The Top 10 Edge Rushers and DL’s in the 2022 NFL Draft: How High is Jordan Davis’ Draft Stock?

The NFL Draft is less than two months away and the time for general managers to construct their ideal roster before the start of the 2022 season is now. If your team needs to overhaul their defensive line, this year’s draft is a great place to start. From Aidan Hutchinson to Jordan Davis and more, here’s a look at the top 10 Edge/DL prospects entering the 2022 NFL Draft.

Top 10 Edge/DL Prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft

1) Aidan Hutchinson

Height: 6-6    Weight: 265lbs    40 Time: 4.74s

With the build of JJ Watt and the 3 cone speed of a wide receiver, Hutchinson has solidified himself as a member of the 4 man race for the No. 1 overall selection — alongside Kayvon Thibodeaux, Evan Neal, and Ikem Ekwonu. His senior season saw him have an incredibly productive year, notching 62 tackles, 14 sacks, and 4 forced fumbles. He also arguably played his biggest game against Ohio State going up against Nicholas Petit-Frere who’s widely regarded as a top 15 OL in this draft class. He finished his senior season as the best pass rusher in college football, having played in both 3 and 5 technique. Has great eyes and is able to adjust to the play as it develops while still maintaining consistent pursuit. Has great speed that’s apparent when he bull rushes and is great at getting under the pads.

He does have a tendency to rely on strength alone to get to quarterbacks and would benefit from adding some pass rush moves to his tool-kit. His aggressive hands often work to his advantage, though sometimes he picks the wrong point of attack and doesn’t have great positioning.

2) Kayvon Thibodeaux

Height: 6-5    Weight: 258lbs    40 Time: 4.58s

An athletic freak coming out of high school, Thibodeaux has the unteachable traits of size and speed you need to be an elite edge rusher at the next level. His close out speed is second to none and gives him serious range for making plays in the backfield. He plays with constant momentum and is a hard hitter that rarely gets penalized. Unlike Hutchinson, who may have maxed out muscle mass, Thibodeaux can seemingly still add some to his long frame. He can also play both inside and outside with a nose for the ball.

Thibodeaux doesn’t, however, have the instinctive pass rushing abilities of Hutchinson, and sometimes lacks awareness in RPO’s. He’ll need to work on setting the edge and cleaning up his first couple steps off the line.

3) Jordan Davis

Height: 6-6    Weight: 341lbs    40 Time: 4.78s

Probably the best run stopper in this class, Davis brings a skillset that’s very different from either Hutchinson or Thibodeaux. He’s got incredible size that’s been validated by solid speed at this year’s combine. His obscene strength allows him to bring down guys while still being blocked and get a solid push off the line whenever he wants to. Davis is also virtually impossible to move off the line and will serve as a serious cog to any team that likes running up the middle. Typically guys of his size struggle with maintaining balance, though Davis has proven he can change direction on a dime when he has to.

While Davis is quick, he doesn’t have the twitchiness of a good pass rusher and isn’t great in active pursuit. Whether or not he can improve this part of his game remains to be seen. His on field speed also appears slower than his combine speed. Given his unicorn skill set, however, it’s very possible Davis gets taken as a top 15 pick.

4) George Karlaftis

Height: 6-4    Weight: 275lbs    40 Time: 4.69s

Karlaftis has a great first step and a speed/power package that makes him a threat anywhere on the field. He’s got both great length and a strong lower body that allow him to create leverage at will. If you watch his film, you’ll quickly notice how natural he looks inside his big frame. Where Karlaftis separates from other guys on the board is his tool-kit of pass rush moves. While he does have imposing strength, he doesn’t solely rely on it to beat defenders and can win multiple ways. A lot of this comes down to his great hands and sneaky agility at the position.

Karlaftis does struggle in defending smaller, quicker running backs and wide receivers out of the back field. He can also struggle against longer offensive tackles with a size advantage.

5) Cameron Thomas

Height: 6-5    Weight: 264lbs    40 Time: 4.78s

Despite facing double and triple teams for a majority of his career at SDSU, Cameron Thomas maintained consistent production — accumulating 71 tackles and 11.5 sacks in his Junior season. Like Karlaftis, he’s got a host of pass-rush moves that make him a slippery guy to block. Even tackles who have 50lbs on Thomas struggle to keep him in front of them behind a swim move that would make Michael Phelps proud. His speed really shows up in run defense where he is consistently the first one in the backfield. He finished the 2021 season with 20.5 TFL and was named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year. As a player who has proven success playing in a number of different techniques from 0 to 7, Thomas will be an option for just about any team in need of an edge rusher on draft night.

