Kentucky EDGE Josh Paschal
Yahoo Sports' 2022 NFL draft grade
5.64 — possible third- or fourth-rounder; contributor potential
TL;DR scouting report
Inspiring leader and productive, versatile pass rusher who has some health concerns and might never be a major sack artist
A 4-star Rivals recruit in the Class of 2017, Paschal chose the Wildcats over Notre Dame, Penn State and Oklahoma, playing in all 13 games (one start) as a true freshman with 17 tackles (4.5 TFLs), 3.5 sacks and one blocked punt. In 2018, Paschal was diagnosed with malignant melanoma, missing all but three games (one start), logging three tackles (one TFL).
Paschal returned to full health in 2019, starting all 13 games and totaling 34 tackles (9.5 TFLs), 3.5 sacks, one pass breakup, two forced fumbles and one blocked kick. In 2020, he started 10 of 11 games and totaled 32 tackles (6.5 TFLs), one sack and a 76-yard interception. He returned for a fifth season in 2021, played in 12 games and totaled 53 tackles (15.5 TFLs), 5.5 sacks, one forced fumble and a blocked kick.
Paschal opted out of the bowl game with injury and played in the 2022 Senior Bowl.
Compact, well-built frame — uses it to get low and maintain leverage
Terrific testing numbers — 1.57-second 10-yard split, 30 bench-press reps, explosive jumping
One of only four DLs in this class over 260 lbs., with better than 35-inch vert, sub-4.80 40
Quickness in short areas is impressive for a thickly built end
Too quick for most guards and centers when he kicks inside on pass downs
Reads screens and quick-game passes quickly and reacts
Nice long-arm rush foils unsuspecting tackles, creates space and leverage
Lined up everywhere on the front — both sides, too, from a 0- to a 9-technique
Earned steady play time as a 17-year old freshman
Didn't look awkward when dropping more early in his career
367 career special-teams snaps — lined up everywhere except kickoff coverage
Three career blocked kicks — two punts and one FG try
Plays with consistently excellent effort, puts in time behind the scenes
Three-time team captain — earned immense respect at UK
Well-liked by coaches and teammates, personality-wise
Mental, physical toughness not in question after cancer battle
Shorter, squattier frame for typical edge rusher
No lateral-quickness testing at NFL combine or pro day
Edge speed is merely average
Lacks the loose hips needed to carve up the corner
A bit clunky in his movement at times — will lose balance and leverage
Pass-rush moves can be a bit segmented when strung together
Average sack production — 13.5 in 52 career games
Pass-rush win rate (including pressures and hits) was sub-par
Gets a little overeager and flies by the play — more discipline needed
Lengthy list of health concerns, including past melanoma diagnosis
Paschal is a scheme-diverse, multi-positional prospect with marginal upside, but he appears to have a high floor and a clear value to most NFL defenses. He's a quality base end in a four-man front on first and second downs and he can kick down inside as a 3-technique on passing downs. Paschal's high character, excellent effort and special-teams value will make him a coach's favorite and basically guarantee him work for as long as his health holds up.
Did you know
In the summer of 2018, Paschal was diagnosed with malignant melanoma on the bottom of his right foot. After three surgeries and months of treatment, including immunotherapy, Paschal returned to the field in November of that year, suiting up for the final three games. When his first big tackle — a third-down stop against Middle Tennessee State — Paschal's name was announced over the PA, sending the home crowd and his teammates into a frenzy.
You can read Paschal telling his story here.
A slightly more gifted Cam Sample
Expected draft range