On last week’s Thursday night scouting call, Wade Phillips, John Pagano, Mike Giddings, and Mike Tannenbaum joined younger members of The 33rd Team on a zoom to watch tape of the top 10 edge rushers in the 2022 NFL Draft.
The collective discussed the elite traits of the high-end prospects in this class, such as Aidan Hutchinson’s innate ability to set up pass rush moves and create a two-way go and Myjai Sanders’ snap anticipation. They also shared how best to identify talent at the position, and helped give the young scouts on the call perspective on which traits translate well from college to the NFL.
At the conclusion of the 90 minute film session, Coach Phillips, who held various NFL head coach and defensive coordinator positions in his illustrious career, shared the nine things that he looks for when scouting edge rushers.
1) Analyze the length of the player’s first step
2) Check the player’s footwork for false steps
3) Identify if the player has natural hip and shoulder turn
4) Make sure he meets the minimums for height, weight, speed, quickness, and measurables for his position as set by your team or set of guidelines
5) Evaluate the player’s feel and moves while rushing the passer
6) See if he can bend, power, or speed rush effectively
7) Evaluate his hand usage and footwork in pass rush
8) Identify how smart he is. Smart players get better
9) I think the ability to accelerate is a good indicator of better than average talent at almost any position.
Across his coaching career, Coach Phillips coached pass rushers such as Bruce Smith, DeMarcus Ware, JJ Watt, Bryce Paup, Von Miller, Shawne Merriman, Aaron Donald and Reggie White.