Daniel Jeremiah's pro comparisons for top EDGE prospects
A lot has been made about the 2022 draft class.
With less than two weeks to go before the draft kicks off, there are a ton of ways the top of the first round could play out.
While there certainly remains uncertainty on where some of the top prospects might land, one thing that has become clear throughout the pre-draft process is that there are a lot of talented edge rushers in this year's draft.
NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah is one of the top draft experts out there. This week, Jeremiah came out with pro comparisons for some of the top EDGE prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Here are Jeremiah's pro comps for a few of the top edge rush prospects, along with some commentary from the draft analyst.
Michigan's Aidan Hutchinson - Jared Allen
"Hutchinson is an ultra-productive edge rusher with ideal size, quickness and polish. He stood up this past season in defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald's system at Michigan. As a pass rusher, he has a quick first step and a wide array of hand moves to generate pressures/sacks."
Oregon's Kayvon Thibodeaux - Shawne Merriman
"Thibodeaux has ideal size (6-5, 258), length and explosiveness. He moved up and down the line of scrimmage in the Ducks' scheme, but primarily stood up on the edge. He shows a tremendous burst off the snap and excels using his inside arm to stab, create space, close and finish."
Florida State's Jermaine Johnson II - Danielle Hunter
"He has ideal size, length and quickness. As a pass rusher, he has a quick get-off, but he needs to lengthen his stride and gain more ground. He uses his length to snatch/pull tackles to collect sacks. He also has a steady bull rush to walk tackles back to the quarterback."
Purdue's George Karlaftis - Ryan Kerrigan
"Karlaftis has outstanding size, power and instincts off the edge, but he doesn't have ideal length. As a pass rusher, his best weapon is converting speed to power. He explodes upfield before jolting tackles with his hands and powering through them. He also will flash a nifty arm-over or spin move on occasion."
Oklahoma's Nik Bonitto - Cliff Avril
"Against the pass, he has excellent snap anticipation and burst to win right away. He can really dip, bend and close at the top of the pass rush. He is fluid and fast in everything he does on the field. He has shown the agility to peel off and mirror tight ends in coverage, too."
Minnesota's Boye Mafe - Kwity Paye
"Mafe is an ascending edge rusher with an enticing blend of speed and power. He steadily improved throughout the season, culminating with an outstanding performance at the Reese's Senior Bowl. As a pass rusher, he has an explosive first step and his hand usage has started to come together."
Kentucky's Josh Paschal - Carlos "Boogie" Basham
NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah released his final edition of the top 50 prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Lance Zierlein's latest picks for Giants
Every day leading up to April 28, another analyst releases his or her latest prediction for the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
One of the latest to do so is NFL Media draft analyst Lance Zierlein.
In his last mock draft, Zierlein had the Giants taking Northern Iowa OT Trevor Penning at No. 5 and Florida State EDGE Jermaine Johnson II at No. 7.
While he still has the Giants selecting an edge rusher and an offensive tackle, Zierlein changed both of his predictions for Big Blue with their two first-round selections.
Here are Zierlein's updated picks for the Giants at Nos. 5 and 7.
Pick for No. 5: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
Analysis: "The Giants need more pass rush, and they'll hope to find just that with this two-way defender who boasts untapped rush potential."
Thibodeaux put together three consecutive strong seasons for the Ducks, which began with an eye-opening freshman campaign in 2019. In 13 games that year, Thibodeaux registered nine sacks and 14 tackles for loss while earning a 77.9 overall grade from Pro Football Focus. This performance led to him being named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.
He followed that up with three sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss in seven games in 2020, good for a 78.9 overall grade, and was named First-Team All-Pac-12 and the recipient of the Morris Trophy as the conference's best defensive lineman. Playing in 10 games as a junior this past season, Thibodeaux had seven sacks, 12 tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles. He received an 83.9 overall grade from PFF, including an elite 91.5 pass rush grade, and was once again named First-Team All-Pac-12 along with Unanimous All-American.
For his player comparison, PFF described Thibodeaux as a "rawer Myles Garrett," while Lance Zierlein compared him to Brian Orakpo.
Pick for No. 7: Ickey Ekwonu, OT, N.C. State
Analysis: "Ekwonu is a guard/tackle prospect with a healthy mean streak and exciting upside, if he can learn to play with more consistency in pass protection."
Ekwonu allowed just three sacks and 10 hurries on 500 pass block snaps last season. As Frelund mentions, PFF was very high on Ekwonu's performance during his junior campaign. The analytics site awarded him a 91.6 overall grade, which included 93.8 run block and 78.3 pass block grades. In his first two seasons at N.C. State, the young tackle had overall grades of 80.6 (2020) and 80.5 (2019). Ekwonu earned numerous awards and honors this past season, including Unanimous All-American and the ACC Jacobs Blocking Award as the conference's best offensive lineman.
For his player comparison, both PFF and Lance Zierlein compared him to Kelechi Osemele.
View photos of EVERY player projected to the Giants by draft analysts in mock drafts.
PFF's 2022 NFL Draft linebacker superlatives
The Giants will be likely addressing several different positions on defense in this year's draft.
With nine picks, Joe Schoen has a lot to work with as he looks to bolster the team's depth heading into the 2022 season.
One position Schoen might decide to use a pick or two on is linebacker.
Pro Football Focus' Michael Renner recently looked at this year's crop of linebacker prospects, which the analytics site says is the deepest LB class it has seen in eight years of evaluating college football.
With 13 linebackers ranked inside PFF's top 100, there is a lot to be excited about.
Here are a few of Renner's 2022 NFL Draft linebacker superlatives.
Best sideline-to-sideline range: Channing Tindall, Georgia
"Tindall looks like the T-1000 when he's chasing down running backs in the flat — he just keeps building up speed. At the combine, he ran a 4.47-second 40-yard dash with a 1.52 10-yard split. Just watch him scoot."
Best at taking on blocks: Leo Chenal, Wisconsin
"It's incredible how adept Chenal is at separating from blockers despite not possessing ideal length for the position (31-inch arms). That skill enabled him to earn a 94.1 run defense grade (first among linebackers) and 91.8 pass-rushing grade (second among linebackers) last season. Chenal is so adept at it that Wisconsin routinely walked him up on centers to play a tilt nose tackle role."
Best tackler: Quay Walker, Georgia
"Walker was not only an incredibly proficient collegiate tackler, but he also has ideal traits to continue to do so at the NFL level, as he missed only seven tackles on 138 attempts in his four years at Georgia. At a shade under 6-foot-4 with a nearly 6-foot-8 wingspan and 4.52 speed, Walker is going to be a value-add as a tackler in the NFL."
NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks revealed his final position rankings for the 2022 NFL Draft.