NFL Draft 400: Ranking the Draft's Top Edge-Rushers

Matt Miller@nfldraftscoutNFL Draft Lead WriterApril 17, 2019

NFL Draft 400: Ranking the Draft's Top Edge-Rushers

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    After 11 months of evaluations, conversations with scouts and coaches, and endless nights on the road or at games, our staff is finally ready to answer the burning questions surrounding the 2019 NFL draft.

    Who is the best overall player? How about the best at each position?

    The goal of the NFL Draft 400 series is to figure that out.

    The top 400 players were tracked, scouted, graded and ranked, with help from scouting assistants Marshal Miller and Jerod Brown. Together, we viewed tape of a minimum of three games per player—the same standard NFL teams use.

    Oftentimes, we saw every play from a prospect over the last two years. That led to the grades, rankings and scouting reports you see here.

    Players were graded on strengths and weaknesses with a pro-player comparison added to match the prospect's style or fit in the pros. The top 400 players will be broken down by position for easy viewing before the release of a top-400 big board prior to the draft, which begins April 25 in Nashville, Tennessee.

    In the case of a tie, players were ranked based on their overall grades in our top 400.

         

Grading Scale

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    At the end of each scouting report, you'll see a final grade that falls somewhere between 4.00 and 9.00. This scale comes from the teaching I received from Charley Casserly, Michael Lombardi and other former or current front-office personnel in the NFL.

    This applies to all positions across the board.

                         

    Matt Miller's NFL Draft Grading Scale
    GradeLabel
    9.00Elite—No. 1 pick
    8.00-8.99All-Pro—Rare Talent
    7.50-7.99Round 1—Pro Bowl Potential
    7.00-7.49Round 1—Top-15 Player Potential
    6.50-6.99Round 2—Rookie Impact/Future Starter
    6.00-6.49Round 3—Rookie Impact/Future Starter
    5.80-5.99Round 3-4—Future Starter
    5.70-5.79Round 4—Backup Caliber
    5.60-5.69Round 5—Backup Caliber
    5.30-5.59Round 6—Backup Caliber
    5.10-5.25Round 7—Backup Caliber
    5.00Priority Free Agent
    4.50-4.99Camp Player

31. Jamal Davis, Akron

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    STRENGTHS

    —Impressive tester at the NFL combine who might be looked at as a situational pass-rusher or potential transition to linebacker.

    —Interesting body type with a lean frame but eye-popping length (34¼-inch arms and 10¼-inch hands).

    —Has experience at off-ball linebacker and could see a move back there or at least a good number of snaps standing up in space.

    —Athletic and fast enough to be a very good contributor on special teams.

    —Uses his arm length and hand size well to stun blockers and create separation.

             

    WEAKNESSES

    —Does not have ideal NFL size at 6'3" and 243 pounds and will need to bulk up to play as a full-time pass-rusher.

    —Will need to add functional size and strength depending on NFL scheme he's drafted into.

    —Struggles to unlock his lower body and is very stiff turning the corner; all-around agility is poor.

    —Slow to read and react; is late off the ball.

    —Limited reps at edge and limited reps at linebacker make him a tweener. Teams will have to use their imagination when projecting how he fits.

             

    OVERALL

    A solid developmental prospect in space who might be best suited to play special teams early on, Jamal Davis tested much better in the predraft process than expected on tape. That shows potential that he could be developed at the next level. Teams should be willing to take a flier on that potential late in the draft.

              

    GRADE: 5.20 (ROUND 7 — BACKUP CALIBER)

    PRO COMPARISON: JT Jones

30. Ronheen Bingham, Arkansas State

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    Chris Thelen/Getty Images

    STRENGTHS

    —Highly productive pass-rusher credited with 18.5 tackles for a loss and nine sacks.

    —First step can be impossible to deal with; has the quickness to get into the backfield before tackles are out of their stance.

    —Quick and light on his feet with easy movements in space; change of direction is high-level.

    —Play strength and intensity are exactly what teams want.

    —Utilizes a nice bull rush and can rock back blockers when he beats them out of their stance.

    —Still has development potential after just two seasons at a smaller college.

            

    WEAKNESSES

    —Very undersized at 6'2", 227 pounds and has just 30-inch arms.

    —Tore his MCL in Arkansas State's bowl game and wasn't able to participate in the predraft process.

    —Spent just two seasons at ASU after starting at Hutchinson Community College and needs work on his technique and timing.

    —Dominated against lower levels of competition and is untested against NFL-caliber talent.

    —Can't keep blockers off his frame because of lack of length. Offensive tackles with pro-level speed will quickly get into his body with their ability to match his speed.

            

    OVERALL

    A late-season MCL tear was terrible for Ronheen Bingham after a dominant 2018 season and tape that shows very good overall athleticism. Because of the injury and his below-average size, Bingham looks like a late Day 3 project and likely impact player on special teams. Once healthy, he could be an asset as a situational pass-rusher.

             

    GRADE: 5.25 (ROUND 7 — BACKUP CALIBER)

    PRO COMPARISON: Marquis Haynes

29. Landis Durham, Texas A&M

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    STRENGTHS

    —Had a breakout season in 2017 with 10.5 sacks and 11 tackles for a loss and then backed it up with a good repeat performance in 2018 (7.0 sacks, 10.5 TFLs).

    —Opened eyes at Shrine practices and got scouts talking about his potential as a developmental rusher.

    —Strong upper body and shows power in his hands that are active and efficient.

    —Has a nice second gear that lets him catch up to runners in pursuit.

    —Natural instincts as a rusher show up when asked to counter what offensive tackles throw at him.

           

    WEAKNESSES

    —Not very long and not very tall; short for a defensive end or outside linebacker at 6'2"; has a short, compact frame.

    —Gets caught in the mud rushing around the edge and doesn't have the needed hip flexibility or bend to turn the corner.

