Edge rushers are pretty well understood in 2022. If you scout from stats and testing numbers alone, you can find the top prospects in a given draft class fairly easily. Pressures and athleticism basically explain the position, and the best prospects have a heaping helping of both.
But trying to explain the contextual difference between prospects can muddy the water a bit again. Consider the case presented by Football Outsiders below concerning Aidan Hutchinson and Travon Walker.
Both are very good athletes, though Walker is truly exceptional in that regard. Hutchinson, though, produced more pressures by volume (70 pressures to Walker’s 32) and at a higher rate (on 20% of his pass rushes versus just 9.8% for Walker). But while Hutchinson was largely a one-man pass-rushing show at Michigan, Walker had to contend with a number of other elite prospects. His 32 pressures last season did lead the team, but six other teammates had at least 20. That’s a lot of guys getting a slice of the pie!
I won’t spoil the entire discussion, but trying to contextualize these stats and scouting reports is an interesting challenge, and it won’t get any easier once these guys are drafted. The situation they end up in will determine a lot of their NFL success, no matter what their college track record indicates.
Aidan Hutchinson and Travon Walker: Pressure Principles | Football Outsiders
On top of diving deep into the high-end pass rushers in the 2021 NFL Draft, this piece from Football Outsiders does some statistical digging on a few other position groups.
Three-round NFL mock draft 2022: Mel Kiper, Todd McShay predict the top 105 picks, alternating for all 32 teams | ESPN+
Kiper and McShay go three rounds deep in their ambitious mock draft. The Packers add Christian Watson, George Karlaftis, Logan Hall, and Greg Dulcich in the first two rounds.
Prospect Primer: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida | Packers.com
Florida corner Kaiir Elam is the latest prospect to get a video examination from Packers.com
2022 NFL Draft bold observations: Eight unconventional takeaways from studying this draft class | CBS Sports
We’re at “intentionally try to be a bit weird” season in the pre-draft process.
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Heights don’t bother me, but walking over a long glass bridge has got to mess with your head a little bit.