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Prospect Profiles: The Edge Rusher Class
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In order to familiarize fans with some of the top names in the 2018 NFL Draft, Chargers.com will be highlighting top prospects by position each week leading up to the first day of the draft on April 26th.
Next up is a look at some of the premiere edge rushers according to pundits.
Weight: 250 pounds
NFL Network Pro Comparison: Na’il Diggs
A five-star recruit coming out of high school, Lorenzo Carter has long been regarded as an elite prospect.
It took a little while for Carter to come into his own, but he improved year over year, and now one NFL team is about to cash in on his immense talent.
Carter leaves Georgia having totaled 165 tackles, 20.5 tackles for loss, 14 sacks and seven forced fumbles in 54 career games. He tied for the team lead with 5.0 sacks his junior year before setting career-highs with 61 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss as a senior.
The 6-6, 250-pounder boasts exceptional height and length for the position with outstanding athleticism. After all, not many with his imposing frame run a 4.5 40-yard dash. With his physical gifts, it’s no surprise he was one of the big winners at this year’s Combine.
Many pundits believe he’s primed for even more impressive numbers in the NFL as Georgia deployed him at various positions, some of which required him to do the dirty work instead of compiling the stats. They also think he’ll be better equipped to meet his potential as his frame fills out with proper NFL strength and conditioning.
40-Yard Dash: 4.5 seconds
Vertical Jump: 36.0 inches
Broad Jump: 130.0 inches
School: N.C. State
Weight: 269 pounds
NFL Network Pro Comparison: Chris Long
Myles Garrett was the first overall selection a year ago by the Cleveland Browns.
There are quite a few pundits that believe Bradley Chubb is an even better defensive end prospect coming out of college.
After all, Chubb is a 6-4, 269-pound terror coming off the edge who lives in the offensive backfield.
The N.C. State star capped off his four-year collegiate career with a memorable senior campaign in which he was a first-team All-American while winning the 2017 Hendricks Award as the country’s best defensive end and the Bronko Nagurski Award as the best overall defender in 2017. Chubb racked up 26 tackles for loss last season, which was the second-most in FBS, while adding 10 sacks and three forced fumbles. That came on the heels of an impressive junior season in which he tallied 22 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks and three forced fumbles.
Chubb is a relentless playmaker who never takes a play off. He beats offensive linemen with quick, explosive hands, and has a knack for knocking the rock loose once he gets to the ball carrier.
When all is said and done, draft experts believe he has the chance to emerge as one of the league’s most dangerous edge rushers right from the get-go.
40-Yard Dash: 4.65 seconds
Bench Press: 24 reps
Vertical Jump: 36.0 inches
Broad Jump: 121.0 inches
School: University of Texas-San Antonio
Weight: 264 pounds
NFL Network Pro Comparison: Danielle Hunter
Marcus Davenport is set to put the University of Texas-San Antonio on the map.
The small school prospect tore up FCS competition and is fresh off a dominating 2017 campaign in which he notched 8.5 sacks and 17 tackles for loss. Overall, he recorded 185 tackles, 21.5 sacks and 47.5 tackles for loss in 43 career games. As a result, the 6-6, 255-pound Davenport earned a Senior Bowl invite, where he continued to turn heads.
He’s now not only considered a lock to be taken in the first round, but seems a safe bet to be a top 15 pick.
Davenport is able to wreck a game at a moment’s notice. The biggest knock is his ability to play at that level on a consistent basis, but it’s something that’s improved over the years. Overall, with his ability to chase down running backs as well as wreak havoc on the quarterback, Davenport has all the tools to be the game’s next elite pass rusher.
40-Yard Dash: 4.58 seconds
Bench Press: 22 reps
Vertical Jump: 33.5 inches
Broad Jump: 124.0 inches
Weight: 238 pounds
NFL Network Pro Comparison: Willie Young
Perhaps no edge rusher dominates for stretches of play more than Arden Key.
As a result, he ranks as one of the most prolific sack artists in LSU’s history.
Key began his Tigers career off with a bang, logging 5.0 sacks in nine starts as a true freshman. As a sophomore in 2016, he set the school-record for most sacks in a season with 12. While he impressed his first two years, injuries hampered him in 2017. A shoulder injury cost him the first three games of the season, but he returned to start eight games, notching 5.5 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks. Overall, Key left LSU amassing 130 tackles, 21 sacks, four passes defensed and four forced fumbles in three seasons. His 21 sacks are the third-most in school history.
The long, rangy 6-6, 238-pounder has an exceptional burst off the snap to immediately put opposing offensive tackles behind the eight ball. He owns an arsenal of moves to keep them off balance, and closes on the quarterback in a flash.
Thus, Key is primed to be an early pick come draft day.
Vertical Jump: 31.0 inches
Broad Jump: 117.0 inches
Weight: 242 pounds
It took Ogbonnia Okoronkwo two years to find his footing at Oklahoma.
Once he did, he emerged as one of college football’s most feared edge rushers, boasting arguably the best toolbox of moves to get to the quarterback.
He then broke out with a sensational junior campaign in 2016, tying the school record with nine sacks for a linebacker. He also recorded 71 total tackles including 12 for a loss. He built on that with an even better season in 2017, totaling 76 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss and 8.0 sacks. As a result, he was selected as co-Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. Overall, he left Oklahoma with 21 career sacks, which is the seventh-most in Sooners history.
So how is Okoronkwo so effective?
He owns a diverse arsenal of moves that keeps offensive linemen guessing. He’s just as likely to bulldoze his way to the QB as he is to whip around the edge. The Oklahoma star also has a knack for mixing up his speeds, deking to the outside before cutting in towards the passer.
Okoronkwo isn’t just a one-dimensional player either. He is also solid against the run, which only increases his already high draft stock.
40-Yard Dash: 4.77 seconds
Bench Press: 27 reps
Vertical Jump: 38.0 inches
Broad Jump: 121.0 inches
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed above represent those of individual authors and do not represent the opinions or policies of the Chargers' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Read