Apr 142022
 
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Travon Walker, Georgia Bulldogs (January 10, 2022)

Travon Walker – © USA TODAY Sports

EDGE

90+: All Pro Projection

85+: Pro Bowl Projection

81-84: 1st rounder – Should be able to play right away

79-80: 2nd rounder – Should be able to rotate right away – Year 2 starter

77-78: 3rd rounder – Should be able to rotate by end of rookie year – Year 2/3 starter

74-76: Early Day 3 – Special Teams – Future backup/possible starter

71-73: Mid Day 3 – Special Teams – Future backup / gamble starter

68-70: Late Day 3 – Back end of roster / Practice Squad / Development guy

65-67: Preferred UDFA

60-64: Undrafted FA

1: Travon Walker – Georgia – 6’5/272

Grade: 89

Summary: Junior entry from Thomaston, GA. One-year starter that was a key contributor to the defensive line all three seasons. With an evolving skill set that steadily improved all three years attached to tools that rank among the best in the class along the defensive line, Walker brings an incredibly high level of intrigue to the table. He has the speed to factor in space, the power to factor inside, and the hustle to factor in pursuit. Simply put, he is the kind of defensive lineman that can line up everywhere and pose as a matchup problem. He is too quick for the bigger, slower blockers and too strong for the smaller, weaker blockers. He will spend most of the time on the outside where he can abuse the tight ends and make plays against the run but will also shift inside and out quick the interior blockers in the passing game. He has some developing to do through experience but there is no denying the sky-high ceiling and immediate contribution he brings to the table respectively.

*Cat is out of the bag. Walker is my top overall player in the class and the one guy that I think helps the Giants defense the most. That would be the fact if the scheme still belonged to Patrick Graham. But now with Martindale calling the shots? The notion is even stronger. Yes, you may have to be a little patient with Walker, more than you want out of a top overall prospect. Know who I see him being in just another year or two? Rashan Gary (tied for 3rd in the NFL in pressures). But one more than that, Walker is head and shoulders better against the run, has more inside-rush capability, and can cover better than 80% of the outside linebackers in the league. At 270+ pounds. The last draw I have to Walker is more “old school”. Walker plays through blockers and contact better than any of the elite defenders I have ever graded. He isn’t as naturally skilled and slippery as someone like Myles Garrett, but you are going to see Walker crushing people at the point of attack and 20 yards away from the snap. He is going to be everywhere just splattering the opposition.

2: Aidan Hutchinson – Michigan – 6’7/268

Grade: 87

Summary: Senior entry from Plymouth, Michigan. Three-year starter that earned 1st Team All American honors in 2021 and won the Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year Award. Also won the Ted Hendricks Award and Lott IMPACT Trophy. 1st Team All Big 10 in 2021, 3rd Team in 2019. Hutchinson, son of former 1992 Wolverine MVP Chris, developed into a dominant player from humble beginnings and appears to be only getting started. The physical traits like strength, quickness, and flexibility have steadily improved year after year. The techniques are pro caliber, the understanding of the game is advanced, and the grit that carries over snap to snap-week to week will create a difference maker at the next level. The tool set and explosion may not be top tier, but his versatility and constant impact on the game will be.

*It seems to be the consensus that Hutchinson is going number one overall. At this point (April 13), I’m not completely sure. The production is off the charts, yes. His switch is always on high, yes. He has the elite size and quickness. But after watching over 12 games from multiple angles, I do have some concerns about his ability to beat pro tackles the way an elite prospect does. The bend gets a little inconsistent and I don’t see him winning with pure speed up the edge. I still believe he has Pro Bowl potential. I also think he is very safe to a team looking to add to their defensive front. At minimum, you’ll hit a double here. I just fear me may be more Sam Hubbard than TJ Watt. Still a very good player, but I don’t see the elite ceiling.