    —Needs coaching up to work on a fuller repertoire of pass-rushing moves.

    —First-step burst isn't good enough for a player who lacks size; teams will want to see better technique in order to move him up boards.

    —Appeared to take plays off in 2018, and some scouts wondered if he was afraid to get hurt.

             

    OVERALL

    Landis Durham was an exciting playmaker for Texas A&M the last two seasons, but his limitations as an athlete and his smaller stature won't help his cause. He has potential late and could work his way onto a roster, as scouts like his character and work ethic plus positional versatility.

           

    GRADE: 5.35 (ROUND 6 — BACKUP CALIBER)

    PRO COMPARISON: Kasim Edebali

28. Wyatt Ray, Boston College

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    STRENGTHS

    —Four-year contributor who started every game for Boston College in 2018 and had nine sacks with 11.5 tackles for a loss.

    —Uses his length well to create separation and will keep offensive linemen off his frame.

    —Strong hands let him rip away from the hands of blockers.

    —Has some developmental potential after sitting behind Harold Landry for two years.

    —Body isn't maxed out and has room for him to add strength.

    —First-year starting production is very encouraging.

              

    WEAKNESSES

    —Struggled at the combine and posted a pedestrian 40-yard time of 4.83 seconds with a 7.34 time in the three-cone.

    —Lacks burst out of his stance; doesn't stun blockers with speed or quickness.

    —Balance and change-of-direction skills are below average.

    —Doesn't run down ball-carriers or quarterbacks because of below-average speed in the open field.

    —Doesn't play as strong as he looks and will need to add lower-body strength.

              

    OVERALL

    Wyatt Ray was a blast to watch as he worked his way to top-tier production, but his lack of speed and poor power at the point of attack aren't good enough to make him more than a developmental player and potential backup. Ray's ability to play 4-3 defensive end will help his case with pro teams.

            

    GRADE: 5.35 (ROUND 6 — BACKUP CALIBER)

    PRO COMPARISON: Joe Ostman

27. Sutton Smith, Northern Illinois

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    STRENGTHS

    —Highly productive small-schooler who posted 26.5 tackles for a loss and 15 sacks in 2018.

    —Elite testing time (6.75 seconds) in the three-cone drill, which measures agility and body control. Also turned in a very good 4.69-second 40-yard dash.

    —Was unstoppable in college with his motor and nonstop style as a pass-rusher.

    —Will likely see a position change in the NFL and has the body type and athleticism to move to linebacker and play on special teams.

    —Attacks the play with a plan and is able to get through his pass-rush moves.

            

    WEAKNESSES

    —Undersized for the NFL at 6'0", 233 pounds and only 30¾-inch arm length.

    —Was shut down by pro-level talent at the Senior Bowl.

    —Has no experience in coverage and must learn to better handle duties in space.

    —Change of direction is bad with poor ability to adjust on the go.

             

    OVERALL

    Sutton Smith was a top-tier producer for Northern Illinois, leading many fans to pay attention to his predraft process. Unfortunately, Smith doesn't have the size or athleticism to make a splash as an impact pass-rusher once he gets to the NFL. A move to linebacker and a lot of reps on special teams are in his future with a potential rotational role as a pass-rusher.

               

    GRADE: 5.35 (ROUND 6 — BACKUP CALIBER)

    PRO COMPARISON: Skai Moore

26. Maxx Crosby, Eastern Michigan

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    Michael Reaves/Getty Images

    STRENGTHS

    —High-upside prospect with the athleticism and production to encourage teams to gamble on his potential.

    —Beat up tackles on inside and outside rush moves and is a creative rusher with his use of speed.

    —Long-armed and uses arms well to create separation in the run and pass game.

    —Has the overall athleticism to shake blockers in space and will crossface with adequate quickness.

    —Runs down the ball consistently and has open-field speed.

            

    WEAKNESSES

    —Needs to add functional strength and more bulk to his frame. Lean, linear prospect.

    —Play strength is way below average; will be tagged as a developmental project over immediate contributor.

    —Dominated smaller-school competition and hasn't been tested by elite blockers.

    —Gets caught standing up out of his stance, which is disastrous for a small-chested defender.

    —Hasn't shown a thorough arsenal of pass-rush moves and tries to always win with speed.

             

    OVERALL

    Maxx Crosby offers a blank canvas for NFL teams to develop, but because of that he will need one or two seasons of work from coaches and the strength staff. His long build and lean frame offer room for added strength, which is what teams will want. If he can realize his potential, Crosby has future starter tools.

              

    GRADE: 5.40 (ROUND 6 — BACKUP CALIBER)

    PRO COMPARISON: Jeremiah Attaochu

25. Malik Carney, North Carolina

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    STRENGTHS

    —Versatile, productive pass-rushing prospect who also has experience as a stack linebacker.

    —Athletic, easy mover who can drop a surprising bull rush on tackles but also win outside with quickness.

    —Natural mover with ideal pad height, balance and flexibility.

    —Has experience playing in space and in zone coverage, which could prompt a move to linebacker.

    —Great tackler who uses his length well to attack the ball.

    —Made the most of his snaps in 2018 by notching 12 tackles for a loss, six sacks and five forced fumbles in eight games.

             

    WEAKNESSES

    —Suspended by the NCAA after selling team-issued shoes and missed four games.

    —Tested poorly (7.4-second three-cone) for his size at 6'2", 251 pounds; workouts and tape show a lack of burst and flexibility.

    —Is slow to develop and get into his pass-rushing moves.

    —Late to read and react and will get sucked into the backfield on misdirection.

    —Needs time to develop his pass-rush technique and learn countermoves.

             

    OVERALL

    Malik Carney was handed a tough punishment by the NCAA with a four-game suspension, but he got back onto the field and made the most of his senior season. He projects as a potential sub-package or rotational rusher who could offer developmental linebacker traits too.

