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Top 10 Edge Rushers of the 2022 NFL Draft

Top 10 Edge Rushers of the 2022 NFL Draft

1) Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon

Key Measurables:  6040, 254, 33 ⅛ in Arms

Notable 2021 Stats: 12 TFLs, 7 sacks, 2 FFs

Best Trait: Get off

Player Comp: Josh Allen

Background:

Kayvon Thibodeaux is a JR at the University of Oregon who has started 23 of 32 career games. In HS, he was the No. 1 player in the country by ESPN300, No. 2 by 247Sports, and was named High School Defensive Player of the Year in 2018. He is the highest rated signee in Oregon History. In 2019, he set an Oregon Freshman sack record (9). He also led the country in 4th quarter sacks (7). He was named a Freshman All-American by multiple outlets, and was named Coaches PAC-12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year. In 2020, he won the award for top lineman in the PAC-12), and was named MVP of the PAC-12 Championship Game. He also was named an All-American on multiple outlets and received All-PAC-12 honors. In 2021, he earned All-PAC-12 honors, was a 2nd team All-American (CBS Sports). He is T-7th in program history in career sacks (19). He has the 5th most TFLs (34.5) among all active CFB players since 2019. In 3 PAC-12 Championship Games, he has 21 pressures, 13 tackles, 5.5 TFLs, and 4.5 sacks. 

Projection:

Thibodeaux fits best as 3-4 OLB, who can also play as a 4-3 ED. He projects as a Day 1 starter you can win with, and has the potential to become an All-Pro player down the road.

Full Scouting Report

2) Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan

Key Measurables:  6065, 260, 32 ⅛ in Arms

Notable 2021 Stats: 16.5 TFLs, 14 sacks, 2 FFs

Best Trait: Refined Technique/Play Strength

Player Comp: Less Athletic Nick Bosa

Background:

Aidan Hutchinson is a senior at the University of Michigan who has started 30 of 43 career games. In HS, Hutchinson was a former four star product, the top ranked recruit in Michigan, and also played lacrosse in high school. His dad, Chris Hutchinson, played football at Michigan (1989-1992). Aidan was a consensus All-American in 2021 and was also a Heisman Trophy runner-up. He became the third defensive player ever to finish second in voting for the Heisman. He was also named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Big Ten DL of the Year, top lineman in the country, consensus First-Team All-Big Ten, and was an Academic All-American. Hutchinson was also voted captain by his teammates in both 2020 and 2021. 

Projection:

Aidan Hutchinson is already very well developed and has an NFL frame who will be able to contribute immediately. Hutchinson fits best as a 4-3 ED who can play standing up or with his hand in the dirt. Hutchinson projects as a day one starter who has pro bowl potential.

Full Scouting Report

3) George Karlaftis, Purdue

Key Measurables:  6036, 266, 32 5/8 inch Arms

Notable 2021 Stats: 6.5 TFLs, 3 sacks, 3 FFs

Best Trait: Play Strength

Player Comp: Ryan Kerrigan

Background:

George Karlaftis is a JR from Purdue, who has started 27 of 27 career games. A former four star prospect who became one of the best defensive players on the team upon his arrival in 2019. In 2019, he was a First-Team Freshman All-American, and Second Team All-Big Ten. In 2020, he was an Academic All-Big Ten, and was Second Team All-Big Ten despite only playing in three games, and in 2021, First-Team All-Big Ten. 

Projection:

Karlaftis fits best as a strongside 4-3 ED who will play with his hand in the dirt. He also can play standing up and can play as a DE in a 3-4. He can be moved inside in sub packages as well. Would benefit from playing alongside another dominant edge. Karlaftis projects as a day one starter who you can win with, and has pro bowl potential down the line.

Full Scouting Report

4) David Ojabo, Michigan

Key Measurables:  6040, 250, 33 1/2 inch Arm

Notable 2021 Stats: 12 TFLs, 11 sacks, 5 FFs

Best Trait: Athletic Ability

Player Comp: Von Miller

Background:

David Ojabo is a JR at the University of Michigan who has started 8 of his 20 career games. Ojabo was born in Nigeria and moved to Scotland before coming to the USA for high school. He initially played soccer and basketball, and ended up playing football for the first time in his junior year of HS. He did not see any game action in his freshman year at Michigan, but he was their Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year.

In 2020, he mostly played on special teams, only playing 26 defensive snaps. Was also an Academic All Big-Ten Honoree in 2020. In 2021, he saw a huge increase in snaps, and became one of the best pass rushers in the country. He was a Second Team All-American, and a Consensus First Team All-Big Ten. David Ojabo recently tore his achilles at his Pro Day.

Projection:

He is going to miss a year with his achilles injury, and projects as a situational pass rusher in his first true season of game action. He projects as a starting three down 3-4 OLB you can win with, and has pro bowl potential. 

Full Scouting Report

More Top 10 2022 NFL Draft Prospect Lists:

Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers | Tight Ends | Offensive Tackles |Interior Offensive Line | Edge Rushers | Interior Defensive Line | Linebackers | Cornerbacks | Safeties

5) Arnold Ebiketie, Penn State

Key Measurables:  6023, 250, 34 1/8 inch Arm

Notable 2021 Stats: 18 TFLs, 9.5 sacks, 62 tackles

Best Trait: Explosiveness

Player Comp: Harold Landry

Background:

Ebiketie, a RS SR, transferred to Penn State last season from Temple, where he earned All-AAC Second Team honors in 2020.. In 2021 he had a career year, seeing career highs in tackles, TFLs, and sacks. Named to the First Team All-Big Ten by both the coaches and media in 2021.

Projection:

Arnold Ebiketie projects as a starting 3 down 3-4 OLB who you can win with, and displays pro bowl potential. 

