(Mandatory Photo Credit: Sean Meagher - The Oregonian)
Written By: Joseph Yun
In lieu of the traditional introduction, I, along with the Blitzalytics staff would like to issue our deepest condolences and sympathies to the family, friends, and former teammates of Dwayne Haskins. They will be in our thoughts and prayers. It is with great and tremendous sadness that this has to be written for a man so young and starting to find his path in life. We all have ups and downs but Mr. Haskins was a bright, energetic, and positive young man regardless of the circumstances. The world is a much less brighter place without him in it, that is for sure. A tragic pall has been cast around the sporting world, much less the football community that you the reader, and I are a part of. A tragedy that should not have taken a life so young and full of fulfilled promise and joy. Hug your loved ones tighter and tell them you love them. You aren’t guaranteed a single day and could be gone in the blink of an eye. Many lives were touched on Saturday by a horrific and senseless tragic loss, not only those in Haskins’ circle but those of the truck driver who will forever be intertwined with this event.
With that said, it is time to proceed to the main article, a look at the defensive line class.
If you missed any of the previous big board articles, they are listed below:
1. Kayvon Thibodeaux 6’4 254 Junior Oregon
- Thibodeaux is the top-ranked EDGE rusher on the board even after a process that has seen him denigrated and denounced as a prospect. The uber-athletic prospect has all the physical tools in the utility belt. System versatile as Oregon went through several defensive changes throughout his time in Eugene. The former number one overall recruit was the straw that stirred the Ducks’ drink (to quote the ever quote-worthy Mr. October, Reggie Jackson) as any time he was off the field, the defense suffered as a result. He’s insanely twitchy and bendy plus the strength portion of his game is underrated. A productive 2021 campaign saw him net seven sacks in a rebound from 2020 while increasing his tackle total every season. While he likely won’t be a monstrously gaudy sack artist like Shaq Barrett or Von Miller, he can produce numbers if he goes to a team where he isn’t the fulcrum of a defensive front. The size does limit him to a 3-4 outside linebacker role if he cannot add weight. The RAS matches up to the tape. Profiles the same as another former top overall recruit, Jadaveon Clowney. He’s a surefire top ten selection regardless of the disinformation campaign.
Round Grade: Top 5
Player Comp: Jadaveon Clowney
2. Aidan Hutchinson 6’6 260 Senior Michigan
- It can be argued that Hutchinson is the top overall EDGE and one of the best prospects regardless. He offers the best package in terms of athleticism and strength compared to Thibodeaux. While KT was the anointed one since his freshman season, Hutch is a relative newcomer to the ranks of the elite echelon of prospects. He's a great athlete with an awe-inspiring first step plus a motor that won't quit. Hands are his best trait among many that are top tier. The EDGE1 debate is one that has raged for months and it will come down to the wire. Hutchinson is a concrete lock for the top five. The comparison is an easy one much like KT. He's comparable to 49ers and former Buckeyes star Nick Bosa.
Round Grade: Top 5
Player Comp: Nick Bosa
3. Jermaine Johnson II 6’4 254 Redshirt Senior Florida State
- Johnson enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2021 that saw him post 70 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, and a whopping 11.5 sacks. He transferred to Florida State for a starring role after leaving Georgia’s immense defensive depth chart. It was a beneficial relationship for both sides. He’s probably the second-best EDGE in terms of overall talent in both the run and the pass. A very good athlete who tested very well. Power is a very good asset as he gets actively busy with strong hand usage. Johnson is a scheme versatile prospect as he has reps in both primary four and three-man fronts. Motor is constantly on all the time. He’s a lock for the first round after a standout season and offseason process that saw him unstoppable in Mobile. The former Seminoles pass rusher profiles in a similar manner to Dolphins star Emmanuel Ogbah.
Round Grade: First
Player Comp: Emmanuel Ogbah
4. David Ojabo 6’4 250 Redshirt Sophomore Michigan
- Ojabo was the less heralded of the two Wolverines edge prospects but he’s an awesome player in his own right. The track background really shows up in his athleticism. The first step is quite explosive and he has underrated power. DO busted out in his lone season as a starter to the tune of 35 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, and 11 sacks. The issue is that he’s so inexperienced after picking up the game just four years ago. Freak athlete who has all the physical tools to start during his rookie season as a subpackage player with a gradual increase in the role. For reference in baseball scouting parlance, Ojabo is a true blue check certified five-tool prospect. He screams Day 1 pick and develop him on the technical stuff but it’s very likely that he slips to the second round. The former Michigan Man profiles quite similar to current Saints first-round selection Marcus Davenport in both play style and athleticism.
