Joey The Tooth's Early Prospect Analysis: Edge Rushers (Part 1)
Joey gives his thoughts after an initial look at four of the top edge rushers in this year's class.
With the NFL Draft about three months away, it’s officially #RookieSZN. Prospect analysis is plentiful and mock drafts abound. For dynasty league managers, it’s a beautiful (and exciting) time of year. To help you get ready, we’ll be sending out Joey The Tooth’s initial thoughts on prospects in the lead-up to the draft.
Be sure to buy a copy of the IDP Guys Rookie Draft Magazine (which covers offense and IDP), in which Joey will be doing a deeper dive on the players you see in these articles.
Today, we start with a 4-pack of edge rushers: Cameron Thomas, Kingsley Enagbare, Nik Bonitto, and Drake Jackson. Joey offers pros and cons for each player, along with a summary and draft grade. Follow Joey on Twitter to keep up with all his analysis.
Cameron Thomas, San Diego State
Fast and powerful punch
Strong hands, very quick to swipe lineman off his chest
Relentless pursuit early in games
Gets skinny on the interior to squeeze gaps and get into the backfield
Nice swim move inside he mixes well with outside feint
Has a variety of counters
Plays with great leverage and leg drive on the interior
Not bendy off edge (at least in comparison to NFL standards)
Trouble finishing at times (often late)
Plays too upright on the outside and gets stood up too easily at times
Fizzles out at the end of games (more stamina than motor)
Cameron Thomas is a DT that transitioned to EDGE. Though slightly undersized for the interior, he uses a fierce, quick punch to gain the upper hand and get underneath OL pad level, where he also shows good leg drive. He is very technical and powerful in his pass rush and possesses an excellent inside swim move. Thomas has a plethora of counters, though sometimes they are to no avail and he has trouble finishing.
Since he has a lack of bend and flexibility off the edge, he needs to win with technique. He often plays too upright on the edge, allowing OTs to stand him up and remove him from the play. I think he could fit almost any scheme, though I think he fits best in a base 3-4 role as a DE or in a hybrid scheme similar to what the Ravens have run in the past, switching him from DE to the interior throughout the game. Thomas is like a poor man’s Aidan Hutchinson.
Draft Grade: Early 2nd Round
Kingsley Enagbare, South Carolina
Great burst and speed rush
Variety of pass rush moves (swim, spin, grip)
Seems a bit lost in run defense, often out of position
Not an edge setter
Needs to add strength
Kingsley Enagbare has all the tools athletically to be a successful NFL edge defender. He can play either 4-3 DE or 3-4 OLB. He has great speed, burst, and length off the edge, though needs to play to these strengths more.
Too often he tries to bull rush and stronger OTs stand him up. He needs to work on his run defense, as too often he gets swallowed up inside. He has a stable of pass rush moves, he just needs to perfect them. His career will likely start as a situational pass rusher with the ability to grow into an every-down player.
Draft Grade: Late 2nd/Early 3rd
Nik Bonitto, Oklahoma
Burst, great speed rush
Relentless pursuit to QB
Good counters (often wins with 2nd move)
Does not rely on a single move to QB (good swim, chop, dip, spin)
Shown an ability to drop in zone coverage with good depth awareness
Seems to know where to be on run defense, always around the football
Needs to add strength
Stacked up when facing larger OTs
Could show better patience in the run game, gets to his spots quickly but overpursues too much giving him poor tackling angles
There is plenty to like about Nik Bonitto. He is one of the better speed rushers I've seen in this class. He comes off the edge with solid bend and a good dip to get around offensive tackles. His ability to counter, matched with a quality motor, often has him finishing on his second effort. He would be wise to hit the weight room some, as he has trouble when attempting to bull rush big offensive tackles.
He could also learn a little patience in his run defense. Bonitto best fits as an OLB in a 3-4. Has the potential to be a steal in the middle of the draft.
Draft Grade: 3rd Round
Drake Jackson, USC
Long, athletic, powerful
Possesses all the tools needed to be successful
Sets the edge well when engaged
Good bend to his frame
Takes plays off
Seems lost and disengaged at times
Lacks true polish
Doesn't have any single skill he overly excels at
Needs refinement in his pass rush repertoire
I came away a bit underwhelmed after watching Drake Jackson. He has some hype to his name, but to me, he's a work in progress. He possesses all the physical and athletic tools to be successful but he lacks any technical polish. He relies too much on his athleticism to win, and when he doesn’t win, he disengages.
There were too many plays I saw him watching the play happen. With good coaching, Jackson can become a very skilled edge defender. It will take time, though.
Draft Grade: Early 4th Round
Be sure to buy a copy of the IDP Guys Rookie Draft Magazine.
Subscribe to The IDP Show so you don’t miss an episode!
Get 20% OFF @manscaped + Free Shipping with promo code IDPSHOW at MANSCAPED.com! #ad #manscapedpod