2020 Deep Dive Rookie DE
4/15/20
David Reed https://twitter.com/Nfldraft_dwr

Some of our favorite players in the NFL are big time tacklers who are sack machines! Especially against the quarterbacks we hate. Here is a list of 18 edge players you could see your team draft next week!

If you missed any of Davids other Deep Dives start here with his defensive lineman! https://www.dfscheatsheet.com/2020-deep-dive-rookie-dts/nfl/04/

Chase Young – Ohio Stats 6-5 265

Ohio State DE Chase Young

Pros:
– Frame and size is day 1 ready
– Uses hands well
– Has power and finesse
– Can win as a DE/OLB and Interior DL
– Closing speed
– Has great rush angles

Cons:
– Struggles to re-establish if he does not win right away
– Upright accelerator
– Jumps off sides at times

Overall:
Young is arguably the best talent in this year’s draft. He can have an impact day one as a rookie getting after the quarterback. His speed off the edge and his athletic ability to bend at this stage is amazing. He needs to learn a few more moves and counter moves when he faces a great tackle but overall he’s a Day 1 starter and top 5 pick!

K’Lavon Chaisson – LSU 6-4 250

LSU EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson

Pros:
– Solid build but very mobile
– Explosive first step
– Lose hips and a flexible bend
– Closing burst
– Speed to cover is played as a 3-4 OLB
– Sets edge well in run game
– Shows a good bull rush on top of his speed rush

Cons:
– Tore ACL in 2018
– Needs to develop his vision more
– Timing
– Fill out more and get stronger

Overall:
Chaisson is another great pass rusher in this class. His speed and quickness is very intriguing for a team looking for a prospect to rush the QB. He needs some coaching to develop his vision/play recognition. If he can bulk up and build a bit more strength while keeping his speed, he could be a QB’s nightmare!

Yetur Gross Matos-– Penn State 6-5 265

Penn State DE Yetur Gross-Matos

Pros:
– Long arms and massive reach and wing span
– Does a good job keeping pad level low for size
– Great motor
– Turns flat and can win on the outside
– Sets edge against the run well
– 34 .5 tackles for loss and 17 sacks in 2 years
– Can lineup inside as well/a lot of success destroying guards when he has done this on tape

Cons:
– Continue to grow into his frame.
– Get stronger
– Learn more pass rush moves and counter moves
– Process plays faster

Overall:
I am a huge fan of Gross-Matos and been watching him the last 2 years on Saturday. His massive wing span is hard to miss and allows him to get to the ball quick and make stops behind the line. He does the dirty work to set the edge for his team mates as well. He’s a good kid with a great motor! He always play hard every down! The type of kid that teams love.

A.J. Epenesa – Iowa 6-6 280

Iowa EDGE AJ Epenesa

Pros:
– Length and power
– Heavy hands and places them well
– Strong bull rush and sheds blocks well
– His push pull move is deadly
– Converts what speed he gets into great power
– Can play inside and outside on the line
– Plays well against the run
– 30.5 tackles for loss and 22 sacks

Cons:
– Lacks lateral movement
– Not a huge asset in space
– Improve at recognizing hook blocks
– Keep pad level lower more consistently

Overall:
Epenesa is a blue-chip prospect. Highly recruited out of high-school. He put together an impressive college career and should continue to be a solid to great pro. He can fortify a defensive line and help with the run and rush the QB. He can play multiple positions and help with mismatches for a defensive coordinator. He needs to improve in space and recognize blocks better but those are some coach-able flaws. You’re getting a hard nose working kid mid-to-late first any team would love on there roster.

Julian Okwara – Norte Dame 6-4 248

Notre Dame DE Julian Okwara

Pros:
– Athletic with juice out of his stance
– Converts speed to power
– Active hands
– Dips and rips is his best move
– Good flexibility
– Upside as a 3-4 OLB

Cons:
– Improve pad level consistency
– Disengage better
– Can be more calculated than have a natural feel to a play
– Can struggle against the run
– Add more play strength
– Broken Fibula in 2019

Overall:
Okwara is a second day prospect with a great burst and athletic ability upside to get to the QB. He must learn to feel the plays more and improve against the run to see the field in a full time gig.

