Full disclaimer: as some of you may know, I am from England, so I do not watch any college football during the season and I go into this process with absolutely no preconceptions about who I’m about to watch. I watch at least three games of each player I rank, but I cannot share any film with you here because sharing college All22 online is dangerous and I do not want to be blocked!
These rankings are based on how I think these prospects would fit the Eagles’ scheme or who I want the most based on who the Eagles already have at a certain position. This is very important, so please keep this in mind! Therefore, sometimes I may have one player above another, even if I think the other player is a better overall prospect. If a player isn’t on this list, I haven’t watched them yet! I have also put them into tiers because sometimes there isn’t much difference between prospects, and I find the tiers useful to separate players.
1. Will Anderson, Alabama
Will Anderson is obviously an elite EDGE defender and will come extremely high in the draft. He has consistently produced pressures and sacks for 3 years now and feels like a very safe prospect. He can play every down, is a good run defender, and is an explosive rusher. He’s not as bendy or flexible as the very elite pass rushers in the NFL, but he wins in other ways and will have time to develop his pass rush moves.
Eagles Thoughts: The Eagles aren’t getting Will Anderson, and I can’t imagine a scenario where it’s possible or sensible to move up for him, so we can move on here! If he does start falling though, I think he is worth moving up for.
2. Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech
Tyree Wilson is a potential freak due to his length, wing-span, and power. He flashes high-level traits and can rush the quarterback using speed to power, quickness, and counter moves. He does it all but he is very inconsistent. You are betting on the traits if you take him very high, and I think it may be a safe bet because the traits are outstanding. He doesn’t explode off the ball well enough (his biggest issue) and still needs to develop as a rusher in other ways. I like the prospect, but the risk feels quite high. The upside is scary good, though.
Eagles Thoughts: You can never have enough pass rushers, and I’m sure the Eagles are excited by what Tyree Wilson can do. I do think there’s quite a bit of risk and projection involved too, but you would almost certainly have to take him at 10 if he is there but I am certain he will go before then. Personally, I wouldn’t be too interested in trading up for him.
3. Nolan Smith, Georgia
Nolan Smith is one of the most difficult projections in the class. He is an elite athlete, but you can’t ignore the fact that he may be the lightest starting EDGE defender in the entire NFL. Greg Cosell has even doubted whether he is an EDGE defender or whether he could be used as an off-ball linebacker like Fred Warner. The athletic traits are absurd, but the production and current pass-rushing ability are not good, and any team selecting him is banking on the traits developing. He feels like he may never be a great pass rusher.
Eagles Thoughts: I can’t help but want freakishly athletic players on my team. It would be fun, and the upside is very high because of the motor and speed. But I’ve seen Nolan Smith mocked to the Eagles at 10 and just don’t see it. That is a high pick to risk on a traits player with limited production. I can imagine the Eagles really liking him because his closest comp is probably Hasson Reddick but that doesn’t mean he will instantly become him. Reddick took a few years to really develop (and was a better rusher in college) and I think the same will need to happen for Nolan Smith. He’s a useful player who flies around the field and will have a role, but I want a better pass rusher at 10. I’m taking Smith > Van Ness on scheme, not based on what I have seen.
4. Lukas Van Ness, Iowa
Lukas Van Ness is a weird player to evaluate because I can’t help wondering why he didn’t play more? The film is excellent, so why wasn’t he asked to start and play more snaps? His athletic profile is sort of weird, but he tested pretty well overall at the combine. He is one of the most powerful EDGE defenders in this class and has a nasty bull rush where he shows the ability to convert speed to power. He’s not just an EDGE and he lined up inside at times too. He may not have the elite upside of some others EDGE players on this list, but he feels a reasonably safe bet to me because his power is legit.
Eagles Thoughts: Lukas Van Ness and Nolan Smith could not be more different body types and players, but it feels like the Eagles might have a chance at both of them at 10, but shouldn’t take either of them. Van Ness doesn’t have the elite quickness or pass-rushing ability that you would want to see from a top EDGE rusher. I can’t help wondering why Van Ness didn’t play more and if that’s a big red flag when it comes to his play. I am less worried about his ability to handle the snaps because he won’t start here for a while anyway while he develops. I would not take Van Ness at 10. I think he’s a safe starter and will be very helpful against the run, but I don’t see a star pass rusher yet, although he can develop into one. I do think if the Eagles are interested, I would expect to see him at EDGE on early downs but inside on pass-rushing situations. I think he could help replace some of Hargrave’s impact on pass-rushing downs because he is powerful enough to play inside. I’d trade down and take him lower than 10 (from 15 or so) and feel OK, but 10 feels high for a ‘safe starter’, I want more.
