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Edge players to watch for the Packers in the 2023 draft

Edge class offers range of athleticism and polish on day one and two

Myles Murphy, Clemson

With Will Anderson likely gone by the time the Packers pick, Myles Murphy could end up being their top target. It will take some luck for Murphy to slide out of the top 10, but with some draft capital from a potential trade of quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Murphy is within shooting distance for the Packers. Murphy is a supreme athlete and would add a long-term counterpunch to put opposite of Rashan Gary. He is raw with a limited number of pass-rush moves but has the tools to be a game-changer in year two or three. He’s exceptional at setting the edge in the run game and could be an elite player after developing. His longarm and ability in run defense will immediately get him on the field where he can quickly turn into a force on the edge.

Nolan Smith, Georgia

It would be only fitting for the Packers to select yet another Georgia Bulldog for their defense. Smith is a fantastic leader with a relentless motor. He has great length and power combined with a good first step. However, his hand usage is inconsistent which can be a limiting factor at the next level. His bend and raw tools make him an enticing prospect to rotate in with Rashan Gary and Preston Smith.

Laiatu Latu, UCLA

Latu is likely a Day 2 pick, but he broke out this past season as a pass rush specialist. He moved around the defensive line and was consistently able to win with both power and speed. He combines moves, has a plan, and has to be game planned for every week. Latu tallied 52 pressures on the year and became a staple in the UCLA defense. However, there are some medical concerns. Before the 2022 season, he hadn’t played football since 2019 due to numbness in his neck after surgery. If he’s medically cleared, he could be a huge find in the second round.

BJ Ojulari, LSU

Ojulari is a fluid athlete that explodes off the line and has the burst to finish plays. Elected as a captain in college, he has a great football IQ and the NFL pedigree with older brother Azeez Ojulari drafted in 2021. While he has a diverse toolbox of pass-rush moves, he’s a bit undersized. He lacks the length to keep tackles off of him and needs to add weight to hold up in the run game.

Lukas Van Ness, Iowa

Van Ness is an athletic player who has good bend and power. He’s disciplined with his leverage and is a very instinctive player. His hand usage and strength allow him to walk tackles into the lap of the quarterback and he has a lethal spin move. However, he is inconsistent in the run game and in being able to anchor on the edge. His power is his calling card, but he’ll have to develop more pass-rush moves to have success in the NFL. Van Ness is climbing into the first round and could be a target if the Packers move back in the first round or try to climb up into the early second.