Skip to main content

Kansas City Chiefs Official Team Website |

NFL Draft

Presented by

NFL Draft Positional Spotlight: Edge Rushers

Here’s a look at some of the edge rushers in this year’s draft class

The 2023 NFL Draft is just over one month away, and with the annual Scouting Combine in the books, the hype and excitement surrounding this year's event is about to heat up as draft weekend inches closer by the day.

Over the next several weeks, we're going to take a look at some position groups in this year's class while breaking down a handful of names to know. We examined the wide receivers last week and will continue with edge rushers.

Chiefs Defensive Ends Under Contract for the 2023 Season: George Karlaftis, Charles Omenihu, Mike Danna, Joshua Kaindoh and Malik Herring

Five Names to Know

Depending on where you look, the various experts from around the web have identified a handful of edge rushers who could potentially go in the first round. Two of those players – Alabama's Will Anderson Jr. and Texas Tech's Tyree Wilson – are projected to be selected within the top 10, and for the purpose of this Chiefs-specific breakdown, we won't discuss those two.

Outside of Anderson and Wilson, however, there are several players who could go anywhere from the top 15 to late in the first round and beyond. Here's a look at some of those individuals, including where they currently rank among their peers according to the pundits.

Additionally, some players feature analysis from the folks at Pro Football Focus and

Lukas Van Ness - Iowa

Measurables: 6-foot-5, 272 pounds

Snapshot: Van Ness racked up 46 pressures, 11 tackles-for-loss and 6.5 sacks in 13 games for the Hawkeyes last season. He then followed up that strong season with a tremendous performance at the NFL Scouting Combine, running the 40-yard dash in 4.58 seconds (at 272 pounds).

Big Board Rankings:

Pro Football Focus (Post-Combine): No. 15 overall (No. 3 EDGE)

Daniel Jeremiah ( Top 50 (March 9): No. 14 overall (No. 3 EDGE)

Expert Analysis:

Pro Football Focus: "Lukas Van Ness is as strong as they come in terms of pass-rushing ability. Known for his power rush, he was able to generate 46 pressures and nine sacks this past season for the Hawkeyes. He is one of the reasons Iowa had such a dominant defense. Van Ness is also better against the run than most defensive ends in his class, finishing with an 80.9 run-defense grade in 2022. If he can continue to improve his pass-rushing moves, look out for him at the next level."


Nolan Smith - Georgia

Measurables: 6-foot-2, 238 pounds

Snapshot: Smith recorded seven tackles-for-loss and three sacks last year before a torn pectoral muscle ended his season early. He certainly made up for lost time at the Combine, however, recording a 4.39 40-yard dash, a 41.5-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot, 8-inch broad jump. It's worth pointing out that Smith is significantly lighter than the type of edge rusher Kansas City usually employs, but his unique athleticism is impossible to overlook.

Big Board Rankings:

Pro Football Focus (Post-Combine): No. 21 overall (No. 4 EDGE)

Daniel Jeremiah ( Top 50 (March 9): No. 16 overall (No. 4 EDGE)

Expert Analysis:

Pro Football Focus: "Smith could have gotten to quarterbacks at will in a scheme that allowed him that sort of freedom. Instead, he turned his lethal first step into being a serious difference-maker in the run game…While he can likely take on tight ends head-up, Smith probably can't venture too far inside of that without his size becoming an issue. He's still an every-down player despite that."


Myles Murphy – Clemson

Measurables: 6-foot-5, 268 pounds

Snapshot: Murphy tallied 11 tackles-for-loss and 6.5 sacks in 11 games for the Tigers last season. He recorded 76 pressures over the last two years.

Big Board Rankings:

Pro Football Focus (Post-Combine): No. 22 overall (No. 5 EDGE)

Daniel Jeremiah ( Top 50 (March 9): No. 20 overall (No. 5 EDGE)

Expert Analysis:

Pro Football Focus: "Murphy is an absolute freak athlete. He has been highly touted ever since high school simply because of his raw physical tools. You will hear a lot of comparisons to Travon Walker for Murphy throughout this draft season. He has that same type of strength and speed combination that NFL teams look for in an edge defender. Murphy definitely has work to do in developing his pass-rushing moves, but he clearly possesses the athletic ability to do it. He recorded 96 total pressures and 20 sacks in his Clemson career."