3: Kayvon Thibodeaux – Oregon – 6’4/254

Grade: 83

Summary: Junior entry from South Central Los Angeles. Three-year starter that came out of school as a topflight, 5-star recruit and delivered. Earned 1st Team All-Pac 12 honors all three years, won the 2020 Morris Trophy, and landed on both the 2020 and 2021 All American squads. Thibodeaux has a long, explosive frame that can bend in and out of small creases with tremendous power and strength. His lockout game combined with a strong initial burst consistently gives him initial positional advantages on blockers. Sometimes, that alone is good enough as he can work through the shoulder of a blocker with consistent ease whether he is rushing the passer or defending the run. He is equally productive against both. Where Thibodeaux struggles, however, is when he is matched up against pro-caliber size and power when it comes to secondary rush moves. He needs to show more technique refinement and continue to try and strengthen his base, which plays small and gets too narrow at times. His lack of body control will cause issues as well when it comes to reaction-based action. His tool set is top shelf, but he is far from a finished product and will need to fix a lot prior to being labeled a dependable player.

*I am going to try and not make this too long because the Thibodeaux fans get really offended, really easily. First off: I have 800+ grades on my master sheet along with another 400+ “training camp body” labels. Thibdodeaux is in the top 15. So yes, I do like him, and I do project him to be a very good football player in the NFL. A starter with high, sky-high, upside. There is some Harold Landry in his game. That said, I do not see him being the All-Pro or even perennial Pro Bowl type. When it comes to the “effort” shortcomings, this is NOT a guy that walks up and down the field. He does NOT play with the “I don’t care” label. There is more to effort than sheer hustle, however.

My issues with Thibodeaux revolve around what he did against his best competition. If he lost initially, if he got locked on to, I did not see the secondary moves. I didn’t see the secondary wiggle to try and re-gain a position. The contrast between him and the other top 5 edge guys in the class in that department is obvious. He also had too many dumb penalties. When it isn’t easy for him (he matched up against some awful OTs), he got frustrated and immature. He didn’t pin his ears back and elevate his game. To me, that is effort and mental toughness that just isn’t there. It is a crucial, borderline vital trait to playing the edge.

That is where I left it with him. And then hearing how he talks about himself and a contract. I have a saying “…he works at his craft like he is above it all already…” simply rubs me the wrong way. Enough that I would be too nervous to use #5 or #7 on him with the other guys available. That is all.

4: Jermaine Johnson – Florida State – 6’5/254

Grade: 83

Summary: Fifth year senior from Eden Prairie, MN. Started at Florida State for one year after being a part of the rotation for two seasons for Georgia, where he transferred after being the top junior college recruit. 2021 ACC Defensive Player of the Year and second team All-American. Johnson finally received a full slate of snaps in his final year and boy did he take his stock to another level. He is a true alpha male in the trenches that can beat guys up at the point of attack, finish off the ball carrier with nastiness, and rush the passer from multiple angles. He plays such a strong game and when he uses his hands correctly, can easily dictate where a blocker ends up. He lacks some of the ideal juice as a pure edge rusher and there is some tightness in his hips, but Johnson brings both a high floor and ceiling to the table. He is a safe pick that could evolve into a big-time edge player.

*I put the same grade on Johnson as Thibodeaux, but they got there in very different ways. I think Johnson lacks some of the natural bend and looseness in his lower body. He gets caught playing too high, too often. In addition, the get off is probably the worst among these top 5-6 guys. That said, Johnson’s best tape is just as good as anyone in this group. His hand techniques are top notch, his lockout game is top notch (when used correctly), and he knows how to time the punch of a blocker better than all of these guys. Simply put, there are a lot of skills to work with here. I love his tenacity. The second the quarterback throws the ball he starts hustling downfield. When he and Ekwonu faced off, I thought Johnson got the best of that matchup. More power, quicker to his secondary move. There is some unknown here when it comes to how deep he is into his own progression curve. He doesn’t have as much experience as some of these guys and he struggled to understand come complex concepts in meetings/chalk board talk. That may be enough to keep NYG away from him, but I don’t see a top 10 talent here regardless. I don’t think he will be in play for NYG.

