2017 NFL draft position preview: EDGE rushers – California News

2017 NFL draft position preview: EDGE rushers – California News


The Rams and Chargers are heading in opposite directions when it comes to their defensive schemes, and that could have some impact on next week’s NFL draft.

The Rams, under new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, are transitioning from a base 4-3 front to a 3-4, one that values versatile defensive ends and linebackers, commonly known as edge rushers.

The Chargers and new coordinator Gus Bradley, are headed the other way, from 3-4 to 4-3 and might look to bulk up on the line. In total, this is a good year for teams seeking help on the edge, and it starts at the top, where Cleveland is almost certain to select Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett with the No. 1 overall pick.

Garrett almost certainly will head to the Browns, who recently hired former Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams to lead their defense. Garrett was a first-team All-America selection in 2016 even though a knee injury limited his games and effectiveness.

It’s likely that Garrett, Tennessee’s Derek Barnett and Stanford’s Solomon Thomas all will be selected among the first 20 picks of the draft, and UCLA’s Takkarist McKinley could join that group.

Draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah called this a “good” group of edge rushers but cautioned it can be tough to grade them because of the quick-strike nature of college offenses.

“You don’t get a chance to see these guys really get a good, hard rush on people at times,” Jeremiah said last week. “That’s a little bit of a challenge there.”

There’s also a challenge to determine which edge rushers can stand up in a 3-4 system, or play at the line in a…

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