2023 NFL Draft breakout candidates at EDGE include Khris Bogle and Durell Nchami

Which breakout EDGE candidates in the 2023 NFL Draft cycle might be able to follow in the footsteps of David Ojabo and Jermaine Johnson II?

The 2023 NFL Draft cycle is upon us. With it comes a new wave of breakout candidates. Last year, players like Jermaine Johnson II, David Ojabo, and Arnold Ebiketie all entered the season with little fanfare, only to emerge and command early-round capital in the following spring. Which 2023 NFL Draft prospects might follow this trajectory in the coming months?

2023 NFL Draft breakout candidates at EDGE

Last year’s EDGE class was heralded for its depth, both at the top and in the middle ranks. Early on, the 2023 NFL Draft EDGE class is looking similar in its sheer size. There are dozens of prospects to sift through, but these five offer some of the highest breakout potential on the circuit.

Durell Nchami, Maryland

Durell Nchami might’ve been a breakout player last year had it not been for an upper-body injury that cut his season short just six games in. At that point, Nchami had already accrued three sacks and four tackles for loss. He was establishing himself as a consistent pass-rushing presence. And this year, after undergoing surgery, he has a chance to pull off a successful “take two” for his senior breakout.

On tape, the physical traits are alluring with Nchami. He sports a well-built frame at 6’4″, 255 pounds. He’s also shown he can use strong hands at the point of attack. But even more exciting is Nchami’s bend capacity. It’s a little too early for superlatives, but he might have some of the best bend in the 2023 NFL Draft class. With his high-end ankle flexion, Nchami can pinch angles that other edge rushers simply can’t. If he can stay healthy, he has the tools to ascend.

Nate Matlack, Kansas State

Last year, Kansas State enjoyed the spoils of one breakout season on the edge from Felix Anudike-Uzomah. Anudike-Uzomah returns as one of the top edge rushers in the 2023 NFL Draft pool, but there’s a new breakout candidate opposite him on the Wildcats’ defensive line — redshirt sophomore Nate Matlack.

This list is filled with upside-dominant players. But few edge rushers have greater potential than Matlack. Matlack could stand to get stronger — he’s listed at a light 241 pounds for his 6’5″ frame. But Matlack has athleticism to burn. He’s supremely explosive off the line, with a documented 38.5″ vertical from the 2021 offseason.

Matlack also flashes gravity-defying bend and sustained acceleration around the corner. A force off the line, and a constant threat in pursuit, he could break out with another season across from Anudike-Uzomah.

Jahfari Harvey, Miami (FL)

There’s a tepid brand of optimism swooping over the Miami football program with Mario Cristobal taking over as head coach. The Hurricanes have plenty of reasons to be excited, one of which being the talent on the defensive side of the ball. Particularly, on the defensive line, edge rusher Jahfari Harvey is a player who could take a step up in his fourth season.

Harvey has a strong frame at 6’4″, 252 pounds. Within that frame, he carries underrated power capacity and channels it with heavy hands. While his torso isn’t the most flexible, Harvey’s shown he can combine initial burst and ankle flexion to get around the edge. Tie in his high motor in pursuit, and Harvey might have what it takes to attract interest on the 2023 NFL Draft stage.

Bradyn Swinson, Oregon

The Oregon defense may not look the same without Kayvon Thibodeaux in 2022. But there’s a saying that pervades through all of college football as rosters overturn year in and year out — “next man up.” Poised to take a leap in his third season with the Ducks, many believe that Bradyn Swinson is the next man up for Oregon.

Carrying a long 6’5″ frame, Swinson moves far better than you’d expect for someone his size. He’s been as heavy as almost 270 pounds throughout his career but played closer to 245 in 2021.

If he can pack on more healthy weight, Swinson has the burst, twitch, and active hands to be a menace on the defensive line in Dan Lanning’s first year. He’ll also have guidance from veteran DJ Johnson, who himself is a potential breakout candidate after switching back from tight end.

Khris Bogle, Michigan State

Once a highly-touted recruit, Khris Bogle totaled just 10 sacks and seven tackles for loss in three seasons at Florida. He then hit the transfer portal in the 2022 offseason. Bogle eventually settled on Michigan State as his transfer destination. Now in line for a full-time starting role, Bogle could be a breakout player for a Spartans defense that desperately needs more pass-rush help.

Bogle still needs to put it all together, but he brings traits to build on in East Lansing. Standing around 6’4″, 242 pounds, he brings great length but also visible athleticism and burst off the line. His most impressive trait, however, might be his bend. Bogle has excellent ankle flexion for his size, and he’s shown to accelerate around the corner and reduce his surface area.

Bogle isn’t the only breakout candidate in the state of Michigan. Further east, in Ann Arbor, the situation is prime to produce another stud, with Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo leaving voids on both sides. Talented prospects like Jaylen Harrell and Braiden McGregor are worth keeping an eye on, as they could ascend with this new opportunity.

Ian Cummings is a Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can find his writing here and follow him on Twitter: @IC_Draft.

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