5: George Karlaftis III – Purdue – 6’4/266

Grade: 81

Summary: Junior entry from West Lafayette, Indiana. Three-year starter that began playing football in 8th grade after moving to the United States from Greece. Turned himself into a 3-time All Big 10 honoree, earning a spot on the 1st Team in 2021. The 2019 Freshman All American and 2021 3rd Team All American battled injury and Covid-19 in 2020, but in the two seasons where he was healthy, Karlaftis totaled 28.5 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks over 24 games. The top-shelf technician is an every down weapon for the defense. His hand fighting and footwork are in complete cohesion with each other, and the skill set constantly maximizes his level of impact. Karlaftis isn’t overly flashy and may not have the elite-level athletic ability in space, but this film-nut and gym-rat is a coach’s dream to work with. His versatility, football intelligence, and ability to produce on all downs in all situations at a high level is something a defensive front can be built around.

*Throughout the season I was looking at Karlaftis as a sure-thing top ten pick. The more tape I saw from the All-22 and the more I really compared him to the other edge guys, I had to move him down a bit. The juice isn’t there as a pure edge rusher and I question some of his suddenness against athletic blockers. Still a first-round player physically and I do think some coaches are going to fall in love with his passion for the game and grit. Karlaftis is going to impact the game in ways that not everyone will notice. I think he is best suited for a 4-3 defensive end role and I’m not sure I see the fit with Martindale’s scheme.

6: Boye Mafe – Minnesota – 6’4/261

Grade: 80

Summary: Fifth year senior from Golden Valley, MN. Two-year starter that earned second team All-Big 10 honors in 2021, honorable mention in 2020. Mafe is a twitched-up edge rusher that fits ideally into a 3-4 scheme at outside linebacker. He is an explosive, hyper-active presence that wins off the ball and knows how to turn a tight corner with a low pad level. Mafe plays with high energy and a body that can twist, turn, and bend in all directions with ease. He is a tough guy to lock on to and he shows the mental capacity to know where and when to make his move. Mafe does not have a very stout presence against the run, both inside and outside. His body type does not play very stout. If he is kept to rushing the pass from the outside, he will be an impact rusher. Ask him to be an every down force and there could be issues. He is good enough to be a scary number two pass rusher on a team but should not be the premiere guy along a front. He will turn 24 years old during his rookie season.

*I really hope the right team gets their hands on Mafe. If he is kept outside where he can really pin his ears back and attack the edge with minimal inside shoulder responsibility, he is going to be a 10-sack-per-year guy. That does not mean he will be one of the best edge defenders in the league, but he could be the ideal role player for a player that needs that kind of role filled. Teams that run that wide-9 look often will love Mafe. Is there a spot here for him? I don’t think so. He and Ojulari are too similar in that I don’t see enough versatility and there is a slight lack of stoutness/power. But if they can manipulate the scheme a tad to let him come in and be that pure edge guy, I’m all for it. He can be a difference maker.

7: Arnold Ebiketie – Penn State – 6’2/250

Grade: 80

Fifth year senior from Silver Spring, MD. Spent four years at Temple where he started for one season, earning second team All-AAC honors. Transferred to Penn State in 2021 where won a starting job and earned first team All-Big 10 honors. Ebiketie has stand out twitch and length, always a good place to start for an edge defender. He gets off the ball in a hurry and fully understands how to maximize his tools against blockers. His hand strength and ability to adjust his direction late will make him a tough guy to square up. He also brings a high level of energy and anger snap after snap. Ebiketie plays the game hard and relentless. The combination of all these traits should, at the very least, create plays as a rush linebacker. His floor is high in that department and whether he can develop a man-power game remains to be seen. He is a safe bet to at least be a solid player against the pass.

*I boosted Ebiketie up a notch after doing the secondary tape review part of the process. He has a few traits in his game that most of these guys don’t. The juice off the snap with his plus-bend AND length is an ideal set up for a pure edge guy. He can flatten the edge at a high level. I also think we will see him develop more power and anchor over the course of his first 2-3 years in the league. I view his upside on a similar level to the top 4 guys on this list. Like Mafe, he may be worth a tweak to the scheme to make it work with him and Ojulari.

8: Drake Jackson – USC – 6’3/254

Grade: 79

Summary: Junior entry from Corona, California. Three-year starter that earned 1st Team All-Pac 12 honors in 2021, 2nd Team in 2020. The outside linebacker excels with initial burst off the line and bend around the corner. His ability to get under the pads of a blocker while maintaining speed and body control will make him a pure edge threat at the next level. His ankle and knee flexion combined with the level of explosion he shows is rare. Once he enhances his brute strength and power presence, Jackson has the potential of a top-tier edge presence against the pass. He still has a ways to go as a run defender, as he doesn’t play a stable game when controlling a gap. His high level of hustle and grit will help a bit there, however. His ideal role is in a 3-4 scheme on the outside where that speed and leverage can be a weapon against tackles that have a hard time sliding up the edge. At the very least, he will be a very good specialty pass rusher that can rotate in and out.

*Another player here that showed us arguably his best season in 2019 as a true freshman. At that point, almost everyone had him labeled as a future top 10 guy. Where Jackson got kind of screwed was a change in scheme and overall role. He was asked to add weight prior to his freshman season but a scheme change required him to drop 15-20 pounds. Another odd point here: Jackson was 254 pounds at the scouting combine but 273 pounds at his Pro Day. The two were just three weeks apart. Jackson has the versatile skill set to fit into the new NYG scheme and if they go elsewhere round 1-2 and Jackson is still there at the top of round 3, that would a major value grab. The variance in size, the variance in roles he played, and how athletic he looks as both a pass rusher and cover man are enticing.

9: David Ojabo – Michigan – 6’4/250

Grade: 79

Junior entry from Aberdeen, Scotland. A one-year starter that made the most of 2021, earning 1st Team All Big 10 honors and was a 2nd Team All American. Ojabo was born in Nigeria then moved to Scotland in 2007 before coming to America for high school. Originally a soccer and basketball player, Ojabo did not start playing football until his junior year. His speed won him the New Jersey state prep title in 100 M dash with a time of 10.93. Ojabo, with that in mind, is a top-shelf athlete that started to figure things out in 2021. He entered the season with just 26 snaps under his belt but proved he can be an absolute game wrecker from the outside. While he still has some physical development to take on, the tools fit the prototype of any and every edge role in the NFL. Once he understands the game more and can always play to his true speed, the sky is the limit. He will need time before he can be an every down player though.

*Keep an eye on this kid, one of the most interesting prospects in the entire class. Ojabo played under Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald at Michigan. Where was he previously? On the staff under current Giants Defensive Coordinator Don Martindale in Baltimore. Ojabo’s ascent from raw athlete to 2nd Team All American took place under a guy that Martindale led for years. Anyway, Ojabo is a name I think many are looking past when it comes to NYG. He is going to miss some, if not his entire rookie season as he rehabs from an Achilles’ injury suffered just a few weeks ago. But as I have said numerous times, the 2022 Draft will have much more to do with the 2023 season than most teams. Ojabo will be fully healthy by then, should have more bulk below the waist, and will know the scheme that much more. I never viewed him as a high first rounder because of the amount of work he needs but from my connections at Michigan, Ojabo is as hard working and genuine as it gets at this stage. He is going to reach his ceiling. Again, keep this kid’s name fresh in your memory bank.

