Defensive Ends  

The were twenty-three DEs selected in the 2021 draft, as follows:

Round 1 - 3

Round 2 - 2

Round 3 - 4

Round 4 - 4

Round 5 - 4

Round 6 - 2

Round 7 - 4

 

I define DEs as guys that play with their hand in the dirt, are rarely if ever called upon to drop into space and take on a LB duty. Schematically, they are DEs in a 3-4 or 4-3 front. An EDGE would not be on the LOS in either instance.

With the above clarified, the 2021 DE draft class was solid with decent to good options in each round. Rounds 5-7 were littered with guys that have some solid potential, but don't carry high ceilings as a whole. 

The 2022 DE draft should be comparable, most likely better than that of 2021. Rounds 1-2 should boast better talent, with the 10th best position player here lining up soundly with the 10th best DE from 2021. 

1) Aidan Hutchinson | 6'6 | 265 | DE | Michigan 

9/4 Western Michigan - Hutchinson had a great game. While credited with 4 tackles and 1 sack, the stats don't do him justice. He flashed a great blend of strength and speed off the edge, and was equally adept rushing the passer as he was stacking the line in run contain. He looked like a 1st-Round talent all game.

9/11 -  Washington - Hutchinson jumped off the screen several times in this one. He had 4 tackles, 2.5 sacks. He played at a frenetic pace, flashing a very good combination of speed, power and drive. Even when initially blocked out of plays, he kept going. His pass rush moves weren't always real dynamic, but his motor enabled him to grind through blockers. 

9/25 - Rutgers - It was nearly impossible to not notice Hutchinson in this game. He had 5 tackles and 1 sack, and even when he wasn't making a stop, he made his presence felt. 

10/30 - Michigan State - Hutchinson continued to flash, showing off a myriad of tools to create havoc against the run and pass. His ability to bend around the edge and grind through blocks with a constant motor was a joy to watch. 

11/13 - Penn State - Hutchinson played with his usual motor, one that ran hot all game. He challenged both opposing OTs throughout the game, created great pass rush pressure. While he got out of position a few times vs. the run, he was stout at the LOS. He posted 7 tackles, 3 sacks. 

2) Kayvon Thibodeaux | 6'5 | 250 | DE | Oregon 

9/11 - Ohio State - DNP

10/23 - UCLA - Thibodeaux statistically had an insane game, blew up the stat sheet with 9 tackles (8 solo stops), 2 sacks, and 4.5 TFLs. When operating freely and/or over the RT, he was a man against boys. He showed off a great blend of speed and quickness, overall athleticism. That said, he was neutralized several time when going against LT Rhyan. 

11/6 - Washington - Thib by no means had a bad night, but I was underwhelmed. Jaxson Kirkland is an adequate LT, but lacks lower body strength. As much didn't seem to matter much when he faced the DE. Thib looked very athletic and dangerous at times, but was neutralized far more than expected given said match up.

11/13 - Washington State - WSU has a good set of bookends in Ryan and Lucas, yet Thibodeaux toyed with both of them at times. He showed too much coupled strength and quickness for either of them to consistently contend. 

3) George Karlaftis | 6'4 | 275 | DE | Purdue 

9/4 - Oregon State - Karlaftis looked great. He was fast and explosive off the snap, showing the he could bend the arc or use a commanding bull rush. Against the run, he stood his ground well and held edge contain. He had to be doubled several times throughout the game. 

11/6 - Michigan State - Karlaftis had a good game. While 3 tackles and 1 TFL isn't gaudy, the guy drew a lot of attention. He showed plus strength at the LOS, adept at beating both pass and run blocks. 

11/13 - Ohio State - Karlaftis had a very levelled game, not good nor bad. He went up against a great set of bookends, and that coupled with a quick pass set meant he had little opportunity to shine. He showed power off the snap, but was out of position a couple times, either going too far inside or outside. 

