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2016 NFL Draft: Statistical projections show no great edge rushers

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Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The 2016 NFL draft isn't renowned for the high quality of available edge rushers, though a few players can get draftniks excited. Football Outsiders' statistical analysis of edge prospects, known as SackSEER, isn't too impressed either. Based mostly on college production and athletic tests, SackSEER tries to project every edge prospect's future. It's not perfect, and neither is any other method, but it's another piece of the puzzle.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won't be happy with Football Outsiders' analysis. According to SackSEER, no one in the 2016 NFL draft is worth a high first-round pick. The player closest to being a top-level prospect is Leonard Floyd, the 6'6", 244 lbs. linebacker who blew up the combine but has never had more than 6.5 sacks. That's in part due to the way Georgia used him, but his athletic promise is impressive enough for Outsiders to name him "essentially a coin flip." Apparently, everyone else on the list is even worse than a coin flip.

Joey Bosa's the consensus top defensive end in this draft, but Outsiders doesn't think he comes close to previous top-five picks, mostly because his athletic tests were mediocre. He projects to be a solid but unspectacular NFL defensive. Emmanuel Ogbah is perhaps the most intriguing player in the bunch per SackSEER, with good production and athletic prowess -- he falls mainly because they take projected draft position into account. Shaq Lawson and Noah Spence bring up the rear -- though "the rear" is still pretty close to "the top" in this case.

SackSEER does identify a couple of players the Bucs may want to look at in later rounds: BYU's Bronson Kaufusi and Southern Utah's James Cowser. The former isn't very explosive, but had a knack for knocking down passes -- he seems to project more as a base end in a 4-3, or even perhaps a three-techninque. Cowser's a more traditional and explosive edge rusher with a high upside, who may fly under the radar because of his small-school status.

Still, this looks like a particularly bad year to be looking for a new edge rusher. The Bucs will undoubtedly draft one or two, but don't be surprised if come November, the pass rush once again fails to materialize.