10: Dominique Robinson – Miami (OH) – 6’5/253

Grade: 78

Fifth year senior from Canton, OH. A former oversized wide receiver that started for one year at outside linebacker. Earned third team All-MAC honors in 2021. Robinson’s journey is one of the most unique paths in the class overall. He was a wide receiver from 2017-2019, finishing as the team’s downfield threat with his 230+ pound frame. He then moved to the defensive side of the ball, put on twenty pounds and counting, and showed an incredibly high ceiling. His frame and newness to the position promotes the concept he should be able to host more bulk within the first year or two in a pro strength program. Robinson has such an easy and natural way of moving at a high rate of speed in a short amount of time. That and his elite coordination and burst will create issues once he can refine and strengthen his rush moves. He may be a bit of a project but there is no denying the upside that rivals some of the best edge defenders in this class. He can fit into a 3-4 scheme as a Buck or Joker in hybrid fronts whereas in the 4-3, a very specific edge role would need to be created for him.

*One of the more interesting players in the class. Originally a quarterback/athlete recruit. Then moved to receiver and actually produced there (14/296/21.1 avg in 2019). He is now about 20 pounds heavier, and the light started to turn on over the second half of 2021. Robinson made the move to the edge during the pandemic, and we all know how much that impeded the simplicity of work. Robinson has some of the best movement traits on tape and he has the frame that will handle at least another 15 pounds of lean mass. The skill set will take time and he may never be a stout run defender. But the sky is the limit here and his dividends could be the highest in this group overall.

11: DeAngelo Malone – Western Kentucky – 6’3/242

Grade: 77

Fifth year senior from Atlanta, GA. Four-year starter that earned All-Conference USA honors his last three seasons, first team in both 2020 and 2021. Two-time Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year. Malone primarily played stand up outside linebacker at Western Kentucky, a spot that helped him set school records for both sacks and tackles for loss. His 59 career tackles for loss are top ten in FBS history. It is easy to notice that Malone appears undersized for life in the NFL trenches. He has had a hard time holding on to body mass, as his frame may simply be maxed out. His lack of weight does not translate to a lack of power, however. His explosion, twitch, and use of leverage sends a surprising violent jolt to linemen, often putting them on their backs. Malone has proven to be effective in off-ball roles whether it be coverage or spying the quarterback. He has elite closing speed and an engine that always stays on high. Malone is the kind of defender that will need a role carved out specifically for him, but the skill set is so unique that it will be fully worth the effort to do so.

*One of my predictions for a mid-round NYG selection. I think I have a slightly higher grade on him than most. I bet he goes day three and I think NYG will have an eye on him. There is a role made almost-specifically for him in the Martindale scheme when he has everything he wants elsewhere. He can move all over the field, the short area quickness and closing speed show up every week, and he is a mean dude. Malone’s production in college was elite and even though the role and scheme engineered some of it, he proved to be a very smart, tough, dependable player over his career. Get where I am going with that? I think the lack of plus-size isn’t an issue in this role. No matter what NYG does at the top of the draft, Malone is going to be on the radar later on.

12: Sam Williams – Mississippi – 6’4/261

Grade: 77

Fifth year senior from Montgomery, AL. Three-year starter after a two-year stint at Northeast Mississippi Junior College. Capped off his career in 2021 finishing second in the SEC in sacks, earning first team All-Conference and third team All-American honors. Williams’ stock took a steep hit in the summer of 2020 when he was arrested for sexual battery. Charges were eventually dropped, and he returned to the field for the season. On the field, Williams has the play style of a rush linebacker that can fit in to both 3-4 and 4-3 fronts. He should be a situational pass rusher early in his career while coaches try to refine his run game deficiencies. The elite burst and speed combine with plus-length and hand work to give opposing blockers fits. He needs to play with a more consistent motor and sense of urgency, however. The stretches of poor effort and lack of effectiveness in the running game should throw some caution into the grade but the pass rush ceiling is through the roof.

*Even though the sexual battery chargers were dropped, Williams’ grade may end up being impacted by that and the fact he showed off-field motivation issues throughout his entire career. The talent is real, however. He ran a 4.43 at 260+ pounds and there is some quality tape here. He just doesn’t hustle against the run, lacks the gap integrity to be an every down guy, and has long stretches where he disappears. The pass rush potential in a vacuum, however, is more than just notable. It will be interesting to see where he goes, a lot going on here.