Joshua Uche – Michigan 6-1 241

Michigan DE Josh Uche

Pros:
– Shows good blend of burst/flexibility and length
– Variety of pass rush moves
– Speed to power
– Good motor
– Uses his quickness to set lineman up to be off balance
– Shows skills to defend in zone coverage

Cons:
– Experience (limited playing time)
– Injuries
– More power
– Tackle in space needs improvement
– Improve getting off blocks (loses a lot when locked up)

Overall:
Uche is an interesting prospect that offers a lot of good traits. Great motor kid with a good blend of speed and power! Already has room to grow even more powerful. He needs more reps and improvement working on tackling in space. If he learns that this kid has a shot as a starter on a defense!

Terrell Lewis – Alabama 6-5 258

Alabama DE Terrel Lewis

Pros:
– Length and short area burst
– Long arms to clog throwing lanes
– Good ripe move when he has leverage
– Flexible
– Hard to get hands on him

Cons:
– Vision
– Work on deployment of his pass rush moves (timing)
– Struggle to hit counter moves
– Takes plays off
– Injuries (torn ligament in 2017 and ACL tear in 2018)

Overall:
Lewis offers great length and good burst on the defensive front. He needs more experience to recognize plays and develop more pass rushing moves and counters to get the most out of his abilities. He must stay healthy as well.

Jonathan Greenard – Florida 6-4 262

Florida DE Jonathan Greenard

Pros:
– Shows good snap anticipation
– Quick release
– Good footwork and attacks inside well
– Strong upper body
– Uses hands to set up rep
– Good run defender
– Quicker than fast
– Recognizes blocks and schemes well

Cons:
– Flexibility
– Can rush to wide and be driven out of the play
– Needs to win on the outside of the tackle more
– Range and lateral movement are just okay

Overall:
Greenard is a good second day pass rusher who needs to improve on the outside. His inside move will allow him to make plays his rookie year.

Curtis Weaver – Boise State 6-5 265

Boise State DE Curtis Weaver

Pros:
– First step quickness
– Uses length well to win on the outside in a few ways
– Takes good rush angles
– Ideal foot work
– Heavy active hands
– Lines up and plays everywhere and usually wins
– Showed a few rush moves
– Shows ability to drop in coverage if needed
– Great football IQ

Cons:
– Flexibility
– More consistent motor
– Some bad wiff tackles
– Not the most athletic build (carries some weight in the mid section)

Overall:
Weaver is a good pass rusher with a strong football IQ that allows him to succeed at most points of attacks. He needs to become a more sure tackler but is a second day steal!

Darrell Taylor – Tennessee 6-4 259

Tennessee DE Darrel Taylor

Pros:
– Good burst and bend
– Dip and rip move
– Sets a good edge
– Succeed in shallow zone coverage
– Uses hands well to control blockers
– Really filled out his frame in 2019

Cons :
– Needs to grow and develop more as a rusher
– Improve or abandon his spin move
– Rush counter moves
– Anticipate the snap better

Overall:
Taylor has some room to improve as a rusher overall. When it comes to learning more moves and anticipating the snap better. He has shown a good burst and ability to set the edge, which is great and will allow him to see the field early while he develops more as a rusher.

Bradlee Anae – Utah 6-3 257

Utah DE Bradlee Anae

Pros:
– High effort player
– Good snap anticipation
– Burst
– Uses hands
– Works gaps hard against the run

Cons:
– Short arms
– Struggles to clear blocks
– Get stronger
– Improve tackling in space

Overall:
Anae has the burst and effort teams will love. He must get stronger to clear blocks better for a full time role and improve tackling in space. His short arms are going to hurt some in clearing blocks.