Round Grade: Second
Player Comp: Marcus Davenport
5. Travon Walker 6’5 272 Junior Georgia
- Walker burst onto the scene in 2021 after two years of backup duty. He has the size and raw unadulterated speed + athleticism to fit in any scheme. He wowed everyone at the Combine with some insanity, even surpassing the hype of much more heralded teammates like Jordan Davis and former teammate Jermaine Johnson II. The athleticism is incredible and quite jarring compared to even the gaudiest of athletes in his class. A versatile prospect who has had reps both on the perimeter and in the interior with very little dropoff. Explosive and laterally quick in his movements. He’s more than likely a rock-solid first-round selection based on his offseason process. Position versatile enough to play both 4-3 end and 3-4 outside linebacker given the situation. He’s a Day 1 impact starter at the next level. Athletic profile leans towards emerging Packers star hybrid Rashan Gary but stylistically, he’s more towards Danielle Hunter of the Vikings.
Round Grade: First
Player Comp: Rashan Gary / Danielle Hunter
6. George Karlaftis 6’3 266 Junior Purdue
- The former Boilermaker product has been a revelation since a couple of years ago. He’s not the greatest lateral or short area athlete but is woefully underrated in that regard. I would say that he’s the most gifted in terms of pass rush arsenal among the class of edge defenders. He has the size and requisite athleticism to play in both a 3-4 and 4-3 scheme. Technically, the most sound in a class loaded with uber-athletic dudes. Straight power is the name of his brand. While he isn’t the second coming of J.J. Watt, the profile just screams former Ohio State lineman Tyquan Lewis who now resides in Indianapolis. It wouldn’t be a massive surprise if he ended up being a first-round selection but his floor is the second round.
Round Grade: First to Second
Player Comp: Tyquan Lewis
7. Nik Bonitto 6’3 248 Redshirt Junior Oklahoma
- Bonitto is a big-time athlete like many of his peers in this class. He’s not the biggest guy so he has a tendency to get lost in the wash a lot. Explosive first step and excellent lateral agility but lacks a little bit in the power department. Strength is an underrated asset when he uses it. The RAS matches up to the film big time with this dude. Frame is quite limited in what he can gain and still remain a top-level athlete. Length is just adequate. He has been a steady contributor the past three seasons, averaging 38 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, and 6.5 sacks over that time. Another trait-based Day 2 selection that could be something better with the proper coaching. He profiles similar to former Virginia EDGE prospect Eli Harold who had a solid career as a subpackage type of player for a few years.
Round Grade: Second to Third
Player Comp: Eli Harold
8. Arnold Ebiketie 6’2 250 Redshirt Senior Penn State
- The latest prime-time athlete from the Nittany Lions defensive line factory? Ebiketie is that and then some. He was a transfer from Temple where he seamlessly transitioned to State College to the tune of 9.5 sacks. Another guy who broke out as a senior who had more production in one campaign than the previous three years combined across the board. He’s an extremely toolsy prospect who can win with outstanding athleticism, especially the first step explosion. Length and wingspan are big pluses. The RAS is more than self-explanatory of his tape. At first, he could be used as a specialist before moving to a more full-time role. A Day 2 selection based on traits alone. He projects a similar athletic and play style profile to that of former Georgia and current Falcons née Giants linebacker Lorenzo Carter.
Round Grade: Third
Player Comp: Lorenzo Carter
9. Boye Mafe 6’3 261 Redshirt Senior Minnesota
- Mafe has been a fast riser up the boards after an outstanding 2021 campaign that netted him seven sacks. He was a full-time starter for the first time in 2020 and showed flashes of what became reality in 2021. Athletic on tape as the testing numbers would indicate. He’s a bendy and springy type of twitched-up pass rusher. Excellent awareness of space and play after years of seeing it. First step and lateral movement is quite the sight to behold. I would venture to say that he is top tier in that category. It could be argued that he was the second-best overall EDGE in the Big Ten last season. Had an outstanding offseason process. Has the prerequisite size to play 4-3 end but will thrive as a 3-4 outside backer in a package role. Seamless fit would be in Tennessee where they bring elements of the 3-4 but combine it with elements of the infamous Wide 9 four-man concepts. Spatial athleticism is outstanding. Fits as an initial subpackage role but can elevate into a starter in year two a la the Steelers and Ravens method of “redshirting” their linebackers. His athletic profile is that of former NFL and Florida State standout Kamerion Wimbley. Look out for him on late Day 2 but really early Day 3 range is his floor.
