Thus far, Ohio State’s Chase Young is the undisputed top pass rusher in the 2020 NFL draft.
After that, however, there’s not a consensus No. 2 pass rusher. Bottom line? The next one to go off the board will largely depend on what type of athletic profile a team is looking for, a former NFL scout tells Fanspeak.com.
“Every year is slightly different at every position. What differs from year to year is the amount of players graded in grade tiers, and that is the case for pass rushers this year,” said Chris Landry of LandryFootball.com. Landry is a veteran NFL scout who has served with the Cleveland Browns and the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans. He’s also the former director of the Indianapolis Scouting Combine.
The latest Fanspeak-Steve big board lists 10 pass rushers (defensive ends or pass-rushing linebackers) among its top 50 players.
By comparison, eight pass rushers were among the first 50 picks of the 2017 draft, all of whom were selected in the first round. And, like the 2020 draft, there was a clear No. 1 player at the position in ’17 with Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett, the eventual No. 1 overall pick.
Overall, the 2017 draft included 18 pass rushers who were drafted in the first three rounds, but all but two of them were taken in the first or third rounds.
#Iowa DE A.J. Epenesa — Power + technique as an edge defender. Walks the OT back on this rep vs. Penn State.
— Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) January 15, 2020
Likewise, this year’s group of pass rushers might lack some of the star power that previous drafts have had at the position, but it offers a little bit of everything for edge-needy teams.
“While this year might not be as deep (as previous drafts), there are some good ones in different body types,” said Landry, who currently serves as a scouting and coaching consultant to NFL teams and college programs.
“A.J. Epenesa (of Iowa), for example, is a big long player with good technique to shorten the corner, while guys like (K’Lavon) Chaisson (of LSU), (Yetur) Gross-Matos (of Penn State) and (Terrell) Lewis (of Alabama) have good edge speed. I also think there is some down-the-line value in guys like (Miami’s Jonathan) Greenard and (Utah’s Bradlee) Anae.”