Top EDGE Defenders at the 2023 Shrine Bowl Include Habakkuk Baldonado and Brenton Cox Jr.

    The top EDGE defenders at the Shrine Bowl are destined to make immediate impacts in the NFL, led by Pitt's Habakkuk Baldonado and Florida's Brenton Cox Jr.

    The top EDGE defenders at the Shrine Bowl are an impressive group of all-around athletes. Led by Pittsburgh’s Habakkuk Baldonado, this is a group with impressive NFL draft ceilings.

    Top 2023 Shrine Bowl EDGE Defenders NFL Draft Prospects

    1) Habakkuk Baldonado, Pittsburgh

    It’s arguably as impressive that Habakkuk Baldonado can move as fast as he does, given his size, as it is to see how much he’s progressed in just a handful of years in the sport. A former mixed martial arts athlete in Italy, Baldonado has some of the most advanced hand movement we’ve seen in some time.

    He also understands leverage and possesses elite speed for a guy who stands 6’5″ and 260 pounds. Baldonado should put on a show in Vegas. His ceiling is higher than most prospects because of his potential development. Performing well at the Shrine Bowl should cement him as a Day 2 selection.

    2) Brenton Cox Jr., Florida

    After a questionable end to his Florida career, Brenton Cox Jr. has much to gain at the Shrine Bowl and in the pre-draft process. At his best, Cox is a dominant force off the edge with all the requisite skills to be a high-end draft pick.

    However, the cause for his dismissal following the Georgia game will be scrutinized until he’s drafted in April. As talented as Cox is, his off-field performance at the Shrine Bowl will help his cause as much as his on-field performance will.

    3) Caleb Murphy, Ferris State

    The wild card in this defensive edge class, Caleb Murphy could take the Shrine Bowl by storm if his play for Ferris State is any indicator. An all-around athlete, Murphy excels in whatever sport he sets his sights on, and football is the latest in his impressive athletic background.

    MORE: Top 10 EDGEs in the 2023 NFL Draft

    At 6’4″, Murphy has speed to bend the edge while maintaining balance and strength through contact if necessary. As impressive as any writeup could be, his 25.5 sacks and 39 tackles for loss grant a better picture of just how dominant Murphy can be.

    4) Derek Parish, Houston

    Despite playing in just four games last year due to injury, Derek Parish still ranked second on Houston’s defense in sacks. That’s just the kind of impact that Parish is used to making, as he ripped through offensive linemen for a total of 16 career sacks and 32.5 tackles for loss.

    Impressively enough, Parish will also see reps at fullback at the Shrine Bowl. His athleticism has never been in question, and the big man will have a chance to impress NFL decision-makers on both sides of the ball.

    5) Jose Ramirez, Eastern Michigan

    Get to know the name Jose Ramirez if you don’t already. With as much to gain as any one player, Ramirez has elite all-around abilities off the edge. Dominating the MAC over the past two seasons, Ramirez had an impact on every single game for Eastern Michigan’s defense in 2022.

    He’s quick, smart, and a savvy pass-rushing specialist who has a home immediately on an NFL roster.

    Other EDGE Defenders To Watch

    • Tyrus Wheat, Mississippi State
    • Robert Beal Jr., Georgia
    • Yasir Abdullah, Louisville
    • Truman Jones, Harvard
    • Andre Jones, Louisiana
    • Titus Leo, Wagner
    • BJ Thompson, Stephen F. Austin

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