With the second and third rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft set to take place in a month, ironically the rounds that former Florida Gators edge rusher Jonathan Greenard is widely considered to be selected in, let's take a look at some of his ideal NFL team fits.
NFL teams now know their needs entering the selection ceremony, following an active and headline-filled free agency that notably saw, arguably, the greatest quarterback of all-time in Tom Brady leave the New England Patriots after 20 seasons to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, among other major transactions.
Greenard spent his lone season at Florida, after transferring as a grad student from Louisville, as the team's BUCK rush end, a hybrid defensive end/linebacker role that serves at the team's primary pass rusher. Playing with his hand in the dirt and as a standing rusher as a BUCK, Greenard appears to be a scheme-versatile defender.
Thriving in that position, perhaps given his previous experience under defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, Greenard led the SEC in sacks and tackles for loss with 10 and 15.5, respectively. He went on to perform well in drills that often project edge-rushing success at the NFL Combine in February.
Thus, which teams are in need of an edge rusher on day two that could utilize Greenard's services? Of course, there are more than three teams in the NFL that need rush help, but these three teams make a lot of sense in Greenard's projected range.
Day two picks: Second round, 54th overall; Third round, 86th overall
The Buffalo Bills emerged last season behind the efforts of a versatile run game and a dominant, No. 3 defense in the NFL. Though, after losing both Jordan Phillips and Shaq Lawson in free agency, the team's top two sack artists in 2019, Buffalo is in need of pass rush help.
Buffalo signed journeyman pass rusher Mario Addison, along with several other defensive linemen, during free agency in order to patch up the holes left by Phillips and Lawson, but could still use a true edge rusher early on in this draft.
Greenard would fit right into head coach Sean McDermott and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier's 4-3 defense as a defensive end, likely beginning his career in a rotation with Addison and Jerry Hughes on either side of the line.
As both Addison and Hughes are on the wrong side of 30 years old from a football perspective, the Bills are in a perfect position to take Greenard and develop him into a long-term starter. He can learn from that duo, which has combined for over 100 sacks in their careers, and start off as a sub-package rusher before eventually earning a starting gig.
Day two picks: Third round, 72nd overall
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury is going all-in on his NFL adaptation of the Air Raid offense in Arizona, and could be in for big returns in 2020 following quarterback Kyler Murray's Rookie of the Year campaign this past season and after a blockbuster trade acquiring All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins from the Houston Texans.
But, the Cardinals defense is swiss cheese.
Ranking No. 28 in points and No. 32 in yards allowed, the Cardinals' defense was miserable in 2019 despite a 19.5-sack season from outside linebacker Chandler Jones. Though Jones is clearly an elite talent off of the edge, the team's next three leaders in sacks - Terrell Suggs, Rodney Gunter, and Cassius Marsh - combined for only 11. All three are now off of the roster.
Now, Arizona did sign the Detroit Lions' pass rusher Devon Kennard after he posted seven sacks in 2019, tied for the team lead. But that simply won't be enough.
With no second-round pick, Arizona would have to hope Greenard makes it to the 72nd overall selection, unless the Cardinals decide to trade up for the edge-rushing prospect. Arizona currently holds two fourth-round picks, so it's possible they could pair one with the 72nd pick in order to go up and grab Greenard. Though, with only six picks in the draft as is, Arizona might prefer to sit back and hope.
The Cardinals operate an aggressive 3-4 defense, so Greenard would likely serve as an outside linebacker opposite of Jones, rotating with Kennard at the start of his career should Arizona pull the trigger.
Day two picks: Second round, 35th overall; Third round, 67th and 85th overall
In a world where star Ohio State defensive end Chase Young fell past Washington with the No. 2 overall selection, it used to be easy to assume Detroit would jump on the premier edge-rushing talent as the Lions rebuild their defense.
Then the Lions traded one of the league's top cornerbacks, Darius Slay, to the Philadelphia Eagles last week, reinforcing the idea that Young's teammate in Columbus, cornerback Jeff Okudah, should be the pick at third overall.
So what about the Lions need on the edge? Despite breaking the bank on Trey Flowers during the 2019 offseason, who went on to accumulate seven sacks in his first season in Detroit, the Lions still struggle to affect the quarterback. The team totaled a miserable 28 sacks in 2019, and as previously noted, Detroit will lose Flowers' pass-rushing partner Devon Kennard to Arizona.
Now, the Lions have signed a stop-gap option to replace Kennard in Jamie Collins, who played under Patricia previously in New England. Though, now 30 years old, Collins' best season to date - 2019 - saw him record only seven sacks. Nothing to hang your hat on as you rebuild a defense.
Detroit, running head coach Matt Patricia's defense which was molded during his time under Bill Belichick with the Patriots, depends on versatility from it's front seven by playing multiple fronts. Thus, Greenard's experience as a BUCK makes him an appealing candidate for one of Detroit's three day two picks.