4) Drake Jackson | 6'4 | 255 | DE/EDGE | USC 

9/11 - Stanford - Jackson had a good game. He had 4 tackles, 1 TFL, but his stat line belies just how good he looked. he was lightning fast off the snap and showed very good bend around the edge. Stanford paid attention to him all night.

9/18 - Washington State - Jackson had a good game, once again showing his ability to bend around the edge and threaten the passer. In the 2nd half, he beat LT Ryan for a strip sack in the end zone for a TD. Ryan did lock him up for a lot of the game, but not on this great play.

11/5- Arizona State - Jackson was in on 8 tackles, looked good overall. However, he failed to make a splash in this game, was hemmed up quite a few times. 

5) Sam Williams | 6'3 | 265 | DE/EDGE | Ole Miss 

9/4 Louisville - Williams had a very good night. He posted  4 tackles and 1 sack. What was most impressive was how well he took on double team blocks, often splitting them to either create pressure or stack against the run. While undersized to be lined up as a base DE in an odd front, Williams did just that and played like he had another 20lbs. in his pants. 

10/30 - Auburn - Williams had a solid night. He did get hemmed up too much against the run at times, but he was generally adequate and did shoe bend around the RT a few times. 

11/6 - Liberty - Williams had a good night. Operating out of a 3-man front, he showed base-DE strength while being able to create pressure. He had 8 tackles, 2 sacks. He was around the ball often, and simply wasn't an easy block for opposing O-linemen. 

11/13 - Texas A&M - Williams may have had the best game of his career. He was a monster against the run, giving up no ground no matter who he faced. He got the better of Kenyon Green a few times. Against the pass, he created great pressure, was a menace around the edge. 

11/25 - Mississippi State- Williams was excellent in this game, possibly topping what he id against Texas A&M. He played with intense power off the edge, made minced meat out of the RT Lashley. While LT Cross was far more formidable, he too struggled with Williams and his inside, power counter moves. Williams finished with 5 tackles, 2 sacks and a handful of pressures. 

6) Arnold Ebiketie | 6'3 | 256 | DE | Penn State

9/4 Wisconsin - Ebiketie had himself a banner day. He was strong at the LOS and overwhelmed at times with his pass rush. He used get extension to gain leverage on the OT, causing issues in spurts throughout the game.

10/30 - Ohio State - Ebiketie had a very good game, flashing a number of time. Ohio State LT Petit-Frere is a very good prospect, yet Ebiketie gave him fits a number of times throughout the game. He looked like a very promising Day 2 talent. He had 1.5 TFLs.

11/13 - Michigan - Ebiketie had a fantastic game. He had 7 tackles and 2 sacks, but his play surpassed his impressive stat line. He was very stout against the run, and even better when creating pressure against the pass. He flashed great leverage using arm extension, was a beats to keep at bay. 

7) Kingsley Enagbare | 6'4 | 260 | DE | South Carolina 

11/20 - Auburn - Enagbare had a solid, but not great game. He was a bit up and down against the run. On one play, he played with leverage and held edge contain. On another, he'd get washed out enough to give up plus yards. He showed a good get off from the LOS and bend running the arc, but wasn't able to make an impact. 

8) Travon Walker | 6'5 | 275 | DE | Georgia -

9/4 - Clemson - Walker somewhat quietly had a solid game, amassing 4 tackles, 1 sack. He showed solid strength vs. the run, and decent ability to create some backfield pressure against the pass. While not twitchy, he showed the value to be a pure base DE.

9) Jermaine Johnson II | 6'5 | 255 | DE | Florida State

9/4 Notre Dame - Johnson had a very good night. He was credited with 7 tackles, 2.5 TFLs, 1.5 sacks. He showed off a good burst at the LOS coupled with good hand usage to beat blocks. 

11/6 - NC State - Johnson looked decent at times, but found zero success against Okwonu. He simply didn't have the power nor quickness to get past him.

10) Isaiah Thomas | 6'5 | 262 | DE | Oklahoma 

9/4 Tulane - Thomas was a dude today, showing off plus strength and the ability to grind through blocks. He had 3 tackles and a sack, but was far more of a menace than the stat line reads. He looked like a Day 2 prospect in this one. 