5. Myles Murphy, Clemson
I really wish we had more combine numbers for Murphy, because they feel really important in his overall evaluation. Murphy is an explosive and twitchy pass rusher as well as a strong run defender. He is a high-motor player who is a strong-run defender too. He has the traits and size of a really good powerful EDGE defender who flies off the ball. I worry a little bit about his development as a pass rusher as the numbers are similar throughout his 3 years in college and the pass rushing numbers were not great this past year. He still relies on his power and first step and needs to develop some more pass-rushing moves to reach the next level.
Eagles Thoughts: I think the Eagles are going to spend a lot of time debating Nolan Smith, Myles Murphy, and Lukas Van Ness. I would put Murphy in the same tier as the other two, but if we had his testing data he could jump up because he looks very athletic on the field. I like Murphy, but 10 feels too high for him, and I have him as more of a mid-late 1st round player. I see him as more of a 4-3 DE and I’m not exactly sure how the Eagles will use their defensive line next year. I’m sure they could find a role for Murphy though. I have him below Smith and Van Ness because I think I can predict their role easier, but I think he could also slide inside and help to replace Hargrave’s interior pass rusher as a 3 technique too and this would help the Eagles.
6. BJ Ojulari, LSU
BJ Ojulari is a scheme-specific player, but he projects as a good EDGE rusher in a 3-4 front where he can attack offensive linemen by bending the edge and occasionally dropping into coverage. He is a really good athlete and is bendy and quick enough to defeat offensive linemen around the edge. However, he can be weak and lacks power, especially when defending the run. He won’t hold up as 4-3 defensive end. He flashes a lot of traits but isn’t really consistently good enough at anything yet to feel really confident about him.
Eagles Thoughts: Obviously we don’t really know what Sean Desai will do with the Eagles’ defense next year, but if he plays a lot of 5 man fronts I think BJ Ojulari would be a good fit as one of the EDGE defenders where he can rush the quarterback and drop back into coverage if needed. He can be a versatile EDGE, rather than an out-and-out pass rusher. He will be more comfortable than the current Eagles’ EDGE defenders at dropping into coverage and will provide the Eagles with more versatility. The lack of power and problems in the run game should push him out of the 1st, but I like him in the 2nd, and I do wonder if the Eagles would consider him at 30 as he would be more versatile than their current EDGE defenders.
7. Will McDonald IV, Iowa State
Will McDonald is a strange evaluation because he played a lot inside last year and I just can’t see him doing that at the next level. He looks like a 3-4 EDGE defender who can rush the quarterback or drop into coverage. He’s explosive with long arms and he tested very well at the combine. He has 3 good years of production but was slightly worse this year, partly because of how he was used. He is very light but I view him as having a very similar body type and style to Nolan Smith. In fact, you can make the argument that he is a safer prospect as he has 3 years of decent production backing him up.
Eagles Thoughts: If the Eagles want a versatile EDGE defender who can drop into coverage and rush the quarterback as part of their 5-man fronts, Will McDonald will be a very good fit. I don’t like him as much in a standard 4-3, but I think he will fit the Eagles well assuming they don’t dramatically change anything. Similar to B.J. Ojulari & Felix Anudike-Uzomah, I have McDonald around the 2nd round but it’s not impossible the Eagles could consider him at 30, although I think that’s too early.
8. Keion White, Georgia Tech
Keion White is a very interesting prospect because he is big, fast, and very powerful. He is versatile and can play alongside the defensive lineman. He also has shown the ability to drop into coverage and cover backs and tight ends. However, I am not sure that’s his best use at the next level and I think he’s probably best suited to a 4-3 defensive end where he can even kick inside on obvious pass-rushing situations.
Eagles Thoughts: I am not sure Keion White has the obvious upside as some of the players above him due to his stiffness when bending the edge and his age, but he feels like a very good player who can help a team immediately. I see him as more of a 4-3 DE but I think could play the EDGE for the Eagles’ 5-man front and kick inside on pass-rushing downs. He would be a solid 2nd round pick.
9. Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Kansas State
Felix Anudike-Uzomah profiles as a pretty safe prospect at EDGE after 2 strong years of production and a good athletic profile to match. He is flexible and bendy and can win on the edge but struggles with run defense and setting the edge at times. He would fit best as an EDGE defender in a 3-4 scheme, where he can use his athletic traits and speed to get around the edge.
Eagles Thoughts: Felix Anudike-Uzomah reminds me of how BJ Ojulari would fit in the Eagles’ scheme (assuming we still see some 5-man fronts). I have a 2nd round grade on Anudike-Uzomah but I slightly prefer BJ Ojulari because he is more comfortable dropping into coverage than Anudize-Uzomah at this point in their careers but I think Anudike-Uzomah is probably a safer bet as a pass rusher, so as always it depends what you want!
10. Derrick Hall, Auburn
Derrick Hall feels like a safe good prospect who maybe doesn’t have the upside of some of those above him, but he could be a safer pick than some EDGE rushers who will go in the 1st. He is a speed-to-power rusher who can run through tackles but doesn’t have the flexibility to bend the edge and needs to develop some better counter moves. He feels like a good, not great, prospect who is rarely injured and has consistently performed for 3 years.
Eagles Thoughts: I like Derrick Hall and I think he could fit with the Eagles. I don’t think he has the upside of a top EDGE defender, but he is a high-motor reliable player who could be a solid backup and I would consider him in the late 2nd/early 3rd.
11. Tuli Tuipulotu, USC
I don’t really know what he is. I think he’s a very good pass rusher who will have a role on any defense at the next level. His explosive traits and production show that he can play. But where? Does the have the athleticism and flexibility to be a full-time EDGE? I’m not sure. I think I see him more as an EDGE on early downs with the ability to line up inside on 3rd downs. if he is playing EDGE for a 3-4 team though, can you really ask him to drop back into coverage either? Or is he more of a 4-3 EDGE?
Eagles Thoughts: I like the player, but unsure about the fit. Can he work as a DT in the Eagles 5-2 front on pass rushing downs? I think he probably can. I don’t see him as a Reddick/Sweat style as a stand-up EDGE who will sometimes have to drop. I do like the player and would take a chance in the late 2nd or 3rd, but anything earlier feels like a pretty big risk. I’m intrigued by his profile though.
12. Isaiah Foskey, Notre Dame
Foskey is another one of these interesting EDGE rushers who isn’t a straight-up EDGE rusher but can do a number of different roles. He isn’t a great pass rusher at this point. He needs to work on his pass-rushing counter moves and he looks a little stiff when bending the edge. He can get taken out of plays when in run defense too which is a concern. But, he is a high-motor player who rallies to the football at all times, shows really good speed-to-power at times, and gets off the snap well. I like him as a rotational player who can help bring an edge to a defense.
Eagles Thoughts: I like Foskey as a rotational pass rusher early on in his career, but I’m not sure the upside to be a starting EDGE is there considering the stiffness and change of direction. I see him as more of a 3rd round guy.
13. Bryon Young, Tennessee
Byron Young is an interesting mid-late-round pick because he is extremely explosive. He is twitchy and flies off the ball at the snap and blew up the combine. I think he has a lot of potential as a 3rd down pass rusher only who will excel on stunts because of his quickness. He’s not an every-down player, and his lack of length and natural power means he isn’t going to collapse the pocket very often. He will be 25 years old as a rookie so he probably won’t improve a lot either, but this may cause him to go later in the draft and he can certainly provide some help for a team over the next few years.
Eagles Thoughts: I think Young may fall due to his age, but I would absolutely love the Eagles to pick him up in the 3rd round as a rotational pass rusher. I just love watching him play because of the explosiveness of the snap. He would help the Eagles on obvious pass-rushing downs, even though he likely won’t ever develop into a full-time starter.
14. Isaiah McGuire, Missouri
McGuire played as a 4-3 DE but he has the size to be a rotational option in a lot of different schemes. His 3 cone is a concern because I thought he had the potential to bend the edge but am less certain now. He has a very good combination of physical traits and is an overall solid player collapsing the pocket and in run defense. He looks like a solid backup who can fit numerous roles, not just a rotational pass rusher, and can develop into an average starter.
Eagles Thoughts: I like McGuire as a good backup for a number of different roles, but I wish he had a bit more experience dropping into coverage. I would consider him an option at the start of day 3.