2019 NFL Scouting Combine
Nick Bosa impressed at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine. What other edge rushers put on a show as well? #combine (Scott Blair/Getty Images)

Defense will take us the rest of the way at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine. It’s a historic defensive draft. Virtually all of the talent is on the defensive side of the ball. That’s probably good news with the deteriorating defense that’s been going on in the NFL. In this post, we’re looking at just the edge rushers on the outside. The guys who are responsible for attacking quarterbacks.

Before I begin, Jachai Polite injured himself running. I was looking forward to seeing him but it’s a crazy deep group. Take a look who stood out for better or worse for the edge rushers at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine!

Top Of The Board

What more can you say about Nick Bosa that we don’t already know. Can’t miss on this one. I think he’s better than his brother Joey, or is at least more explosive. He beat all of Joey’s combine numbers. Like Joey, Nick isn’t an off the charts type of athlete but he has more pop in his game. A 4.79 – 40 time is far from outstanding but his 1.60 10-yard split time shows that explosion. That mark is 3rd best for any defensive lineman or edge rusher. He also (no homo) has a better body than Joey. Way more put together. 29 reps on the bench proves that. Nick comes in at 6-foot-3 and plays with great leverage. Plus, nobody is better at hand fighting that Bosa. He’s just a technician. Trust me, Joey never tested like this at the combine. The fact that Nick even looked pretty good dropping back in coverage tells you all you need to know. Bosa is a stud and probably better than his brother who’s a stud at the NFL level.

The Next Tier

Next, we have the group of Brian Burns, Montez Sweat, Clelin Ferrell, and Rashan Gary. How do you choose between them because they are all going in round one. Well, Let’s break it down.

Brian Burns is a player that nobody knows what they are getting. He clearly bulked up for the combine because he was playing at around 225 at Florida State. Now he is 250 and looks like a real pass rusher instead of a long lanky basketball player. I’m not surprised he didn’t bench because the added weight wasn’t real. However, for a tall guy like that, he really bent his knees great showing how athletic he is. What we did know with Burns was he was going to lit it up on the field. 4.56 – 40 time, 1.61 – 10 yard time, 3rd in the 3 cone drill, 36 inch vert, 10-9 broad jump. All of which are fabulous.

His on field drills were good too. That explosion was evident with a quick first step off the ball. What also stood out was how easy he was able to flip his hips in coverage. He even made some crazy catches out there and dropped back in coverage like it was the easiest thing he ever did in his life. I like the player, I just don’t know if he’s better or worse than Vic Beasley. His weight will determine some of that.

Now let’s go to Montez Sweat. He ran an unreal time of 4.41. At 260 pounds, that’s not even possible. Sweat was great at the Senior Bowl winning a ton of one on one drills. While Sweat was great, he wasn’t on Burns’ level in short areas. Sweat was a little tight hip and stumbled on more than one occasion. He was much better coming downhill. If he had to change directions, Sweat was in trouble. If you draft Sweat, tell him to go hunt on first, second, and third down. I’ll show the clip below. Definitely a little tight in his movements that caused him to stumble.

Next we have Rashan Gary. The Michigan man is a freak but we knew that. At 277 pounds, Gary ran a 4.58 with a 1.63 split time. That’s not even real. It just goes to show how incredible this defensive line and edge class is. You can just see how special of a talent he is. The production doesn’t show it but Gary was the number one high school recruit for a reason because he possesses rare athletic traits. Gary just has that extra burst that guys his size just do not have. This is a bigger edge than the other guys I’m talking about. He’s going to have his hand in the dirt at all times but moved around like a middle linebacker.

I have two clips to show below. The first is a clip where he actually makes a mistake but is so athletic that he spins on a dime and makes a positive out of it. I get that it’s a mistake in movement but defensive lineman do not adjust like that. Just goes to show how special Gary is or can be. The second is the Michigan product going through the bag drills. Keep in mind this is a 280 pound defensive lineman. The speed and athleticism that is on display shouldn’t be possible.

Finally, we have Clelin Ferrell of Clemson. Ferrell isn’t super athletic or dynamic in any way. He just knows how to rush the passer. Ferrell bench 25 reps but didn’t run. After seeing what the other edge guys ran, I’m guessing Ferrell knew his time would stink in comparison. That was expected. Ferrell wasn’t going to test off the charts here. Ferrell comes in at 264 pounds and is just a good football player. You can see the difference in the movements between him and Gary in the clips above. Not the same type of athlete but has a lot more production on the field.

TCU

I thought the TCU guys were awesome. Ben Banogu is probably a linebacker but he looked like Telvin Smith’s clone. He put on a show. He had the best 10 yard time at 1.56. Didn’t matter what you asked him to do. Banogu did it 100 miles per hour and perfect technique. Nobody moved better in space. L.J. Collier is the power guy. He showed serious nastiness at the Senior Bowl and continued that trend. Collier has some powerful hands

Next Clay Matthews?

Chase Winovich rocks. I used to think that Winovich was just a high motor guy with no skill but my opinion has changed. Winovich is lightning off the edge. Could easily make the argument that he was first off the ball out of any player. 1.57 10 yard time at 257 pounds is nuts. Winovich just has awesome feet. It’s kind of like watching a fish swimming. It’s so smooth and they are constantly chugging in an efficient way. Dropped back in coverage like a champ and caught every ball thrown his way. I think he can be more than just a 3rd down edge guy now. He can do much more. Grease lightning I tell ya!

Stinks

CeCe Jefferson looked like he was swinging at ghosts in the bag drill. I don’t know what was going on. I’m now out on Byron Cowart. I tried to buy in at the Senior Bowl but he just stinks. Super stiff in his movements and just looks lazy in his movements. Sutton Smith continues to waste my time showing up at 233 pounds. Worthless. Oshane Ximines stinks too. Just does.

High Motor

There’s something to Carl Granderson. He’s a bit of a spaz but that really isn’t a bad thing at this position. You can just tell that his motor never stops. His testing numbers and on field performance were nothing to write home about but he has something to him.

Hybrid

Kyle Van Noy is an important player for the Patriots. The reason why he’s so important is because his role changes on every snap. The offense never knows what he’s doing from play to play. I think Joe Jackson and Gerri Green can be that same type of guy. I thought they both tested well and showed an ability to move in space. Just two more sleepers to watch moving forward.

Vendetta Big Board

  • 1: Nick Bosa (Ohio State)
  • 2: Rashan Gary (Michigan)
  • 3: Brian Burns (Florida State)
  • 4: Jachai Polite (Florida)
  • 5: Montez Sweat (Mississippi State)