Next up on my positional superlatives series are edge defenders which features nine prospects ranked among my top 50 prospects and 14 with day one or day two grades. This is a deep and talented crop of prospects at a premium position. Get used to hearing these names called early and often at the end of the month.
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Best Prospect: Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
Myles Garrett is the type of transcendent talent that offers value at the top of any draft. With the traits of a cornerstone defensive building block, Garrett projects as a dominant pass rusher that opposing teams will have to prepare for every week.
A complete player, Garrett is terrific against the run, and possesses the size and athletic ability to be called a blue chip prospect. His technique complements his physical upside, and his mental processing skills make him a rare talent. He is a franchise-changer on the defensive side of the ball.
Best Resume: Derek Barnett, Tennessee
My resume grades factor the injury history, off-field concerns and accolades that a player accumulates in their collegiate career and Barnett scored the highest. Starting 36 games in his career, Barnett had no notable injury concerns and was clean off the field. He also racked up some impressive accolades as he set the career record for sacks at Tennessee.
- 2016-1st Team All-SEC, Consensus All-American.
- 2015-2nd Team All-SEC.
- 2014-All-SEC Freshman Team.
Best Size: Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
My size metric weighs all official measurements against positional averages over the last five years and Garrett scored the highest. Garrett checks in at 6044, 272 pounds with 35 ¼” arms and 10 ¼” hands.
Best Athlete: Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
My athleticism metric weighs all athletic testing results against positional averages over the last five years and Garrett again leads the pack.
- 40-Yard Dash: 4.64
- 10-Yard Split: 1.63
- Bench Press: 33
- Vertical Jump: 41”
- Broad Jump: 10’8’’
Best Production: Derek Barnett, Tennessee
My production metric factors total games started and consistency in statistical output and Barnett scored the highest. Starting 36 career games, Barnett tallied 197 tackles, 52 tackles for loss and 33 sacks.
Best Hand Technique: Solomon Thomas, Stanford
Thomas excels in hand combating with refined technique. He initiates contact with a quick strike and attacks vulnerable areas on the blocker that make him reactive. His hands are powerful and he does well to play through blocks and quickly disengage. Thomas knows how to counter and keep his chest plate clean.
Best Pass Rusher: Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
Garrett has an outstanding ability to play with leverage, power, and bend the corner. He carries speed through tight angles and has an array of techniques and counters. He has the speed to stress the blockers kickslide and the power to break through contact. He is a generational talent.
Best Run Defender: Jonathan Allen, Alabama
Allen deals with blockers appropriately, leverages his hips to anchor and plays with good pad level. He consistently resets the line of scrimmage and is able to stack the run and shed. He plays with refined hand usage and is difficult to move on drive blocks while maintaining his run fits at all times.
Top Sleeper: Keionta Davis, Tennessee-Chattanooga
Davis tore his ACL the week before his senior season in high school which scared off Power-5 suitors. When UT-Chattanooga remained committed to him through the injury, Davis rewarded them with a commitment to play for the Mocs. Over his final two collegiate seasons, Davis dominated the competition with high level production and impact.
Davis looks good on the hoof and brings a considerable power element to the table. His play strength shows up as a run defender, and he can set a consistently firm edge and play through blocks. He brings good physicality as a tackler and is able to generate a pass rush with power moves and the ability to press rush angles. Davis’ projection is tempered by a lack of flexibility in the lower half to change directions quickly, bend the edge track, and work into space.
Be sure to check out the rest of the positional superlatives series: