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Top 5 Edge Rushers in 2024 Draft

Unlike the LB Group that I reviewed a couple days ago, this group of Edge rushers will probably make up some of the top defensive players off the draft board in 2024. Dallas Turner combine performance probably broke him out of the pack with Jared Verse and Laiatu Latu, most likely cementing himself a spot in the top 10. Though Turner’s on field production was not up to his former teammate at Alabama, Will Anderson Jr. who went at 1.03 in the 2023 NFL Draft, there is a good chance that his combine numbers will at least get him top 10 draft capital.I think there is a very good chance that at least 4 of these Edge Rushers will get 1st round draft capital, as this is probably the strongest defensive group in the 2024 draft class.You will note that I have grouped together these players, and the size difference between some is fairly large. The bigger edge rushers will probably play DE in a 4-3 scheme, while the smaller edge pieces, probably around 250 pounds and lighter, will probably best fit as an OLB in a 3-4 scheme.

1) Dallas Turner, Alabama, 6’2 ¾”, 247 pounds – Turner does not have ideal length as an edge rusher, but he makes up for that with pure speed. He ran a 4.46 40 yard dash at the combine, which is amazing for a man his size, and the fastest 40 time of this group. He also had a 40.5” vertical jump, which led this group as well as the LB group. His production in 2023, his junior season, was solid: 53 tackles, 14.5 TFL’s, 1 pass breakup, 2 FF. Though he lacks ideal length to bend the edge, his speed makes up for that, and he can be a nightmare in the backfield. He did improve as a run defender in 2023, but still could probably improve on that more with some work in the weight room and coaching techniques. 

2)  Jared Verse, Florida State, 6’4” 254 pounds – Verse is a 5th year senior who transferred to Florida State in 2022 for his final 2 seasons. In the past 2 seasons, Verse had 89 tackles, 29.5 TFL’s, 18 sacks, 3 pass breakups, 1 FF, 2 FR. Verse’s numbers at the combine were above average. Not up to Dallas Turner’s performance, but better than Latu’s combine numbers.Verse has great burst off the line, good bend for an edge, and strong hands. Verse is a solid all-around edge piece that can hold the edge in run support as well as the speed to pressure the QB. I have Verse and Latu ranked extremely close. In fact I just moved Verse up to 2nd over Latu due to combine measurements. Really could see Verse and Latu in any order.

3) Laiatu Latu, UCLA, 6’5” 259 – Latu is a 5th year Senior, who stepped away from football for a season his final year at Washington with a neck injury in 2021. In 2022 he transferred to UCLA, where he had 2 extremely productive seasons. Over the past 2 seasons he had 100 tackles, 35.5 TFL’s, 23.5 sacks, 2 INT’s, 3 pass breakups, 5 FF, and 1 FR.

This production was good enough to earn Latu both the 2023 Ted Hendricks award, given to the top collegiate DE, and the Lombardi Award given to the collegiate player who best embodies the spirit and values of Vince Lombardi. 

Latu’s numbers at the combine were not great, in fact Jared Verse who is #2 on this list had better combine numbers, but Latu’s on field performance deserves to be recognized.

4) Chop Robinson, Penn State, 6’3” 254 pounds - like Verse and Latu, Robinson also transferred in 2022 and played his last 2 seasons at Penn State. However, Robinson is also a true Junior, like Turner, and not a 5th year senior like Verse and Latu. Robinson’s numbers his final 2 seasons with Penn State were not as impressive as Verse or Latu’s. 60 tackles, 20 TFL’s, 11.5 sacks, 3 pass breakups, 3 FF, 2 FR. However, Robinson is 2 years younger than Latu and Verse, and his combine numbers amongst this group were 2nd only to Dallas Turner. Robinson’s 4.48 40 time had the crowd buzzing, until Turner ran a 4.46. Robinson seems to have all the tools, size and speed, but has yet to have that translate into elite production on the field, never having more than 5.5 sacks in a season. I expect all four of these players to hear their names called on day 1 of the NFL Draft.

5) Bralen Trice, Washington, 6’3.5”, 245 pounds -  Like Latu and Verse, Trice is a 5th year senior. However, unlike Latu and Verse, Trice spent all 5 years at Washington, he did not transfer.He redshirted his freshman season, and opted out in 2020 season with the Covid pandemic. Trice was not a starter in 2021 season, but did start his final 2 seasons at Washington. His production numbers his final 2 seasons were solid: 87 tackles, 23.5 TFL’s, 16 sacks, 2 pass breakups, 1 FF, 1 FR.Trice’s combine performance was a bit of a letdown, as he did not participate in most of the drills, only running a 4.72 40 time, and a 1.65 10 yard split, both well below average.However, probably the bigger disappointment for some was the fact that he weighed in at 245 pounds, almost 30 pounds lighter than the 274 pounds he had been listed at.If he had lost weight and gained speed it would not be as disturbing. I still have him in my top 5, but right now he is trending down to a day 2 pick.

Honorable Mentions:

Chris Braswell, Alabama, 6’3, 251 pounds

Jonah Ellis, Utah, 6’2”, 248 pounds

Darius Robinson, Missouri, 6’3”, 254 pounds

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