Posts Tagged ‘Edge Rusher’

The New York Jets traded up to select Florida State edge rusher Jermaine Johnson in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, No. 26 overall.

The Jets acquired the 26th pick and the 101st pick from the Tennessee Titans for the 35th, 69th, and 163rd choices.

New York made Johnson its third pick of the opening round after drafting cornerback Ahmad Gardner and wide receiver Garrett Wilson earlier in the night. The Jets were rumored to be considering Johnson with one of their top choices and wound up trading back into the first round to get him.

Johnson posted 12 sacks for the Seminoles in 2021, breaking out as a star after collecting just 6.5 sacks combined over the previous two seasons at Georgia. He slid down the board on draft night despite his immense talent, perhaps in part due to concerns about his personality.

Scouting profile: Jermaine Johnson

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Florida State6’52544.58

In a deep edge rusher class, Johnson is the ultimate consolation prize in the second tier of pass-rushers. He got his first taste of consistent starting experience at Florida State after transferring from Georgia before last season and hasn’t looked back, winning ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Johnson is a monster in the trenches thanks to his unmatchable size and length. His 34-inch arms are a marvel to watch on the field as he forces his way into the pocket – usually with a variety of swim, swat, or rip moves. That also carries over into the run game – he uses his freak size to obtain the necessary leverage to get off blocks. We’ve gotten a taste of Johnson’s talent, but it seems the best is yet to come.

The New York Giants selected Oregon edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, No. 5 overall.

The Giants opted to address their pass rush with their top pick instead of their offensive line, leaving highly-touted tackles Evan Neal and Ikem Ekwonu on the board. New York landed Neal two selections later after the Carolina Panthers chose Ekwonu sixth overall.

Thibodeaux had 19 sacks over three seasons at Oregon, including seven in 2021. He was twice selected to the All-Pac-12 first team, delivering on the promise he brought to Oregon as the No. 1 overall recruit in 2019.

The Giants have struggled to pressure opposing quarterbacks off the edge in recent seasons, though Azeez Ojulari recorded eight sacks last year as a rookie.

Scouting Profile: Kayvon Thibodeaux

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Oregon6’42544.58

Thibodeaux began his final year as an early favorite to go No. 1. His stock has slipped a bit since then, but his play reinforces his case for contention. The Oregon pass-rusher has an explosive get off and converts speed to power very effectively. He also has the strength to bully offensive tackles and adequate flexibility to get around opposing tackles. Simply put, Thibodeaux is a relentless one-man wrecking crew in the backfield. He may not be the first edge rusher to hear his name called, but he’s about as proven of a pick as you can get.

The Jacksonville Jaguars selected Georgia edge rusher Travon Walker with the first overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft.

The Jaguars were believed to be considering Walker, Michigan edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson, Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal, and NC State offensive tackle Ikem Ekwonu before making the pick.

Walker had only 9.5 career sacks at Georgia, but his stock rose ahead of the draft because of his physical attributes. He drew comparisons to Minnesota Vikings star Danielle Hunter in the pre-draft process in light of his minimal sack production in college paired with his athletic traits.

The 21-year-old Walker will head to a Jaguars team that recorded only 32 sacks last season, which ranked 27th in the NFL. Josh Allen led the club with 7.5 sacks in 2021.

Walker is Jacksonville’s second No. 1 overall pick in as many years. The Jaguars selected former Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the top selection in 2021.

Scouting profile: Travon Walker

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Georgia6’52724.51

Walker is an absolute freak of nature. His 6-foot-5, 272-pound build and 35 1/2-inch arms make it easy to see why evaluators might fall over their chairs for him. On the field, he’s still extremely raw as a pass-rusher but has all the tools needed: length, power, explosiveness – you name it. He’s a brick wall in run defense, insanely strong, and has shown the ability to drop into coverage. When it comes to Walker’s ceiling, the plain truth is that he doesn’t have one – though it’ll be up to his NFL coaching staff to get the most out of him.