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2012 NFL Draft Rankings: Top Edge-Rushers (DE/OLB) | The DC Times

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2012 NFL Draft Rankings: Top Edge-Rushers (DE/OLB)

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Jonathan Bales

I’ve posted Cornerback RankingsDefensive Tackle Rankings, and Interior Linemen Rankings thus far in 2012.  Today, I take a look at the edge-rushers.


  • The round listed after each prospect’s name is the grade I have provided him, NOT where I think he will get selected.  I view players with two rounds listed as on the border of each.
  • Players with the *** designation are higher than consensus rankings, while those with ^^^ after their names are lower than the consensus.

1. Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina (First Round)

2. Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina (First Round)

3. Vinny Curry, DE/OLB, Marshall (First Round) ***

4. Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois (First Round)

5. Nick Perry, DE/OLB, U.S.C. (Second Round)

6. Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama (Second Round) ^^^

7. Shea McClellin, DE/OLB, Boise State (Second Round) ***

8. Cam Johnson, DE, Virginia (Second Round)

9. Malik Jackson, DE, Tennessee (Second/Third Round) ***

10. Chandler Jones, DE/OLB, Syracuse (Second/Third Round)

11. Jonathan Massaquoi, DE/OLB, Troy (Third Round) ***

12. Andre Branch, DE/OLB, Clemson (Third Round) ^^^

13. Kyle Wilber, OLB, Wake Forest (Third Round) ***

14. Bruce Irvin, OLB, West Virginia (Third Round)

15. Ronnell Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma (Third Round/Fourth) ^^^

16. Jared Crick, DE, Nebraska (Fourth Round) ^^^

17. Tyrone Crawford, DE, Boise State (Fourth Round)

18. Brandon Lindsey, DE/OLB, Pitt (Fourth Round)

19. Oliver Vernon, DE/OLB, Miami (Fifth Round)

20. Donte Paige-Moss, DE/OLB, UNC (Fifth Round)

21. Jack Bequette, DE, Arkansas (Fifth Round) ^^^

22. Jacquies Smith, DE/OLB, Missouri (Fifth Round)

23. Julian Miller, DE, West Virginia (Fifth/Sixth Round)


A few thoughts. . .

  • I have Melvin Ingram rated ahead of Quinton Coples because I think the former is a better pure pass-rusher.  Coples might wind up as a 3-4 defensive end, in which case his potential value to a team could drop just a bit.
  • I love Vinny Curry’s burst, and I think he’s a first-round talent all the way.  I’d love to see Dallas grab him in the second.
  • I’ve explained here why I don’t like Courtney Upshaw.
  • Shea McClellin, Malik Jackson and Jonathan Massaquoi all offer great value in their projected mid-round draft spots.  McClellin’s motor is unreal, and Jackson has better pass-rushing skills than Upshaw, in my view.
  • Andre Branch and Jared Crick are so low on my list because I simply think there are better athletes out there.  Both players are potentially limited in what they can do.

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5 Responses to 2012 NFL Draft Rankings: Top Edge-Rushers (DE/OLB)

  1. john coleman says:

    As a frequent poster and having been around a while, you know I am a big fan of 40 times. I am now also a big fan of the 20 yard short shuttle. I ran into an interesting read at BTB, regarding this stat. It seems that no successful edge rushers have been over 4.41.

    Having looked into the numbers, as well as production, a few guys seem to be no brainers. Bruce Irvin was off the charts at 4.03.(D Ware was 4.07) I’m not saying Irvin is Ware, but his explosion numbers are very good. I believe, I also read where he is relatively new to the game. Seems he had some issues in his later teens and went the JUCO route to start his career. Point is, I think he is just getting started. Another that was outstanding is Jake BeQuette at 4.07. He also has the size at 6-5 270, a good college resume, and a solid 40. Ingram posted good numbers as well, but I feel his heigth and short arms will cause problems for him in the NFL. Ingram is also consistently slow off the ball on tape.

    Several of the DE/DT guys had good short shuttle numbers. There’s are above the 4.41 of the edge guys, but they are all 20 to 25 lbs heavier. Cox and Reyes were at 4.53, and Wolfe was at 4.44. I think Martin(Michigan) was also impressive. All of these guys have excellent explosion numbers. Contrarily, guys like Brockers were lackluster.

    In general, I’m not high on the majrity of higher rated picks. I honestly feel Dallas can draft just about any position 1st and not be making a huge mistake. Obviously, I’m not talking QB, WR, or RB with the 1st pick,as I feel we are good at those positions. Also guys like Brandon Brooks(OG-3rd rd) and Wolfe(DE-3rd-4thrd) offer great value late. So those positions could be addressed later. I also like Matt Conrath as a late value at DE, not DT.

  2. Interesting numbers, JC. I didn’t get to see that post. I agree there isn’t much incentive to take a pass-rusher in the first this year, although I wouldn’t be disappointed if we landed Ingram, simply because I will have him rated quite high…he’s tough to evaluate though because, as you mention, he is slow off the ball at times, but he also possesses natural explosiveness. If he can time up the snap better, he could explode. Probably too risky for a top 10 pick, though.

  3. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    edge rushers. . . that’s a deceiving title.

    A lot of the guys who are proposed good edge rushers would all be ROLB positions – that is for Dallas, they’d all be backing up Ware until Ware either decided to retire, got injured or get beat out (not likely in the next 3-4 years).

    The Cowboys don’t need an “edge” rusher opposite Ware. They need constant pocket collapsing pressure. That’s something that should come from the LDE.

    Spencer is fine in his role and that role is essential to the Boys success. To replace Spencer w/ someone who can rush the passer would be to replace him w/ Butler. If the edge rusher drafted is TRULY a Spencer replacement, he’s got to be an edge rusher AND all the things that Spencer is (good in pass coverage, excellent vs. the run, etc.).

    I don’t see THAT guy in this draft. I have yet to see him in any draft available at 14.

  4. Tyrone–Taking your comment into consideration, what do you think of Coples? He’s likely play end for Dallas, and I’m sure he’d be about as good of a pass-rush five-technique as you can get.

  5. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    I like Coples a LOT. I think he’s the DE the Boys need. But he’ll never fall to 14 and I think the cost to move up to 7 or 8 would be too great…

    I’m high on Billy Winn in the 3rd…

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