinois   

Image result for sutton smith niu

Class: RS Junior

Height/Weight: 6’0 and 225

Round Grade: 7

Number Grade: 2.11

Red Flags: None

 

I know that Sutton Smith has some fans out there, but I just don’t see it. Smith is a quick and fast edge rusher but doesn’t often win with speed around the edge if that makes sense. He has good lateral movement and will keep up when chasing people in open space but doesn’t have good speed around the edge. He has some good hand usage which allowed him to shed some blocks pretty quickly. Smith is just way too limited because of his size and lack of length for me. He gets washed out in the run game and gets swallowed up by bigger tackles. Smith strikes me as a good special teamer which is how he will have to make his bones in the league.

 

Number 25: Carl Granderson, Wyoming

Image result for carl granderson wyoming

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6’4 and 255

Round Grade: 7

Number Grade: 2.22

Red Flags: Injury and character concerns coming from Wyoming

 

Carl Granderson just couldn’t stay on the field during his years at Wyoming and it hurt his stock a lot. Granderson battled injuries and suspensions over the years which limited his tape. When he was on the field, Granderson showed some good hand usage to get to the passer like a cross chop and rip move. He was a good tackler and would run down plays from all over the field. Granderson lacks any kind of burst off the edge which is going to limit his game tremendously at the next level. I wouldn’t be surprised if Granderson didn’t get drafted at all due to his off-field and injury concerns. 

 

Number 24: Jonathan Ledbetter, Georgia

Image result for jonathan ledbetter

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6’3 and 277

Round Grade: 6

Number Grade: 2.65

Red Flags: None

 

When you first look at Ledbetter you see a player with the perfect frame to be an NFL edge player. When you pop in the tape, you see a player with heavy hands that can really hold the edge in the run game. The problem is that he doesn’t have any bend or pass rush moves to get to the quarterback. He just tries to overpower every single offensive tackle he faces and that’s gonna be harder at the next level. Ledbetter could fit a role as a run stopping edge player but his impact will be limited to that.

 

Number 23: Austin Bryant, Clemson

Image result for austin bryant

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6’5 and 265

Round Grade: 6

Number Grade: 3.02

Red Flags: None

 

Remember back in August when we were all told that Clemson had four first-round picks on the defensive line? Well, Austin Bryant did not live up to that hype at all. Not to take anything away from Clelin Ferrell, Christian Wilkins, and Dexter Lawrence because I like those players a lot. As for Bryant, he does a good job rushing with speed and making himself skinny to shoot through some gaps. Bryant showed a lot of promise as a stand-up rusher which is rare in this class so that’s something he’s got going for him. Bryant never rushes the passer with any kind of plan, so he’s got some awful reps on tape. His effort can bother me sometimes as well because he doesn’t run down every play that his teammates did. Bryant can provide some value as a backup stand-up edge player for a team but not much more.

 

Number 22: Jordan Brailford, Oklahoma State

Image result for jordan brailford oklahoma state

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6’3 and 250

Round Grade: 6

Number Grade: 3.10

Red Flags: None

 

Brailford is a tough player to scout because there are some flashes of brilliance but they are too few and far between. When it is an obvious passing situation Brailford does a good job pinning his ears back and creating some pressure. He has good natural length which showed up plenty on tape with him moving tackles off of his chest plate. Brailford has some of the worst hand usage in this class. He rarely gets his location correct and his punch is never well timed to stun the opposing lineman. Brailford will also struggle to string together multiple pass rush moves in a row when the first one fails. He needs a lot of development but everything he lacks is teachable. You can’t teach someone to have long arms and a good motor. Brailford might make it as a backup if he can refine his hand usage.

 

Number 21: Shareef Miller, Penn State

IMG_2157
Shareef Miller

Class: RS Junior

Height/Weight: 6’5 and 256

Round Grade: 6

Number Grade: 3.5

Red Flags: None

 

Miller was a player that I scouted back in August, and I was a pretty big fan of his sophomore tape. My thinking was that he would take a big jump in year three but that just didn’t happen at all. Miller has a good first step which he uses to put tackles on their heels right off the snap. Miller has some functional athleticism and looked like a smooth mover in space. He did a good job rushing the passer from the “wide 9” position which is rare for this class. Miller didn’t have a lot of success outside of the “wide 9” look so that makes him pretty limited as a pass rusher. Miller isn’t a good run defender at all. He doesn’t get down into his anchor quick enough plus his anchor isn’t that great anyway. Miller can serve a very specific purpose well but the lack of versatility is also his greatest weakness.

