The all-star circuit is upon us! After we send 5 staff members to the Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, our entire staff is heading to Mobile for the Senior Bowl. And just wait until you see the coverage we have planned…
To get you ready, we’re going to preview the prospects slated to participate at the Senior Bowl and first up are the edge defenders.
Josh Allen, Kentucky
Allen is the cream of the crop of this position group and arguably the top talent overall we will see in Mobile. His blend of burst, bend and length provide an exciting foundation as an NFL edge rusher. I expect him to run circles around offensive lineman all week. He has top-10 upside.
Montez Sweat, Mississippi State
With 22 sacks over the last two seasons in the SEC, Sweat has been one of the conference’s most prolific pass rushers. Sweat illustrates good vision, length, hand usage and a variety of counters to win as a pass rusher. I do have some questions about his burst and bend, but his technical refinement is appealing.
D’Andre Walker, Georgia
It took four seasons for Walker to earn a starting gig at Georgia, but he made the most of it with 11 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles. I love his ability as a run defender to set a firm edge, squeeze gaps and play disciplined by maintaining his run fits. His pass rushing skill set features a lot of tools but development is needed. His length, flexibility and burst serve as a strong foundation but developing his footwork, counters, plan and stance will be critical for him to find production in the NFL.
Zach Allen, Boston College
Allens an interesting player and his production, effort and processing skills are really exciting. He has a knack for finding the football, shedding blocks and finishing at a high clip. Listed at 6-foot-5 and 285 pounds, Allen offers the versatility to play numerous spots on the defensive line. With that said, he lacks the flexibility and juice to consistently beat tackles around their outside hip so his pass rush upside comes most favorably attacking interior gaps. As a run defender, I get nervous about how he holds up against drive blocks on the inside while he’s a consistent edge-setter as 4-3 end. Hopefully the Senior Bowl will teach us more about where he fits best in the NFL.
Chase Winovich, Michigan
Winovich is a high urgency football player that has 43 tackles for loss and 18.5 sacks over the last three seasons for the Wolverines. He illustrates good technical refinement to how he attacks blocks but does have some athletic limitations. He will be a fun player to monitor closely in Mobile.
Christian Miller, Alabama
Miller is a late-bloomer but enjoyed a breakout senior campaign with 11 tackles for loss and 8 sacks. He is a technically refined pass rusher and stout run defender despite modest physical upside.
Jalen Jelks, Oregon
Jelks has flashed some explosive, aggressive moments on tape mixed with reps where he struggles to exchange power at the point of attack. I really liked his flashes as a junior but his senior tape underwhelmed. Can he create some buzz with a strong performance in Mobile?
Carl Granderson, Wyoming
Granderson is a long and lean edge defender that projects favorably to a 3-4 outside linebacker role in the NFL. He has good length and hand usage but his lack of flexibility does limit his pass rushing upside in the NFL.
Ben Banogu, TCU
There is a lot to like about the pass rush variety Banogu put on tape over his two seasons at TCU where racked up 8.5 sacks in both 2017 and 2018. With that said, his athletic ability and flexibility appear below average which tempers his valuation. I’m looking forward to gauging his athleticism in person at the Senior Bowl.
Jaylon Ferguson, Lousiana Tech
The NCAA’s career sack leader, Ferguson has been a problem for college offensive lineman to block. His pass rush repertoire is impressive but modest physical traits are concerning with his NFL projection in terms of him being a high selection.
Oshane Ximines, Old Dominion
Ximines has 4 seasons of standout production and illustrates a good amount of pass rushing variety. With that said, his run defense, bend, length and athletic profile are below average which limit his valuation. He fared well against Virginia Tech in 2018 and the Senior Bowl will be another big stage for him to showcase his skill set.
LJ Collier, TCU
Byron Cowart, Maryland
John Cominsky, Charleston
Jonathan Ledbetter, Georgia