Previewing the 2019 NFL Combine: Studs, starters and sleepers at Defensive End

Sep 15, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes defensive end Nick Bosa (97) against Texas Christian Horned Frogs tackle Anthony McKinney (68) in the first quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Rob Rang

The 2019 NFL Scouting Combine is now less than two weeks away and is taking a daily look at the top prospects at each position to help get you up to speed quickly.

Each day, a different position will be profiled and given a grade with three individual players featured:

· A First Round Prototype

· Second Day (Future) Starter

· Third Day Sleeper

Senior Analysts Rob Rang and Ric Serritella have nearly 40 years of combined experience professionally evaluating prospects for the NFL and after a year spent visiting campuses, watching tape, attending games, all-star practices and Combine training facilities, they have not surprisingly developed some favorites in this talented 2019 draft class.

Hundreds of their scouting reports are being printed for Lindy’s NFL Draft magazine right now (RESERVE YOUR COPY HERE) with a snapshot of each position and some of their favorite players to watch available complimentary of below.


The 2019 NFL draft is blessed with a remarkable collection of defensive linemen – a group collectively that two-time NFL general manager Scot McCloughan has often described on the Instinctive Scouting Podcast as the best he’s ever seen in his 25+ years of scouting.

It is both unusually gifted at the top – with projected top 10 talents like Ohio State’s Nick Bosa, Michigan’s Rashan Gary and Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell – and boasts intriguing Day Two or even later round projects who, with a little polish, could wind up joining their classmates as future NFL starters. This includes Senior Bowl standouts like Texas’ prototypically-built Charles Omenihu, Wyoming’s speedy Carl Granderson or Louisiana Tech’s Jaylon Ferguson, who knocked off future Hall of Famer Terrell Suggs to take over as college football’s all-time career sack king with 45 quarterback take-downs.

Unlike recent years in which top talents like No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett (Cleveland Browns, 2017) or 2018’s top edge rusher Bradley Chubb (whom the Denver Broncos nabbed fifth overall), this year’s class gifted class does come with its share of red-flags. Not even top prospects like Bosa (injury), Gary (inconsistency) or Ferrell (average athleticism) enter the process without questions needing to be answered, making the pre-draft process of medical exams, interviews and workouts (in that order) critical in determining the final pecking order of a very tightly packed collection of edge rushers.

What will be obvious throughout the 2019 draft is the depth and need NFL teams feel for adding pass rushers to combat today’s explosive offenses. Only two first round picks were invested in true defensive ends a year ago (Chubb and the Saints’ Marcus Davenport) with only one more traditional edge rusher (Titans OLB Harold Landry) making the top 50 picks.

That number is expected to triple (at least) this spring.

Grade: A-

A First Round Prototype: Nick Bosa, Ohio State

Like his older brother, Joey, Bosa is a plug and play Pro Bowl caliber edge rusher who - barring complications with his medical - will not make it out of the top five picks of the 2019 NFL draft and is a legitimate contender for No. 1 overall. The Bosa brothers play with a similar brand of controlled chaos that results in consistent big plays. As noted by Nick's official bio at Ohio State, the two had virtually identical stats through 30 games: Joey had 34.5 tackles for loss and Nick had 29.0; Joey had 21.0 quarterback sacks and Nick had 17.5 - and Nick accomplished his production in roughly 600 fewer snaps.

Second Day (Future) Starter: Joe Jackson, Miami

The 2018 season was a disappointing one for Miami fans but don't blame Jackson, who led the team in sacks, ranking the third consecutive year in which he topped the Hurricanes in either quarterback takedowns, tackles for loss, total stops (among defensive linemen) or all three. While lacking the national name recognition of some of the other top-rated defensive ends in this remarkable 2019 class, Jackson is well respected by scouts, likely earning a top 64 selection and projecting as a future starter.

Third Day Sleeper: John Cominsky, Charleston

It is easy to understand why Cominsky fell through the cracks on the recruiting trail as he signed on with the Golden Eagles as a 218 pound option quarterback before building himself into a rock-solid 286 pound monster in the weight room. One has to dominate at the D-II level to earn an invitation to the prestigious Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine and that is precisely what Cominsky did, racking up an eye-popping 140 tackles, including 39.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks over the past two seasons. He is the first player from Charleston to ever be invited to the Combine and would be the first player ever drafted into the NFL from this program, as well, projecting best as a two-gapping defensive end for an odd front.