 

Number 20: LJ Collier, TCU

Image result for lj collier tcu

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6’4 and 276

Round Grade: 5

Number Grade: 3.91

Red Flags: None

 

There is some top 50 talk for Collier which is mind-boggling to me because he’s so unathletic. After watching his tape I was concerned that he didn’t meet the NFL thresholds for an edge player. His combine didn’t make me feel any better either. He finished in the 12th percentile for the short shuttle and 20th for the three-cone drill. The best thing that Collier has going for him is his natural power. He does a good job using a push and pull counter to create some separation for himself. He can also convert speed to power pretty well, but he doesn’t have a lot of speed so I wouldn’t bank on that. Collier is a fine rotational rusher at the next level, however, this top 50 talk needs to stop.

 

Number 19: Jaylon Ferguson, LA Tech

IMG_2404
Jaylon Ferguson

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6’5 and 269

Round Grade: 5

Number Grade: 4.21

Red Flags: None

 

Honestly, I feel bad for Jaylon Ferguson because he has had an awful draft process. First, he wasn’t allowed to workout out at the combine because he got into a fight during his freshman season. Second, at his pro-day which had a lot of NFL eyes, he ran an 8.08 three-cone. For reference, Ferguson is now the proud owner of the “worst three-cone of all time award”. I have never seen or heard of anyone running that slow in that drill. Here is the crazy part about Ferguson though. He is the NCAA all-time sack leader! That’s right, the guy who can’t bend or accelerate is the all-time sack leader. It boggles my mind to this day, and I expect for years to come. Ferguson did a good job of converting speed to power to overwhelm opposing tackles. He was also a pretty good run defender because he set a hard edge with his football IQ. I honestly don’t know what the future holds for Ferguson, but I wouldn’t bet on it till day-three.   

 

Number 18: D’Andre Walker, Georgia

Image result for d'andre walker georgia

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6’2 and 240

Round Grade: 5

Number Grade: 4.27

Red Flags: None

 

Walker is another player who has this cult following on Twitter who think he is a top 50 player, but again, I just don’t see it. Walker has powerful and heavy hands which he uses to get a hold of lineman and control the rep right off the snap. Walker has enough functional athletic ability to be an OLB at the next level which is a nice departure from Collier and Ferguson. The problem with Walker is that he lacks any kind of pass rush plan or pass rush counters. He doesn’t have the flexibility to bend the edge either so he’s pretty much just a run defender. He can use a bull rush to get to the passer but that’s about it. Walker does have a role at the next level as a rotational run defender for a team in a 4-3 defense.

Number 17: Wyatt Ray, Boston College

Image result for wyatt ray boston college

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6’3 and 250

Round Grade: 5

Number Grade: 4.36

Red Flags: None

 

There are a couple of colleges that I always find myself falling in love with their players. Even if I don’t rank their players high they are players that I would bang the table for. Boston College is becoming one of those schools for me so by extension I like Wyatt Ray a good bit. Ray has long quick strides which allows him to get up the rush arc fairly quickly. He always plays with a good pad level in the running game. He converts speed to power well especially when he can build up his speed a little bit before getting contacted. He moved pretty well in open spaces, so I think he has some athletic upside. Ray can struggle at times because he lacks both size and length which gets him eaten up at times. Ray also needs to develop some kind of pass rush counters if he wants to be a starter at the next level. I like Ray a lot as a developmental backup for a team who needs depth.

 

Number 16: Justin Hollins, Oregon

Image result for justin hollins

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6’4 and 238

Round Grade: 4

Number Grade: 5.25

Red Flags None

 

Hollins does a good job getting skinny in the run game to shoot gaps and make plays in the backfield. He does a good job using “arm over” and “jab” moves to create good rushing angles for himself to take advantage of. Hollins struggles to bend his hips and the edge to get to the quarterback. He almost never “corners” around the tackle, but instead, relies on either power or for the tackle to screw up by oversetting. Hollins provides some value as a rotational pass rusher while also having enough upside to be a real contributor at the next level.

