When LSU and Alabama take the field on Saturday, NFL talent will be everywhere and the EDGE rushers are no exception. While the stars of the show figure to be quarterbacks Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa, the edge rushers can play spoiler by applying heat and affecting their process.
These are the best draft-eligible EDGE defenders to keep an eye on Saturday, and the NFL team they fit best with.
K’Lavon Chaisson, LSU - Buffalo Bills
Buffalo has a unique player in Lorenzo Alexander that fills an important role for one of the league’s best defenses. Alexander plays SAM linebacker in 4-3 base defense but also provides the Bills with a versatile pass rusher from both the inside and outside. The list of players that can do that and do it well only includes Alexander. A critical team leader, Alexander is 37 and his status is year-to-year at this point.
Chaisson is the type of talent that can fill the Alexander role for Sean McDermott’s defense. While he needs to develop his pass rushing skill set, every important tool in terms of length, power, flexibility and burst are present for him to emerge. And despite him lacking experience, he’s already proven his ability to win in space. He's exceptionally gifted and could add a versatile defensive chess piece for Buffalo.
Terrell Lewis, Alabama - Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore has thrown its share of darts in recent drafts at EDGE rushers but have found very little in the way of meaningful contributors. The Ravens also enjoy tapping into the Alabama pipeline and Lewis would be a welcome addition to a defense that has produced the fifth fewest sacks in the NFL so far this season.
Lewis features a loaded toolbox of traits, including ideal length, good burst, pop in his hands and variety of moves. He’s battled his share of injuries to this point in his career, but he is healthy this season and has emerged with nine tackles for loss and six sacks in seven games.
Anfernee Jennings, Alabama - Miami Dolphins
A Bill Belichick disciple, Brian Flores craves long, smart, athletic, versatile and heavy-handed outside linebackers and that’s exactly what Miami would get in Jennings. A fundamentally sound run defender, Jennings plays with great extension when setting the edge and squeezing gaps. When attacking the passer, Jennings does well to use his length and deploy his heavy hands when rushing to help compromise the width of the pocket.
The Dolphins have only produced 12 sacks so far in 2019, the third-fewest in the NFL. Jennings is the type of prospect Miami could target on Day Two to help improve a critical area of need with an optimal scheme fit.