March 25, 2016 - Greg Gabriel
The Top 4 Edge Rushers in the 2016 NFL Draft
The 2015 NFL Draft was loaded with edge rushers. We saw players like Vic Beasley, Shane Ray. Dante Fowler all go very high. There was depth at the position last year also as clubs were getting talented pass rushers into the middle rounds of the draft. Such is not the case this year. While the pass rushing talent isn’t what we saw a year ago, the defensive tackle class is huge. That happens every year, as there are some positions that just have more talent than others. Emmanuel Ogbah – Oklahoma State I could have very easily put Ogbah in the 4-3 defensive end group, but after his Combine performance, many of the 3-4 clubs are looking at Ogbah as a potential outside linebacker on base downs and as a pass rusher on pass downs. At 6’3 – 273, Ogbah has position versatility. His Combine numbers were excellent, running the 40 in 4.63, leaping 35 ½” in the vertical, 10’1” in the long jump and a quick 7.26 in the 3-cone. Ogbah is a natural pass rusher with 28 career sacks. He has the hand use and redirect skills that all good pass rushers have. As good as Ogbah has played, he has moments where he doesn’t consistently play to that high level. Because of that he will be most likely drafted in the bottom half of the first round. If he gets with the right team, he could put up some big numbers as a pro. Shilique Calhoun – Michigan State Calhoun played down as a 4-3 defensive end at Michigan State. While he can play that position in the NFL, I feel that he will get a strong look form each of the 3-4 teams. Calhoun is easily athletic enough to play on his feet and looked good dropping into coverage at both the Combine and the Michigan State Pro Day. Calhoun didn’t run as well as anticipated (4.82) but he showed exceptional quickness and change of direction. With his quickness he plays much faster than he times. Calhoun lacks great size (251) and I doubt he can get bigger than 260 so OLB may be the better position for him at the next level. One thing is certain, on pass downs he will be rushing the passer and that’s what he does best. He can use his hands and has a variety of moves. Jordan Jenkins – Georgia Jenkins is one of my favorite players in this draft. While teammate Leonard Floyd gets all the recognition, Jenkins is the guy who does the dirty work and makes plays. Jenkins didn’t waited until his pro day to show what kind of athlete he is. He measured 6’3 – 259 and ran a 4.77. He also leaped 38” in the vertical jump, 10’3’ in the long jump and had a 7.41 3-cone. On tape, Jenkins plays with strength but he didn’t show top strength when he lifted (16 reps). He is a high motor guy who makes plays and is consistent player versus the run and can rush the passer. He is the type of player that will be a better pro than a collegian. Yannick Ngakoue – Maryland Ngakoue has had 19.5 sacks the last two seasons at Maryland. Added 45 quarterback pressures. He’s a very good athlete with quickness and explosion. Yannick is a pass rusher first and that takes him out of some plays because he gets undisciplined. He also has to improve upon his awareness in coverage but the traits are there. Will most likely be a designated pass rusher early on while he learns the NFL game. My Bonus Sleeper Candidate Tyrone Holmes – Montana Holmes was not invited to the Combine and took part in the University of Montana Pro Day on March 21st. Holmes measured 6024 – 253 and ran 4.62. He also had a 37 ½” vertical jump and a 9’5” long jump. His agility drills were very good also going 7.12 in the 3-cone and 4.28 in the 20 yard shuttle. To top things off he put up 28 reps of 225. Holmes has excellent pass rush ability, he finished the season with 87 total tackles including 24 tackles for loss and 18 sacks! He finished his career with 34.5 sacks. Holmes lacks ideal defensive end size and is more suited to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. He has an explosive first step but he does have a tendency to get tall. He closes off a block very well. With his pro day numbers, he is sure to gather a lot of attention in the next few weeks and will most likely have a number of private workouts in the coming weeks.