The Baltimore Ravens will have their eye on some edge rushers during the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine. What has been a position of strength has become an area that warrants some attention. Terrell Suggs is 32 years old and not getting any younger. Elvis Dumervil is coming off one of his best seasons but he is 31 years old. Pernell McPhee was an under the radar player and is likely to have earned a big contract during the upcoming free agency period.
There will be some edge rushers at the Combine that the Ravens need to pay attention to. Here is the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine Ravens edge rusher watch list:
Dante Fowler, Florida. Fowler is a pure pass rusher in the mold of Justin Houston of the Kansas City Chiefs. He has long arms and is very athletic. Fowler has a nice spin move but will need to work on developing counter moves as well. He won’t be able to rely on his athleticism in the NFL like he did in college. Fowler has a pretty quick first step and is more than capable of setting the edge against the run. He is not likely to be on the board when the Ravens pick but if he somehow falls to them, it would be hard to see them passing him up.
Vic Beasley, Clemson. Beasley is one of the best pass rushers in the 2015 class. He has a lightning quick first step that will cause offensive linemen to have to scramble to get into their drops. A locker room like the Ravens is the exact setting that would benefit Beasley because of their intense competitiveness. Blitzing off the edge is going to be Beasley’s primary job when he first enters the NFL. Beasley is able to turn the corner with a high degree of speed and close on the quarterback thanks to his burst. The problem for Beasley will be his weight when it comes to setting the edge against the run.
Alvin “Bud” Dupree, Kentucky. Dupree is the best edge setter in this draft class. Tight ends can’t block him. He will use his physical nature to force runs back inside because of how he fights through blocks and doesn’t get driven off of the ball. Dupree has a background in basketball. He is likely to have a very impressive showing in the vertical at the combine. Teams will really like how well put together he is when they see him at the weigh in. His athleticism is off the charts.
Hau’oli Kikaha, Washington. Kikaha is a situational player that would see most of his time in pass rushing drills. Kikaha has a martial arts background so using his hands to shed blockers should be of little difficulty for him. He is a bit undersized which could lead to some issues against the running game. Team physicians will be sure to take a thorough look at his medical history before using a high draft pick on him.
Nate Orchard, Utah. Orchard is an intriguing pass rusher. Teams will like his athleticism and high ceiling. Orchard moves well and is an athletic player. There were some questions about his size but Orchard measured in at a legitimate 6-3, 251 pounds at the Reese’s Senior Bowl. He is a raw pass rusher. Orchard will need to be developed into a stand up pass rusher after spending a significant time in school with his hand in the dirt.
Wildcard: Lynden Trail, Norfolk State. Trail was very impressive at the Reese’s Senior Bowl. He is a transfer from Florida and was originally recruited to play the edge position that Dante Fowler did at Florida. Trail showed the ability to close on running backs and drop back into coverage. He is admittedly a very raw prospect. Trail also got reps at tight end in red zone drills at the Senior Bowl and excelled. At 6-7, 260 pounds, he could be an intriguing prospect as a tight end as well.
Don’t forget: Lorenzo Mauldin, Louisville. Mauldin is a rush linebacker that can also hold his own against the run. He is an active player that doesn’t give up on plays. There will be times where he will make the play just due to effort.
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