Arnold Ebiketie, EDGE, Atlanta Falcons
Arnold Ebiketie is one of my favorite players from this batch of rookies from the 2022 NFL Draft. He is super twitchy, and even though he’s a tad undersized, you would never notice it by watching him. Ebiketie walks into an opportunity that will leave most of his peers envious. He faces absolutely zero competition on the roster and immediately profiles as the best pass rusher in Atlanta.
Now, similar to Hutchinson, this is a great thing but also can be a detriment to building the strongest resume for Defensive Rookie of the Year. The Falcons only recorded 18.5 sacks in 17 games in 2021. Yes, you read that correctly. They were far and away the worst in the league at generating pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
Ebiketie should go a long way to changing things for the franchise, and has a real chance to lead this rookie class in terms of raw production. The Falcons got a first-round talent at No. 38 overall, and I expect 2022 to be the first step towards a great career for the former Nittany Lion.
Drake Jackson, EDGE, San Francisco 49ers
If you ask me, Drake Jackson could not have landed in a better spot to succeed. Jackson is a bit more raw than some of his other classmates, but he possesses as much upside as many of them. Jackson consistently displays a proficiency to get around the edge as a speed rusher, and his frame can support even more weight, giving a clear avenue for Jackson to become a dominate three-down player in the near future.
All that being said, he is still very raw in many aspects. He has to continue to diversify his pass rush catalog, while putting in the work to become more of a threat as a run defender. Given the fact that Nick Bosa regularly sees double teams, it is fair to expect that Jackson will have a chance to clean up a lot of plays for San Francisco. The 49ers have been looking for a partner-in-crime for Bosa, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they found it at No. 62 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft.