The Disruptive Types
By: Robert Craft
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
Since 2013, at least one pass rusher has been drafted in the top five each year. However, that eight-year run will assuredly end this year. This year Rush End is loaded in terms of depth between picks 20-150.
There is tremendous talent available but many of the top prospects are young and not as proven as many of the prospects we have seen in the prior years like Myles Garrett, Chase Young, and the Bosa brothers.
Teams will be hesitant and cautious when looking at this area on the football field. Azeez Ojulari is my top defensive end available but there is currently no clear-cut number two.
1.Azeez Ojulari, 6-2, 241, Georgia: Ojulari was the best pass rusher in the SEC in 2020 while leading the conference in sacks, tackles for loss and forced fumbles.
He is a dangerous edge rusher with elite quickness and puts good pressure on the quarterback.
Ojulari uses his burst and bend to attack the outside shoulder of the offensive tackle while establishing the corner and detaches from blockers with violent hands. Ojulari lacks elite size and length but that shouldn’t limit his NFL ceiling.
- Gregory Rousseau, 6-7, 265, Miami:Rousseau has been the consensus top defensive end prospect for the 2021 NFL Draft, but most of his college production came from rushing in the A Gap.
He is an intelligent player when it comes to breaking down pass rush execution. Rousseau is not a fast, explosive pass rusher and is not overly physical, but he is a faith-based prospect with the length, frame and athleticism that leave defensive coordinators drooling.
- Kwity Paye, 6-3, 271, Michigan: Paye has size, speed, athleticism and improving technique. He looks like a player with big upside for the 2021 NFL Draft.
Paye has rare lower body twitch and fluidity for his size and uses his physical hands to attack the point of attack.
Paye’s pass rushing toolbox isn’t very deep right now, but he is a compact, explosive athlete with menacing energy. He showed improving pass rushing moves and toughness versus the run in his final college season.
- Jaelan Phillips, 6-5, 265, Miami: Phillips has first round talent with his body type, twitchy athleticism and a nose for the football, but unfortunately the medical feedback will ultimately decide his NFL Draft grade.
He is very smooth in his upfield attack and redirects blockers naturally. He uses his hands as weapons and rushes with his curls on fire. Phillips has a good skill set with strength to shed blocks and hold the edge in run defense.
- Carlos Basham, 6-3, 281, Wake Forest:Basham is rarely controlled due to his active play style, power, and hustle, which directly leads to his production.
He has shown the skills to be able to rush from the edge and tackle in sub packages.
His hands have a lot of pop, but his stiff hips off the ball show when he’s trying to bend the corner.
Basham needs to improve his pass rush creativity; but his size, explosiveness and effort make him a safe pick to become a solid starter in the NFL.
- Jayson Oweh, 6-5, 255, Penn State: Oweh is super explosive with his first two steps, making him consistently disruptive and affecting the backfield’s action.
He was not productive in college, notching just four sacks over his last 18 games, but he has a projectable body and moves differently than most athletes his size, but his pro-level instincts are lacking.
The 6 foot 5, 255 pounder is a workout warrior with shocking speed. He is a high risk, high reward pass rush prospect. Don’t let activity outshine production.
- Joe Tryon, 6-4, 263, Washington; 8. Joseph Ossai, 6-3, 255, Texas; 9. Payton Turner, 6-5, 270, Houston; 10. Ronnie Perkins, 6-3, 248, Oklahoma.
This isn’t a great draft for high end, eye popping talent at the defensive line. There is talent, no doubt or disrespect to any of these athletes and their ability, but there’s not a Chase Young or Aaron Donald type that jumps off the page as top 10 future highlight-making picks.
This year, there are players with high ceilings, and low floors who are physically gifted.