Nick Sitro’s 2020 NFL Draft Edge Rusher Rankings

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I’m not very high on edge rushers in this class. Some analysts believe that it is one of the deeper positional groups, but I would have to disagree. It is very top heavy, but the drop off is significant. Lets get into the rankings.

1. Chase Young, Ohio State

Chase Young is a top-two player in this draft. He is the next Nick Bosa and will be an elite player in year one. He has power, bend, agility and a number of counters. He sometimes struggles in the run game, but that doesn’t really concern me given his incredible skillset.

2. K’Lavon Chaisson, LSU

K’Lavon Chaisson wasn’t incredibly productive at LSU, but that doesn’t take away from his talent. He is an elite edge rusher with good bend and the ability to be physical in the run game. He has a very high ceiling, but needs to refine a few technique issues if he wants to reach his full potential.

3. A.J. Epenesa, Iowa

Turn on the tape against Nebraska and you’ll see just how good A.J. Epenesa can be. He has incredible ability to collapse the pocket and is great in run support. He doesn’t have the quickest get off, and isn’t your typical speed rusher. But I think Epenesa can make an immediate impact at the next level.

4. Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State

Yetur Gross-Matos projects more as a 4-3 defensive end, so I don’t think he is on the Buccaneers’ radar. He is very explosive, but doesn’t possess many counters, a trait you absolutely need to develop in the NFL. I think Gross-Matos can be plugged in as a run defender with eventual progression as a pass rusher.

5. Julian Okwara, Notre Dame

A prototypical speed rusher, Julian Okwara comes in at number five in my rankings. He has great burst off the edge and incredible bend to get around even the lengthiest offense tackles. I think he is best suited as a specialist before molding a full role.

6. Zack Baun, Wisconsin

I’m not particularly high on Zack Baun. The fact that he comes in at number six is an indication of how I feel about this draft class in general. Baun is an incredibly smart player, who should benefit from being lined up in multiple gaps. His length is lacking, but if he can use his quickness to his advantage, he can make an impact day one.

7. Curtis Weaver, Boise State

I am a bit lower on Curtis Weaver than most, but he doesn’t fit a speed rusher play style. He has great counters, but isn’t particularly flexible or twitchy. He can definitely make an impact at the next level, but I would like to see a bit more explosiveness.

8. Bradlee Anae, Utah

Bradlee Anae is a high motor player who has great hand technique, similar to Curtis Weaver. He can be a potential starter in the NFL given his versatility, but he needs to improve his run blocking fits and leverage on speed rushes to the outside.

9. Jonathan Greenard, Florida

Jonathan Greenard is a very raw defender, but he possesses a very high ceiling. He is more of a power rusher, and that can work in the NFL, but he needs to be more consistent. A wrist injury sidelined him for much of 2018, so he needs more experience to learn the nuances of the game.

10. Anfernee Jennings, Alabama

Anfernee Jennings has a solid set of counters, good length and adequate power that will translate to multiple positions in the NFL. He is not scheme dependent, and can play in both a 3-4 and 4-3. He isn’t overly explosive, but his other traits are developed enough for consistent production in the NFL.

 

 

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