2023 NFL Draft

2023 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Louisville EDGE Yasir Abdullah

From now until the 2023 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top-10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents. Today, I will be profiling Louisville EDGE Yasir Abdullah.

#22 Yasir Abdullah, EDGE, Louisville (rSR) — 6005, 237 lbs.

Combine/Pro Day Measurements

Player Ht/Wt Hand Size Arm Length Wingspan
Yasir Abdullah 6’0 5/8”/237 9 1/4 32 3/8 N/A
40-Yard Dash 10-Yard Dash Short Shuttle 3-Cone
4.47 1.56 N/A N/A
Broad Jump Vertical Bench Press
10’9” 36.5” N/A

The Good

— Good sack production the last two years
— Very good up-field burst
— Speed and bend around the edge
— Very good acceleration to the QB
— Can chase down the line from the backside
— Can move TEs who try to block him
— Experience in man and zone coverage
— Speed, athleticism and ball skills to cover
— Power tackler; stops ball carriers

The Bad

— Undersized for the edge; not a lot of off-ball experience
— Pass-rush plan undefined; relies on athleticism
— Length limits power rushes
— Motor runs hot and cold
— Lacks aggressiveness when taking on pullers
— Hand usage/counters in pass rush are underdeveloped
— Mental processing reading the mesh point
— Adequate chase downfield


— 2022 – 63 tackles, 34 solo, 14.5 TFL, 9.5 sacks, 2 INT, 4 PBU, 1, FR, 4 FF
— Career – 209 tackles, 123 solo, 42 TFL, 23.5 sacks, 3INT, 8 PBU, 3 FR, 8 FF
— 61 games, 41 starts
— 2022 First-team All-ACC
— Led the ACC in sacks; ranked 15th nationally
— East-West Shrine Bowl invitee
— 4-star recruit out of high school
— Father Xavier McCray played at Florida
— Sports administration major
— In high school, ran a 10.5 100M and 21.2 200M
— Birthday 4/12/00 (age 22)

Tape Breakdown

Yasir Abdullah is a stat sheet filler. He had 19.5 sacks over the past two years despite being undersized on the edge. While aligning mainly on the strong side of the formation, he racked up the tackles over his career and had good ball production in coverage as well.

Against the pass, his burst at the snap is very good, and he accelerates quickly to get on the hip of the tackler. Once around the corner his acceleration to the quarterback is very good. While he tried a variety of moves, he was most successful with two. His best is a dip and rip around the edge that, paired with his speed and ability to flatten, gave tackles issues. I saw at least eight plays where there should have been a flag for holding. His other effective rush was showing speed and then crossing the tackles face into the B gap. His rush plan seems to be based purely on athleticism. He will attempt spin, stab and swipes of the hands with varying degrees of success. Occasionally, on passing downs he was used in the A gaps or as a looper to the inside.

His up-field quickness had the Seminoles hooking and grabbing him to try stop him.

Getting after the quarterback is what he does.

In coverage, he was used in zone to drop in the curl/flat areas and will attempt to jam receivers coming through his zone. He has good mobility, reads the quarterback and flows with their eyes. Closing on the ball quickly, he goes for the hands to try and knock it out. He was also used in man coverage in the short area and on wheel routes and was solid staying with his man. He has good hands to make the interception when the opportunity presents itself. Reading screens, he displayed solid awareness and reactions to make a play.

Coverage is part of his game. The first play he drops into his zone and intercepts the underthrown ball. The second play, he picks up the receiver on the wheel and has him step for step.

Against Florida State, he sniffs out this screen on the other side and chases it down.

Against the run, when aligned across from the tight end, he uses a good punch, play strength and pad level to reset the line of scrimmage. He was solid setting the edge versus tight ends and can shed their blocks to make the tackle. From the backside, he shows good quickness and acceleration to get down the line and make the quick stop. When tackling, he utilizes good power to stop the runner and not allow extra yards.

He can get down the line quickly to make plays behind the line of scrimmage.

Facing off with tight ends at the line of scrimmage he usually had the advantage.

His pass-rush plan is unrefined and doesn’t include a lot of counters when the first move fails. The lack of length and adequate hand placement makes power rushes ineffective. His motor runs hot and cold, which is disappointing with his speed and athleticism. When taking on pullers or setting the edge against tackles he uses adequate aggressiveness. Occasionally, he will attempt to duck under the puller rather than take him on. He displayed adequate mental processing when reading the mesh to determine who had the ball. His chase across and downfield is marginal and he would get into the pile to make a finishing hit if teammates were already engaged.

When he can’t win with speed the tackles can handle him with their length.

He didn’t play off the ball often and at this point he doesn’t have a good feel for reading and reacting to the play.


Abdullah is an undersized yet productive edge rusher. He displays very good burst and bend and wins with speed around the edge. Athleticism and speed allow him to make plays behind the line of scrimmage. He is experienced dropping into zone coverage and can be used in man coverage on running backs and probably tight ends as well. Against the run, he can make plays from the backside and can stack and shed tight ends on the front side.

Areas to improve include the development of a bigger array of pass rushes, learning to counter when the first move doesn’t work, and hand usage and placement versus tackles. His effort overall against the run was underwhelming. Stepping up his aggressiveness to attack blocks as well as improving his mental processing reading the mesh will give him a chance to make even more plays.

Undersized pass rushers are becoming more and more common. Productivity in college does not always continue as a pro on the edge. That doesn’t mean players like Abdullah can’t find a productive role for a team. A 3-4 team may want to try him as an Edge, but I think a role as a strong side off the ball linebacker who can rush in sub packages may be his best role. If a coach can get him to play to his full potential, he could become a serious playmaker.

Finding a comp for Abdullah was a little different but a guy who came to mind was Genard Avery. He played inside in college but was better as a pass rusher. He too had a lot of production and very good burst but was undersized and in between positions.

Projection: Mid-Day Three

Depot Draft Grade:  6.7 Backup/Special Teamer (5th round)

Games Watched: 2022 – Vs Florida State, Vs Pittsburgh, Vs N.C. State, At Kentucky, Vs Cincinnati

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