Clemson defensive end Myles Murphy (98) tries to get past Louisville offensive lineman Trevor Reid (70) during an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)

Will McDonald IV – Iowa State

Measurables: 6-foot-4, 239 pounds

Snapshot: McDonald earned First-Team All-Big 12 honors last season after recording 7.5 tackles-for-loss and five sacks for the Cyclones. He demonstrated some impressive explosiveness throughout his career at Iowa State, but it's worth pointing out that he's significantly lighter (239 pounds) than the defensive ends that Kansas City has drafted in recent years.

Big Board Rankings:

Pro Football Focus (Post-Combine): No. 29 overall (No. 6 EDGE)

Daniel Jeremiah ( Top 50 (March 9): No. 25 overall (No. 6 EDGE)

Expert Analysis:

Pro Football Focus: "McDonald had a long, five-year career at Iowa State, and he developed into an excellent player. The Cyclones lined him up in many different positions and coverages, a level of versatility that will help him at the next level. McDonald is one of the more unique defensive end prospects in recent memory. He's undersized for an edge rusher but wins with speed and by getting into open space. He racked up 127 pressures and 35 total sacks in his college career."

Iowa State defensive lineman Will McDonald IV runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Thursday, March 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Felix Anudike-Uzomah – Kansas State

Measurables: 6-foot-3, 255 pounds

Snapshot: A Kansas City native, Anudike-Uzomah attended Lee's Summit High School before going on to star for the Wildcats. He was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2022 after leading K-State with 11 tackles-for-loss and 8.5 sacks.

Big Board Rankings:

Pro Football Focus (Post-Combine): No. 33 overall (No. 7 EDGE)

Daniel Jeremiah ( Top 50 (March 9): No. 32 overall (No. 8 EDGE)

Expert Analysis:

Pro Football Focus: "Anudike-Uzomah was one of the best edge defenders in the country over the past two seasons. He finished 2021 with 13 sacks and 52 total tackles to go along with a 20.7% pass-rush win rate, which earned him an 89.9 grade in that area. Those numbers dipped a little in 2022, but he still generated 46 total pressures and made 34 solo tackles. Anudike-Uzomah has excellent physical traits for a defensive end and is just 21 years old with a lot of room to grow."

For more on Anudike-Uzomah, check out his draft profile at

Kansas State defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah gets into position during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Missouri Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, in Manhattan, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Two Names to Know Beyond Round 1

Adetomiwa Adebawore – Northwestern

Measurables: 6-foot-2, 282 pounds

Snapshot: Another Kansas City native, Adebawore attended North Kansas City High School prior to his career at Northwestern, where he led the Wildcats with five sacks in 2022. Adebawore helped his draft stock tremendously at the Combine, as his 4.49-second 40-yard dash was the fastest for any player 280 pounds or heavier since at least 2003. The man is an incredible athlete.

Big Board Rankings:

Pro Football Focus (Post-Combine): No. 40 overall (No. 9 EDGE)

Expert Analysis: "Adebawore was hands down the single most impressive performer at the combine. His 4.49-second 40 at 282 pounds still looks like a typo. Add to that a 1.61-second 10-yard split, a 37.5-inch vertical, a 10-foot-5 broad jump and 27 bench press reps, and you have the most impressive testing athlete in the draft class."


Tuli Tuipulotu - USC

Measurables: 6-foot-3, 266 pounds

Snapshot: Tuipulotu put together a stellar season in 2022, earning First-Team All-America honors after leading the nation with 13.5 sacks in 14 starts. He also tallied 22 tackles-for-loss (the second-most in the nation). The 266-pound pass-rusher has experience playing all over the defensive line.

Big Board Rankings:

Pro Football Focus (Post-Combine): No. 48 overall (No. 10 EDGE)

Daniel Jeremiah ( Top 50 (March 9): No. 46 overall (No. 10 EDGE)

Expert Analysis:

Pro Football Focus: "Tuipulotu is big, strong and fierce, which will serve him well at the next level if he can continue to develop his pass-rushing moves…Tuipulotu has as many answers on tape for getting around offensive linemen as any defensive lineman in this draft class. He understands his role in the defense and what freedom that affords him to make plays."

USC defensive lineman Tuli Tuipulotu runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Thursday, March 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)