Round Grade: Third to Fourth
Player Comp: Kamerion Wimbley
10. Cameron Thomas 6’4 267 Senior San Diego State
- Thomas has a lightning-quick first step that just instantly pops off the screen. He has pretty good size for an end in the 4-3 system. Versatility is a plus as he was used in a variety of roles including the interior in certain packages. Lateral athleticism is a giant plus as well. Underrated power game as he moves well up and down the line despite getting blocked. The former Aztec definitely saved his best for last as he posted an incredible 20.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks in 2021. Both numbers were better than the two previous seasons combined. Effort player who won’t quit so that’s a plus also. He has a chance to sneak into Day 2 but will likely go very early on Day 3. Athletic profile is similar to that of former Notre Dame defensive lineman Victor Abamiri.
Round Grade: Fourth to Fifth
Player Comp: Victor Abamiri
11. Kingsley Enagbare 6’3 258 Senior South Carolina
- Enagbare is a guy who upped his production from year to year in terms of tackles and was a consistent producer of tackles for loss. He was very streaky in terms of sacks, however. He wins on effort and motor but isn’t the most athletic laterally as the RAS can attest to. A serviceable athlete you could say. Gap discipline seems to be a thing he needs to work on as he moves to the next level. Senior Bowl invitee where he was average but not bad. An early Day 3 selection awaits for a team who will get a guy who is relentless. He compares favorably to veteran Damontre Moore and play style is similar to that of standout Olivier Vernon.
Round Grade: Fifth
Player Comp: Damontre Moore / Olivier Vernon
12. Josh Paschal 6’2 258 Redshirt Senior Kentucky
- A beast for returning to play, let alone thriving after a melanoma diagnosis in 2018. The production for that season can clearly be excused as a result of fighting through the rigors of going through treatment. He really turned it on in 2021 with 52 tackles, five sacks, and 15 tackles for loss after two largely middling seasons. He’s a pretty solid but not spectacular athlete given the RAS. Strength and technique are the names of his game, which is par for the course for a pupil under Mark Stoops. Versatility is a huge plus as he’s lined up all over the front four, including some reps on the interior. He’ll be a steal of a depth piece for a team looking for one on Day 3. Athletic profile is trending towards a pair of Sunshine State rivals Jerome McDougle (Miami) and Chauncey Davis (Florida State).
Round Grade: Fifth to Sixth
Player Comp: Jerome McDougle / Chauncey Davis
13. Myjai Sanders 6’5 228 Senior Cincinnati
- Don’t be alarmed by the weight, folks. Sanders plays a bit heavier, right around 240. He lost 13 pounds from the Senior Bowl weigh-in to the Combine because of an illness. He didn’t have a great Combine effort but when factoring in the illness affecting his performance, it can be construed as an acceptable showing. When he’s right, he has underrated strength in his game. Possesses an above-average amount of athleticism and an arsenal of pass rush moves. Where the biggest asset lies is his IQ, he can quickly diagnose the play and attack it. Explosive first step and get off plus ideal length. Although he isn’t one of those bendy types that can go zooming around the corner, he plays a tad too high and upright. Versatile as he lined up on both end spots in a four-man front for the Bearcats. He projects as a middle of Day 3 selection currently. Athletic profile trends to former Rutgers and current Colts defender Kemoko Turay.
Round Grade: Fifth
Player Comp: Kemoko Turay
14. Drake Jackson 6’2 254 Junior USC
- Like most of this EDGE class, Jackson is a way above average athlete. The RAS backs up his physical tools on tape. He’s a bit on the shorter side but not by much. Strictly a pass rush specialist at this point in his career due to a lack of development in the run game. This could be due to the fact that USC was/is so woeful on defense. It appears that he has virtually no interest in defending the run or hasn’t been taught how to do it properly. The former Trojan has length for days on end to combat blockers. Explosion and agility grades are very impressive and among the top tier in the class. He profiles in a similar manner to former LSU product Barkevious Mingo physically and stylistically. A late Day 3 date awaits Jackson it looks like.
