After taking a couple of weeks looking at the best players on offense in this year’s draft, I am transitioning to the defensive side, and I will look at the top three edge rushers in the NFL draft. The edge position isn’t only the most important position on defense, but it is one of the most important positions on the whole team.
Over the past years, there have been a couple of edge rushers that have turned into superstars. Unfortunately, most of these players have been picked in the top five, so the other edge rushers picked haven’t had that big of an impact in the NFL. Does that change this year? Well, let’s see. Here are the top three edge rushers in the NFL draft.
Top Three Edge Rushers in the NFL Draft
The number one edge rusher in the NFL draft is Gregory Rousseau. At 6′ 7″, 253 pounds, Rousseau has a monstrous size that is very desirable. Though he is ranked number one, he is one of the biggest boom-or-bust draft prospects in this NFL draft.
Starting with the potential bust aspect, Rousseau is very inexperienced. At the University of Miami, he only played one season because he opted out of this season. Additionally, Rousseau is a true prospect, and that means that he needs to be developed. Currently, he only fights with his hands and he lacks other pass-rush skills, such as spinning around offensive linemen.
Although Rousseau has lots of bust potential, his production can’t be denied. In 2019, Rousseau was one of the most-feared pass rushers in the country. He put up a massive 15.5 sacks which were second in the country. He also had two forced fumbles and 54 total tackles.
Gregory Rousseau could most certainly end up being a bust, but he was too impressive in his one season, to not be ranked as the number one pass rusher in this year’s draft. If a team is willing to take a chance and needs help on the defensive line, then they should pick Gregory Rousseau because he could end up being one of the best edge rushers of the NFL in the future.
The number two edge rusher in the NFL draft is Jaelan Phillips. Like Rousseau, Phillips attended the University of Miami where he was a crucial part of their defense. After Rousseau’s opt-out this past season, Phillips stepped up and played at a top-level.
This past season, Phillips put up very solid production. He had 45 tackles and eight sacks. Those sacks made him tied for fifth in the country. Also, Phillips showed some of his other skills besides pass-rushing which included him recording an interception and three passes defended.
Phillips has many defensive tools. On the pass-rushing side, he is able to hold up against the opposing offensive line. He also has very good speed which allows him to get around tackles before they can properly get set to block. Lastly, he has great length which was exemplified with those passes defended.
Jaelan Phillips has exceptional length, size, and speed. He put up very respectable stats in college. Like Rousseau, Phillips needs more experience and needs time to develop. Despite that, he has all the skills and tools to be a great pass rusher in the NFL, which is why he has so much upside.
The last of the top three edge rushers in the NFL draft is Carlos Basham. The pass rusher from Wake Forest has a massive frame at 6′ 5″ and 285 pounds. He is one of the most consistent producing pass rushers from this year’s draft. In fact, he has been one of the most consistent edge rushers in the whole country in the past couple of years.
In four college seasons, he had a very impressive 20.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, eight passes defended, and 173 tackles. His elite and eye-opening season came in 2019 when he had 11 sacks, 57 tackles, three forced fumbles, and three passes defended. Basham proved that he was the real deal in college and he has the skills to transition to the NFL.
Basham is very hardworking and energetic which leads to his skills. He can pass rush from any spot on the defensive line which shows his versatility. Also, his run defense is respectable and for his size, Basham has surprising speed, agility, and athleticism.
Carlos Basham is a well-built edge rusher that is versatile and puts up consistent production in college. Looking at all the edge rushers in this year’s draft, he might be one of the safest picks due to his consistency. Though he might not have the upside like Phillips and Rousseau, he is certainly more consistent, and consistency is very important in the NFL.