Edge rush prospects often grab pre-draft headlines for incredible athletic feats of size and speed. Whether it was Jadeveon Clowney’s 4.53-second 40-yard dash, Vernon Gholston’s 37 reps on the bench press, or Mike Mamula’s all-around great combine performance, edge rushers are typically the players who astound us with how well a 260-pound human being can run, jump and perform feats of strength.
This year, however is different. Although the NFL combine proceeded as usual, the coronavirus pandemic resulted in the cancellation of all but the earliest college pro days. This lack of full workouts — combined with the tendency for top draft prospects to wait to run the 40-yard dash until their pro days — creates a unique situation at the top of the draft. Of Scouts Inc.’s top 10 edge rush prospects, only three have a recorded 40-yard dash from the NFL combine or a college pro day.
This lack of information also poses a unique challenge for Football Outsiders’ system for projecting college edge rushers, SackSEER. SackSEER uses pre-draft workout data, along with college statistics, to project the NFL pass-rushing prospects of defensive ends and 3-4 outside linebackers. However, strangely enough, even without the typical level of pre-draft workout numbers available, SackSEER believes that the edge rush picture is relatively clear: One player stands out among what is otherwise a fairly average group.
For more detail on how SackSEER works, check out the methodology at the bottom of this story. What follows is a ranking of the top edge rush prospects for 2020 according to our model:
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