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NFL Draft prospects: Ranking defensive ends heading into the 2022 NFL Combine

We rank the 2022 draft prospects at defensive ends heading into the NFL Combine.

Michigan Wolverines defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97) walks off the field following during the Capital One Orange Bowl game between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Michigan Wolverines on December 31, 2021 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fl. Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With February coming to a close, we are officially in NFL Draft season. The NFL Combine is the first week of March and it will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. This will be followed by College Pro Days and will culminate with the 2022 NFL Draft in Las Vegas, Nevada which is set to begin on Thursday, April 28th.

Last season, six edge rushers were drafted in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Jaelan Phillips from Miami was the first selected and he was chosen with the No. 18 pick by the Miami Dolphins. He was followed up with Kwity Paye (No. 21), Payton Turner (No. 28), Gregory Rousseau (No. 30), Jayson Oweh (No. 31) and Joe Tryon (No. 32).

This year, it looks like EDGE rushers could dominate the early part of the draft and have another big year. The top-two household names at the position would be Aidan Hutchinson from Michigan followed by Kayvon Thibodeaux from Oregon. Both of these players have been mock drafted anywhere from the first overall pick to rounding up the top-five, so don’t expect them to fall much further.

There is a lot of talent in this class and the third defensive end off the board could easily be Jermain Johnson II from Florida State and he could sneak into the back end of the first round. Look for EDGE rushers to go quickly on Day 2 as Arnold Ebiketie and George Karlaftis will lead that second tier of defensive ends in the draft. Keep an eye on Jeffrey Gunter from Coastal Carolina. If he has a solid Combine and Pro Day, he could be a late-round steal for a team.

2022 NFL Draft Prospects: DE rankings at Combine

Rank Name Pos School
Rank Name Pos School
1 Aidan Hutchinson DE Michigan
2 Kayvon Thibodeaux DE Oregon
3 Jermaine Johnson II DE Florida State
4 George Karlaftis DE Purdue
5 Arnold Ebiketie DE Penn State
6 Travon Walker DE Georgia
7 Logan Hall DE Houston
8 Myjai Sanders DE Cincinnati
9 DeMarvin Leal DE Texas A&M
10 Cameron Thomas DE San Diego State
11 Tyreke Smith DE Ohio State
12 Zach Harrison DE Ohio State
13 Micheal Clemons DE Texas A&M
14 Esezi Otomewo DE Minnesota
15 Jeffrey Gunter DE Coastal Carolina
16 Josh Paschal DE Kentucky
17 Tyler Johnson DE Arizona State
18 Tre Williams DE Arkansas
19 Eyioma Uwazurike DE Iowa State
20 Tyree Johnson DE Texas A&M
21 Isaiah Thomas DE Oklahoma
22 Mike Tverdov DE Rutgers
23 Nick Figueroa DE USC
24 LaBryan Ray DE Alabama