Round Grade: Sixth
Player Comp: Barkevious Mingo
15. Amaré Barno 6’4 246 Redshirt Junior Virginia Tech
- Barno is an undersized and highly athletic linebacker from a program that has produced several of them in recent vintage. Players like the Adibi brothers (Nathaniel and Xavier), Tremaine Edmunds, and Jason Worlids are examples. He recently converted to defensive end for the Hokies after coming in as a linebacker. The athleticism really pops off the screen as the RAS indicates a great 9.16 as a defensive end but a shocking 9.77 as a linebacker. Simply put, he’s a finesse type of pass rusher who can and will dabble in the wash but won't do his best in the maelstrom. A bendy and athletically inclined type of edge who is ultra-comfortable in off-ball situations. Size will probably limit him to converting back to linebacker where he can move around more easily using his gifted H/W/L attributes. Had a great Combine performance. He compares physically and stylistically to former top recruit and current Eagles EDGE Josh Sweat. A team would be wise to take him in the early to later stages of Day 3 and use him in a hybrid role until he can add some weight.
Round Grade: Sixth to Seventh
Player Comp: Josh Sweat
1. Jordan Davis 6’6 341 Senior Georgia
- Two words can describe Mr. Davis. Freak Show. A whale of an offseason he's having after blowing up social media with a Combine performance for the ages. Guys that size isn't supposed to move as he does. The RAS is more than well justified as it's an all-time perfect 10, which no other tackle has achieved to date. Also has played a few reps of goal-line fullback, which is terrifying for opposing defenders. While I'm not ready to crown him as the second coming of Aaron Donald or prime Suh just yet, he does have the physical tools to eventually get there. Davis profiles athletically and stylistically in a similar fashion to another highly touted tackle prospect and top-five selection in Leonard Williams. Dependent on team, he's a lock to go within the top 15, maybe top ten.
Round Grade: Top 10
Player Comp: Leonard Williams
2. Devonte Wyatt 6’2 304 Senior Georgia
- There is an argument to be made that Wyatt is IDL1 and he would be in any other year. He simply dominated the competition at the Senior Bowl. It could be stated that he was the freakiest athlete out of all the Georgia boys at the Combine. At any rate, he really had an outstanding 2021 campaign, complementing IDL1. He's a first-round lock at this point after the fireworks of the offseason on top of the tape. Would it surprise me if he went before Davis? Probably not. Athletically, he trends towards former Oklahoma standout IDL Tommie Harris. Play reminds one of another elite SEC tackle, Jets star Quinnen Williams.
Round Grade: Top 20
Player Comp: Tommie Harris / Quinnen Williams
3. Travis Jones 6’4 325 Junior UCONN
- Fortunately for Jones, UCONN returned to play for the 2021 season after the program elected to cancel its 2020 season amidst the pandemic. He’s a physical monster in the trenches that tested very well, posting a fun 9.39 score that would be highly thought of in any other year if not for the two freaks ahead of him. He has immeasurable power that frequently blows back the blocker. Strong as an ox he is. Dude is built like a tank and plays like it. If he’s graded on a size curve, he’s awe-inspiring in terms of lateral agility. He stood out in Mobile in every practice it seemed like. He could fit as a 3-4 nose or a scheme-specific tackle that slides out to end in certain situations. He’s a surefire lock to get selected on Day 2. Athletically, he profiles similarly to former Temple / Jets standout lineman Muhammad Wilkerson. Stylistically, he is similar to Steelers lineman Stephon Tuitt.