            

    GRADE: 5.40 (ROUND 6 — BACKUP CALIBER)

    PRO COMPARISON: Shane Ray

24. Justin Hollins, Oregon

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    STRENGTHS

    —Long pass-rusher with excellent speed and all-around athletic ability that will excite coaches and scouts.

    —Has experience at linebacker and in a pass-rushing role; teams will value his versatility and the raw clay he offers coaching staffs.

    —Uses his length well and can stick offensive tackles and then adjust off their position and counter blockers.

    —First step is fast and impactful.

    —Experience in coverage is a major plus.

             

    WEAKNESSES

    —Underweight prospect (248 lbs) on a lean frame who must add bulk and strength to be effective at the next level.

    —Gets pushed around easily in the run game and cannot set the edge consistently due to a lack of play power.

    —Plays way too tall out of his stance and must learn to play with lower pad height.

    —Didn't look dominant in any one phase of the game.

    —Makes more plays down the field and doesn't attack well at the line of scrimmage.

             

    OVERALL

    Justin Hollins is an intriguing athlete who can be developed into something better if coached up and bulked up physically. His great showing at the NFL combine—4.50 in the 40-yard dash, 7.06 three-cone and 4.40 short shuttle—are unique enough that teams will overlook some technical flaws in his game.

            

    GRADE: 5.50 (ROUND 6 — BACKUP CALIBER)

    PRO COMPARISON: Shilique Calhoun

23. Jordan Brailford, Oklahoma State

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    Brody Schmidt/Associated Press

    STRENGTHS

    —Scheme-versatile pass-rusher who lined up all over the defense for Oklahoma State in 2018 with reps at end, outside linebacker and even middle linebacker.

    —First step is special with the ability to win the rep early on.

    —Plays bigger than his weight and will set the edge with good success against pulling blockers.

    —Quickness is there to cross up offensive tackles after setting a hard outside move in his pass rush.

    —Was asked to play in coverage and looked fluid in zone drops and when reading the field.

              

    WEAKNESSES

    —Undersized for a defensive end role at 6'3", 252 pounds with only 32½-inch arm length; only weighed 241 pounds at Shrine practices but bulked up for combine.

    —Missed 2016 season with a shin injury and needed shoulder surgery before the 2017 season.

    —Change of direction is limited, and his overall agility is not that of a starting pass-rusher.

    —Below-average tackler who can't stick runners in the open field.

    —Doesn't have the body control to consistently bend around the edge; is on the ground too often.

           

    OVERALL

    Jordan Brailford has some exciting traits as a stand-up pass-rusher or potential convert to linebacker, but his injury history and small frame are cause enough to drop him down the board. His production is hard to overlook, but he wasn't often challenged by future NFL talent in the Big 12. A late-round selection and early spot as a rotational pass-rusher are most likely for Brailford.

              

    GRADE: 5.60 (ROUND 5 — BACKUP CALIBER)

    PRO COMPARISON: Shaquil Barrett

22. John Cominsky, Charleston

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    STRENGTHS

    —Former high school quarterback who added almost 70 pounds in college but maintained top-tier athleticism.

    —Very aggressive and urgent player out of his stance; will push and rock linemen with a bull rush.

    —Stands out against the run and uses his athletic gifts well to slant and splash through gaps to get to the ball-carrier.

    —Is violent enough in his first step to move the line of scrimmage and walk back offensive linemen.

    —Is fast enough in the open field to be very impressive in pursuit of the ball.

             

    WEAKNESSES

    —Has weight room strength but must be better at converting that onto the field.

    —Doesn't bring much juice as an outside pass-rusher and could see a permanent move inside if he can keep adding strength.

    —Slow reactor who unleashes his pass-rush moves late in the process and did so while challenged by below-average talent at Charleston.

    —Needs developing to learn how to best attack a lineman with moves other than power.

             

    OVERALL

    John Cominsky is a traits-based small-school performer who looked good in practices at the Senior Bowl and then impressed with his times at the combine. He is a raw prospect who needs his angles, reactive movements and counters developed. Cominsky is worth a late-round flier as a potential diamond in the rough as a 4-3 tackle or 3-4 end.

              

    GRADE: 5.60 (ROUND 5 — BACKUP CALIBER)

    PRO COMPARISON: Margus Hunt

21. Porter Gustin, USC

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    STRENGTHS

    —Big (6'4", 255 lbs) edge-rusher with awesome length (33-inch arms) and hand size (10") who looks the part of an NFL starter.

    —Excellent jamming up tight ends at the line of scrimmage; will extend his arms and then shed them with good power.

    —Strong throughout his frame and is tough to slow down or stop when he's coming at full speed off the edge.

    —High-motor player who is determined to counter when his initial rush is stopped.

    —Good power at the point of attack and can shed pulling guards or tight ends.

    —Uses his hands well to disengage from blockers.

             

    WEAKNESSES

    —Three injuries in two seasons have to be considered since he suffered a broken toe, biceps injury and broken ankle.

    —Injuries have taken a toll on his athleticism and flexibility.

    —Burst is below average, likely because of injuries, but if it returns to early career levels, he could be a surprise.

    —Read-and-react can be slow, and he too often lacks urgency in making plays.

               

    OVERALL

    Porter Gustin looked like a future first-rounder early in his career at USC, but injuries took over, and he never reached his potential. If teams believe they have the trick to keeping him healthy, he could be a surprise from Day 3 of the 2019 NFL draft.

              

    GRADE: 5.60 (ROUND 5 — BACKUP CALIBER)

    PRO COMPARISON: Mario Addison

20. Jalen Jelks, Oregon

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    STRENGTHS

    —Exceptional size (6'5", 256 lbs) and length (34⅝" arms) for the position with a naturally athletic look.

