Top 10 2025 NFL Draft EDGE Rankings: James Pearce Jr., Princely Umanmielen, Abdul Carter Quench the Need for Speed

Who are the top EDGE prospects in the 2025 NFL Draft off of initial viewings? James Pearce Jr., Abdul Carter, and Nic Scourton stand out.

As we transition to the 2025 NFL Draft cycle, who are the preliminary top-10 edge rusher prospects in the upcoming class? The 2024 group had talent at the top, but the 2025 group should have that same blue-chip tier while also boasting superior volume.

Way-Too-Early Top 10 EDGE Prospects in 2025 NFL Draft

Five EDGE prospects went in Round 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft — Laiatu Latu, Dallas Turner, Jared Verse, Chop Robinson, and Darius Robinson as a hybrid. The 2024 group was strong at the top, but the 2025 class already looks superior in terms of its depth.

Finding premier EDGE talent is one of the most important tasks for any front office in the modern NFL. Impacting the opposing passer is paramount, and several of the prospects listed below may eventually be relied upon to get that done.

10) Patrick Payton, Florida State

Few 2025 EDGE prospects had the sheer disruptive footprint that Patrick Payton boasted in 2023. Payton logged seven sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss. That was with Verse and Braden Fiske, and he was also second on the team with 10 pass breakups.

As the pass breakups imply, Payton is absurdly long, with a 6’5″ frame that can channel power and occlude passing lanes. And at that size, he’s uncommonly explosive and flexible. He’s now listed at 254 pounds heading into 2024, and that mass could help him take the next step.

9) Jalon Walker, Georgia

Jalon Walker started his career as an inside linebacker, but he could end up having a more fruitful career as an outside rush linebacker. Playing more off the edge in 2023, he flashed immense promise, and the modern NFL is trending more toward that kind of player.

At 6’2″, 245 pounds, Walker is expectedly undersized, but he carries his weight very well and has a compact speed-to-power element. But what makes him a true mismatch for tackles is his bristling explosiveness and agility and his deadly swim moves inside.

8) Gabe Jacas, Illinois

There’s always an element of projection involved with NFL Draft analysis, and that element is magnified early in the cycle. Early in the 2025 NFL Draft cycle, Gabe Jacas still has more to prove, but his best reps would place him right in the mix with the top preliminary EDGEs.

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At 6’3″ and 265 pounds, Jacas has accounted for eight sacks and nine TFLs over the past two seasons. He’s an energized accelerator for his size, with rapid foot speed and smooth hip flexibility, and he’s shown he can supplement rips and chops with euro steps at the apex.

7) Mykel Williams, Georgia

A former five-star recruit, Mykel Williams could be the next Georgia edge rusher to follow in the footsteps of Travon Walker. At 6’5″, 265 pounds, Williams hasn’t yet become an elite producer, but his imprint is always visible on the film.

Williams has the athleticism to rush off the edge from 7-tech and wide-9, but he can also line up inside at 4i with his power and stunt across gaps with his searing lateral burst and size-defying torso flexibility. Williams’ upside is near-unmatched if he can put it together.

6) Derrick Moore, Michigan

Derrick Moore was highly regarded coming out of high school. And now, with Jaylen Harrell and Braiden McGregor off to the NFL, he’ll get a chance to take on a greater role in Michigan’s defense in 2024. If he plays up to his potential, Round 1 is a possibility.

At 6’3″, 258 pounds, Moore’s speed-to-power ability is a visible strength on film. Not only is he exceedingly explosive off the snap, but he has the long, compact, and well-leveraged frame to drive force through blockers and cave in the pocket with his displacement energy.

5) Dani Dennis-Sutton, Penn State

In the 2024 NFL Draft, the Penn State Nittany Lions had two edge rushers — Robinson and Adisa Isaac — go within the top 100 picks. Robinson went in Round 1 to the Miami Dolphins. And already, they may have another duo on deck in 2025.

Playing behind Robinson and Isaac in the rotation, Dani Dennis-Sutton flashed in 2023, putting up 3.5 sacks and six TFLs. Now, the 6’5″, 270-pound edge rusher will have a chance to unleash his explosive athleticism, bend, and power in a full-time role.

4) Nic Scourton, Texas A&M

A low four-star recruit in 2022, Nic Scourton joined the Boilermakers and immediately made an impact on the defensive side of the ball. And in 2023, he emerged as an elite pass-rushing threat, amassing 10 sacks and 15 TFLs.

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Scourton will be just 20 years old on draft day if he declares for the 2025 NFL Draft, and he’s already a 6’4″, 280-pound powerhouse with strength, agility, and a working counter arsenal. A year at Texas A&M could take him to even greater heights.

3) Princely Umanmielen, Ole Miss

Four years at Florida eventually yielded a productive seven-sack, 11.5-TFL campaign for Princely Umanmielen in 2023. Now, the former Gators standout has transferred to Ole Miss, where he’ll attempt to build on his success and potentially break into Round 1.

At around 6’5″, 255 pounds, Umanmielen has impressive size and length, which he pairs with rare initial explosiveness and bend capacity, searing under the arc for sacks. And if that’s not enough, he’s also an impressive run defender with his motor and flexibility.

2) James Pearce Jr., Tennessee

Every year, new young talent emerges on the path to the NFL Draft. Ahead of the 2025 NFL Draft, Tennessee’s James Pearce Jr. is the latest EDGE prospect to field Round 1 buzz. After a 10-sack, 14.5-TFL 2023 campaign, he’s firmly on the radar, and might only keep rising.

At 6’5″, 242 pounds, Pearce is a bit underweight, and it shows up on tape. He has room to keep adding mass to his frame, but his first step is truly hyper-elite and not only allows him to channel power with his length but also stress angles immediately off the snap.

1) Abdul Carter, Penn State

For two years, Abdul Carter has been a dominant defensive playmaker at Penn State. Playing as an inside linebacker through 2022 and 2023, he’s amassed 104 total tackles, 16 TFLs, 11 sacks, a pick, nine pass breakups, and three forced fumbles. Now, he’s switching to EDGE.

Micah Parsons comparisons will automatically be drawn across the public, just by virtue of the aesthetic similarities. Carter has a long way to go before he reaches that point — but he at least has the frame, power, and hyper-elite athleticism to potentially follow that arc.

Honorable Mentions

  • Landon Jackson, Arkansas
  • J.T. Tuimoloau, Ohio State
  • Ashton Gillotte, Louisville
  • Fadil Diggs, Syracuse
  • Tyler Baron, Transfer Portal
  • Trey Moore, Texas
  • RJ Oben, Notre Dame
  • Jordan Burch, Oregon
  • Shemar Turner, Texas A&M
  • Kaimon Rucker, North Carolina

KEEP READING: Top 100 NFL Prospects to Watch in 2025 NFL Draft

Other 2025 NFL Draft Position Rankings

Check out our other way-too-early position rankings for the 2025 NFL Draft:

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