The Post’s Ryan Dunleavy names his top 10 edge rushers in this year’s NFL Draft, based on reviews and talking to people in the league:
1. Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan, 6-7, 260 pounds
On the shortlist for the overall selection no. 1. Elite talent paired with work ethic and the high drive of a tried and tested late performer. Returned from a broken ankle in 2020 with 14-sack season. Finalist for Heisman Trophy and Campbell Trophy (academics).
2. Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon, 6-4, 254 pounds
It’s been three years since the nation’s best seven sacks in the fourth quarter (of his career 19) as a freshman. Better indoor production, but too small for indoor use in the NFL. Wear it like a superstar, ready for a big market.
3. Travon Walker, Georgia, 6-5, 272 pounds
Wasn’t an All-SEC pick as a year-old starter. Run the fastest 40-yard dash time (4.52) for a 270-pounder since 2003. Versatile enough to move around the line. Scouts love his film and his projection as an edge rusher despite a quiet stat line.
4. Jermaine Johnson, Florida State, 6-5, 254 pounds
Johnson, just another rotation in the country’s most talented defense at Georgia, made big money with 18 tackles and 12 sacks last season after the switch. Two-way advantage that enjoys having teams run towards it.
5. George Karlaftis, Purdue, 6-4, 266 pounds
Stand-up or hand-in-dirt rusher as a traditional 4-3 defensive end. After 17 losses in 2019 and an injury-plagued 2020, 2021 added another 11.5 TFLs. Drawn many doubles teams. The arm length (32 ⁵/₈ inches) raised concerns.
6. Boye Mafe, Minnesota, 6-3, 255 pounds
Just 13 career starts and fewer than half the defensive snaps in the seven-sack breakout senior season. A 38-inch vertical hop is good for slapping down passes — and it looks comfortable falling off the line.
7. David Ojabo, Michigan, 6-4, 250 pounds
Near-border top 10 picks based on uptrend prior to Pro Day Achilles rupture. Still raw despite 11-sack season so lost time is a big deal. Only 20 career college games. Started playing at age 17 after moving from Europe.
8. Arnold Ebiketie, Penn State, 6-2, 250 pounds
Started playing soccer in sophomore year of high school. The football background in his native Cameroon is good for his speed – he wins at the first step – and tireless stamina. Aims for the ball while picking up sacks (15.5 career).
9. Nik Bonitto, Oklahoma, 6-3, 248 pounds
More than 27 percent of his 117 career tackles were lost. Never stops moving – sometimes to his detriment. Expanded range of pass rush moves. Had Power Five scholarship offers to play basketball.
10. Josh Paschal, Kentucky, 6-3, 268 pounds
Survived skin cancer on his right foot in 2018. He returned and amassed 32.5 tackles for losses over the next three seasons. Versatile enough to maneuver around the front seven with your hand in the dirt or at various stance angles.
Travon Walker, Georgia: One of the most meteoric post-season promotions for a player in recent memory. In the mix for #1 overall pick. Already a strong run defender, including chasing ball carriers to the long sideline. “Freaky” athletics, say scouts.
David Ojabo, Michigan: Does he slip into the early second round? If he’s late in the first round, the contract comes with a fifth-year option, which could be tempting for a team with multiple firsts and luxuries to be patient with its development.
Little school miracle
Dominique Robinson, Miami (Ohio), 6-4, 253 pounds: Got viral at the combine for undeterred going through multiple exercises when his left shoe kept slipping off. Here’s a position change you don’t see every day: Receiver to Edge Rusher. I never started a game on defense.
https://nypost.com/2022/04/19/2022-nfl-draft-ranking-the-top-10-edge-rushers/ Ranking of the top 10 edge rushers