    —Played on the inside and outside of the defensive line at Oregon and developed many different pass-rush moves.

    —Can flatten the corner and work to the quarterback with good closing speed.

    —Can convert speed to power and keep tackles off balance.

            

    WEAKNESSES

    —Has the size but lacks the strength to play as a 4-3 end and will get moved around too easily in the run game.

    —Gets moved off his position by powerful blockers by allowing linemen to get into his frame.

    —Lacks the instincts and strength to be effective vs the run.

    —Most of his tackles come in piles, not solos.

             

    OVERALL

    Jalen Jelks is a lanky edge-rusher with the ability to get after the quarterback in a variety of ways. Oregon utilized his skills on the inside and outside, which helped him develop the pass-rush moves he has today. As teams look for a great fit for their schemes, Jelks may be best suited in the 3-4, where he could use his length and speed to get to the quarterback.

            

    GRADE: 5.65 (ROUND 5 — BACKUP CALIBER)

    PRO COMPARISON: George Selvie

19. Jonathan Ledbetter, Georgia

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    STRENGTHS

    —Plays with good leverage and punch at the point of contact.

    —Can dig his cleats in and maintain his position with a strong anchor.

    —Good instincts and vision vs. the run game and plays with enough power to impact the line of scrimmage.

    —Could potentially line up as an interior defensive lineman (3-technique) on pass-rushing downs.

    —Too strong for tight ends and too quick for tackles when rushing the quarterback.

              

    WEAKNESSES

    —Role-specific player based on size (6'4", 280 lbs) and combine testing who will get the tweener label.

    —Lacks the first step and closing speed to be a true pass-rusher on the outside.

    —Limited pass-rush production at Georgia and never popped off the tape as someone offensive lines had to scheme for.

    —Unable to get into the pocket to make plays or pressures on the quarterback.

             

    OVERALL

    Jonathan Ledbetter may be best suited to move to the inside, at least on passing downs. He lacks the bulk to be a true defensive lineman but lacks the quickness to be a true edge-rusher. His high-effort plays and lack of athleticism make him a better candidate to move inside rather than outside.

            

    GRADE: 5.70 (ROUND 4 — BACKUP CALIBER)

    PRO COMPARISON: Jack Crawford

18. Austin Bryant, Clemson

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    Jeffrey McWhorter/Associated Press

    STRENGTHS

    —Length pops off the tape. Even while sharing the field with Clelin Ferrell, Austin Bryant looked the part on the hoof and impressed with his body type and length.

    —Has the bulk to be viewed as a strong-side end, the position he played at Clemson, and is a valuable prospect given his experience as a 4-3 SDE.

    —Uses his hands and strength to free himself from blockers; knows how to use his length to keep blockers off his frame and finds separation well.

    —Works back up the pocket if his initial rush has failed and will counter with strength to move the pocket.

             

    WEAKNESSES

    —Production created by teammates more than by his own skills. Was too often cleaning up the plays made by others.

    —Below-average bend and stiffness in his lower body mean he may not transition to a stand-up rusher.

    —Plays with poor lower-body balance and is often very upright in his post-stance moves.

    —One-dimensional pass-rusher who has to learn countermoves with his hands.

             

    OVERALL

    Some scouts have questioned Bryant's production, saying it came from his teammates and that he was the only Clemson defensive lineman who didn't consistently see double-teams. Bryant will struggle to produce off the edge because of a lack of lower-body athleticism but could develop into a nice counter piece to a quick edge-rusher.

             

    GRADE: 5.99 (ROUND 3-4 — FUTURE STARTER)

    PRO COMPARISON: Kony Ealy

17. Shareef Miller, Penn State

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    STRENGTHS

    —Has all the physical gifts (height, weight and speed) to be a Pro Bowl pass-rusher.

    —Can fit into both 3-4 and 4-3 schemes; plays well in space and is comfortable firing out of a three-point stance.

    —Can beat opponents with his hands or feet with speed-and-power combination that allows him to alter his pass-rush plan on the fly.

    —Closes on ball-carriers efficiently and is a smooth tackler in space. One of the better players in pursuit from the edge class.

    —First-step speed is very good and allows him to make an early impact in the backfield.

            

    WEAKNESSES

    —Has to develop the skills to go along with his talent; isn't very technically sound with his hand use and loses early leverage.

    —Offensive linemen are able to get under his pads, and he lacks the power to consistently shed them.

    —Hips and shoulders can be stiff on the bend.

    —Doesn't do any one thing well and will struggle to win in the NFL unless he can develop pass-rush skills.

            

    OVERALL

    Shareef Miller has the size and talent to play in any scheme, which will boost his draft stock. He's also a very coachable player with the desire to succeed at the next level. It wouldn't be a surprise if Miller is a better and more productive NFL player than he was in college.

              

    GRADE: 5.99 (ROUND 3-4 — FUTURE STARTER)

    PRO COMPARISON: Aaron Lynch

16. Ben Banogu, TCU

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    STRENGTHS

    —Great burst and athletic testing at the combine show up on tape with very good overall athleticism.

    —Has the strength and feet to work inside and outside with pass-rush moves to set up and counter blockers.

    —Speed to chase down all ball-carriers on the backside. Knowledge to stay home. Good overall awareness.

    —Can maintain and shuck blockers in the run game. Uses his hands well to anchor.

             

    WEAKNESSES

    —Poor tackler who ducks his head and loses sight of his target.

    —Lacks bend when rushing outside and must be more consistent at sinking his hips and showing flexibility.

    —Easily pushed outside plays in both the passing and running game.

    —Predictively uses an inside pass rush when he is capable of going to the outside.