13: Cameron Thomas – San Diego State – 6’4/267

Grade: 76

Fourth year junior entry from Carlsbad, CA. Three-year starter that earned first team All-Mountain West honors all three seasons capped off with a 2021 conference Defensive Player of the Year Award. Thomas, a second team All-American, was a defensive tackle until a few games into the 2020 season. He played in a three-man front and was moved up and down, left and right routinely. The versatile skill set allowed him to make a strong impact in multiple ways from multiple positions. His steadiness week to week when it comes to pressuring the quarterback and making tackles behind the line of scrimmage can be a difference maker right away at the next level. The concerns revolve around his overall mass and presence if he lines up inside the tackle. He is not an every down player there, but the speed and explosion is not enough to impact the edge rushing play to play. Thomas will fit into a 3-4 scheme but should be shifted to an outside shade on running downs. He can be used by a creative defensive mind on passing downs and that is where he will make his money, but there is power development needed.

*Thomas is not nearly the prospect that JJ Watt was, but there were glimpses of that play style and versatility when I watched Thomas. The action with his hands, the ability to twist and turn suddenly, and the overwhelming effort made him unblockable at times. The question will be how that translates to the NFL against pro blockers. His techniques get inconsistent at times, and I don’t see enough sheer talent to let that slide. He may not be the ideal fit here. Even though he plays inside-out, the frame looks nearly maxed out and he isn’t powerful enough for inside-tackle play. He will likely end up in a 4-3 front as a rotational guy.

14: Nik Bonitto – Oklahoma – 6’3/248

Grade: 75

Fourth year junior entry from Fort Lauderdale, FL. Three-year starter that finished as a second-team All American in 2020, second-team All-Big 12 in 2021. The undersized edge rusher is quick as a cat with constant bendability and sudden twitch. His game is purely dependent on the initial get off and spacing. He can beat blockers off the ball. With how small he can make himself, stemming from both his bend and natural anatomy, he can be a menace to get a firm grip on. Bonitto struggles once he is engaged with blockers, however. If he doesn’t win initially, he has a hard time breaking free unless he moves much further out into space. His run defense is also a significant weak point when he needs to set the edge or anchor himself in a gap. He is a situational pass rusher that can occasionally drop into coverage and/or spy the passer, but not a true every down threat.

*Bonitto almost came out last year and many were expecting him to shoot up into the top 45. I never quite saw that upside with him, but I do see a similar player to Malone just a few spots up. He is undersized but he can use it to his advantage. The pad level is outstanding, and he knows how to play slippery. Bonitto is a guy you must let line up out wide over and over and let him burst upfield. He can make plays against the run via pursuit and craftiness, but he won’t be a gap-integrity guy. He just can’t handle pro caliber power. He will be a passing down weapon which is certainly good enough for the mid-round area. I don’t see a starter or a guy that makes a huge difference though. If he is the number three edge guy, you’re good. If he is number one or two, you’re in trouble.

15: Myjai Sanders – Cincinnati – 6’5/247

Grade: 74

Summary: Senior entry from Jacksonville, FL. Three-year starter that earned first team All-AAC honors in both 2020 and 2021. Sanders looks the part in multiple ways as an edge threat. He has the capability of getting off the ball in a hurry with a long arm and low pad level. The natural bend and easy-moving hips can give him a lot of options post-snap. He does not always play to those strengths, however, and there is a muscle mass shortcoming. Sanders simply does not play big or powerful enough to pose as an all-situation threat. If he can gain and maintain weight, it should provide the window he needs to be a dependable force. He will not be a fit for every scheme, but there is a high ceiling to work with here because of multiple high-end traits.

