This is the year to grab a defensive end in rookie drafts. Most NFL drafts in the past few years have taken edge rushers and made them into 3-4 OLBs, which kills their fantasy value because they don’t tackle enough to be relevant in the LB pool. This year was different, a ton of edge rusher went to 4-3 defenses where they will be put with their hand on the ground rushing the passer. So, it’s a deep class with lots of potential. Here’s my rankings and where I would take them in the draft:
- Myles Garrett – 3-4 DE CLE – Yes, he’s a 3-4 DE which limits his upside schematically. But as with JJ Watt, Garrett is an incredible athlete that should be able to outperform his position. My main concern with him is how many plays he took off in college.
- Derek Barnett – 4-3 DE PHI – Barnett will rotate his first year but as a first round DE in a 4-3 scheme his class is undeniable. By year two he should be a full time starter and year three he could be a pro-bowler. I’d use a third rounder to get him. It’s a lot for an IDP player but he’ll be worth it.
- Taco Charlton – 4-3 DE DAL – Has a great opportunity for playing time in Dallas and has the skill to fill a huge need for the Cowboys.
- Charles Harris – 4-3 DE MIA – The only reason he’s below Charlton is that Harris will play less his rookie year, behind Cameron Wake and William Hayes. Otherwise, these guys are two peas in a pod.
- Jonathan Allen – 3-4 DE WAS – Not too excited about a 3-4 DE for Washington, even though allen is a high caliber player. Would draft him if you like him, otherwise no problem taking a 4-3 DE from rounds 2 or 3 instead.
- Takkarist McKinnley – 4-3 DE ATL – Will rotate to start his career but if this dude’s hair is on fire as hot as it was when he was drafted, look out.
- Jordan Willis – 4-3 DE CIN – A developmental player from K-State but within a year or two he could dominate. Worth a low pick to stash.
Free Agents worth considering
- Derek Rivers – Hybrid DE NE – Rivers will play in the hybrid Patriots defense and has players in front of him. He’s a high motor guy that could deliver over time though, so he’s worth keeping an eye on.
- Trey Hendrickson – 4-3 DE NO – Another developmental player out of FAU but has the size and athleticism (plus the right scheme) to develop into a quality player
3-4 DE’s not worth your time
- Tanoh Kpassognon KC
- Chris Wormley BAL
- DeMarcus Walker DEN
- Montravius Adams GB