10/30 - Texas Tech - Thomas really jumped off the screen in this one. he showed off very stout play vs. the run, and was even more impressive rushing the passer. He looked like a prototypical starting NFL DE.

11) Brenton Cox | 6'4 | 252 | DE/EDGE | Florida

9/18 - Alabama - Cox had a very nice game. He held edge contain well, also showed that he can bend around the edge and create pressure. Based on how well he did against this level of competition, I could see him getting an early round nod. 

10/30 - Georgia - Cox had a down night. While he did go up against a pair of very good OTs, he was neutralized often.

12) Zack Harrison | 6'6 | 268 | DE | Ohio State 

9/2 Minnesota - Harrison had an up and down game as far as I'm concerned. There were two plays where he looked really good, but others where he fell flat. He had one run stop where he pressed his blocker off the LOS and disengaged to make the tackle. He showed good leverage and the ability to stand ground. On another play, he ran the arc, beat the LT and had a strip sack. This one play changed the game, as his teammate picked up the ball and scored. On the flip side, the mammoth RT Daniel Faalele outright handled him on a number of passing plays. 

9/11 - Oregon - Harrison had a very down game. He lost edge contain a number of times, allowed 2 TD runs to Verdell as he got sucked inside by a good margin. As a pass rusher, he was a dud as well. 

10/30 - Penn State - Harrison popped out a few times, but he was merely average on a number of other snaps. He too often looked like an athlete in a football uniform, unable to create much on his own. 

11/13 - Purdue - Harrison had another meh game. He was credited with 6 tackles, 2 TFLs, but credit needs to go to those around him, includingg his secondary. When having to win organically 1:1, he was great out of the gate but fell flat. 

13) Joshua Paschal | 6'3 | 278 | DE | Kentucky 

9/11 -  Missouri - Paschal had a decent game, but his play seems to have slipped off from the last time I saw him play. He showed some grit at the LOS and some good effort, was credited with 2 QBH's. However, he got hemmed up far too often and couldn't get off blocks real well. 

10/30 - Mississippi State - Paschal had an impressive game. He often operated with his hand in the dirt along a 3-man front, holding own base DE duties. He had 6 tackles, 2 TFLs. While he was hemmed up at times, he had some great battles with LT Charles Cross. Paschal found most success using an inside rip move, something he beat almost every blocker with at times. While he wasn't bendy around the edge, his stout play made for a tough block. 

14) Tre Williams | 6'5 | 255 | DE | Arkansas

11/6 - Mississippi State - Williams had a very good game. He had 4 solo stops, 2 sacks. He went up against a very good LT in Charles Cross and gave him fits. 

11/20 - Alabama - Williams had a solid, yet quiet game. He showed good get off at the LOS, gave the 'Bama OTs some good challenges. That said, he was hemmed up often or enough to where he couldn't make much of a splash.

15) Mitchell Agude | 6'4 | 245 | DE/EDGE | UCLA

8/28 - Hawaii - Agude jumped off the screen at me a few times when trying to hone my focus on others. He showed some good bend off the edge with enough inside leverage to compromise the passing pocket. A loaded front did help his cause, but he won 1:1 battles outright. I love his frenetic motor.

9/4 - LSU - Agude had another great night. He lined up everywhere across the LOS, and was effective at each post. Even when playing a traditional DT role, he showed power and tenacity despite giving up a ton of size. In all aspects, he knifed or grinded through blocks, showed great hand usage, and a motor that wouldn't quit. He had 6 tackles, 1 sack, and was in the backfield often. 

10/2 - Arizona State - Agude had a solid night. While ASU did it's part to create a good blocking scheme up front, Agude's talents flashed a few times. He showed relentless bend of the edge, a guy able to grind through blocks well.

10/30 - UTAH - Agude was active, but not real productive. Utah ran the ball at will, and he had trouble getting off of blocks cleanly eenough to prevent as much. 

