Edge rushers are right behind Quarterbacks when you consider the most valuable players in the NFL. They’re right there because of how they can impact an opposing Quarterback’s game.
Many teams have problems attacking opposing Quarterbacks. To address their need, they should draft a game-changing, edge rushing, presence to hunt MVPs across the league.
Here are Five Teams that Need to Draft an Edge Rusher Early:
1. Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis is in desperate need of a dominant edge presence. They were second last in the NFL with only 25.0 sacks. Although the Colts ran a 3-4 defense in 2017, they are now switching over to a 4-3 defense. The only good edge rusher they currently have is Jabaal Sheard. The Colts need to add to that list early in the 1st round of this draft.
The Colts should draft Bradley Chubb, if he’s available, with the 6th overall pick.
Chubb is without a doubt the best Defensive End in this draft class and with the fact that the Colts are switching over to a 4-3 defense this season, this is a perfect fit, if he’s available. He’s a violent pass rusher with a quick first step and beats Offensive Tackles with an abundance of pass rushing moves.
The best part about Chubb’s game is just how polished he is as a pass rusher. He’s explosive off of the snap, he can drive Offensive Tackles backwards with his strength, and he has pretty much every move possible, ranging from a swim move, to a long arm, to a crazy inside move by drawing Tackles back and wide and then exploding to the inside.
2. Detroit Lions
Although Detroit was 20th in the NFL with 35.0 sacks, not nearly as bad as these other teams, they really only have one edge rusher that can get after the Quarterback and that’s Ezekiel Ansah. He had more than 1/3 of the Lions’ sacks with 12. The Lions need to get a running mate for the recently Franchise Tagged Ansah and they should go up and get him with their 1st round pick.
The Lions should draft Sam Hubbard with the 20th overall pick.
Hubbard is extremely undervalued in this class of Defensive End prospects. He is going to be a very good NFL player because of how good he is against both the pass and run. He’ll lineup anywhere you need him to. I’ve seen him play in 2, 3, and 4-point stances across the line and he can also blitz the A and B gap from an Inside Linebacker position.
The best part about Hubbard’s game is how hard he plays. Every play he’s pursuing ball carriers, regardless if their on the other side of the field. He’s not the fastest player but he makes up for that with his quickness in tight spaces and his great angles while pursuing.
3. New England Patriots
New England had 42.0 sacks in 2017, which was good enough to tie them for 7th in the NFL. Even though they had so many sacks, they just couldn’t get after the Quarterback when they really needed to. They were missing a speed rusher to just send out there on 3rd downs and hunt the QB. When he was healthy, they had to use Dont’a Hightower on 3rd downs as their primary pass rusher. The biggest question mark about the Patriots Defensive Ends is, in my opinion, how will Derek Rivers bounce back after missing his whole rookie season due to a torn ACL?
The Patriots should draft Harold Landry with the 31st overall pick.
Landry is a great pure pass rusher who hunts down opposing Quarterbacks. Unfortunately, he’s bad against the run, so he might just primarily be a 3rd down pass rusher. Although he might just be a 3rd down pass rusher, he’ll be extremely valuable on those 3rd downs. I think he would be best utilized as an Outside Linebacker and standing up in a 2-point stance.
The best part about Landry’s game is his first step. His explosion off of the line is unmatched in this years draft class. The jump that he’s able to get from it will cause Offensive Tackles to open up and it will create opportunities for other defensive rushers to get after the Quarterback.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay needs a lot of help along the edge. They were dead last in the NFL with only 22.0 sacks. They just signed Defensive End, Vinny Curry and they have Noah Spence coming back from injury. Those two players will help that defense get after the Quarterback but Curry isn’t a pure edge rusher and they need somebody that they can just let loose.
The Buccaneers should draft Arden Key with the 38th overall pick.
Key didn’t have the 2017 we were all hoping for but he still has a lot of potential as an edge rusher. He has a great first step and his length gives him a huge advantage because he’s able to get such a big jump off the snap. He uses his hands really well while he’s turning the corner but he doesn’t bend well.
The best part about Key’s game is his potential. People knock him because of his inconsistency and so they don’t fully appreciate what he could do if a Defensive Coordinator is able to tap into his potential. Key is going to be a good pass rusher in the NFL and has the ability to drop into coverage if need be.
5. New York Jets
The Jets just traded up with the Colts to get the 3rd overall pick so they don’t have either of their second round picks anymore to get an edge rusher there. They already have two good young edge rushers in Lorenzo Mauldin (25) and Jordan Jenkins (23) but they don’t have somebody that will consistently get after opposing Quarterbacks so they should just keep adding more pieces and create a very good, young rotation of pass rushers.
The Jets should draft Dorance Armstrong Jr. with the 72nd overall pick.
Armstrong Jr. was the best defender on Kansas by a landslide so it’s tough to project just how good he’ll be as a pro because his team was either holding him back, or making him look better than he is. I believe he’ll be a solid NFL player because of how willing he is. He’ll chase ball carriers all over the field and join dog piles, which you sometimes don’t see with edge rushers.
The best part about Armstrong Jr.’s game is when is used as a blitzer out of a 2-point stance over the A and B gap. His speed and quick get off gives interior Offensive Linemen issues. He’ll be used more effectively in a 3-4 defense than a 4-3 defense because of how quick he is out of his 2-point stance. The Jets should be a great fit for him.
ICYMI, here are five NFL Teams that Needs to Draft a Wide Receiver early.