A Designated Pass Rusher

April 11th, 2024

Utah edge rusher Jonah Elliss.

If, as some believe, the edge rusher crop in the draft — two weeks from tonight, two weeks! — really isn’t anything special, maybe the Bucs might want to take a cheap chance at a designated pass rusher later in the draft and instead use a first-round pick on an inside linebacker or receiver or corner?

A guy who played in a soon-defunct league put up solid numbers as a pass rusher but as a run stopper, well, he’s got some work to do.

That would be Utah edge rusher Jonah Elliss. He produced a whole lot more than Chop Robinson did, though he did play in the soon-to-be-deceased PAC-12. Elliss racked up 12 sacks for the Utes last season.

But here is the problem if you call it a “problem.” He’s a one-trick pony. He can rush the passer but don’t expect him to stop the run.

That might take off the board in the eyes of Bucs coach Todd Bowles.

Emory Hunt of CBS, the Czar of the Playbook, appeared on Ross Tucker’s podcast and explained how he thought Elliss was the best pure pass rusher in the draft.

NFL folks and draft analysts aren’t as high on Elliss. Dane Brugler of The Athletic in his “The Beast” draft guide, summed him up:

SUMMARY: A two-year starter at Utah, Elliss played right defensive end (two- and three-point stances) in defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley’s hybrid 4-2-5 scheme. An off-ball linebacker in high school, he transitioned to a pass-rushing role for the Utes and put together an All-America junior season, finishing as one of only two Power 5 players with 12-plus sacks in 2023 (despite missing the final three games with a torn labrum). A long, high-effort pass rusher, Elliss displays quick and instinctive initial movements as a two-way rusher who can fit, rework and leverage his physical hands. However, he tends to rely more on effort than refined counters and doesn’t consistently play big against the run (doesn’t quite have his NFL father’s size). Overall, Elliss is an inconsistent edge setter in the run game, but he is threatening with his upfield burst/motor and skilled with his hands in the pass rush. It is encouraging to think of what he can develop into with a full bag of counters. His pro ceiling is an Alex Highsmith-style edge defender, although a high-end subpackage rusher is his more realistic NFL projection.

Brugler has Elliss’ ceiling as a third-round pick. The Bucs currently have two third-round picks, Nos. 89 and 92 overall. Might the Bucs roll the dice and draft a designated pass rusher in the third?

15 Responses to “A Designated Pass Rusher”

  1. Tucker Says:

    I think an inside linebacker in the first would be so wild, what?!? I hope not.

  2. Tony marks Says:

    “and instead use a first-round pick on an inside linebacker or receiver or corner?”

    or make the whole team better with an LINEMAN like um a center!!

    better pass and receiver play,
    better run game
    THUS more time for the defense to rest

    Whole team IMPACT not just ESPN highlght reel impact a certain joe likes to see

    Its the most IMPACTFUL set of game winning positions

  3. BillyBucco Says:

    Ok so he said inside linebacker instead of IOL, but his point is why reach on Robinson but instead get a pure pass rusher in the 3rd.
    He is actually agreeing that a Center or LG in the first would be better.
    Or WR or CB.
    I agree wholeheartedly Joe.

  4. Tony marks Says:

    BillyBucco Says:
    April 11th, 2024 at 12:58 am

    He is actually agreeing that a Center or LG in the first would be better.


    Where in this post or in any other post has the joe that is dead set against EVER drafting a Center in the first round reversed himself on that?

  5. Capt.Tim Says:

    Still hoping we draft a Passing Linebacker AND a pass rushing DE.
    We need one of each
    Add a Guard and Center with our first 4 picks,
    And Im opening the Jack Daniels single Barrel Barrel proof!

    And I have to be a happy camper to open that bottle of my home states finest!

  6. Obvious Says:

    I guess Billy hasn’t kept up his studies of JBF draft philosophy 101…

    According to Joe, drafting an O lineman in the first round (unless it’s a tackle), just isn’t happening in Joe’s world. And, I haven’t seen the other Joe taking a different stance on the matter so it seems a unanimous concensus at JBF.

    Not necessarily how I see it but for the Joe’s, not so much Billy

  7. Pickgrin Says:

    “Emory Hunt of CBS….thought Elliss was the best pure pass rusher in the draft.”

    Hardly – That would be Latu by a wide margin….

    Kneeland looks pretty good and is a much more complete player than Eliss – expected to be a 2nd rounder.

  8. Tony marks Says:

    I’m with our HC.

    I dont care if a guy gives you even 15 sacks. if he can t stop a run then he isnt worth it. He will end up giving more yards than his less than one sack per game will take away.

    I’d take Verse or Latu. Thats aobut it with the first pick and and edge, If a barton is there I am taking him no matter what Joe’s fake rule is. IF I am going wide reciever of which there are quite a few then I’d probably trade down and pick up two ( depends onthe WR at 26). I still like me some palmer with a year under his belt and a whole offseason with one QB and no competition.

    Not feeling a CB for the first either. We didn;t lose a Full CB in the trade. We got rid of one who couldn’t play a whole season.

  9. WhatTheBuc Says:

    Sometimes the JBFers baffle me. How do you read this article and watch these videos and the first comment is about inside linebacker? It does say that Ellis started his career inside but it’s pretty clear that he’s an edge rusher. Inside linebackers don’t line up on the end of the line of scrimmage.

  10. Bucs Guy Says:

    Don’t get cute. Stick to your board.

  11. Hail2dabucs Says:

    Our gm just needs to trade back in this draft and aquire more ammo ! Get a bunch of glue guys that make the whole team better . Start with the inside of the offensive line and go from there with ilb & corners . Get a good running back too in the 3rd….go bucs

  12. Bucben61 Says:

    designated pass rusher later in the draft and instead use a first-round pick on an inside linebacker or receiver or corner?

    How can you not mention center or iol…this Joe is delusional and out of touch with reality,the bucs have had the worst rushing offense for 2 years running…yeah drafting a CB in the 1st will surely help that???

  13. Dave Pear Says:

    Might as well draft Pierrepont Chabot from Ottawa. He hasn’t played college football. He’s a Canadian Junior hockey player, but sounds like he’s got equivalent credentials to this corpse to be in the NFL.

    Man we’re getting into some reach now.

  14. Capt.Tim Says:

    Lots of pass rushers in this draft. More than recent years.
    But they are only pass rushers, not 3 down players.

    But JL has missed on so many other defensive linemen, that we are desperate.
    If they can rush the QB- we need’em
    And will have waste roster spots on one dimensional players.

  15. BillyBucco Says:

    Name 1 ILB you have seen mocked in the 1st round?lmao.
    Trying to give credit for the thought here, and the numbers do back up Center not being a valuable pick in the first.
    I guess after rereading this Joe did mean ILB which would be pretty bad.