This year’s crop of pass rushers is stocked with talent from early day one to late day three. In our updated rankings we separate them into two (subjective) categories: hybrid defensive linemen and pure EDGE rushers. There were some tough omissions from this list, as the 2023 NFL Draft could see a record for rushers taken in the event. Without further ado, let’s get things started with the hybrid rushers!
2023 NFL Draft: Hybrid Pass Rusher Rankings
No. 1: Tyree Wilson (Texas Tech)
I’ve heard some people say Tyree Wilson is the best defensive player in the 2023 NFL Draft. I’ve heard others say he is a day-two prospect. Consider me a member of the Tyree Wilson fan club, because he owns a strong first-round grade on my big board.
Wilson looks like the Hulk and plays like him, too. He will be on the field every snap, as he is a difference-maker in the run game right now. The Texas Tech star uses mind-boggling strength to move linemen out of the way, displaying better-than-expected leverage for a player of his size and length.
Wilson is a capable pass rusher, bringing that strength to the table and using it to dominate the Big 12. His first step is good, and when combined with the power, it makes for a long day for the offensive line. Wilson moves well laterally and is deceptively quick when working around the edge.
Wilson sets the edge well with his long arms. He consistently swallows up ball carriers trying to break outside and has even tracked a few down from behind on occasion. His form as a tackler is picturesque, and once he wraps you up, you are not getting away.
Where Wilson gets in trouble is consistency in his reps. On snaps where he fails to get low, blockers get under his pads and neutralize his forward motion. Additionally, Wilson’s hands need a lot of work. He won in college due to sheer strength, but in the NFL, he must become more efficient and precise when hand-fighting. If he unlocks this part of his game, Wilson will be an All-Pro.
NFL Draft Grade: Early-to-Mid Day 1
No. 2: Myles Murphy (Clemson)
Myles Murphy looks built from a lab. He boasts an idyllic frame for an every-down defender in the NFL, standing 6-foot-5 and weighing 268 pounds. Murphy blends this size with exceptional physical traits, making for a bonafide day-one prospect.
Murphy was productive in his time with the Tigers, evident by his 20 career sacks and respectable run defense grade via PFF. He uses length to set the edge and power to burst through the interior of the line. Murphy’s traits give him the versatility to play as far inside as the 4-tech, all the way out to the wide-9.
As great of a prospect as Murphy is, there is one area that concerns me. He fails to bend as well as he could on some snaps, calling into question the consistency of his reps. Murphy is an athletic marvel but is stiff coming around the edge on occasion. Whether it takes him simply locking in every snap or some coaching adjustments are needed, I’d expect this issue to resolve itself.
All in all, Murphy is a high-character, traitsy defender who hopes to stamp his name as the next Clemson first-rounder. I’d be stunned if he falls outside the top 15, as Murphy profiles as a starting-caliber player from the jump and boasts immense potential.
NFL Draft Grade: Mid-Day 1