Round Grade: Second to Third
Player Comp: Muhammad Wilkerson / Stephon Tuitt
4. DeMarvin Leal 6’3 287 Junior Texas A&M
- Leal entered the 2021 season as a disputed IDL1 and exited the offseason process a little lower thanks to the emergence of those above him. He is a freaky athlete that didn’t test well during the offseason process. Showed well statistically during the 2021 season but is quite limited in terms of pass rush arsenal. He played both on the perimeter as an EDGE and inside so the versatility will work in his favor. The former Aggie is athletic as heck but needs further development. He probably won’t start Day 1 and will contribute as a package or rotational piece to start. A team like the Steelers, Ravens, Eagles, or Titans who like to slowly develop their linemen and have great depth are ideal fits. Some team will likely take a chance on his athletic potential at some point on Day 2. His profile compares to that of former Florida State and Arizona Cardinals star Darnell Dockett.
Round Grade: Second to Third
Player Comp: Darnell Dockett
5. Perrion Winfrey 6’3 290 Senior Oklahoma
- Winfrey showed out in Mobile, garnering Defensive MVP honors of the game. He’s particularly quick in his first step and it shocks blockers like a pufferfish striking its prey. Versatility is a great trait as he was used everywhere along the front line. Laterally adept and outstanding in diagnosing the play quickly. One of the most athletic interior defenders in the class. He does have an arsenal of pass rush moves to go to as well. A bit undersized so he could stand to add five to ten more pounds to compete with bigger guards. Size probably limits him to a 4-3 tackle role at the next level. The floor is at maximum in the fourth round but he will likely go somewhere in the third round. Athletic profile is remarkably similar to former Texas and current Falcons lineman Ta’Quon Graham.
Round Grade: Third
Player Comp: Ta’Quon Graham
6. Thomas Booker 6’3 301 Senior Stanford
- Booker is an underrated athlete who has tons of experience and versatility. He lined up everywhere for the Cardinal in multiple looks. Seemingly all arms and legs as he wins with length. First step explosion is above average. The RAS is somewhat reflective of his athleticism. Lateral agility can be better but it's good for an interior defender. He could stand to get a bit stronger as he’s often seen getting pushed off the point of attack. Still, there are enough good traits there to merit a Day 3 selection somewhere in the middle of the process. His profile compares to that of Bilal Nichols.
Round Grade: Fourth to Fifth
Player Comp: Bilal Nichols
7. Phi Mathis 6’4 310 Redshirt Senior Alabama
- Like many of his peers, Mathis saved his best campaign for his last collegiate one where he posted 53 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, and nine sacks. He’s an ultra-versatile lineman who played seemingly everywhere for the Tide’s stop unit. 2021 was his first time as a full-time starter after years of apprenticeship and he delivered the goods over some high-profile names. The power stands out, namely his hands. Buddy has Francis Ngannou (shoutout fans who get this reference) power to go with the technical ability of a prime-time boxer. A constantly running motor in nearly every rep. He can and will finish the pursuit on the backside. Well coached in the fundamentals as expected for most Tide defenders. Functional first step but isn’t the best lateral athlete; he gets by with what he has. A short wait on Day 3 awaits him, most likely. He compares favorably to former Clemson tackle Carlos Watkins.
Round Grade: Fourth to Fifth
Player Comp: Carlos Watkins
8. Zach Carter 6’4 282 Redshirt Senior Florida
- Versatility. This dude has it in spades. The size probably limits him to a full-time role on the outside in a 3-4 scheme but he can play a role inside on a part-time basis. Carter’s first step is pretty above average and can be an asset. Power and effort are his calling card. He’s not the best lateral athlete but is a weapon nonetheless. Had his best season as a senior with 31 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, and seven sacks. His athleticism and versatility will probably get him selected pretty early on Day 3. The former Gator’s profile is similar to Ole Miss lineman Breeland Speaks and play style resembles that of Notre Dame lineman Isaac Rochell.
Round Grade: Fourth
Player Comp: Breeland Speaks / Isaac Rochell
9. Matthew Butler 6’3 297 Senior Tennessee
- Butler came onto the scene after a great fifth-year senior campaign in 2021, posting 47 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, and five sacks as an interior defender. He has a pretty quick first step. Power is above average and the hands are a moving target that rarely gets locked up. He’s a Shrine Bowl invitee that stood out there. Versatile player that played some on the perimeter along with the primary role inside. He’s a bit undersized but tested rather well during the process. While he probably won’t become a starter, he’s at least worth a shot on Day 3 as a depth piece. The former Volunteer lineman profiles similarly to former Texas defender Hassan Ridgeway.
Round Grade: Sixth
Player Comp: Hassan Ridgeway