A – Top Tier
B – Starter
C – Backup
D – Practice Squad
Recent Prospect Grade Comparison: Myles Garrett, A+/A
1. Sam Hubbard – A former safety and lacrosse player, Hubbard is a very good athlete who was developed well at Ohio State. He has impeccable agility and footwork, with great start-stop ability when chasing the ball carrier. This causes a lot of blockers to be forced to hold him, as he is so much quicker than them. Similarly, he is very good at stunting inside from the edge, using his superior quickness to get to the hole faster than the blocker. He is also great at swiping and swimming, using his agility and feisty hands to outmaneuver opponents. He is rarely stalled fully on a pas rush, as he is constantly moving his hands and feet to pressure the blockers and gain an edge. He is fast off the edge, although he possesses no bend when speed rushing from the outside. He has a good power rush, using strong legs to drive blockers back. He is good at shedding blocks in the run game, using his arms and quickness to get to the ball. Hubbard is smart and instinctual, enabling him to adjust rapidly to movement by the quarterback or screen passes. While he has the size and strength to be a 4-3 defensive end, he is athletic and fluid in coverage, allowing him to be a top tier 3-4 outside linebacker as well. He is a well rounded prospect with the overall ability to impact the game through all aspects of his defense. Above all, he is a very good pass rusher.
2. Bradley Chubb – Widely considered the top edge rusher in this draft class, Chubb is a developed pass rusher who can step in and play immediately. He is a big, well rounded athlete with the tools to be a 3-4 outside linebacker or 4-3 defensive end, and his splash plays come from a combination of motor than explosiveness. He is not very good at timing snaps, which makes it harder for him to win off the snap. However, he has good burst when he does start, and is excellent at setting up blockers with a devastating first step that make up for the lack of timing. He has great lean coming off the edge, and while he doesn’t always flatten to help him cut toward the quarterback, he does generally finish his rush low. He doesn’t have any prolific moves that he relies on, instead possessing extremely active hands that he can use well when for all rushes. He has very good rip and swim moves that should in the NFL, particularly because of his smoothness as a rusher and effective use of his hands. He is relentless as a pass rusher, doing a good job of chasing plays down and going full speed every day. This helps him wear down opponents and take advantage of the athleticism that he does possess. Additionally, he is fluid enough to drop into coverage well and chase players in his vicinity. While his tackling is shaky at times, Chubb is a sturdy and well built player who is an asset in the run game. He also shows a lot of swagger and confidence in his game, something that is invaluable for a defensive player of his caliber.
3. Duke Ejiofor – A dominant game wrecker at times, Ejiofor is a playmaker on the defensive line. He is surprisingly mature in his game, showing outstanding technique with his hands and pass rushing moves. His pass rushing moves and technique with his hands are the strengths of his game. He has a great spin move going both inside and outside, and his hands are constantly active in attempting rip and swim moves. He is generally double-teamed, but he is able to split the blockers and make plays using his powerful hands to swipe blockers. He is a long rusher with good burst off the snap, and he finishes his speed rushes by flattening toward the quarterback. He can also rush from the inside, using his natural strength and amazing array of moves to attack upfield. He comes flat across the line when playing the run, and will also fight aggressively over run blocks rather than allowing himself to get blocked down. While a huge playmaker in both run and pass defense, he sometimes has trouble holding on to tackles. Additionally, he shows some inconsistency between games, and can get taken out of plays by some top tier opponents. He is not a terrific athlete, and can show some regression when continually stalled by blockers. However, he is still a dominant pass rusher who can make plays defending the run, and has the maturity in his game to be a difference maker from day one.
4. Harold Landry – A pass rusher similar to Vic Beasley, Landry is a high upside player who has the tools to be dominant off the edge. His get off and burst from the line can be outstanding at times, allowing him to beat the blocker from the start of the play. There are also plays where he can be slower off the snap and have stagnant hands. He has amazing bend when speed rushing off the edge, as well as the strength and technique to convert the speed into a power rush. He has a good feel for pass rushing and reading plays in general, knowing when to flatten toward the quarterback or break off to defend the run. He is also very agile, with the ability to change directions and swipe to attack the other side of the blocker. However, he can be slow to disengage when he is stood up. With his hands, he is good at swiping to the sides to gain the edge on blockers, enabling him to get to the quarterback. Additionally, he has a good swim move from outside in, as he is able to sell the speed rush and use his agility to counter. His ability to pressure offenses is shown by the double teams that he merits, and he can fight through blocks well by splitting them with rip moves. While he is not a liability in the run game, he is pretty close to being one, mainly due to his lack of size or strength. Although he is capable and can tackle adequately, he doesn’t always wrap stronger running backs. Landry is a naturally talented pass rusher off the edge, but his small stature is a major hindrance to his ability to effect the game.
