The Cleveland Browns had a really promising 2018 NFL season. This offseason will be an important moment for the future of the franchise. The Browns will use the 2019 NFL Draft to continue the development of the team and hopefully catapult the franchise to the next level.
Here at WFNY, we are getting you ready for the upcoming draft. In particular, Joe Gilbert and John Colosimo are examining each of the positions in the draft, giving their top five prospects in each position group, while also giving their thoughts on the overall class at each position.
The duo continues the position rankings series by examining the edge rusher class. So, let’s check out what Joe and John had to say about the top five edge rushers and the overall edge rusher class in the 2019 NFL Draft.
|Joe Gilbert’s Top 5 Edge Rushers||John Colosimo’s Top 5 Edge Rushers|
|1. Nick Bosa, Ohio State||1. Josh Allen, Kentucky|
|2. Brian Burns, Florida State||2. Brian Burns, Florida State|
|3. Clelin Ferrell, Clemson||3. Jachai Polite, Florida|
|4. Josh Allen, Kentucky||4. Nick Bosa, Ohio State|
|5. Jachai Polite, Florida||5. Clelin Ferrell, Clemson|
Best of the Rest: Oshane Ximines (Old Dominion) Jaylon Ferguson (Louisiana Tech) Montez Sweat (Mississippi State), Chase Winovich (Michigan), D’Andre Walker (Georgia), Christian Miller (Alabama) and Joe Jackson (Miami (FL))
Which edge rusher do you feel stronger about than most people?
Joe: I love Clelin Ferrell’s game. I believe he is right there with Brian Burns as the second best pass rusher in the class. He has an explosive first step that helps him earn a quick advantage against the opposing blocker. He has great size and strength for an edge rusher, but also has solid bend on the edge to beat tackles and get to the quarterback.
John: Its probably splitting hairs to say I like him more than most but Jachai Polite of Florida is a guy I’m high on. Extremely athletic and productive, he seems to be rated below several edge guys that I feel he’s better than. Right now I see him being mocked in the mid to high teens, I’m not sure that will be the case after the combine this weekend. Should he be available at 17, I believe he’d be firmly in the mix for the Browns in that spot.
Who is your No. 1 edge rusher in the class and why do you believe he is the best edge rusher?
Joe: My No. 1 edge rusher in the class is Ohio State’s Nick Bosa. He has everything you want in an edge rusher. He is an explosive athlete with the ability to explode off the line scrimmage and leave blockers in his dust after just a few steps. He has great hands to control blockers and to stay clean in order to make a play. He affects both the run and pass game equally.
John: Josh Allen of Kentucky. He would have been a 1st rounder last season, and he only built on that resume this season. Off the charts production no matter how you slice it. Market share, pass rush productivity, it’s all there when you look at him statistically. Turn on the tape and you see an extremely fluid athlete with a variety of pass rush moves and counters who is excellent against the run. He may not be the prototypical size but it’s just not something I’d worry about.
What are your thoughts on the overall edge rusher class? How would you rate the class?
Joe: This is one of the best edge rusher classes to come out in a while. It has an elite talent in Bosa with great prospects making out the rest of the top five. But, the class is incredibly deep with edge rushers who can contribute in the NFL. Compared to last season, I think this year’s class has more top talent and is also deeper.
John: This is a very good edge rusher class. I tried to find a better group in recent year but couldn’t do it. If you are getting one of the top 5-6 you are getting a player with legitimate pro-bowl potential.
Who has the best single skill set and what is that skill set?
Joe: I think Nick Bosa’s hands are the best skill sets in the entire edge rusher class. He has powerful hands with the ability to control blockers and move them to his advantage. His hands are quick with an array of moves to get away from the grasps of blockers.
John: I’ll go with Brian Burns’ first step. He’s explosive out of his stance in a way that sets him apart from the rest of this class in that regard.
Who is a sleeper edge rusher who you are keeping an eye on?
Joe: Oshane Ximines, Old Dominion – He is a smaller school prospect who deserves to be mentioned with the top edge rushers outside of the top five. He was highly productive in his college career. He has good athleticism, along with active hands to fend off blockers from keeping him engaged. He deserves more attention.
John: Jaylon Ferguson, LA Tech – He led the nation in sacks, but had a rough week at the senior bowl. How he tests this weekend at the combine will be important to his draft stock, I could see him as a late 2nd rounder or early day 3 based on the perceived potential based on his size and athleticism.
What is the impact of this edge rusher class to the Browns?
Joe: The Browns are definitely in the market for an edge rusher. So, this class will have a huge impact on the Browns. With how deep the class is this season, the Browns could look throughout the draft to nab a couple of the edge rushers to improve their unit. If one of the top talents fall to No. 17, Cleveland could definitely use this pick to get an edge rusher.
John: It’s nearly certain that the Browns will add to their defensive ends in this draft, whether or not they look to replace Ogbah as a starter or just add to the depth behind he and Myles Garrett will determine the ultimate impact to the 2019 team.