               

    OVERALL

    Ben Banogu has value in the middle rounds with upside to become an above-average pass-rusher in any defensive scheme. While he has the tools to rush from the outside, too many times he forces his rush inside, and NFL tackles will be ready for it. If Banogu can mix up his pass-rush moves and develop a few more outside moves, he can contribute on day one as a third-down rusher.

              

    GRADE: 6.15 (ROUND 3 — ROOKIE IMPACT)

    PRO COMPARISON: Bruce Irvin

15. Charles Omenihu, Texas

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    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    STRENGTHS

    —Can shift inside to 3-technique in third-down pass-rush situations and offers scheme versatility.

    —Size (6'5", 280 lbs) and length (36" arms) to play in three- and four-front defenses with good play power.

    —Has the speed and power to stunt from the outside position to the inside; offers a long arm move to keep blockers off his frame and then quickness to get underneath.

    —Arm length and upper-body strength equate to a deadly punch, keeping him free from offensive tackles.

    —Is athletic enough to show some developmental potential once allowed to one-gap and rush more often instead of being asked to two-gap consistently like he was at Texas.

              

    WEAKNESSES

    —Lacks the bend and hip flexibility to play edge; won't be seen as a fit in a 3-4 scheme as an edge, but more of a 5-technique.

    —Athleticism may be an issue, as he looks stiff at times and isn't a twitchy mover.

    —First-step quickness leaves more to be desired; can get too tall out of his stance and surrender his frame to blockers.

    —Utilizes a bull rush almost exclusively and was flagged by scouts for not giving great effort in non-pass-rushing situations.

              

    OVERALL

    Charles Omenihu is in a unique situation where his size is both a blessing and a curse. He is a little too small to play end in a 3-4 but a little too big to be an edge-rusher. This puts Omenihu in the tweener category. Teams like the Patriots have thrived on drafting these types of players and playing multiple defensive packages and defensive fronts, which is why some mocks have had Omenihu as high as pick No. 32. Omenihu will ideally provide a team with good run support on first and second down and shift to the inside on 3rd-and-long.

              

    GRADE: 6.20 (ROUND 3 — ROOKIE IMPACT)

    PRO COMPARISON: Taco Charlton

14. Oshane Ximines, Old Dominion

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    STRENGTHS

    —Plays quick with excellent agility and strong hands to break free from tackles.

    —Offers a variety of pass-rush moves and is NFL-ready with his arsenal as a pass-rusher.

    —Consistently pressures the quarterback with hurries and sack production.

    —First step is quick off the snap and puts offensive linemen off-balance.

    —Smart player with good read-and-react ability and has the instincts to counter as a pass-rusher.

              

    WEAKNESSES

    —Level of competition concerns scouts who wanted to see him attack top-tier tackles.

    —Quickness was a concern, and a poor 20-yard shuttle did not help his cause.

    —Below average against the run and as an open-field tackler; struggles to make an impact setting the edge.

    —Lacks flexibility and quickness for teams that run a three-man front.

             

    OVERALL

    Oshane Ximines lacks ideal size for 4-3 teams and flexibility for 3-4 teams, but his pass-rush toolbox will inspire teams to put those concerns aside. His value on Day 2 of the draft (Rounds 2 and 3) will soar after we see a possible six edge-rushers selected in Round 1.

              

    GRADE: 6.30 (ROUND 3 — FUTURE STARTER)

    PRO COMPARISON: Nate Orchard

13. D'Andre Walker, Georgia

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    STRENGTHS

    —Had great production in his biggest games and was a standout against elite SEC competition.

    —Good hip bend and shoulder lean to turn the corner.

    —Has been effectively used to get after the quarterback or drop in coverage, a rarity for his position.

    —Uses his upper- and lower-body strength to fight off and work around blockers.

    —Athletic upside to become a better, more well-rounded rusher.

             

    WEAKNESSES

    —Just a one-year starter at Georgia and suffered an injury late in the season that kept him from competing throughout the draft process.

    —Inconsistency against the run and in his tackling has shown up on film.

    —Initial hand use is poor, including a weak punch.

    —Production may have been created by his teammates and scheme rather than tools and instincts.

              

    OVERALL

    D'Andre Walker does not have ideal size (6'2", 251 lbs) for a 4-3 defensive end and may lack the feet to be a 3-4 linebacker. Those questions could have been easily answered during the draft process, but a nagging injury kept him off the field. The injury combined with being a one-year starter will most likely result in a Day 3 selection by a team that's willing to take a chance on a developmental project at the edge position.

           

    GRADE: 6.35 (ROUND 3 — FUTURE STARTER)

    PRO COMPARISON: Dee Ford

12. Joe Jackson, Miami

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    STRENGTHS

    —Exceptional size and build for a player coming into the NFL. Shows good durability.

    —Good strength in his base and upper body. Can set the edge and bull-rush through top tackle talent.

    —Plays with good leverage for a player his height.

    —Adds pressure to the pocket even when he is not getting to the quarterback.

    —Had a major impact in his final season at Miami, and scouts raved about his upside and work ethic.

              

    WEAKNESSES

    —Slow first step. Has to commit to a power-rush move.

    —Lacks the necessary bend to be an elite edge-rusher.

    —The majority of his play comes from a three-point stance. May be limited to teams that run a 4-3 defense.

    —Needs to learn to counter his initial pass-rush move by using his hands and having a plan in place.

            

    OVERALL

    Joe Jackson has great size (6'4", 275 lbs) and, more importantly, strength for his position. His transition to the NFL will be much more effective in a 4-3 defense with the option to kick inside on passing downs. We view him as a 4-3 end because he hasn't shown the kind of athletic ability to be a stand-up edge-rusher.

             

    GRADE: 6.35 (ROUND 3 — FUTURE STARTER)

    PRO COMPARISON: Calvin Pace

11. Christian Miller, Alabama

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    STRENGTHS

    —Versatile edge-rusher who can line up with his hand in the dirt or from the upright position.

