Chase Young is the clear-cut edge defender on everyone’s 2020 NFL Draft board. However, after that, teams appear to be split on who the second pass-rusher off the board will be. Plus, does Javon Kinlaw offer more upside than Derrick Brown?
Find out below, as we break down the top-10 edge defenders and defensive linemen in the 2020 Draft class.
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Top-10 EDGE & D-Line Draft Prospects
1) Chase Young | EDGE | Ohio St.
It’s almost unsettling how little chatter has surrounded the hands-down top pass-rusher in the class this draft season. He’s a specimen, with blue-chip traits across the board. Plus, he’s explosive off the edge, with yearly double-digit sack upside in the pros. The only concern would be that he faded down the stretch last season.
2) Javon Kinlaw | DL | S. Carolina
Kinlaw edges out Brown due to his elite traits and pass-rushing ability. The 6-foot-5-inch, 324-pound Kinlaw has 34-inch arms. He’s a dominant bull-rusher who has received PFF pass-rushing grades of 88.7 and 90.7 in back-to-back seasons.
3) Derrick Brown | DL | Auburn
Brown is a highly disruptive interior defender. He plays with an extremely high-motor and possesses tremendous short-area quickness for a man of his size. Expect him to be more dominant than the boxscore may show in the NFL. He’s got All-Pro potential written all over him.
4) K’lavon Chaisson | EDGE | LSU
Chaisson marks off every box you look for in a modern-day edge defender. He’s got a chiseled frame, elite flexibility off the edge and scary get-off ability. He’s a high-character player, evident by donning the well-respected #18 jersey at LSU. He’s also extremely versatile, lining up everywhere from stand up linebacker to playing in the slot. He wins off of traits but will need to develop an array of pass-rushing moves to tap into his true potential.
5) AJ Epenesa | DL | Iowa
Epenesa was a potential top-10 pick when scouts went simply off of film. Then, he vastly underperformed at the combine. In reality, it may have helped him. Epenesa had been miscast as an edge defender, while he’s clearly best served to play with his hand in the dirt. He’s highly productive and explosive in short-areas, yet has limited bend off the edge.
6) Yetur Gross-Matos | EDGE | Penn St.
Gross-Matos looks the part of a prototypical 4-3 defensive end. He’s not overly dominant at the point of attack, but wins with length and athleticism. He’s still developing as a technician, but the growth in his pass-rush arsenal over recent years is enticing.
7) Julian Okwara | EDGE | Notre Dame
The brother of Detroit Lions edge defender Romeo Okwara, Julian is extremely long and his lanky frame should be able to carry extra weight at the next level. He saw a dip in production in 2019, but still lived in offense’s backfields for the most part. He lacks numerous pass-rushing moves at the moment.
8) Terrell Lewis | EDGE | Alabama
Lewis has a first-round frame, but his durability concerns will likely cause him to fall outside of the first day of the draft. His athleticism and physical traits are off the charts. However, he can be dominated at the point of attack by more physical linemen. He played just 26 games over his three-year Alabama career.
9) Curtis Weaver | EDGE | Boise St.
Weaver is a highly productive prospect who falls short on prototypical size and athletic traits. He wins with above-average lateral quickness and solid use of hands. He will need to show improvement as a run defender if he hopes to be more than a pass-rush specialist.
10) Ross Blacklock | DL | TCU
Blacklock plays more like an edge defender at times than you’d expect his nearly 300-pound d-lineman frame would allow. He needs to become stronger on the interior and show a willingness to absorb blocks while continuing to work off of them. Still, his production and developed skillset make him an intriguing day-two prospect in our books.
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