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Projecting the top edge rushers in the 2019 NFL draft

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NFL draft profile: Brian Burns (0:55)

Brian Burns is a hybrid defensive end/linebacker prospect from Florida State. (0:55)

The top of the 2019 NFL draft is likely to be dominated by edge rushers. As many as four edge rushers are projected to go in the top 10, thus a team with a high pick and a need to upgrade their pass rush is likely to have plenty of highly touted options. But will this group live up to the hype? Will the 2019 draft be to edge rushers what the 1983 draft was to quarterbacks?

SackSEER, Football Outsiders' statistical system for projecting college edge rushers to the next level, wants to throw just a bit of cold water on the hype following edge rushers in this draft. Although SackSEER agrees that it is a reasonably deep draft for edge rushers, it also believes that this draft lacks a truly top-tier prospect like Khalil Mack or Von Miller.

Rather, SackSEER lumps this year's top edge rushers together in a group of good-but-not-great prospects who will likely have some success at the NFL level, but could just as easily bust. Additionally, SackSEER's best prospect this year -- who wins that distinction by a projection of less than half a sack -- is a player who might not even go in the first round.

For more detail on how SackSEER works, click here. What follows is a ranking of the top edge rusher prospects for 2019 according to our model:


Brian Burns, Florida State Seminoles

SackSEER Projection: 26.6 sacks through five seasons
Scouts, Inc. overall ranking: No. 35
Similar historical prospects: Jadeveon Clowney, Dontay Moch

Burns' combination of good production and athleticism earns him the top spot in this year's SackSEER projections. Burns recorded 23 sacks and seven passes defensed in only three seasons at Florida State. His workouts, however, were even better. Burns ran a freakish 4.53-second 40-yard dash -- the same time Clowney recorded in 2014. Burns' broad jump and vertical jump were not quite as good as his 40, but were both well above average, leaving Burns with an excellent explosion index. Burns also recorded a strong 7.01-second 3-cone time.

The greatest knock on Burns is that he played light at Florida State -- he weighed in at only 235 pounds. However, Burns bulked up to 249 for the combine and obviously did not lose much of his athleticism. Burns might have to play as an outside rush linebacker in the NFL, but he has a great chance to excel in that role.