5. Marcus Davenport – With good length and a strong build, Davenport is more of a 3-4 defensive end than a pure pass rusher. He is very raw, often relying on his sheer size and athleticism to beat opponents. However, he does know how to use his natural talents effectively. He is a very good run defender who can disengage from blockers easily using his long arms. Additionally, he has the speed and determination to chase runners down from behind. He does a great job holding the edge on runs to his side, as well as coming flat across the line on runs away from him. As a pass rusher, he tends to use his power more than anything else. He has powerful hands, enabling him to punch or shed blockers well. He also has strong legs, enabling him to drive blockers back when rushing the passer. He is very unrefined as a rusher overall, with bad moves to get to the quarterback. Although he is good at using his shoulders and rip moves to maneuver through blockers, his hand work is sloppy. He doesn’t possess any elite moves such as spins or swims, even with his long arms. While raw as a pass rusher, he is a very good run defender, allowing him to still impact the game in the trenches. Davenport has the length to fit as a defensive end in both a 3-4 and 4-3 scheme, although his upside as a pass rusher is higher as a 4-3 end.
6. Uchenna Nwosu – Mainly utilized as a pass rusher at USC, Nwosu is a pure speed rusher with minimal experience. He exhibits great burst off the edge, although he rushes high and fails to flatten toward the quarterback at times. He doesn’t have any developed moves, instead relying on his edge burst or sheer effort. However, he has impressive agility and does a good job and maneuvering his body past the blocker. Additionally, he can turn speed into power effectively on his pass rushes, something that is especially useful when considering his versatility rushing from any linebacker spot. He is outstanding at defending passes at the line, showing a knack for timing his jumps right and reading the quarterback’s throwing path. Nwosu is rendered a non factor by most blockers in the run game, as he lacks the power or strength to challenge them. He is not a good tackler, a shame considering the frequency with which he blows up plays in the backfield. He rarely did anything besides rush the quarterback, however his athletic traits have been shown to suffice the few times he dropped into coverage. Many of his flaws are fixable in the NFL, particularly regarding his weight and technique. He has the raw traits that could potentially help him emerge as a dominant situational rusher. In particular, added weight should help him with his tackling and playmaking.
7. Arden Key – Although he has potential, Key has too many problems to be a starter in the NFL. He is not fast or athletic, but he is long with very good bend and outstanding burst off the line. When speed rushing off the edge, he runs upright and gets widened away from the quarterback. This is due in large part to his failure to use his bend to flatten toward the quarterback. He is not very good at changing directions, and his agility leaves much to be desired. He is good at boxing blockers at the sides to gain the edge on them, using his quick hands to gain separation. He can also set blockers up with inside jabs steps to allow him access to a better edge rush. Additionally, he has a tremendous rip move that allows him to dominate offensive tackles. However, he gives up on plays quickly and it is not uncommon for him to show a lack of effort. He is able to hold the edge adequately on run plays, but he generally is not an impactful run defender. Much of this is the result of his inability to disengage from blockers effectively. He is also a very inconsistent tackler, not showing much explosiveness in making plays. He is athletic enough to drop into coverage, but he is more of a gap filler than asset. There are numerous questions about his dedication, as he suffered from weight problems in college. Key has many of the traits teams look for in a dominant pass rusher, but he also displays many of the weaknesses that signify a bust. He could fit in well for a team if he is given good coaching, particularly as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.
8. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo – An undersized edge rusher, Okoronkwo’s talent is marred by his lack of size, elite athleticism, and variation. He is good at cutting and changing directions quickly, which he uses to beat blockers one-on-one in space. Similarly, he has a terrific jab step, using it to set up his pass rush by getting blockers off balance. It is in these situations that he excels, as he is able to get the blocker in the right position for him to execute spin, swim, or rip moves. However, his small stature is a major liability in such situations, as blockers can deal with him easily if they stand their ground. This is due in large part due to his minimal strength and power, because blockers are able to stall him easily if they make solid contact with him. Additionally, the lack of variety in his pass rush will make his easy to defend in the NFL. He has good bend when speed rushing off the edge, but there are times when offensive linemen push him over due to his weak base. He has outstanding burst off the line, combining it with his jab step and slipperiness to beat blockers to the punch. He can get immediate pressure by splitting double teams with his quickness, although it is balanced out by his moments of ineffectiveness and inconsistency. For a smaller player, he is effective at using his free arm to make plays. He is a capable, but weak tackler. He is a stiff but solid player in coverage, although is can react and chase when off the ball quite well. He is likely to be a bust as an NFL pass rusher, but some of his talents will translate well to special teams or as a backup linebacker in space.
9. Dorance Armstrong Jr. – A 4-3 defensive end with the build of a small 3-4 outside linebacker, Armstrong is a raw player whose development upside is his biggest asset. He is long and thin, with the speed and twitchy athleticism required to be a good pass rusher. He has a great jump off the snap, something which is the most important part of his game. He is rendered ineffective unless he wins the initial battle at the snap, something that is not a given regardless of his burst from the line. This is due in large part to his lack of strength and power, limiting his variety has a pass rusher. His footwork is extremely sloppy, leading to bad balance while engaging with blockers in run or pass defense. His hands are active and he can utilize swipes while speed rushing, but he has little else in his repertoire. He is not a good player in coverage, as he is more used to playing defensive end. However, he is not good in the run game either because of his lack of power and strength. Additionally, he lacks instincts and discipline in the run or screen game, causing him to be fooled easily into being taken out of a play. He does have good chase down speed, but it is not enough to make up for his flaws. His burst, speed, and potential to fill out more make his upside appealing, but he is not a very skilled prospect but all means.