NFL Draft: Where will the EDGE rushers land
The NFL Draft is nearly here and normally at this point in the process the public and media have a strong sense of who the number one pick is going to be. This year, the question mark is still hanging and you could get three different answers depending on who you ask. The one constant that all agree on is that an EDGE player will go first overall.
Whether that is:
- Travon Walker from Georgia
- Aidan Hutchinson from Michigan
- Kayvon Thibodeaux from Oregon
No one is certain.
Let’s look at each player and how their odds to go No. 1 overall has changed and what intrigues scouts about each prospect.
Travon Walker -190 to go first overall
Walker is a 6’5” 272 pound EDGE from Georgia. He ran a 4.51 40-yard dash at the NFL combine and has impressed scouts with his raw ability and potential.
Just a few months ago no one was betting on Walker to be the first overall pick and many analysts believed him to be the third best EDGE rusher in this class. However, since the combine the potential that Walker posses has scouts infatuated with the Georgia prospect and according to many oddsmakers he is the favorite to go first overall in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Aidan Hutchinson +200 to go first overall
Aidan Hutchinson is another EDGE rusher that is being discussed as the first overall pick. Hutchinson is a 6’6”, 265 pound EDGE guy from Michigan and is coming off a 14 sack season which broke the Michigan program record.
Hutchinson had a fantastic 2021 season and finished it off with big time performances in the College Football Playoff as well as Big Ten conference play. In December of 2021 to February he was about -133 to go first overall but now has faded a bit. Hutchinson is +200 to go first overall but -200 to go second overall to the Detroit Lions. The switch in odds may have been because for awhile in the season it appeared the Lions would have the first overall pick and he fits their system very well. Also the departure in Urban Meyer in Jacksonville changed some things for the Jaguars in who they are targeting at first overall.
While Walker is minus money to go first, there is still a strong possibility that Hutchinson could find himself in Duval county and call himself a Jaguar.
Kayvon Thibodeaux +5000 to go first overall
Coming into the 2021 NFL season Thibodeaux was the favorite to go first overall. Then the 6’4” 254 EDGE rusher didn’t have an amazing season and he slipped a bit. Don’t get me wrong, he still had a solid campaign, accounting for 35 tackles, seven sacks and two forced fumbles, scouts just wanted to see more out of him.
Walker is the extremely high upside guy. Hutchinson is the most ‘pro ready’ and Thibodeaux is in between. One of the best off the ball, Thibodeaux is fast, strong and twitchy. He will make an impact on whatever team he lands on but the most interesting thing about him is oddsmakers don’t fully know where he will go. It is more likely, according to the odds, that the Oregon EDGE guy will go 4th rather than 1st, 2nd or third overall.
Odds to go:
- First: +5000
- Second: +275
- Third: +400
- Fourth: +175
- Fifth: +800
While Thibodeaux probably won’t go outside the Top 5, if he ends up slipping to the 4-5 range the former No. 1 recruit in 2019 coming out of high school may be considered the steal of the draft.