 

Number 15: Jalen Jelks, Oregon

Image result for jalen jelks

Class: RS Senior

Height/Weight: 6’5 and 245

Round Grade: 4

Number Grade: 5.35

Red Flags: None

 

So, there are two Oregon edge rushers in this class that are draftable players. Honestly, I think Jelks and Hollins about the same, but when I sat down to give out grades Jelks finished just ahead of Hollins. I thought that Jelks had a great first step that allowed him to shoot gaps in the running game. Jelks had a lot of good bull rush reps on his tape where he used leg drive and lower body power to overwhelm his opposing linemen. Jelks has good fluidity in his hips which allowed him to change directions at the mesh point. Jelks had some trouble with his hand usage at Oregon. He would typically miss location and timing with his punches in the trenches. He also needs to add some more pass rush moves to his arsenal before he can be a legit threat. Jelks is another rotational player with some upside to be a starter someday.

 

Number 14: Maxx Crosby, Western Michigan

Image result for maxx crosby eastern michigan

Class: Junior

Height/Weight: 6’5 and 265

Round Grade: 4

Number Grade: 5.4

Red Flags: None

 

Crosby is an interesting small-school sleeper prospect to be aware of when day-two roles around even though I have him in the fourth round. Crosby does a nice job of using his length to create separation for himself in order to shed blocks. He has really good hang usage in the trenches. Crosby will use a pull and push move often that will get him some advantages when pass rushing. Crosby really struggles to play with any kind of power in both the passing and rushing game. Crosby doesn’t create any kind of push into the pocket so he relies solely on his hand usage to get to the quarterback. In the run game, he will get washed out way too easily because he lacks the functional strength to compete with the lineman. Crosby needs to grow into his frame more but he adds value right away as a rotational pass rusher with starter upside.

 

Number 13: Joe Jackson, Miami

IMG_2155
Joe Jackson

Class: Junior

Height/Weight: 6’5 and 258

Round Grade: 4

Number Grade: 5.53

Red Flags: None

 

Jackson is another player who I had high hopes for coming into the season but didn’t pan out the way I hoped. Jackson has some pretty insane upper body strength which helped him stun blockers with his hands and uproot them in the running game. Jackson flashed the ability to dip his shoulder and bend the edge but needs to do that more consistently at the next level. Jackson does a decent job as a stand-up rusher, especially, in the running game where he can show off his anchor. Jackson can really struggle to get off the line quickly and fire out of his stance. I noticed that he was typically the last player to get going on the Miami D-line. Jackson doesn’t look like a great athlete in space so his use as an OLB is limited. Jackson can be a situational pass rusher with a specialty in stopping the run.

 

Number 12: Zach Allen, Boston College

IMG_2156
Zach Allen

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6’5 and 285

Round Grade: 4

Number Grade: 5.81

Red Flags: None

 

Zach Allen is a super interesting player for a number of reasons. First, he doesn’t have a dynamic athletic profile but was still productive. Second, he played on both the inside and on the edge with good and bad reps from both spots. So, the question is where do you play him? My answer is simple. Just move him around depending on the matchup; Allen has great hand counters combined with short area quickness. He’s a stout run defender with a solid anchor and the football IQ to string out runs. Like I mentioned earlier, Allen is pretty limited athletically so he struggles to chase runners down in space and isn’t going to the corner the edge often. Allen has all the tools to be a reliable starter for many years but lacks the upside to be an elite player.

 

Number 11: Anthony Nelson, Iowa

Image result for anthony nelson iowa

Class: Junior

Height/Weight: 6’7 and 271

Round Grade: 4

Number Grade: 5.96

Red Flags: None

 

Nelson is a tricky prospect to get a grip on because he gets so hot and cold at times. He obviously impressive natural size standing at 6’7 and 271 pounds. With that comes natural length which is by far his best weapon has a pass rusher. There were some reps where he just pushed people off his chest plate and then drove them back into the quarterback. Nelson has strong hands in the running game which allows him to set hard edges. Here is the other problem with scouting Nelson. When I was watched his tape he appeared to be athletically challenged but he tested super well at the combine. He finished in the 92 percentile for the three-cone, however, I didn’t see a lot of burst on his tape. Nelson scares me because I don’t know what I am going to get. If he puts it together he could be a true force on the edge. If his testing is a fluke then you get an above average run defender at best.

