The 2019 NFL Draft has a strong group of pass rushers. Here we take a look at the top rushers in College Football and where they may end up.
Ed Oliver- Houston Cougars
Defensive Tackle 6’3 292 Lbs Pro Comparison: Aaron Donald
31 Games played, 189 tackles (120 solo), 52 tackles for a loss, 10 pass deflections, 13.5 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery.
What about Ed?
Ed Oliver is an unreal talent right now and has the opportunity to be one of the best NFL defensive lineman in the near future. He has an amazing first step with burst and quickness. Oliver has the speed to play outside as a DE in a 4-3 scheme or the strength and size to play DT on the inside in a 3-4 scheme. Because of this he would benefit any team that drafts him.
Watch here as his pure strength blasting through the line and tackling virtually the QB and running back blowing up the option hand off.
— SWC Round-Up (@swcroundup) October 20, 2018
Oliver has had some amazing pro comparisons in his career. Most notably have been Aaron Dnoald and Warren Sapp based off of his quickness. Watch below where he showcases his speed and motor never giving up on the play and forcing the fumble.
Where Will He End Up?
#3 Overall- Oakland Raiders
The Raiders get lucky here considering the 49ers are picking at #2 and let Ed Oliver slip past them. Maybe they feel that Oliver is best fit on the interior line which is where they spent their past three 1st selections. The 49ers add edge help at #2 (read later) and the Raiders are the primary beneficiary.
Add Ed Oliver alongside this year’s rookie Maurice Hurst and all of the sudden the defensive line looks like a major strength for the Raiders. If Oliver is their at #3 than the Raiders have a no brainer selecting him unless they have an idiot making their selections….oh yeah it’s Jon Gruden. Sorry Raiders fans.
Nick Bosa- Ohio St. Buckeyes
Defensive End/Defensive Line 6’4 263 Lbs Pro Comparison: Joey Bosa
29 Games played, 77 tackles (47 solo), 29 tackles for a loss, 2 pass deflections, 17.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 Touchdown.
The Better Bosa?
Nick Bosa has 1st round pedigree in his blood. Nick’s Father, John Bosa, was the Dolphins 1st round pick in 1987. John’s Brother in-law Eric Kumerow was Miami’s 1st round pick the following year in 1988. Fast forward to last year you have Nick’s brother Joey Bosa.
After missing the first four games due to holdout he had 10.5 sacks in the final 12 games. Nick is said to be the better brother. In 2017 he won the Big 10 Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman Excellence Award.
Part of what Nick Bosa showcases is how he combines his natural athleticism with his technique for pass rushing. Watch this beautiful move he does with his hands at first contact and then just explodes for the sack.
Nick Bosa has it all. Size, power, speed and hand moves. Can play standing up or down in a three point stance. pic.twitter.com/P2YYQXlGAi
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) October 18, 2018
Bosa has gotten injured this year and decided to forego the rest of the season to rehab and get ready for the 2019 draft. Some see this as a red flag but Bosa is just looking out for his future career. He has shown plenty of talent in the 29 games he has played to be one of the top picks in the 2019 draft.
Where Does He End Up?
#2 Overall to the San Francisco 49ers
“At No. 1 overall, the 49ers should take Nick Bosa and never look back.” 🔥
— Bleacher Report CFB (@BR_CFB) October 10, 2018
No it is not at #1 because the Cardinals right now have #1 but their offensive line is so poor they need to take the best lineman available. Plus they already have two good edge rushers in Chandler Jones and Marcus Golden (if he can stay healthy).
The 49ers….yeah boys….grab Nick Bosa at #2 overall filling the biggest void they have on their young and promising defense. A Defensive Line that will possibly include 4 1st round picks (Arik Armstead, Deforrest Buckner, Solomon Thomas and Nick Bosa) could be very scary.
Sutton Smith- Northern Illinois Huskies
Linebacker/Defensive End 6’1 237 Lbs Pro comparison: Dee Ford
30 Games played, 107 tackles (70 solo), 45 tackles for a loss, 3 pass deflections, 22 sacks, 6 forced fumble, 5 fumble recoveries, 2 Touchdowns.
Really, Northern Illinois?
Don’t be fooled by where this kid plays, he will hit you behind the line of scrimmage. He is a former running back that runs a sub 4.5 second 40 yard dash. Smith has been feasting on the opposing teams QB’s and running backs. In his three years he has averaged 1.5 tackles for a loss per game while also having a knack for finding the football and forcing turnovers. His motor is so high, even penalties don’t stop him.
