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2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Lukas Van Ness, Edge Rusher, University of Iowa

Iowa edge rusher Lukas Van Ness is seen as a first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. We break down the skillset he brings to the table here.

Lukas Van Ness is amongst a talented group of edge rushers in the 2023 NFL draft. Will Anderson Jr. and Tyree Wilson are considered the top two edge rushers in this class by most analysts, but Van Ness presents a strong case to be the third edge off the board.

Van Ness still has a lot of developing to do as a player, but with his combination of power and athleticism his ceiling is very high. I break down what he needs to improve in this scouting report.

Overview

Birthdate: 7/6/2001

Height/Weight: 6-foot-4 3/4, 272 pounds

High School: Barrington HS (Barrington, IL)

Recruit (247): 2020 class three star No. 1063 Natl No. 52 SDE

2022 Stats: 46 pressures 9 sacks 18 stops

2022 PFF: 80.2

2021 Stats: 28 pressures 4 sacks 14 stops

2021 PFF: 70.1

Strengths

  • Power
    • Power is freakish and considered elite even by NFL standards.
    • Utilized bull rush effectively at Iowa and will be able to win with bull rushes in the NFL as well.
    • Lot of impressive reps blowing up run plays using his power to control offensive linemen and get into the backfield to make stops.
    • Has a lot more development to do but his physical tools make his ceiling very high.
  • Athleticism
    • Moves very well for someone at his size
    • This was on display at the combine as he had a 4.58 40 yard dash (91st percentile for edges) and a 7.02 3 Cone (80th percentile) at 272 pounds.
    • Athleticism is apparent on film as well.
    • Some of his best plays come from utilizing his explosiveness and closing speed looping around on stunts, which is a skillset that can be utilized in the NFL as well.
  • Inside-Outside Versatility
    • Projects as an edge rusher in the NFL, but has plenty of experience playing on the interior.
    • Played the majority of snaps on the interior before transition to a more balanced role in 2022 (Snap Alignments- 242 outside OT, 62 over OT, 155 B Gap, 19 A Gap).
    • Has the physical tools to have success going against NFL guards on the interior in the run or pass game.

Weaknesses

  • Unpolished
    • Played 940 snaps over the last two seasons, but didn’t start a single game over his career at Iowa
    • Relied almost exclusively on using his power to win as a pass rusher and against the run.
    • Will need to develop a lot more from a technical perspective in the NFL – which takes time.

Final Evaluation

Pos Rank: ED4

Projection: Top 20 Pick

Van Ness has a long way to go with his development, but his combination of power and athleticism is rare, making him a top 15 player in the class.

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