Now to the second part of my pre-season 2024 NFL draft rankings, the edge rushers! This looks to be another strong class. There may not be a Will Anderson in this group, but nonetheless it looks to be deep, and has a number of first-round talents.
2024 NFL Draft Edge Rushers: Top Five
- Jared Verse – Florida State: By now most people know who Jared Verse is. He transferred to Florida State from Albany last year and started the season on fire before an ankle injury slowed him down. Despite that, he showed a lot of promise and was expected to declare, but decided to go back for one final season. Verse, who has just average size at 6’4 250, has incredible strength and is a good speed-to-power rusher, but is not just a one trick pony.
- Chris Braswell – Alabama: Braswell has not gotten as much hype as his teammate Dallas Turner, but I feel he’s been more consistent as a pass rusher and shows a more developed move set and plan. He’s amassed 30 pressures and four sacks on just over 300 snaps. His play against the run does need to get better. He did add about 10 pounds of muscle over the offseason, so that should help. His upside is high.
- JT Tuimoloau – Ohio State: Tuimoloau is your traditional power rushing 4-3 defensive end, and has the size as well, at 6’4 270. He can play as a stand-up rusher, but his best fit is with his hand in the dirt. The current Buckeye is not a dynamic athlete, but is good enough. He had 32 pressures and seven sacks in 10 starts. He should eclipse those numbers in 2023.
- Dallas Turner – Alabama: Turner is a freak athlete at 6’4 240 and should run in the 4.5 40-yard dash range. He is explosive and quick, but despite playing double the snaps, only had one more sack and seven more pressures than Braswell. On film, he is very underdeveloped as a pass rusher. Turner either tries to bull rush or speed rush and bend the edge. If he develops, though, he could be the best pass rusher in the class.
- Chop Robinson – Penn State: Robinson came to Penn State in 2022 after one year at Maryland. He wasn’t a starter in 2022, yet put up 48 pressures and five sacks. He is quick and explosive off the line. Robinson packs a punch despite his average size (6’3 253). Him and Adisa Isaac should form a formidable duo in 2023, Robinson’s first as a starter.
2024 NFL Draft Edge Rushers: The Best Of The Rest
6. Laiatu Latu – UCLA: Latu is another power rusher, which seems prevalent in this draft class. He is big (6’5 261), explosive, and, fast (4.65 40-yard dash). Latu originally retired in 2020 due to a neck injury sustained while playing at Washington, but was cleared this past season and really took scouts by surprise with 65 pressures and 12 sacks. He consistently got pressure on the quarterbacks. Although he is not particularly agile, he can drop a little. His medicals will be important.
7.Bralen Trice – Washington: Trice is another power rusher that stands at 6’3 270. He had a bit of a breakout season in 2022 with 70 pressures and nine sacks. He obviously needs to work on his finishing, and doesn’t seem to be the type that should be dropping in coverage. Trice has some solid power moves and uses his hands well, but lacks explosiveness to be an elite pass rusher.
8.Donovan Ezeirauku – Boston College: Ezeirauku really started to come on about halfway into the season. He is a different rusher from a lot of the other guys in this class, being just 6’2 236. 2022 was his first as a starter, and he put up 35 pressures and eight sacks in under 600 snaps, which is pretty good. He also played well against the run. Ezeirauku is explosive off the snap and has good closing speed to the quarterback.
9.Josaiah Stewart – Michigan: Stewart was an underrated transfer portal recruit because he played at Coastal Carolina. He is also a bit undersized at 6’2 237, but did have 15 sacks as a freshman — in only a handful of starts. Stewart did not replicate his production in 2022, collecting just three sacks, but he did have 40 pressures, after 41 as a freshman. He is fast and explosive off the snap. With ankle flexion, he can really bend the edge.
10.Jack Sawyer – Ohio State: Sawyer was a big five star recruit, but due to the depth that was ahead of him he’s played only just over 500 snaps in his first two seasons combined. He has shown flashes as a pass rusher, though, especially this past season where he had 22 pressures and three sacks. There were six games where Sawyer saw single-digit snap counts. He has ideal size at 6’4 265 and athleticism running around a 4.65 40-yard dash. He can be an explosive hitter and physical run defender. 2023 will be his first chance to be a starter and could really move him up boards.