Illegal use of hands to the face wasn't enough to stop Sutton Smith's speed rush. pic.twitter.com/KyiISwJIvS
— The Mick Nartin™ (@themicknartin) September 15, 2018
Sutton is my defensive sleeper of the 2019 draft. It is that motor that made Sutton Smith and All-American. In 2017 he also won the MAC Defensive Player of the Year Award. Some will say that his production has not come against top tier talent and may struggle at the NFL level but the kid has drive. His pursuit is painfully relentless.
Sutton Smith is relentless. pic.twitter.com/3wR49B8sJn
— The Mick Nartin™ (@themicknartin) September 15, 2018
Where Will He End Up?
3rd Round #81 to the Miami Dolphins
There will be other edge rushers taken before Sutton Smith because of the low profile of his school and slighlty smaller stature. The Dolphins edge rush consists of Cameron Wake and Robert Quinn. Date back three to four years ago and we have a top tier rush, not so much now.
I do believe that the need for edge rusher for the Dolphins considering they are very old at the position will force them draft that need early. They wait til the 3rd knowing they can get Smith and make a couple teams regret that they didn’t take him over some of the other high profile Lineman.
Clelin Ferrell- Clemson Tigers
Defensive End 6’5 260 Lbs Pro Comparison: Bradley Chubb
36 Games played, 136 tackles (70 solo), 41 tackles for a loss, 3 pass deflections, 21.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 1 Touchdown
This Ferrell is No Joke
Clelin Ferrell is a no nonsense kind of guy. He works hard, never has a negative impact in the locker room, has zero off field issues (which is rare these days for College players), and always performs. While some may worry because he tore his ACL in his senior year of High School, he has shown no ill affects as he continues to be a disturbance in teams backfields. If you have never watched him, take a look here.
Ferrell has a massive wing span to go along with active hands that punish Offensive Lineman, usually getting his hands of the opposition first, making the first move. He is the master of the bull rush but has many other moves in his repertoire. Ferrell can even play Linebacker in a pinch having played 2 technique at times at Clemson. Here Ferrell showcases his wingspan and strength making this lineman look terrible.
Clelin Ferrell has a serious wingspan. pic.twitter.com/4EGZfVqp6S
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) March 2, 2017
Where Will He End Up
#9 Overall to the Detroit Lions
The Lions are in need of pass rushing talent. They have one of the best in the business in Ezekiel Ansah. Having played in only one game this season due to a shoulder injury, it leaves the Lions extremely thin on the defensive line. Adding Ferrell to a defense that includes newly acquired Damon Harrison, pass rush specialist in Devon Kennard, do it all linebacker in Jarrad Davis, and a healthy Ziggy Ansah makes for a stout possible front 7.
Zach Allen- Boston College Eagles
Defensive End 6’5 285 Lbs Pro comparison: Michael Bennett
33 Games played, 180 tackles (87 solo), 38 tackles for a loss, 10 pass deflections, 15.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries.
Hack Attack Allen
Zach Allen is a great pass rush talent. One thing he does better than the others in this article is come up with pass deflections. His sack numbers are not quite as high as others but his tackles for a loss and total tackles are right there with the rest. To add to all this he also has 2 interceptions to his career showing that he can drop in coverage if need to.
— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) September 23, 2018
Now this is no comparison, because nobody can compare, but he reminds you a bit of J.J. Watt with his size and playing style. With long arms and good strength Allen has no problem wrapping up running backs behind the line of scrimmage routinely beating any Lineman he’s up against. He uses his eyes well during QB dropbacks and also uses his long arms to tip passes at the line of scrimmage. He is more of Michael Bennett but this play below reminds me of a young J.J. Watt.
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) August 14, 2018
Where Will He End Up?
#24 Overall to the Carolina Panthers
Many think that the Panthers will go Offensive Line after losing Andrew Norwell this past offseason. Truth is that the offensive line has not been all that bad. What I feel they could really use is another man in the pass rush that is disruptive. As of now they have Julius Peppers and Mario Addison. Addison is a mainstay and looks like close to another 10 sack season but Peppers is nearing the end of his career. Bringing in some new pass rush help would benefit the Panthers greatly.
These are just projections coming up on the midway point of the NFL season. Many things can change, mainly draft position. The pass rush in this draft is awesome and I did not include all, just 5 of the top prospects. Let see how things finish out the season and go again from there.
Don’t forget to follow me on twitter @josephhaggan as well as the IDP Guys group @IDPGuys. Tune into the podcast each week while hit on different topics and questions throughout the season.