It’s no secret that one of the Chicago Bears’ biggest needs for the next NFL Draft is to select a player who has the potential to become a dominant pass rusher. Going into the 2023 College Football Season, it looked as if the Edge class was going to be strong, with a number of players coming off good 2022 seasons. Through two games, the guys who were supposed to be the leaders of the pack have disappointed.
Jared Verse – Florida State – He was supposed to be the top guy of the class. After two games, he has yet to record a sack. Granted, opponents are double-teaming him and other top pass rushers, but great players find a way to beat doubles. There is still a long way to go, so it’s way too early to say his play has fallen off.
Bralin Trice – Washington – Last year, Trice had 10 sacks and was, in my opinion, one of the better natural pass rushers in the country. This season, he has been silent. Through two games, he has no sacks and only seven tackles. Like Verse, he’s getting doubled a lot, but still, he has to find a way to defeat that.
JT Tuimoloau – Ohio State – This is a player who I felt was overrated from the start. Many analysts had him as a Top-3 pass rusher in this class. I watched six games of him last year, and I feel he is very average. Yes, he plays the run well and is competitive, but he is not a top pass rusher. He got his notoriety because of just one game, and that was Penn State. He had two sacks and two interceptions in that game, but for the rest of the season, he had just 1.5 sacks. People can’t anoint a player off of one game. Through two games against weak competition this year, he has yet to record a sack.
Laiatu Latu – UCLA – This player is one of the few who has lived up to expectations. He recorded 10.5 sacks last year and already has 4.0 this season. Latu is violent coming off the edge, but there is a huge negative.
Latu originally enrolled at Washington. He injured his neck very severely while at Washington and missed all of the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Washington doctors told him he should never play again. He then transferred to UCLA, where their medical staff cleared him to play, and to date, he has played 15 games without incident. What will be important is his medical at the Combine. He’s a legitimate high first-round pick because of his talent, but if he is a medical risk, many teams won’t touch him. In other words, the Combine will have a lot to do with his status.
Chop Robinson – Penn State – He is another who many thought would have a great season based on how he played in ‘22. Like the others, he’s done nothing to date. After two games, he has yet to record a sack and only has three total tackles.
Tyler Barron – Tennessee – Tyler is a player who was off the radar so to speak going into the season but has started fast and getting a lot of attention. He has size (6050 – 260) and speed. He has recorded three sacks in two games, and last week vs. Virginia, he dominated.
Who are some of your favorite edge players in this class?
Later today I’ll give my pick for the Bears vs. Bucs game, so stay tuned...