clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2016 NFL Draft rankings: Top ten edge rushers

Ranking the top 10 edge rushers in this year's NFL Draft class.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
1. Joey Bosa (Ohio State) | 6-foot-5, 269 pounds
The NFL Draft community has been fawning over Joey Bosa ever since he dominated his sophomore year and won Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors. He has the most active hands of any defensive line prospect and does an exceptional job of using his length and strength to control at the point of attack. He may not be the flashiest of prospects, but his discipline and intellect make him a prime candidate for a 3-4 scheme in the 5-technique.

2. Noah Spence (Eastern Kentucky) | 6-foot-2, 251 pounds
Bosa may be the best all-around DE in the class, but Noah Spence is the best pure pass rusher by a country mile. His flexibility and bend around the edge is unmatched and was on full display during Senior Bowl practices. Spence tested well for a DE, but not as well as I expected for his size. If he's still on the board nearing the end of Day 1, he will be a steal for anyone in need of a pass rushing specialist.

3. Leonard Floyd (Georgia) | 6-foot-6, 244 pounds
Floyd's spider graph is ridiculous. After blowing up the NFL Combine with his athleticism, it's easy to see why people love this kid's potential. However, his tape isn't as sexy, and whoever selects him in the first round has to know that they're taking on a huge project, much like Bud Dupree last year.

4. Shaq Lawson (Clemson) | 6-foot-3, 269 pounds
Shaq Lawson has a "tweener" body type with physical limitations as both a 4-3 DE and 3-4 OLB. To me, his best position will be with his hand in the dirt due to his stiffness around the edge. Lawson is an above-average run defender, but it's his skillset as a pass rusher that makes him such a highly touted prospect. Lawson often wins with his powerful bull rush and his bread and butter is a deadly quick spin move.

5. Kevin Dodd (Clemson) | 6-foot-5, 277 pounds
Despite just one year of starting experience, Dodd may be the most instinctual edge rusher in this year's class. He is easily the best strongside DE prospect and the best fit for the Detroit Lions if they're specifically looking for a Jason Jones replacement. Dodd will be turning 24 years old as a rookie, which might also turn teams off from him, but I believe he's less of a project than people assume.

6. Emmanuel Ogbah (Oklahoma State) | 6-foot-4, 273 pounds
Ogbah may be the second-best pure pass rusher on this list behind Noah Spence. He tested well athletically and is incredibly flexible for his size. In the run game, Ogbah is not as fortunate, as he fails to hold up at the point of attack and gets wiped out of the play far too often.

7. Kyler Fackrell (Utah State) | 6-foot-5, 245 pounds
Fackrell showed a lot of promise as an edge rusher in 2013, exhibiting phenomenal flexibility and bend around the edge. Unfortunately for him, he suffered an ACL tear that would keep him sidelined for the entire 2014 season. He came back in 2015 looking like his normal long and athletic self and will project best as a pass rushing linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.

8. Carl Nassib (Penn State) | 6-foot-7, 277 pounds
Nassib is a slow, lumbering athlete with poor change of direction and agility. He mitigates some of his physical limitations with exceptional timing off the snap and great leverage and extension at the point of attack. Nassib also has surprisingly great bend and ankle flexion for a man of his stature.

9. Shilique Calhoun (Michigan State) | 6-foot-4, 251 pounds

Calhoun is such a polarizing prospect and really jumped onto the scene as a sophomore. Many believed him to be a first-round lock before he was even draft eligible, but he failed to live up to the hype as a junior. He stepped it up his senior year, tallying double digit sacks (10.5) and 15 tackles for a loss. Calhoun isn't a very consistent speed rusher and his go-to is his inside club move. He can be a decent NFL starter if he continues to develop his skillset.

10. Jordan Jenkins (Georgia) | 6-foot-3, 259 pounds

Jenkins is nowhere near as athletic or long as his teammate, Leonard Floyd, but he is definitely the more polished and safer of the two. His high football IQ and understanding of the game is also a big plus, but his one-dimensional pass rushing style of relying on his strength plus his stiff hips and inability to bend around an edge gives him a low ceiling.

Thanksgiving deal: Save 20% on PODD

What's more Lions than football on Thanksgiving!? To celebrate the holiday, use promo code GOLIONS20 to save 20% on your first year of Pride of Detroit Direct. Sign up today for exclusive game analysis, subscriber-only videos, and much more!