Top 2021 EDGE Prospects For The 2021 NFL Draft

MIAMI, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 23: Gregory Rousseau #15 of the Miami Hurricanes in action against the FIU Golden Panthers in the first half at Marlins Park on November 23, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

This year’s EDGE class is odd, to say the least. The potential is off the charts and I truly believe it could be one of the best EDGE classes, but down the road and not right away. They will be drafted off of scheme fits and not pure skill this year. 

Let’s take a look at the Top-Five edge rushers in this year’s class.

1. Kwity Paye EDGE, Michigan

Scheme fit: 4-3 Hand-in-dirt 

It should come as no surprise for Kwity Paye at number one. He’s an exciting prospect that has the physicals to be a dominant force in the NFL. Going to a team that the coaches really press fundamentals in pass rushing will be keen to hai development. 

Paye, who was a star for Michigan this year, is not fully there in pass rusher development. Regardless, he has strong hands and can bull rush, and use his pure power to generate some interior pass rush as well. Finesse rusher is not in his resume as he uses his physical power and intangibles to win against whoever’s blocking him. 

Overall, Paye should be the first EDGE taken off the board and is a top-15 prospect. Yet again, he will only fit as a 4-3 rusher who can put his hand in the dirt and offers little-to-no value in pass coverage or as a stand-up linebacker.

2. Joseph Ossai EDGE, Texas

Scheme fit: 3-4 OLB, capable of a 5-technique with hand in the dirt.

After no.1 this EDGE group could go to anyone. There is no consensus rank as this is a very close-knit EDGE class and will most likely be drafted off of scheme fits.

Ossai has a solid frame that he can add some more into and has raw tools and natural athleticism. With a great motor, he plays his butt off all game and never stops trying to make plays. Regardless, he has powerful hands and his only real negative is that he’s still raw at the position. 

Ossai will have to be drafted somewhere where they will give him time to develop into his role and tone up some of the tools he has as a pass rusher. 

3. Gregory Rousseau EDGE, Miami

Scheme fit: Multiple fronts, interior pass rusher.

With his frame, he is a very flexible athlete and is smooth but lacks loose hips which sometimes gets him stuck in a bad position. While he lacks explosiveness and effort he will need some time to add onto his frame and skill tree to become his true self.

Hand power is another skill he needs to work on at the next level. Yet again, his athleticism is what saves him and he has long arms and reach and will take time to develop and will not produce right away.

The potential with Rousseau is legit and could really pay off for any playoff teams to snag him and develop him. He could also never develop and become a wasted pick. With opting out of the 2020 season teams could be wary of selecting him.

4. Quincy Roche EDGE, Miami

Scheme fit: 3-4 OLB, rush OLB

The tape Roche produced is almost flawless, as he shows minimal weaknesses. Reminds me of Shaquille Barrett, someone who will start off slow but then learn the game and become a star pass rusher. 

A truly good overall prospect that can fall into the 2nd round and be an absolute steal for any team. 

5. Jayson Oweh EDGE, Penn State

Scheme fit: 3-4 OLB

As it may be a surprise that Azeez Ojulari isn’t in the Top 5, just listen.

Jayson Oweh is a super raw prospect that absolutely has all the tools to become a pure pass rusher by his 3rd year in the NFL. You’ll get a semi-productive pass rusher in Year 1, then he’ll continue to add on to his frame and his tools.

Oweh can win from wide angles and he has the athleticism to play as a 3-4 outside linebacker. Will he reach his potential? He’s young, inexperienced, and needs more polish and more power rolled into his frame. If he gets there he can be a real force in the NFL.

Overall, this draft class for EDGE has a ton of potential and will lack production in Year 1. Regardless, it has the potential to be a great class down the road. 

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