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NFL Draft 2017: Ranking the 15 best edge defenders

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Who should the Eagles draft?

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles find themselves in a lucky position with eight picks heading into one of the deeper drafts in recent memory. While focus has been on offensive skill players and cornerbacks, the Eagles have a need at the defensive line that can be supplemented in the draft. Signing Chris Long and trading for Timmy Jernigan definitely strengthens the depth along the line, but adding some younger players in this draft would be a savvy move to add competition and depth to the line for the next few years. Here are the top edge defenders in the 2017 NFL Draft.

  1. Myles Garrett, Texas A&M: What hasn't been said about Myles Garrett? He is one of the most physically gifted players to come out of college in a few years and was highly productive as a pass rusher in his three seasons in College Station. The near consensus first overall player is arguably a better run defender than pass rusher, making him a complete defender already with room to get even better.

  2. Solomon Thomas, Stanford: Solomon Thomas, like Garrett, is a world class athlete. Thomas was used all over the place on Stanford's defense and his peaks were just as high as any defender in this class. The key for him is maintaining those peaks and becoming a more consistent technician while playing with a better motor. If he puts it all together, he will be a star.

  3. Derek Rivers, Youngstown State: A surprise to see a smaller school player ranked highly in a talented class, but Derek Rivers will surprise you with just how damn good he is. He dominated the FCS level and after being one of the best athletes at the combine, it is hard not to love a guy who not only was a productive pass rusher, but one of the best run defenders in the class.

  4. Jordan Willis, Kansas State: Willis was a productive pass rusher and run defender his last two seasons at Kansas State. He is a very good athlete whose peaks are tremendous. He needs to learn more pass rush moves and play more with his hands rather then just trying to power through offensive linemen. Getting Willis to a good coach will yield a great player.

  5. Carl Lawson, Auburn: Carl Lawson is a probably the most polished pass rusher in this year's class. He does not have the same flashy athletic ability as some of the guys ranked above him, but his consistent technique and high motor going after the passer make him a very strong option on the defensive line. The main question for him is how healthy can he stay.

  6. Derek Barnett, Tennessee: Barnett is a high effort player with great technique and physicality. He plays through the whistle and is able to exhaust his opposing offensive linemen with his style of play. Barnett is not the same level of athlete as some of the higher ranked players which is why he is a bit lower, but he is still going to be a viable defender in the NFL worthy of a first round selection (Like I said, deep class).

  7. Tim Williams, Alabama: Tim Williams was a terror for the Crimson Tide coming off the edge. He was incredibly productive rushing the passer and flashed strong defense as well. After reports of off the field issues and a very underwhelming combine, red flags started flying, making me a bit skeptical. However, the tape is too good to completely write him off and on the right team he should continue to produce in the NFL.

  8. Jonathan Allen, Alabama: Jon Allen was an awesome college player and he definitely has a role in the NFL despite being a bit of a tweener. His high motor, strong upper body and great technique make him the type of player who can play on the edge in base and then kick inside on passing downs to rush the passer. While I don't think he will be the same type of dominant he was at Alabama, his role in the NFL is still a very valuable one.

  9. Charles Harris, Missouri: Despite being more of an undersized rusher, Charles Harris was still made a consistent impact in college. As a specialty rusher in the NFL, his first step quickness, anticipation and bend around the edge will make a team very happy.

  10. TJ Watt, Wisconsin: TJ Watt made a name for himself at Wisconsin for being a good football player, not just the brother of one. He has prototypical size and athletic ability to play on the edge and is a good run defender, but could use refinement in the pass rushing aspect of his game. There is still a lot of untapped potential with Watt, so it will be exciting to see him grow in the NFL.

  11. Tarrell Basham, Ohio: Tarrell Basham is one of my favorite defenders in this class. He is built like a truck and plays like one too. He is a very powerful player who, while not possessing ideal agility or finesse for the position, can still power through offensive linemen to disrupt plays on every down.

  12. Taco Charlton, Michigan: Taco Charlton is a great example of a player who is good at a lot of things but great at none. Charlton definitely has NFL size, but his athletic ability caps what he can be in the NFL. Regardless, he is a physical and high motor player who can create some push in the passing game and disrupt the running game. Charlton may never be an NFL star, but he has the makings of a long time contributor in the league.

  13. Takkarist McKinley, UCLA: Takk McKinley has some incredibly exciting highlights to his game but they often come few and far in-between. He is a very raw football player whose speed on the field is impressive if he can get his playing style under control. Factor in some shoulder surgeries and being an older prospect and it is hard to see McKinley being a first round caliber player. If he goes to a good staff on day two however, he could unlock his potential.

  14. Tanoh Kpassagnon, Villanova: Tanoh Kpassagnon looks like a statue of a Greek God. Kpassagnon is the leanest 290 pound person to ever exist and his 6-7 frame carries him well. He is a very impressive athlete with strength to match his remarkable movement skills. He is a raw player, no doubt, but his ceiling is as enormous as he is.

  15. Demarcus Walker, Florida State: Demarcus Walker is a guy whose ranking does not properly reflect how I feel about him. In a deep class, it is hard for him to break the top 10, but he has a solid chance of developing into a valuable role player in the NFL. He is well built and strong as hell and while his athletic ability, overall, is underwhelming, his strength and motor will serve him well in the league. Walker will never be a star, but he should always have a place in the league with the way he plays.