Full Scouting Report

6) Jermaine Johnson II, Florida State

Key Measurables:  6045, 254, 34 inch Arm

Notable 2021 Stats: 18 TFLs, 12 sacks, 2 FFs

Best Trait: Heavy Handedness/Hand Usage

Player Comp: Josh Sweat

Background:

Jermaine Johnson II is a 5th year senior from FSU. He started his college career in JUCO, and transferred to Georgia for two years, prior to joining FSU in 2021. He started 4 of 21 games at Georgia, and started all 12 games at FSU. In 2021, he was First Team All-ACC, and was ACC defensive player of the year. Was a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award (1 of 5 DL in the country, and only player in the ACC nominated). Led the ACC in sacks and TFLs. He ranked 6th in the country in sacks and 8th in TFLs. He was the best player at the Senior Bowl and had a strong performance at the Combine. 

Projection:

Jermaine Johnson is most comfortable playing in a two point stance, but he can also play with his hand in the dirt. Fits best as a ED in a 4-3 scheme that allows him to play standing up and with his hand in the dirt. Jermaine Johnson II projects as a high end rotational player in year one with starting upside, and projects as a starter you can win with in the future.

Full Scouting Report

7) Cameron Thomas, San Diego State

Key Measurables:  6040, 267, 32 1/2 inch Arm

Notable 2021 Stats: 21 TFLs, 11.5 sacks, 19 QB hits

Best Trait: Versatility

Player Comp: Sam Hubbard

Background:

Cameron Thomas is one of the most accomplished edge rushers entering the draft. In 2021, he was the defensive player of the year in the Mountain West Conference and he was First-Team All-Mountain West in both 2019 and 2020. In 2019, he was also voted by the Athletic as a Second-Team All-Freshman All-American. Was also SDSU’s Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2019. Redshirted in 2018, and has started since 2019. Started as DT and was moved to DE, however he has been aligned all over the DLine in his tenure. In 2021 he saw snaps all over, even as a 0T and 1T at times. Primarily lined up as a 5T in 2021 with a lot of time as a 3T as well. Thomas is a polished prospect coming out who won’t need to be developed much. He doesn’t have one dominant trait or move, but does everything well. He needs to develop one pass rush move that he can rely on. 

Projection:

Fits best as a 5T in a 4-3 scheme, who has the versatility to be used as a 3T and inside on sub packages. Will benefit from being used on stunts and twists. He projects as a starter you can win with and should contribute early in his career with starting potential in year one.

Full Scouting Report

8) Travon Walker, Georgia

Key Measurables:  6050, 272, 35 1/2 inch Arm

Notable 2021 Stats: 7.5 TFLs, 6 sacks, 37 tackles

Best Trait: Bend

Player Comp: Jason Pierre-Paul

Background:

Travon Walker is a Junior who has started 15 of 36 career games, including all 15 in 2021. Five-star HS prospect who was the No. 2 DT nationally. Named to the Freshman All-SEC Team in 2019. Became a regular starter in 2021 and saw his best production for the national champion. Under DC Dan Lanning (third season) and DL Coach Tray Scott (fifth season), 

Projection:

Walker is a two-gap edge defender in a deep rotation who typically lines up between 4i and 7 and may move inside on third down. Rotational edge you can win with in either a 3-4 or 4-3 and shows potential to develop into a starter. Flexible edge with plus size and the athletic traits to win against both Run and Pass. Twitchy, high motor defender who explodes from his hips. Needs to develop instincts and processing to fully use athleticism.

Full Scouting Report

9) Drake Jackson, USC

Key Measurables:  6030, 254, 34 inch Arm

Notable 2021 Stats: 8 TFLs, 5 sacks, 1 FF

Best Trait: Flexibility/Bend

Player Comp: Lorenzo Carter

Background:

Drake Jackson is a JR at USC, who has started 28 of 28 career games. He’s a former 4 star prospect, and was an All-American senior year. He finished his career with 12.5 sacks, 25 TFLs, and 103 tackles. He was named to the All-Pac-12 Second Team in 2020 and 2021.

Projection:

Drake Jackson’s best attribute is his ability to bend. He does a lot of things well, but nothing outstanding. Has a high floor, and should be able to see time early on in his career. Fits best as a 3-4 OLB and can also play with his hand in the dirt. He projects as a rotational player in year one, and has low-end starter upside down the line.

Full Scouting Report

10) Myjai Sanders, Cincinnati

Key Measurables:  6052, 247, 32 5/8 inch Arm

Notable 2021 Stats: 7.5 TFLs, 2.5 sacks, 5 pass deflections

Best Trait: Hand Usage

Player Comp: Markus Golden

Background:

Myjai Sanders is a SR at the University of Cincinnati, who has started every game since 2019. Sanders earned All-AAC First Team honors in both 2020 and 2021. He was a participant in this year’s Senior Bowl, and participated in the Combine. He lost close to 20 pounds from the Senior Bowl to the Combine (sickness), but he weighed in at 247 at his pro day. 

Projection: 

Myjai Sanders is an adequate athlete who plays with above the line instincts and an above the line motor. He is going to need to add some weight if he is going to be an every down guy in the future. He fits best as a weakside 4-3 DE that will allow him to win with effort on the backside of plays and use his speed to power to get to the QB. His instincts, motor, and refined hand usage projects him as an adequate rotational player in year one with starting upside down the line. 

Full Scouting Report

 

More Top 10 2022 NFL Draft Prospect Lists:

Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers | Tight Ends | Offensive Tackles |Interior Offensive Line | Edge Rushers | Interior Defensive Line | Linebackers | Cornerbacks | Safeties