Jabari Zuniga – Florida 6-3 253

Florida DE Jabari Zuniga

Pros:
– Functional strength
– Strong punch to stun even the biggest tackles
– Good pursuit effort
– Dips and rips well
– Converts speed to power
– Lined up all over D-Line

Cons:
– Slow release off ball
– Lacks awareness
– Vision and processing speed
– Counter moves
– Work on stance

Overall:
Zuniga has the strength and effort teams will love but lacks quick burst off line and general awareness of processing speed. He will be a bit of a project to learn those traits but if he learns them with his power, he could be talked about as a great edge rusher!

Khalid Kareem – Notre Dame 6-4 265

Notre Dame DE Khalid Kareem

Pros:
– Long and powerful
– Usually wins first contact
– Power through whole frame
– Good leverage
– Processing skills against the run
– Power to move blocker and attack ball
– Fluid release

Cons:
– Slow first step
– No counter rush moves
– Not a twitchy athlete
– Needs more pass rush moves
– Bad in space

Overall:
Kareem is a powerful edge player with good leverage which usually has success. When it does not work he lacks a counter move which he will need to learn. He must be better in space but has the tools to play early in his career as he develops more.

Alton Robinson – Syracuse 6-3 259

Syracuse DE Alton Robinson

Pros:
– Can play with hand in group or standing up
– Heavy at the point of attack
– Good swivel hips to rush
– Ability to drop in zone
– Good quick closing ability

Cons:
– Learn to disengage better
– Get stronger
– Come off ball better
– At times looks like an average Joe on the field
– More rush/counter moves

Overall:
Robinson is a mid round guy with a ton of upside. He needs to improve on his technique and get stronger but has ability to help a defense in a multitude of ways

Anfernee Jennings – Alabama 6-2 252

Alabama DE Anfernee Jennings

Pros:
– Great hands and counter blocks
– Process plays well
– Awareness
– Sets the edge
– Snap anticipation
– Speed to power
– Good inside move
– Hands up to impact throwing lanes

Cons:
– Lacks a good burst
– Is not a twitch athlete
– Range is limited
– Motor is so-so

Overall:
True technician as a rusher and run defender who lack great burst and explosion. Combine that with a half ass approach at times and this is what you get. A guy who can be a mid round steal if a coach can light a fire under him and get the most out of his amazing traits he brings.

Alex Highsmith – Charlotte 6-4 242

Charlottle DE Alex Highsmith

Pros:
– Good anticipation
– Quick release
– Decent inside move
– Good spin move
– Active hands
– Good play recognition
– Can stand up and play

Cons:
– Lacks length
– Struggles to separate at times
– Improve on tackling outside his frame
– Strength
– His is frame maxed out to get stronger ?

Overall:
Smaller school prospect that has a good release and shows good anticipation. He brings some good pass rush moves but needs to improve his strength and separation from blocks.

Kenny Willekes – Michigan State 6-4 252

Michigan State DE Kenny Willekes

Pros:
– Competes for his gap
– Leverage
– Plays containment well
– Good footwork
– Always going
– Places hands well
– Picks up plays well
– Physical with a high floor

Cons:
– Convert speed to power better
– Get stronger
– Counter moves

Overall:
Willekes is a solid player who will probably never be anything special but will have a spot on a defense as a steady year in year out player who needs to get stronger to aid his abilities.

Nick Coe – Auburn 6-5 291

Auburn DE Nick Coe

Pros:
– Thick frame
– Strong
– Sets the edge well
– Plays all techniques on the D-Line
– Heavy hands
– Gets extension on blocks

Cons:
– Tardy out of stance
– Lateral movement
– Counter moves are slow
– Struggles to find the football at times

Overall:
Coe is another player that won’t get the headlines but is a strong piece on a defense that can set edges and help a team defense succeed. He’s a good mid-to-late round option.

 Thank you for reading! Any questions or comments?

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Thanks again! Talk soon!

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