This list is highlighted by only one guy, Montez Sweat, who has a very good shot at being a Pro Bowler as a rookie. He’s pretty special. But we are not going to review him as that is a luxury we can’t afford with no 1st Round pick and no likely scenario of moving up high enough to get him…some team is going to be very happy though!
You might say this group belongs on the Island of Misfit Toys. Here we’ve got “the other guys” in terms of not bringing multiple skill sets like the ability to play inside or outside, but listed as having several roles because their physical traits and athleticism limit them enough at the Pro level that we are trying to FIND them a role…also why they are all mid-round projections.
The top heavy nature of this year’s EDGE/DE crop is also glaringly obvious when we review the guys on this list and realize that are likely at best to be Right Defensive Ends. Many will be considered tweeners and could be tried as 4-3 or 3-4 off ball linebackers rather than edge rusher due to lack of length, speed to power and other traits.
But to have a shot at starting in one of the LB roles requires a pretty specific set of skills like speed with range, ability to shed blocks, man cover skills and pass rush penetration and/or blitz ability. The guys on this list might have one of those skills, but to really be a stand up LB you’d need more than one of those skills in order to see the field outside of special teams. Another possibility for these fellas might be specialty roles like blitz package LB, Nickel LB or other zone sub package roles. Not setting the world on fire and that’s why I’m not really in favor of spending any of our draft capital on this position.
One perplexing player in this group is John Cominsky. He played at the University of Charleston and had converted from QB, which he played in High School in Barberton, OH (Homer!). So he’s really athletic and after gaining over 100 lbs still had VERY impressive explosion numbers at the Combine and his Sparq score was ridiculous! Problem is there is so little actual game tape of him playing, and what I did find was not very impressive. But there is a TON of hype around this kid and not just from the Browns due to him being a local grad. Other teams have been all over him, so there is smoke and some fire. I am frustrated I can’t get a good read on his play speed and see some of his best reps in pass rush. But, that’s the usual situation for these small school guys, only the area scouts are really in the know and have watched the right tape to form more than just arm-chair QB opinions!
Joe Jackson and Ben Banogu are the two guys I am most interested in but neither is close to a complete player and Jackson is maybe up to 2 years away from starting. Banogu is undersized big time and likely has to switch to LB but he also lacks explosive hitting ability, often struggling to get guys to the ground. He has good speed off the line but not great. His 4.62 40 time is barely adequate for a 255 lb kid, you’d prefer to see 4.55 or better at his weight. His film shows play speed may even be worse. Banogu, Cominsky, Gustin and Carney are all practice squad quality players, not quality depth. Jackson is no better than Chad Thomas probably. I say hard pass on them this year!