It’s no secret that the San Francisco 49ers are in the market for an edge rusher. It’s possible they find someone in free agency, but just in case they don’t, I asked Mel Kiper Jr. to give his take on the top prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft.
ESPN’s longtime draft expert provided the following list of edge rushers the 49ers could target on draft day. San Francisco should have options in its effort to improve the 26th-ranked pass rush in 2017 that generated just 30 sacks.
“There are a lot of guys who can get to the quarterback coming off of the edge in this draft,” Kiper said.THE BEST OF THE BEST
Bradley Chubb, N.C. State
2017 Summary: 72 total tackles, 23 tackles for loss and 10 sacks.
“Bradley Chubb is an elite pass rusher, no question about that.”EARLY-ROUND OPTIONSMarcus Davenport, Texas San Antonio
2017 Summary: 55 total tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks.
“Marcus Devenport from Texas San Antonio has the height and the wingspan to really (get after the quarterback.)”Uchenna Nwosu, USC
2017 Summary: 75 total tackles, 9.5 sacks, one interception and one fumble recovery.
“He had a great finish (to the season).”Rasheem Green, USC
2017 Summary: 41 total tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks.
“Rasheem Green from USC is kind of sneaky as far as how good of a pass rusher that he is. People don’t give him enough credit. He had a heck of a year and really impressed me with the way that he played. I think he’s interesting.”Jalyn Holmes, Ohio State
2017 Summary: 30 total tackles and two sacks.
“Jalyn Holmes out of Ohio State doesn’t have the stats, but people are going to look at him as a second- or third-round pick with the way he tests.”ON THE RADARSam Hubbard, Ohio State
2017 Summary: 42 total tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks.
“Sam Hubbard was quiet until late in the year at Ohio State. He’s a guy who gives you everything he has. He could be a late-round guy who could get those coverage sacks and give you great hustle.”Dorance Armstrong Jr., Kansas
2017 Summary: 63 total tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. Of note, he had a much better 2016 season with 20 tackles for loss and 10 sacks.
“He is a very underrated player coming out.”Duke Ejiofor, Wake Forest
2017 Summary: 43 total tackles, 17 tackles for loss and seven sacks.Hercules Mata’afa, Washington State
2017 Summary: 45 total tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. Justin Lawler, SMU
2017 Summary: 74 total tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks.Kemoko Turay, Rutgers
2017 Summary: 60 total tackles, six tackles for loss and three sacks.*Arden Key, LSU *
(Kiper didn’t mention him, but you’ll hear this name a lot leading up to the draft)
2017 Summary: 33 total tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and four sacks.
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