    —Agile enough to finesse past pass-blockers to keep himself free and clean.

    —Above-average length (35 1/8") with a good frame (6'3", 247 lbs) to add weight and bulk if needed.

    —Good bend through his hips and dip with his shoulder allow him to work back up the pocket for the quarterback.

    —When healthy, he often looked like a top-50 selection.

            

    WEAKNESSES

    —Poor hand usage shows up too often, and linemen are able to get locked on.

    —Plays with too much finesse at times. Needs to develop a power pass-rush move to counter his speed.

    —Thin lower-body build with poor lower-body strength

    —Gets moved off his position in the run game.

    —Injured often and wasn't able to participate in all of the predraft process or the national title game because of a hamstring injury.

           

    OVERALL

    Christian Miller has been a big-time name since being tabbed a 5-star recruit before his Alabama days. Teams will be drawn to his length and versatility, but his lack of production against the run will hurt his stock. Miller will be a great role fit for a team that needs a guy who can get after the quarterback on third downs.

             

    GRADE: 6.35 (ROUND 3 — FUTURE STARTER)

    PRO COMPARISON: Damontre Moore

10. Chase Winovich, Michigan

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    STRENGTHS

    —Athletic, productive senior player who overshadowed Devin Bush and Rashan Gary on a stacked defense.

    —Wowed with a 4.59-second 40 time at the combine, as well as a 6.94 three-cone and 4.11 short shuttle; all are in the 90th percentile or higher for edge-rushers in the history of the combine, per Mockdraftable.com.

    —Nonstop motor with awesome aggression, urgency and heart on the field; fantastic in pursuit and active in his pass-rush plan to counter and set up blockers.

    —First-step quickness can get blockers on their heels; he counters that move well with a crossface step to attack the inside shoulder.

    —Scheme-versatile to play both outside linebacker and defensive end; plays comfortably with his hand in the dirt but can also stand up and rush off the edge with easy movements.

    —Big hitter who plays with an epic mean streak.

            

    WEAKNESSES

    —Has a pass rush-first mentality that limits his patience and awareness in setting the edge as a run defender.

    —Doesn't use his length to keep blockers off his frame.

    —Hand play can be disappointing at times as he lets blockers reach him and doesn't get off blocks well once engaged.

    —Can be late to read and react to the play and will get baited into the backfield on play-action and misdirection. Shoots way upfield at times and lets the play come back under him.

            

    OVERALL

    Chase Winovich is what every defensive coach would want in terms of character, love of the game and work ethic. He also brings the athleticism needed to play as an outside linebacker or defensive end. There are some concerns about average production (five sacks in 2018) and best usage in the pros, but he has the look of an early contributor and longtime starter.

            

    GRADE: 6.55 (ROUND 2 — ROOKIE IMPACT)

    PRO COMPARISON: Mike Vrabel

9. Zach Allen, Boston College

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    STRENGTHS

    —Big (6'4", 281 pounds), versatile pass-rusher with excellent length (34¾-inch arms) and the ability to play in multiple alignments.

    —Two-year starter who posted 100 tackles as a junior, a rare stat for a defensive lineman, and notched 6.5 sacks and two blocked kicks as a senior.

    —First-step quickness is awesome and is backed up by power that he can tap into at any time to stun a blocker. Has a full arsenal of pass-rushing moves and will use length, quickness and an impactful bull rush to get into the backfield.

    —Smart read-and-react player who isn't fooled by misdirection and attacks his keys with quick thinking.

    —Stack-and-shed expert in the run game who can hold his ground and anchor in a two-gap scheme but also has the power and quickness to make impacts from a gap.

    —Powerful, NFL-ready player who could see a high number of reps at defensive tackle in the pros.

           

    WEAKNESSES

    —Not a natural pass-rusher and may be moved inside to tackle depending on what scheme he's drafted into.

    —Lacks the speed to play off the edge and beat NFL offensive tackles to the backfield.

    —Struggles in pursuit because of poor open-field speed and stiffness in his lower body.

    —Overall athleticism isn't that of a productive pass-rusher at defensive end.

           

    OVERALL

    Teams in search of strong, versatile defensive linemen will love Zach Allen, but his value as a true pass-rusher could limit his fit in the NFL. His toughness, instincts and ability to make an immediate impact in the run game are all sellable traits that coaches and scouts will want in Round 2.

            

    GRADE: 6.55 (ROUND 2 — ROOKIE IMPACT)

    PRO COMPARISON: Deatrich Wise Jr.

8. Jachai Polite, Florida

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    STRENGTHS

    —Complete outside linebacker prospect with excellent production off the edge as a pass-rusher and run defender.

    —Dominated in 2018 with 11 sacks and showed a natural first step with closing speed, quickness and the flexibility to bend at the edge.

    —Has the open-field speed to easily catch up to quarterbacks and running backs in the backfield.

    —Knee-bender with springy movement skills and exceptional ability to convert to speed and stun blockers or ball-carriers.

    —Uses what length he has (32⅝-inch arms) very well and will club and long-arm blockers to set up countermoves; runs through his pass-rush plan with active feet.

    —Plays with an alpha mentality and doesn't hesitate at the point of attack.

             

    WEAKNESSES

    —Struggled at the NFL combine with bad interviews and poor workouts that didn't get better at Florida's pro day.

    —Scouts were already concerned about maturity and football character before his bad predraft process; had hamstring issues throughout the combine and his pro day that many scouts don't believe were legitimate.

    —Was not prepared for the predraft cycle from a physical standpoint and looked to have put on bad weight with a soft physique after needing to add good, positive weight.

    —Doesn't attack contact at the line of scrimmage.

    —Sloppy tackler who doesn't always get ball-carriers down at first contact.