*As written above, Sanders has some of the traits and skills that you only hope some of these higher ranked guys get some day. The bend and forward lean in combination with the ability to miss blockers with well-timed body adjustments and turns are something you see from the best pass rushers in the league. His body is a concern. He had a stomach bug prior to the combine and lost 20 pounds. Looking at his lower half in pads, he just comes across overly lean. Is the 247 he weighed in at the Pro Day legit? He is solid, not spectacular athlete. If he can’t put on weight and/or play with consistent power, he won’t be more than a backup.

BEST OF THE REST

16: Josh Paschal – Kentucky – 6’3/268: 74
17: Zachary Carter – Florida – 6’4/282: 74
18: Michael Clemons – Texas A& M – 6’5/263: 74
19: Christopher Allen – Alabama – 6’3/241: 73
20: Esezi Otomewo – Minnesota – 6’5/282: 73
21: Amare Barno – Virginia Tech – 6’5/246: 72
22: Kingsley Enagbare – South Carolina – 6’4/258: 72
23: Tyreke Smith – Ohio State – 6’3/254: 71
24: Alex Wright – UAB – 6’5/271: 71
25: Isaiah Thomas – Oklahoma – 6’5/266: 71
26: Adam Anderson – Georgia – 6’4/236: 70**
27: Tyree Johnson – Texas A& M – 6’2/248: 70
28: Jeffrey Gunter – Coastal Carolina – 6’4/258: 69
29: Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa – 6’2/270: 69
30: Tre Williams – Arkansas – 6’4/253: 69
31: David Anenih – Houston – 6’2/245: 69
32: Carson Wells – Colorado – 6’3/241: 68
33: Joshua Onujiogu – Farminingham State: 68
34: Tariqious Tisdale – Mississippi – 6’5/285: 68
35: Tyler Johnson – Arizona State – 6’3/280: 67

NYG APPROACH

There are so many different directions this conversation about NYG and the EDGE group can go in. If I had to guess, I do not think they are going into round 1 saying they MUST add an edge presence. Sure, every team wants an elite guy out there and if there is a spot open for one, you take it. But they may not have multiple prospects from this group that grade above, or even on the same level as some of tackles and corners. I certainly do, but they may not. In addition, Martindale does create a pass rush in a variety of ways, and I don’t think he will pound the table specifically for an edge guy. If he got to choose, I would bet he wants one of the corners. Without knowing how the top 4 picks will transpire, I think we are looking at a coin flip whether or not they take one of the top 4 guys (assuming at least one of them will be available).

Now, in my opinion, Walker needs to be the pick at #5 if he is there. Again, I have no clue if he will be. But in terms of his grade and the ideal-fit for the versatile scheme we will see, I just don’t see a reason why they would look past him. He has it all, he can do it all, and he is still early on the progression curve. His best football was played late in the year, and I think we only saw a glimpse of what he will be.

One concern I have is this: If NYG ignores EDGE at #5 and #7 (which is fine), it will be hard to guarantee the ideal value will be there round 2/3. Now, odds are the value will be there because this is the deepest edge group I have ever scouted. But I really want a guy that forces the defense to game plan around. I think that is step one to improving the level of the defense as a whole. If you wait until round 2, or 3, or even 4…your gamble on that happening gets higher and higher. As written above, there are several high-potential prospects in this group. Odds are most of them will not pan out. This team needs someone that is MORE than Ojulari (I do like him – his grade was 84) to ensure Ojulari can produce at his highest respective ceiling. If Ojulari is the top dog and gets most of the attention from the offense, I don’t see him overcoming it. Pair him with Walker or Hutchinson (preferably the former) and you have 2 cornerstones along with Williams inside that can make this defense light years more dangerous in this scheme. And I mean that fully.

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David Syvertsen

David Syvertsen, aka Sy'56, has worked for Ourlads Scouting LLC since 2013, starting off as a college depth chart manager and now a lead scout for one the most-sold NFL draft guides year-in, year-out. He has been scouting for over 10 years and will compile anywhere from 400-600 scouting reports per season, with that number increasing year by year. He watches and studies game films 20-25 hours per week throughout the entire year with his main focus being NFL Draft prospects.

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