The 2023 NFL Draft class offers an abundance of talented edge rushers. But now, on the doorstep of the big event, who are the top 10 edge rushers in the class? The list is headlined by over a half-dozen potential first-round picks, but a familiar face dons the crown.
Top 10 EDGEs in the 2023 NFL Draft
10) BJ Ojulari, LSU
If you’re an odd-front team who craves finesse rushers off the edge from wider alignments, you’ll be infatuated with LSU’s BJ Ojulari. While his sack production in college wasn’t as eye-catching as other prospects, Ojulari’s a consistent pressure generator with very appealing athletic traits.
At 6’2 3/8″, 248 pounds, Ojulari doesn’t have the most mass as a rusher, but his 34 1/4″ arms grant him elite proportional length. On top of that, few rushers are as smooth, flexible, and quick to stack movements as Ojulari is, and he can capitalize on his athleticism with violent hands and abrupt power exertions.
9) Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Kansas State
With 19.5 sacks and 25.5 tackles for loss through 2021 and 2022, Felix Anudike-Uzomah is one of the most prolific pass-rushing threats in the 2023 NFL Draft crop. Soon enough, he’ll get to show off his talents at the NFL level.
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Anudike-Uzomah has more than enough size to work with at 6’3″, 255 pounds, with 33 1/2″ arms. Beyond that, he’s an explosive, twitchy rusher with good bend, who can string together hand moves with nearly unmatched energy and zeal.
8) Derick Hall, Auburn
It’s a sign of a very strong EDGE class when a prospect like Derick Hall comes in at eight on this list. Hall grades out as a top 50 prospect on my board, and he could be a fringe first-round candidate. He gets caught in the numbers game here, but he’s a phenomenal player.
It’s not a 1-to-1 comparison, but Hall does have a similarly unique combination of natural leverage and proportional length to 2022 second-round pick Arnold Ebiketie. Hall is slightly less flexible, but he’s even better at converting speed-to-power, and he has the motor to finish plays once he breaches the pocket.
7) Keion White, Georgia Tech
There are a host of power rushers at the top of the 2023 NFL Draft group. Of those rushers, Keion White is perhaps the most polarizing. He’s an older rookie — a former tight end who converted to the defensive line and became a menace for the Yellow Jackets. And while he still has room to keep developing, his physical traits present appeal.
White has exciting alignment versatility with his 6’5″, 285-pound frame and 34″ arms. He’s quick off the line but also very smooth changing directions and testing rushing angles. With his heavy hands, White bludgeons blockers at the point of attack.
6) Nolan Smith, Georgia
The 2023 NFL Draft EDGE class is dominated by power rushers with hulking builds, but there’s an outcome where Nolan Smith goes on to be the best prospect from the group. Size isn’t a strength of Smith’s at 6’2″, 238 pounds, and sub-33″ arms, but he has the tools to develop into a terror.
Smith logged the best 10-yard split of all-time among EDGEs (1.47) and also logged a 4.39 40-yard dash, 41.5″ vertical, and 10’8″ broad jump at the NFL Combine. He’s absurdly explosive and bendy, a banshee in run defense with his size-defying strength and range, and can win around the apex with rips and ankle flexion.
5) Isaiah Foskey, Notre Dame
With 20.5 sacks and 23 tackles for loss over the past two seasons, the production profile is by no means an issue with Isaiah Foskey. And at 6’5″, 264 pounds, with a high-end combination of long-track explosiveness and length, he’s not short on traits, either.
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Despite his production in 2022, Foskey regressed a bit with his hand usage, and he’s never had the necessary hip flexibility to turn the corner consistently. But Foskey has flashed brilliance with his hands before. His motor can be overwhelming, and his elite power profile provides an enticing foundation to build off of.
4) Lukas Van Ness, Iowa
EDGE is one position where it’s often very rewarding to bank on traits. There’s plenty of upside in the early rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft EDGE class, but arguably no prospect has a higher ceiling than Iowa’s Lukas Van Ness.
At 6’5″, 272 pounds, with 34″ arms, Van Ness is an elite athlete with burst off the line, agility and flexibility, and overwhelming power working inside offensive tackles. He can still refine his hand usage, but Van Ness’ consistency loading his hips and driving into contact provides solace for his projection as a true catalyst on the line.
3) Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech
Power is a trait of its own, but it’s largely derived from a culmination of other traits. Prospects use burst, length, and leverage to generate composite power, and no prospect in this class — or the last five classes, for that matter — has the power capacity that Tyree Wilson has.
At 6’6″, 275 pounds, with arms nearly 36″ long, Wilson truly looks like he was built in a lab. With his burst, length, frame density, and aggression, he plows through tackles and interior blockers alike with resounding brutality. His one-of-a-kind traits not only equate to immense pass-rushing upside but also give him unobstructed alignment versatility.
2) Myles Murphy, Clemson
It says something that, on such a talented defensive line like Clemson’s, Myles Murphy was still able to accumulate 18.5 sacks and 36 TFLs across three seasons. Since his true freshman campaign, Murphy has been a first-round pick in waiting, and nothing has changed.
At 6’5″, 268 pounds, he’s an outlier athlete with phenomenal burst, foot speed, and range in pursuit (4.53 40-yard dash). Murphy can leverage his burst, length, and frame density into awesome power at the point of attack. This year, he showed growth with his hand usage as well, providing excitement for his future projection.
1) Will Anderson Jr., Alabama
The top three remains the same in PFN’s final iteration of the top 10 edge rushers in the 2023 NFL Draft. That ultimately means that Will Anderson Jr. still holds down the top spot at his position and one of the top spots on PFN’s Big Board.
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There are only so many things you can nitpick with Anderson. He’s a ruthless competitor in pursuit, with rare explosiveness and lateral agility, and he can generate awe-inspiring power with his 6’3 1/2″, 253-pound frame, and 34″ arms. He’s a sheer destructor on the edge, in the mold of Khalil Mack.
- Will McDonald IV, Iowa State
- Isaiah McGuire, Missouri
- Tuli Tuipulotu, USC
- Andre Carter II, Army
- Nick Hampton, Appalachian State
- Byron Young, Tennessee
- Zach Harrison, Ohio State
- K.J. Henry, Clemson