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The top 10 edge rushers heading into 2021 NFL Draft

The Post’s Ryan Dunleavy gives his top 10 edge rushers in this year’s NFL draft, based on evaluations and conversations with people around the league:

  1. Kwity Paye, Michigan, 6-2, 261 lbs.: Ran a lightning-fast 6.71-second three-cone drill to test agility in 2020. Played 4-3 end and showed good closing speed and edge-setting against the run. Never lost the motor expected from an undervalued recruit.
  2. Jaelan Phillips, Miami, 6-5, 260 lbs.: Twitchy athlete with the best physical tools and excellent production (15.5 tackles for loss last season). But he briefly retired pre-transfer to pursue a music career after reportedly suffering three concussions at UCLA.
  3. Azeez Ojulari, Georgia, 6-2, 249 lbs.: Led SEC in tackles for loss (12.5), sacks (8.5) and forced fumbles (five), and led team in quarterback pressures (35) in 2020. Best suited as a stand-up linebacker with first-step burst in a 3-4 front.
  4. Greg Rousseau, Miami, 6-7, 266 lbs.: He and Chase Young were the only college players with at least 15.5 sacks in 2019. Opted out of 2020, so limited experience gives him “boom-or-bust” label. Former wide receiver still learning finer points.
  5. Jayson Oweh, Penn State, 6-5 257 lbs.: Zero sacks in 2020, playing without Micah Parsons to draw away attention. Added 30 pounds at Penn State but seemed to get more explosive. Faith-based projection because he remains raw after good coaching.
  6. Carlos Basham Jr., Wake Forest, 6-3, 274 lbs.: Streak of 23 consecutive games with a tackle for loss during college. Best suited as a 4-3 end with the body to be durable. Chase-down tackler who goes for the strip, especially on quarterbacks.
  7. Ronnie Perkins, Oklahoma, 6-2, 253 lbs.: Some scouts say he is close to his ceiling. Tackles for loss and sheer toughness showed up on film. So did versatility as a stand-up or hand-in-dirt rusher. Six-game suspension in 2020 reportedly for failed drug test.
  8. Joe Tyron, Washington, 6-5, 259 lbs.: NFL-ready situational pass rusher who needs to develop as a run defender to gain more snaps. Checks all the boxes for physical traits but needs development after opting out of 2020.
  9. Joseph Ossai, Texas, 6-4, 256 lbs.: Former inside linebacker who is natural on the outside. Motor never stops — 145 tackles combined the last two seasons — so old-school scouts and coaches will score him high on his “love of the game.”
  10. Payton Turner, Houston, 6-5, 270 lbs.: Three-year starter who broke out when healthy during an injury-plagued five-game 2020 season. Ridiculous 84-inch wingspan — equal to LeBron James’ — and long-stride runner.
Kwity Paye
Kwity Paye
AP

Late Riser

Oweh: Ran the Pro Day 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds, which is absurd for someone his size. Add in a 39.5-inch vertical and an 11-foot, 2-inch broad jump. “Freak” athlete of the class.

Falling Fast

Rousseau: A possible top-10 pick at one point, some mock drafts now peg him in the mid-second round. Critics say he looked “stiff” carrying extra weight at Miami’s Pro Day and film showed many of his sacks were created by downfield coverage.

Small-School Wonder

Jordan Smith, UAB, 6-6, 255 lbs.: Suspended at and transferred from Florida after an alleged credit card scam. Had 17.5 tackles for loss and four forced fumbles in 2019. Room to grow into his frame in an NFL weight room.

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