11/20 - USC - Agude had a good game. He was in on 10 tackles, played with a high motor and showed edge strength containing the outside run. He showed bend around the edge, had some good battles with the RT McKenzie.

16) Ali Gaye | 6'6 | 262 | DE | LSU 

9/4 UCLA - Gaye flashed early with a sack, then was pretty quiet for the balance of the game. He chipped in with 4 tackles in total, but by no means looked like a consistent, dominant force. 

17) Tyreke Smith | 6'3 | 267 | DE | Ohio State 

9/2 Minnesota - Smith had a pretty maligned game. He didn't make any plays, and the Gophers were able to run off-tackle too often. 9/11 - 

9/11 - Oregon - Smith fell flat today. He didn't create much of any pass rush pressure, nor did he display and great run-stopping prowess. 

10/30 - Penn State - Smith had a couple moments, but like his teammate Harrison, he just didn't look very impressive. He was handled a number of times. He had 5 tackles and 1 TFL, but much of that was manufactured. 

11/13 - Purdue - While the stat line doesn't reflect as much, Smith had a very solid game. He was quick around the edge, was able to beat the block a number of times. 

19) Xavier Thomas | 6'2 | 270 | DE/EDGE | Clemson 

20) Boye Mafe | 6'4 | 260 | DE | Minnesota

9/2 Ohio State - Mafe didn't look bad to me, but he wasn't a game changer either. He created little pressure and wasn't real stout vs. the run. 

21) Micheal Clemons | 6'5 | 270 | DE | Texas A&M

9/4 Kent State - DNP (Suspended)

9/11 - Colorado - Clemons had a very solid game. He looked strong off the ball, wasn't easy to handle. He came away with 4 tackles, 2 QBH's. 

22) Big Kat Bryant | 6'4 | 247 | DE/EDGE | UCF

9/2 Boise St - Bryant had a solid game, looking more athletically than he was at Auburn. He played with a frenetic energy, issuing enough challenge on the OTs to force plays at times. He wasn't overly nuanced or dynamic with his technique, but was able to grind through blocks. Boise opted to run away from his side more times than not.

23) Owen Carney | 6'3 | 260 | DE/EDGE | Illinois -

8/28 - Nebraska - Carney had a decent game, operating out of a 2-point stance. He didn't show much nuance rushing the passer, mostly relied on his  bull rush to drive his man straight back. He held ground pretty well against the run, showed edge containment awareness while digging his heels in on plays ran at him. 

9/17 - Maryland  - Carney looked the part a couple times, but was neutralized more times than not. He did log one sack.

24) K.J. Henry | 6'4 | 255 | DE | Clemson 

9/4 Georgia - Henry left a lot to be desired. While he did see limited snaps, which appeared to be deserved, he failed to accumulate a stat line. He looked like another body out there, gave the Bulldog OTs no issues.

25) Dante Stills | 6'4 | 276 | DE/DT | West Virginia 

9/4 Maryland - Stills had a decent game. Credited with 3 tackles and 1 TFL, he showed good explosion off the snap, generally ran with a hot motor. However, he got jammed up often, wasn't able to free himself of blocks on a consistent basis. He truly did look like a tweener, as he's not quick enough to be a pure edge, but lacks the size to anchor as a DT. 

26) Justin Eboigbe | 6'5 | 285 | DE | Alabama 

9/4 Miami - Used pretty much in pass play situations only, Eboigbe offered up decent pressure for a base DT/DT type of player. He didn't do anything statistical, but held down his duty well enough.

 

27) Nick Figueroa | 6'4 | 260 | DE | USC

9/11 - Stanford - Had just one flash play that I recall, didn't log many snaps. 

28) Justin Foster | 6'2 | 265 | DE | Clemson

29) Cade Hall | 6'2 | 260 | DE | San Jose State

8/28 Southern Utah - Hall had a tough night, as he often drew LT Braxton Jones and was handled often. He lacked the length, leverage and strength to get by the bigger, stronger prospect.