No. 6: Isaiah Foskey (Notre Dame)
Isaiah Foskey is as pure of a pass rusher as there is in the class. He recorded 23 sacks combined over the past two seasons and flexes extreme burst around the edge. Foskey leverages himself well when pursuing the quarterback, showing adequate bend and a few different pass-rushing moves he can mix in.
As a run defender, Foskey improved in 2022 but is still a liability in this regard. The Notre Dame leader improved his tackling exponentially, but he must be stronger at the point of attack or NFL linemen will consistently take him out of plays. Given Foskey’s mental makeup and gleaming reputation, he’s the type of prospect a team will fall in love with somewhere on day two.
NFL Draft Grade: Mid-Day 2
No. 7: Will McDonald IV (Iowa State)
Will McDonald IV is an exciting prospect to watch, and based on advanced metrics, he is a handful to block in one-on-one situations. McDonald thrives in space and boasts a copious amount of pass rush moves that he uses to terrorize opposing offensive tackles.
McDonald jumps off the screen when you turn on the tape. He is electric, twitchy, and does a great job converting his speed into power. Furthermore, McDonald’s speed shows up as a tackler, giving him exemplary range as he pursues the ball. The Iowa State standout loves making his assignment look silly.
On the other hand, McDonald doesn’t come without risks. He is undersized for an edge rusher, and as a tackler, McDonald owns a career 19.8 percent missed tackle rate. His body is capable of adding more mass, and NFL coaching could clean up the tackling concerns, but as an age-24 rookie, there may not be as much room for development as there is for others.
NFL Draft Grade: Late Day 2
No. 8: Byron Young (Tennessee)
Byron Young is a really difficult projection to make for a few reasons. First and foremost, he is an older prospect, having taken an unconventional route to an SEC roster spot. Young started at Georgia Military College and quickly garnered interest from schools across the nation after only one season.
He committed to the Tennessee Volunteers and earned starting reps during the second half of the 2021 season. Young parlayed this success into a breakout 2022 campaign. The star pass rusher posted nine sacks on the year and found his way to Indianapolis to showcase his talents at the NFL Combine.
Young caused a stir in the crowd during his workouts. He graded in the 99th percentile in the broad jump, 40-yard dash, and 20-yard split. This athleticism shows up on tape, as Young can be seen turning the edge consistently and even chasing down ball carriers from behind.
Still, already at age 25, it is a tough sell taking Young inside the first two days of the draft. I acknowledge he will go much sooner than my grade indicates, and perhaps I am overthinking the age and lack of experience, but I stand by my fringe day two grade on Young.
NFL Draft Grade: Fringe Day 2
No. 9: KJ Henry (Clemson)
KJ Henry was once a highly-touted recruit out of high school. He owns an idyllic build for a pass rusher. He is tough to handle when he gets proper leverage around the edge, but that rarely happened at Clemson.
Whether a lack of flexibility or a slower first step, offensive tackles could consistently take Henry out of plays at the collegiate level. Still, the Tiger star made his impact felt in the run game, using his length to stuff gaps and bring down ball carriers. Henry can win one-on-ones as a pass rusher, but the question is, can he develop new ways to win if the speed rush doesn’t work?
NFL Draft Grade: Early Day 3
No. 10: Zach Harrison (Ohio State)
Zach Harrison has the issue of “looking like Tarzan, playing like Jane”. He is the prototypical size for an edge rusher, boasting unheard-of length at the position. On one snap, Harrison looks like a first-round talent. On the next five snaps, he looks like an undrafted free agent.
A team will likely bet on the traits earlier than I feel comfortable doing so. Harrison never broke out on the college scene, and his iffy motor knocks him down to a day three draft grade on my board.
NFL Draft Grade: Early Day 3
DJ Johnson (Oregon)
Habakkuk Baldonado (Pittsburgh)
Ali Gaye (LSU)
BJ Thompson (Stephen F Austin)
Nick Hampton (Appalachian State)
Brenton Cox Jr. (Florida)
Viliami Fehoko (San Jose State)
Jose Ramirez (Eastern Michigan)
Isaiah McGuire (Missouri)
Andre Carter (Army)
Thomas Incoom (Central Michigan)
Dylan Horton (TCU)
Caleb Murphy (Ferris State)
Robert Beal Jr. (Georgia)