Ranking the top 10 edge rushers

The Post’s Ryan Dunleavy gives his top 10 edge rushers in this year’s NFL draft, based on evaluations and conversations with people around the league:

1. Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan, 6-7, 260 pounds

On the short list for No. 1 overall pick. Elite talent paired with work ethic and high motor of a prove-it late-rounder. Returned from broken ankle in 2020 with 14-sack season. Finalist for Heisman Trophy and Campbell Trophy (academics).

2. Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon, 6-4, 254 pounds

Three-year wait for this moment, since nation-best seven fourth-quarter sacks (of his 19 career sacks) as a freshman. Better production inside, but undersized for interior in NFL. Carries himself like a superstar ready for a big market.

3. Travon Walker, Georgia, 6-5, 272 pounds

Wasn’t an All-SEC pick as a one-year starter. Ran fastest 40-yard dash time (4.52) for a 270-pounder since 2003. Versatile enough to move around the line. Scouts love his film and projection as edge rusher despite quiet stat line.

4. Jermaine Johnson, Florida State, 6-5, 254 pounds

Just another rotational player on the nation’s most talented defense at Georgia, Johnson made big bucks with 18 tackles for loss and 12 sacks last season after transferring. Two-way edge who enjoys when teams run at him.

Oregon’s Kayvon Thidobeaux
Getty Images

5. George Karlaftis, Purdue, 6-4, 266 pounds

Stand-up or hand-in-dirt rusher as a traditional 4-3 defensive end. After 17 tackles for loss in 2019 and injury-marred 2020, added another 11.5 TFLs in 2021. Drew a lot of double-teams. Arm length (32 ⁵ / ₈ inches) created concerns.

6. Boye Mafe, Minnesota, 6-3, 255 pounds

Only 13 career starts and played less than half of the defensive snaps in the breakout seven-sack senior season. A 38-inch vertical jump is good for batting down passes – and he looks comfortable dropping off the line.

7. David Ojabo, Michigan, 6-4, 250 pounds

Borderline top-10 pick based on upside before torn Achilles at Pro Day. Still raw despite the 11-sack season, so missed time is a big deal. Only 20 career college games. Started playing at age 17 after moving from Europe.

8. Arnold Ebiketie, Penn State, 6-2, 250 pounds

Started playing football as high school sophomore. Soccer background in native Cameroon is good for his quickness – wins on first step – and tireless conditioning. Targets the ball when picking up sacks (15.5 career).

Arnold Ebiketie # 17 of the Penn State Nittany Lions
Penn State’s Arnold Ebiketie
Getty Images

9. Nick Bonitto, Oklahoma, 6-3, 248 pounds

More than 27 percent of his 117 career tackles were for loss. Never stops moving – sometimes to his detriment. Advanced array of pass-rush moves. Had Power Five scholarship offers to play basketball.

10. Josh Paschal, Kentucky, 6-3, 268 pounds

Survived skin cancer on his right foot in 2018. Returned and compiled 32.5 tackles for loss over the next three seasons. Versatile enough to move around the front seven, with his hand in dirt or different standup angles.

Joshua Paschal # 4 of the Kentucky Wildcats against the New Mexic
Kentucky’s Josh Paschal
Getty Images

Late Riser

Travon Walker, Georgia: One of the most meteoric after-the-season rises by any player in recent memory. In the mix for No. 1 overall pick. Already a strong run defender, including chasing down ball-carriers to the far sideline. “Freakish” athleticism, scouts say.

Falling Fast

David Ojabo, Michigan: Will he slip to early second round? If he goes late first round, the contract comes with a fifth-year option, which could be enticing to a team with multiple firsts and luxury to be a patient with his development.

Small-School Wonder

Dominique Robinson, Miami (Ohio), 6-4, 253 pounds: Went viral at combine for continuing undeterred through multiple drills when his left shoe kept slipping off. Here’s a position change you don’t see every day: Receiver to edge rusher. Never started a game on defense.

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