Back 2018 NFL Draft EDGE Rankings

Back To SEC

2018 NFL Draft EDGE Rankings

By Jim Johnson
Follow us at  Become a fan at the Facebook Page

Ranking the draftable edge defender prospects from the 2018 class, out of Southern Pigskin's coverage area.

These intial rankings are comprised of what right now are the draftable/PFA worthy prospects from our coverage area here at Southern Pigskin -- the ACC, SEC, Sun Belt, and SoCon.

These pre-combine rankings include a basic rundown of strengths and weaknesses, however, after the combine, they will be updated with round projections, player comparisons, and a more in-depth summation of my personal opinion on each respective player.

Starting with the quarterbacks, they will be released one day at a time until all of the position groups are up. After that, they will be easily found in a comprehensive database from a homepage that includes a first round mock draft.

QB | RB | WR | TE | OT | IOL (OG/C) | EDGE (DE/3-4 OLB) | DL | LB | CB | S


1. Bradley Chubb, NC State: 6’4, 275

Strengths: Physically the prototype. Nice size, speed, and strength for the position. Probably the best run stopping edge defender in college football over the past two seasons. Very effective pass rusher be it off the edge or bull rushing, but especially off the opposing tackles’ inside shoulder. Has shown steady year-to-year improvement.

Weaknesses: Sometimes plays out of control -- led to too many missed tackles in 2016. Would like to see him convert a higher rate of his pressures into sacks.

2. Arden Key, LSU: 6’6, 265

Strengths: Has added weight to his long frame without really sacrificing any of that elite athleticism that makes him so deadly. Extremely consistent, productive pass rusher both inside and, even more so, off the edge. Converts pressures into sacks at an above average rate.

Weaknesses: Never been much of an asset against the run. Less than reliable tackler.

3. Harold Landry, Boston College: 6’3, 250

Strengths: Long, in spite of height, with great burst and speed. Arguably the most well rounded high end edge defender in 2016. Elite outside pass rusher. Able to chase down running backs before they turn the corner.

Weaknesses: Not quite ideal size. Above average bullrush efficacy in college but that could change against NFL play strength. Took steps back last year.

4. Duke Ejiofor, Wake Forest: 6’4, 275

Strengths: Strong and powerful with prototypical size. Violent cinder blocks where most people’s hands are. Has the tools to be an effective run stopper and is usually in the right place but needs to finish more plays, although he did improve that last year. Good inside pass rusher.

Weaknesses: Decent quickness but lacks overall athleticism for the position. Does his job against the run up until it comes time to make the play. Not explosive enough to be very effective as an outside pass rusher.

5. Lorenzo Carter, Georgia: 6’6, 243

Strengths: Long body. Long arms. Long speed. Long. Explosive burst and speed off the edge allows him to turn the corner on most anyone. High upside after finally coming into his own, especially if he can continue to add weight.

Weaknesses: Failed to live up to his five-star billing until last season. Only one year of high level production. Sideline to sideline range but doesn’t often make the solo tackles. Needs to finish higher rate of tackles.

6. Jeff Holland, Auburn: 6’2, 249

Strengths: Smart, technically sound pass rusher with nuanced understanding of the position. Good initial burst with plus play strength. Could make a case that he was the best pass rusher in college football last season.

Weaknesses: Athletically limited without ideal size. Only an average run stopper. Relatively few pass rush snaps against left tackles -- typically the better pass blockers -- over the last two years.

7. Chad Thomas, Miami: 6’6, 275

Strengths: Great size for the position with ideal physique and athleticism. Potential-over-production candidate. High run stopping upside with his smooth hips, lateral agility, and change of direction ability.

Weaknesses: Only an average pass rusher at Miami despite going almost exclusively against right tackles. Slightly more developed as a run defender but still needs to finish more plays.

8. Marquis Haynes, Ole Miss: 6’3, 230

Strengths: Explosive burst off the edge with the speed to turn the corner. Gets under tackles on the bullrush to consistently get pressure. Above average sack conversion rate. Extremely reliable tackler.

Weaknesses: Undersized. A non-factor against the run. Not much of an inside pass rusher.

9. Ja’Von Rolland-Jones, Arkansas State: 6’2, 244

Strengths: One of the great pass rushers in college football history. Shoots out of his stance. Highly effective off either edge. Inside-outside threat. Skilled pass rusher with great instincts, feel, and a deep repertoire of moves. Plus speed.

Weaknesses: Undersized for the position. Play strength will challenge his ability against the run.

10. Josh Sweat, Florida State: 6’5, 253

Strengths: Nice size for the position with all the physical tools one could ask for. Good feel with disruptive explosiveness against the run. Long arms and adequate edge setting upper body strength. High sack to pressure conversion rate. Great tackler. Good pursuit speed.

Weaknesses: Slow out of his stance -- inconsistent pass rusher. Needs to finish more plays against the run. Not really an inside pass rush threat. Injury concerns.

11. Marcell Frazier, Missouri: 6’5, 265

Strengths: Very skilled and technically sound edge defender with good size for the position. High motor. Utilizes a variety of pass rush moves.

Weaknesses: Only average strength, athleticism. Inconsistent run defender.

12. Davin Bellamy, Georgia: 6’5, 245

Strengths: Great length for the position. Very good against the run in 2016 before a slight regression last year. Underrated pass rusher.

Weaknesses: Took steps back last year. Less than ideal play strength. Could serve to bulk up.

13. Trevon Young, Louisville: 6’4, 254

Strengths: Long and athletic. Above average pass rusher. Really closed out the season strong for Louisville.

Weaknesses: Lacks ideal play strength. Medical concerns going back to a hip injury at the end of 2015. Below average against the run.

14. James Hearns, Louisville: 6’3, 249

Strengths: Good combination of burst and natural pass rush moves. Saw significant improvement against the run last season. Nice A to B speed.

Weaknesses: Took a step back as a pass rusher in 2017. Not very fluid.

Jim Johnson - Editor of Southern Pigskin, Producer of "Three & Out", and host of "Explosive Recruiting" on the Southern Pigskin Radio Network. E-mail: Twitter: @JimJohnsonSP