 

Number 10: Ben Banogu, TCU

Image result for ben banogu

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6’4 and 249

Round Grade: 3

Number Grade: 6.30

Red Flags: None

 

Not going to lie it took me a couple of tape studies to come around on Banogu being a top 100 player on board but here we are. Banogu is currently my 86th overall player and I feel confident about that placement. He has some good pass rush moves like a club and swim combination that was pretty devastating. I liked Banogu in the running game because he always played with good leverage and set a hard edge. Banogu has a relentless motor and will chase down plays from all over the field. My concerns with Banogu are his first step and his ability to corner to the quarterback. Those two traits are my most important for edge rushers and he doesn’t check those boxes. Banogu has plenty of traits that will make him a decent threat off the edge but lacks the traits needed to be an elite threat.

 

Number 9: Oshane Ximines, Old Dominion

IMG_2443
Oshane Ximines

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6’3 and 247

Round Grade: 3

Number Grade: 6.40

Red Flags: None

 

I might be the only person in the draft community who didn’t drop Oshane Ximines down to a day three pick after the combine. Ximines didn’t do well in his size testing but he finished in the 66th percentile for the three-cone which isn’t bad. Ximines showed some short area quickness when attacking tackles who are off balance. I liked his swim and club move that he used to make most of his sacks. He’s a decent run defender with good closing burst while being a reliable tackler. Ximines doesn’t have great bend off the edge which limits his upside but that seems to be a theme in this class. Sometimes I have to question Ximines’ effort on the field because he doesn’t chase down every play the way you would want. Ximines can be a reliable pass rush option with some scheme flexibility at the next level.

 

Number 8: Christian Miller, Alabama

Image result for Christian Miller

Class: RS Senior

Height/Weight: 6’3 and 240

Round Grade: 3

Number Grade: 7.2

Red Flags: Injured throughout his time at Alabama.

 

Finally! Someone who can actually bend the edge with hip flexibility and ankle flexibility. Miller is being overlooked and this class, but I understand why. He isn’t on the field a whole lot because of injuries. When he was on the field, Miller showed an arsenal of pass rush moves with his favorite being a cross chop. Miller isn’t just a pass rusher either because he defends the run well. He has a good first punch which stuns blockers and allows him to set a hard edge. My biggest concern with Miller, outside of injuries, is his lack of burst out of his stance and at the line. He doesn’t fire out as fast as I would like. Miller can be an effective pass rusher off the edge and contribute right away if he can stay healthy.

 

Number 7: Jachai Polite, Florida

IMG_2360
Jachai Polite

Class: Junior

Height/Weight: 6’2 and 260  

Round Grade: 2

Number Grade: 8.05

Red Flags: None

 

Hey! Another edge rusher who actually has bend and can corner the edge to get to the quarterback! Polite has had one of the worst pre-draft processes in recent memory, but he hasn’t become a worse football player in that time. I’ll do a quick review in case you missed it. Polite showed up to the combine performed horribly in athletic testing, complained about teams being critical of him, and then left the combine early. Not a good look for some who was viewed as a first-round pick. I dropped him on board a little bit but I’m still super excited about the things he can do on a football field. He has the best natural bend in this class which is my number one trait for edge rushers. If Polite can get his off-field together, he can be a consistent speed threat off the outside.

 

Number 6: Chase Winovich, Michigan

Image result for Chase Winovich

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6’3 and 253

Round Grade: 2

Number Grade: 8.4

Red Flags: None

 

Chase Winovich has had one of the biggest draft rises during the pre-draft process than anybody else in this class. I just wanna say that Winovich spent most of the season inside of my top 50 and will finish 25th overall. Winovich has a great first step and I thought that he ran the edge with some good speed rushes. He has really refined hand usage which allows him to stack and control blocks in the run game. He had good production at Michigan unlike his teammate Rashan Gary. Winovich has plenty of pass rush moves in his arsenal such as a push/pull move, a club move, and a rip through move. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how good his motor is. My only gripe with Winovich is that he could do for a better anchor in the run game and could use his pass rush counters a tad more consistently. Winovich should be an instant starter at the next level.

 

Number 5: Montez Sweat, Mississippi State

IMG_2441
Montez Sweat

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6’5 and 241

Round Grade: 2

Number Grade: 8.47

Red Flags: Was flagged for a heart condition at the combine but was cleared soon after.

