After a tumultuous season the 49ers will want to reload their depleted roster with fresh talent. In this years NFL Draft finding an elite edge rusher should be at the top of their must-do list. The 49ers have lacked a consistent pass rusher since Aldon Smith was released in 2015. The following is arguably the top 10 edge rushers that general manager John Lynch will be considering in the 2019 NFL Draft:
1. Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Bosa was a stud for the Buckeyes, finishing his college career with 77 total tackles, 29 tackles for a loss, and 17.5 sacks. Last September he underwent surgery for a sports hernia which inevitably ended the rest of his season and college football career. In October Bosa announced that he was dropping out of school to focus on his preparation for the 2019 NFL Draft. He continues to hover a top the draft boards and is believed by many to be the best player in the 2019 NFL Draft.
2. Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
Allen has been shooting up draft boards since his elite performance in the Citris Bowl. Allen dominated against Penn State, recording three sacks and a blocked field goal. While playing for the Wildcats, Allen set records for career sacks (31.5) and sacks for a season (17). He finished this season strong with 18.5 tackles for a loss and 14 sacks. Allen was recently awarded the Lott IMPACT trophy, honoring college football’s defensive best in character and performance. Allen ends his college career with 220 total tackles, 42 tackles for a loss, and 31.5 sacks.
3. Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
Ferrell was named a first-team All-American and won the Ted Hendricks Award as the nation’s top defensive end. His Tigers defeated Alabama decisively in the national college football championship winning 44-16. Ferrell made a pivotal play, stopping Clemson’s quarterback Tua Tagovailoa at the 2-yard line on fourth and goal keeping Clemson ahead in the fourth quarter. He finishes his college football career with 166 total tackles, 50.5 tackles for a loss, and 27 sacks.
4. Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan
Draft expert Todd McShay has Gary going to the 49ers at No. 2 in his first NFL mock draft for ESPN.com. McShay likes Gary’s elite athleticism, explosive closing burst, and the difficulty of blocking him. What may be most impressing is his maturity and intellect; in addition to being a top pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Gary is already looking towards a life after football and has announced that he is starting his very own sports agency. For his college football career, Gary has 119 total tackles, 25 tackles for a loss, and 9.5 sacks.
5. Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State
Sweat’s size and long wing span make him a very intimidating defender. With a 6’6″, 245 pound frame he’s probably best utilized as a base 4-3 defensive end at the NFL level. Most draft boards have Sweat being selected somewhere between the late first and early second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He finishes his college football career with 105 total tackles, 30.5 tackles for a loss, and 23.5 sacks.
6. Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida
Polite had a career year this season with 11 sacks and tied the school record with six forced fumbles. Mel Kiper Jr. has him listed as the No. 2 outside linebacker. Todd McShay has Polite on his Top 32 and listed him as a first-round prospect in his first mock draft last December. For his college career Polite has 78 total tackles, 28.5 tackles for a loss, and 15 sacks.
7. Jaylon Ferguson, DE, Louisiana Tech
Ferguson is an intriguing prospect; this season he added 17.5 sacks to set the NCAA record for most career sacks. Todd McShay has Pittsburgh taking him with the 23rd overall pick in his latest 2019 mock draft. McShay believes Ferguson’s speed can overwhelm blockers and that he would be an asset on a good pass-rushing team like the Steelers. Ferguson finished his college career with 187 total tackles, 67.5 tackles for a loss, and 45 sacks.
8. Oshane Ximines, DE. Old Dominion
He may be a big fish in a little pond, but don’t let that fool you, Ximines is a high production player with a motor that doesn’t stop. He figures to be the first player in Old Dominion’s history to be drafted in the NFL. At 6’3″ 247 pounds he may take some time to acclimate to the NFL. Ximines finished his college football career with 176 total tackles, 51 tackles for a loss, and 32.5 sacks.
9. Brian Burns, DE, Florida State
Burns is a bit of a tweener; his 6’5″, 235 pound frame is not one of a traditional defensive end. He may have to add some bulk in the weight room or he could have difficulties with offensive lineman in the NFL. Burns’ natural speed and quickness however, should help him through the transition. He finishes his college football career with 123 total tackles, 15.5 tackles for a loss, and 23 sacks.
10. Anthony Nelson, DE, Iowa
Nelson has steadily improved every year in his three seasons with the Hawkeyes, leading to a career-high with 9.5 sacks this season. He may require some polishing to make the transition into the NFL, but at 6’7″ and 271 pounds, he could develop into a quarterback’s worst nightmare. He has 119 total tackles, 31 tackles for a loss, and 23 sacks in his college career.