Thomas will need to work on playing a bit lower at the next level. Currently, he has a tendency to get upright as the ball is snapped — surrendering some leverage. While his strength allowed him to be successful this way in the Mountain West, it’s doubtful the same will be true of the NFL.

6) David Ojabo

Height: 6-5    Weight: 250lbs    40 Time: 4.55s

A relentless pass rusher, Ojabo is incredibly quick off the line and does a great job of going for the ball when he gets to the quarterback. He’s got a filthy spin move that he only employs when the timing is right and the length to shove off just about any offensive linemen. Having come from Nigeria and then Scotland, Ojabo wasn’t introduced to football until he was 16. Given how new he is to the game, it’s rather remarkable how naturally he plays. Having run a 10.83 100 yard dash in high school, his twitchness at the position is not only indisputable but downright rare.

Ojabo certainly benefited in college from playing on the same line as the top prospect in this draft. With limited resources on the offensive line, teams had to pick and choose battles and it was often Hutchinson that drew the harder assignments. To be successful at the next level, Ojabo will also need to improve his hand use which can currently be described as inconsistent at best.

7) Logan Hall

Height: 6-6    Weight: 278lbs    40 Time: 4.88s

With 47 tackles, 6 sacks, and 2 blocked field goals in 2021, Hall finished his fourth year at Houston as a guy who was not only regarded as one of the best pass rushers from a mid-major program, but also one of the best special teams players in college football outside of a kicker or punter. As far as the NFL is concerned, Hall has the physical traits scouts love at the position. What differentiates him from other players, though, is hand use. Hall is able to leverage his length and get his hands in the right spot to always make a play.

Hall isn’t the fastest guy on film and will struggle to close out against quicker quarterbacks. Sometimes, his form goes awry when he’s tackling. He is also going to need to bulk up, as he is likely too big and slow to be an edge but too small to be a tackle.

8) DeMarvin Leal

Height: 6-4    Weight: 290lbs    40 Time: 5.00s

Beyond possessing great size and length at the position, perhaps the biggest thing in Leal’s favor is his performance against Mississippi State LT Charles Cross On Oct. 2 where he racked up 2 sacks, 4 tackles, and a batted pass. Cross is widely considered to be one of the three best pass blocking tackles in this class, and, if Leal can carry over that performance to the NFL, he will undoubtedly have success. Leal finished his junior season with 58 tackles and 8.5 sacks in the SEC.

His big areas of concern right now are tackling and resilience. Leal doesn’t always wrap up in the backfield and has a tendency to give up on plays after one go. He’s got average speed but isn’t quick and has relatively average hand use.

9) Drake Jackson

Height: 6-4    Weight: 250lbs    40 Time: 4.50s

At 250 lbs with a 4.50 40 time, Drake Jackson looks like a tight end lined up on the defensive line. He’s one of the more versatile players in this draft with the ability to play edge, tackle, or linebacker depending on the scheme. In the pass rush, Jackson has the hands to bat down passes and make interceptions, though, despite seeing glimpses of it, this is something he’s yet to prove he can do on a consistent basis. His true calling card is his footwork in pursuit that’s better than everyone outside of Thibodeaux, Karlaftis, and Hutchinson on the board.

Jackson will need to improve his tackling which is particularly bad when guys run at him. He’s also prone to taking bad angles when setting the edge and doesn’t have a wide range of moves.

10) Devonte Wyatt

Height: 6-3    Weight: 307lbs    40 Time: 4.77s

A member of the 2021 Georgia National Championship team, Devonte Wyatt is one of the quickest 300 pounders on film. He’s able to both push guys off the line of scrimmage and close out in active pursuit. There’s a clip of him in the SEC championship game chasing down the eventual Heisman winner Bryce Young from behind and forcing a fumble that’s probably pinned in draft rooms across the country. As a pass rusher, Wyatt has a great first step. In the run game, he gets solid penetration and is a good tackler.

What makes Wyatt hard to judge is the fact that he played on one of the most loaded defensive lines in recent history in what doubled as his only statistically dominating season of note. He has really struggled when he’s been double teamed and has rarely drawn difficult offensive line assignments.

As a central Ohio native and lifelong Cleveland sports fan, Patrick Monnin has lived the emotional rollercoaster every sports fan knows all too well. Whether it be the Browns or the Buckeyes, he loves watching football and going on nice long runs in the afternoon. In the local Chicago area, where he now lives, he can often be found making the case for LeBron James as the greatest basketball player ever.

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