 

I can’t tell if I’m lower on Sweat than most people or if I’m in the middle. He’s got one of the highest round two grades in the class, so I like him a good bit. Sweat is a fantastic power rusher; there are some truly impressive reps of him just putting opposing tackles into the ground. His leg drive allows him to just push tackles back into the pocket with ease. He’s an athletic freak with some crazy combine numbers such as 99th percentile 40-yard dash, 82nd percentile three-cone, and 92nd percentile broad jump. With all of that said, I do have some legit concerns that keep him out of the first round for me. Sweat didn’t show any bend in his hips, despite his off the wall testing, or in his ankles to corner the edge to the quarterback. He’s a bit of a one trick pony at times because his pass rush counters are underdeveloped. I expect Sweat to come in and start right away for a team in need of edge help.

 

Number 4: Clelin Ferrell, Clemson

IMG_2154
Clelin Ferrell

Class: Junior

Height/Weight: 6’5 and 260

Round Grade: 1

Number Grade: 8.81

Red Flags: None

 

I am so sick of people slandering Clelin Ferrell by saying he’s a second-round player or that he doesn’t have upside. Ferrell is one of the most reliable players in this entire draft class while also being one of the most technically sound. Ferrell has a good first step to challenge tackles right off the bat and the elite hand usage to grab ahold of them to control the rep. He does a good job stringing together pass rush moves when his first one gets shut down. He did a good job making himself skinny in the run game in order to shoot some gaps. He’s got a good enough anchor to set a hard edge in the running game. Ferrell has excellent football IQ and always knows how the offense is trying to attack him. The one thing about Ferrell that I don’t like is that he can be stiff in the hips at times which limits his ability to bend the edge effectively. Ferrell is a day-one starter and a day-one contributor.

 

Number 3: Josh Allen, Kentucky

IMG_2163
Josh Allen

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6’4 and 230

Round Grade: 1

Number Grade: 9.15

Red Flags: None

 

Josh Allen took the long and winding road to the NFL by staying his senior season even though he probably would have gone on day-two last year. Allen led the NCAA in sacks and was named the top defensive lineman in the SEC this past season. Allen is a classic speed rusher who wins with a deadly first step and elite bend around the edge. If you couldn’t tell that is the type of edge player I love. He has a great forearm sweep and shallow rip in his pass rush arsenal already. Something that stood out to me was how good he was in space even making some plays when asked to cover. The only thing holding Allen back is that he can be a little one-dimensional at times as a rusher; he could use some more power in his game. Allen should be a consistent threat from day one in the NFL.

 

Number 2: Brian Burns, Florida State

IMG_2444
Brian Burns

Class: Junior

Height/Weight: 6’5 and 250

Round Grade: 1

Number Grade: 9.19

Red Flags: None

 

I didn’t like Brain Burns for pretty much the entire college football season. He was in my top 50 for the most part but he didn’t get me excited. I thought he was way too thin and one dimensional as a pass rusher. Once I started my deep dive into his tape (and he weighed in at 250 at the combine) I realized how wrong I was about him. Burns has an insane first step off the line with great burst and suddenness that puts tackles on their heels right off the bat. Burns has some rare flexibility in his hips allowing him to corner the edge quicker than just about anybody. In the running game, he uses his long arms to create some separation off his chest plate. I liked his hand placement and usage for the most part as well. Burns came in heavier than I expected but he still gets washed out a little too much in the run game at times. Burns is my number 4 overall player and should be a star in the league.

 

Number 1: Nick Bosa, Ohio State

IMG_2153
Nick Bosa

Class: Junior

Height/Weight: 6’3 and 270

Round Grade: 1

Number Grade: 9.50

Red Flags: Torn ACL in high school and a core muscle surgery this year.

 

I hope this doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone because I have never wavered in my support of Nick Bosa. Bosa is my number one overall player in this class, and I don’t plan on changing that any time soon. Bosa has an elite first step which really puts tackles into a defense mode pretty quickly. Bosa has elite hand usage in the trenches which allows him to pretty much control every single rep. He has plenty of very effective pass rush moves including club, spins, and rip through which killed tackles. Bosa is a stout run defender as well with a great anchor and football IQ to identify what an offense is trying to do. The only problem with Bosa is that he has a tendency to get hurt. Bosa is an instant impact player and an instant starter at the NFL level.

 

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