            

    OVERALL

    Jachai Polite had legitimate top-20 talent coming out of the 2018 season, but his poor showing at the NFL combine and his pro day should have scouts concerned. Did he get bad advice from a trainer or representative, or did he just shrug off the entire process? Finding out that answer could determine when and where Polite is drafted. If a team believes it can get the player we saw at Florida in 2018, he could still be an early selection with future starting potential.

              

    GRADE: 6.80 (ROUND 2 — ROOKIE IMPACT)

    PRO COMPARISON: Harold Landry

7. Jaylon Ferguson, Louisiana Tech

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    STRENGTHS

    —Incredibly productive pass-rusher who set the FBS record for sacks in a career (45); NFL-ready as a defensive end or outside linebacker.

    —Loose lower body with sound mechanics; uses his length well and has power and twitch in his game. Has enough quickness to cross the face of offensive tackles.

    —Sheds and overpowers blockers with his hand strength; will shed blockers with his swipe and swat moves; will shoot his hands and knock linemen off their marks.

    —Can convert speed to power and has excellent countermoves.

    —Leans and bends off the edge.

              

    WEAKNESSES

    —Was banned from the combine after the NFL learned he was arrested after being involved in a fight at a McDonald's restaurant when he was 18 years old.

    —Doesn't always play at full speed and can too often take plays off when the ball goes away from him; at times only looks interested in sack production.

    —Can get stuck on blocks too easily and often beat up lower levels of competition.

    —Looked heavier in 2018, and scouts were worried it affected his speed and flexibility.

             

    OVERALL

    Jaylon Ferguson is a high-level producer with few flaws in his game, but teams need to be convinced he can perform at the same level against NFL competition. He has the traits and stats to convince teams that he could be worth a first-round selection, but his struggles to get off blocks and half-speed motor at times must be vetted.

             

    GRADE: 6.95 (ROUND 2 — FUTURE STARTER)

    PRO COMPARISON: Justin Houston

6. Clelin Ferrell, Clemson

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    STRENGTHS

    —Standout three-year starter who at times overshadowed the other Clemson defensive linemen, who will all be drafted in the 2019 class; two others are expected to be first-rounders.

    —Big (6'4", 264 lbs), long (34⅛-inch arms), powerful 4-3 defensive end with a nonstop motor and excellent aggression and urgency off the ball.

    —Team captain who played his best games in the biggest moments and has ice water in his veins. Dominated against Alabama and in his College Football Playoff contests.

    —Smart player who makes quick reads and will jam a tight end, set an anchor in the run game or explode off the line and get into the backfield; has awesome length and uses it well in three phases of the game.

    —Strong lower body allows him to work as an inside pass-rusher and also to stack up in the run game and truly set an anchor.

    —Can work as an inside or outside pass-rusher and may be able to bump down to a 3-technique in some pass-rushing situations.

           

    WEAKNESSES

    —Doesn't have the lower-body agility to play in a 3-4 outside linebacker role and may be hurt in the process if seen as scheme-limited.

    —Despite big size and long arms, doesn't make many stops in the run game.

    —Doesn't have the agility to maintain speed or bend on the edge; has to learn proper countermoves in order to better finish as a pass-rusher.

    —Doesn't flash with good natural bend or twitch in his frame; gets stuck as a one-speed guy.

            

    OVERALL

    Clelin Ferrell is one of the more NFL-ready pass-rushers in this class, but he also has less potential athletically than the players ranked ahead of him. Ferrell could be a day one starter at defensive end in a 4-3 scheme, but his lack of elite athletic traits could limit his upside.

             

    GRADE: 6.99 (ROUND 2 — ROOKIE IMPACT)

    PRO COMPARISON: Frank Clark

5. Brian Burns, Florida State

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    STRENGTHS

    —Athletic, productive pass-rusher coming off the edge at Florida State with 23 sacks in the last three seasons.

    —Has an inside-to-outside countermove that is tough to stop thanks to his quickness and closing speed; can set up an offensive tackle and then counter with a head shake or shoulder dip.

    —Is built like a small forward and has a frame to add plenty of weight and strength. He's a raw prospect physically but has well-developed pass-rush moves and knows how to string them together to beat a blocker.

    —First-step quickness is special with the ability to use his long stride and speed to gain depth in the backfield before most college offensive tackles could catch up to him.

    —Very agile and flexible player who can live with great knee bend and low pad height; has bend in his hips and can turn the corner at high speeds.

    —Bulked up to 249 pounds for the NFL combine and still wowed with a 4.53-second run in the 40-yard dash and 7.01 time in the three-cone drill. Showing he can move athletically at 249 pounds is a huge win given size concerns.

           

    WEAKNESSES

    —Scouts knocked Burns for his lack of bulk with information that he played at closer to 225 or 230 pounds this season.

    —Gets pushed around in the run game and may never be able to line up on the strong side; doesn't have the lower-body power to stack blockers up and use his length to shed their hands.

    —Doesn't play with the urgency needed in the run game to be a threat; has to gain strength but also work on toughness at the point of attack.

    —Poor ability to set his feet and anchor in the run game.

            

    OVERALL

    Burns is likely a scheme-specific target in a 3-4 defense given his lack of play power at this time, but his speed and quickness are special enough traits that he could be drafted in the top 15 and be a potential steal.

             

    GRADE: 7.00 (ROUND 1 — TOP-15 PLAYER POTENTIAL)

    PRO COMPARISON: Marcus Davenport

4. Montez Sweat, Mississippi State

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    STRENGTHS

    —Dominant athlete at defensive end in the Mississippi State scheme who can play both end and outside linebacker at the next level.

    —Excellent run defender who has length, power, speed and awareness to find and get to the ball; sets the edge with good power and had numerous stops.

    —Highly productive against SEC offensive linemen and has played well in his biggest spots.

    —Blew the doors off the NFL combine with a 4.41 40-yard dash, 36-inch vertical, 7.0-second three-cone and 4.29-second short shuttle. The testing is backed up by tape and his Senior Bowl workouts; Sweat is an elite athlete.

    —Has a body that will allow him to get bigger and stronger; with just two seasons at Mississippi State, he can still be developed on the field and in the locker room.

    —Uses 35¾-inch arms to his advantage; will long-arm a tackle and then explode underneath with fantastic counter speed.

             

    WEAKNESSES

    —Dismissed from Michigan State for disciplinary reasons after second season.

    —Needs to add play power to better beat strong offensive tackles with length and strength.

    —Hand play is average and could stand to be more active and stronger at the point of attack.

    —Gets too high in his pass rush and must learn to play with more knee bend.

            

    OVERALL

    Montez Sweat has rare traits and potential, but unlike most developmental players, he has production to warrant a top-10 selection in the 2019 draft. Teams that run either a 4-3 or 3-4 defense will see value in Sweat's game since he can play standing up at outside linebacker or drop and put his hand in the dirt. He's a natural pass-rusher, and if teams clear his background from the Michigan State dismissal, he could become an early Pro Bowl-type player.

            

    GRADE: 7.15 (ROUND 1 — TOP-15 PLAYER POTENTIAL)

    PRO COMPARISON: Danielle Hunter

3. Rashan Gary, Michigan

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    STRENGTHS

    —Elite athlete with jaw-dropping traits that can be molded into something special; has the height/weight/speed to play either defensive end or defensive tackle in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme.

    —Kills blockers with a great long arm and has the speed to counter off it. Can stun teams with his closing speed.

    —Strong enough to get under the pads of blockers and walk them back off the line of scrimmage; this also allows him to move all over the line and play anywhere from 3-4 outside linebacker down to a 3-technique.

    —Has great play speed and runs through contact with power and shocking quickness.

    —Has an easy, natural bend in his knees.

            

    WEAKNESSES

    —Never produced to the level of his talent and traits; is still considered a developmental player who needs coaching up in order to get the best out of his abilities.

    —Can be too timid at the point of attack and doesn't play with the power you expect from a 277-pound lineman.

    —Has poor technique discipline and will get too high and too wide out of his stance; doesn't hold the edge with good pad height and leverage.

    —Read-and-react skills aren't developed.

           

    OVERALL

    Rashan Gary is a traits-based prospect who looks the part but hasn't played up to it. He needs to prove himself in the NFL with production instead of being a "what if" player. Gary will wow scouts with his athleticism and potential, but those are scary words. While he has a very high ceiling, Gary is an all-traits, no-production type of prospect that often busts.

           

    GRADE: 7.20 (ROUND 1 — TOP 15 PLAYER POTENTIAL)

    PRO COMPARISON: Everson Griffen

2. Josh Allen, Kentucky

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    STRENGTHS

    —Super productive edge-rusher with 17 sacks, 21.5 tackles for a loss and five forced fumbles in his senior season after almost declaring for the 2018 draft.

    —Scheme-versatile playmaker who can line up as a 4-3 defensive end or 3-4 outside linebacker and has enough experience in pass coverage to work as a 4-3 off-ball linebacker.

    —Can dip and drive and has shown he can convert speed to power to knock offensive tackles onto their heels.

    —Has the hips, length and awareness to be very good in coverage; sees the ball well and reads the route to stick with tight ends or running backs down the field.

    —Has developed hand play and will knife away blockers and uses his length well to create separation.

    —Could add bulk and strength and become more of a traditional 4-3 defensive end.

           

    WEAKNESSES

    —Can struggle to unstick from blockers when working the edge and won't use his size and length to get himself free.

    —Needs to work on bringing more heat as a pass-rusher and working to add more moves to his arsenal. Too often sticks to his pre-snap plan and doesn't counter blocks on the go.

    —Doesn't always step up against the run and too often lets the play bounce outside him.

    —Can be too hesitant at the line of scrimmage.

           

    OVERALL

    Josh Allen was a two-year star at Kentucky with the elite traits to be considered a candidate at No. 1 overall in this draft. Teams that run either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme should look at Allen as a plug-and-play edge-rusher with true three-down skills and the potential to get even better in the NFL.

            

    GRADE: 7.70 (ROUND 1 — PRO BOWL POTENTIAL)

    PRO COMPARISON: Anthony Barr

1. Nick Bosa, Ohio State

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    STRENGTHS

    —Athletic, strong pass-rusher with NFL bloodlines after his brother Joey and father John were both first-round draft picks.

    —Refined rusher who can beat tackles with crossface quickness, powerful hands and a full toolbox of moves; is a plug-and-play starter who comes into the league as a finished product.

    —Uses his hands like an All-Pro; has a developed shoulder dip and will swat away the hands of blockers.

    —Has enough power and length to be able to kick down and possibly play 3-technique as a pass-rusher in speed packages on the defensive line.

    —Smart on the field with a quick locator and the ability to read and react fast.

    —Knows how to read blockers and react to what they do as blockers; is quick off the snap and can countermove the block on the fly.

             

    WEAKNESSES

    —Injured twice in his last four seasons of football: ACL injury in senior year of high school and core muscle injury in 2018.

    —Doesn't have elite twitch coming out of his stance; can be a little tight through his hips.

    —Can shut down and make too many business decisions when the ball goes away from his side.

             

    OVERALL

    Nick Bosa is a high-profile pass-rusher with elite traits in terms of power and athleticism. Teams will love his ability to fit in a 3-4 or 4-3 defense. Because of his NFL bloodlines and skill set, Bosa is a valued prospect and should be a top-three pick in the 2019 draft.

              

    GRADE: 7.85 (ROUND 1 — PRO BOWL POTENTIAL)

    PRO COMPARISON: Joey Bosa