Top 5 EDGE rushers in the NFL Draft 2024

We are just over a month away from the NFL Draft 2024, the big event that every offseason has. That’s why, starting today and throughout the rest of March and April, from No Huddle, we will be covering this great event analyzing the best players of each of the positions of this NFL Draft.

For the kickoff of these notes, we are going to talk about one of the most important positions, not only for the defense but for the whole team: the EDGE rushers, who have the first obligation to put pressure on the opposing QB. In addition, it is a position in which NFL teams usually invest a large amount of draft capital.

This year it’s a class that doesn’t have a star, it doesn’t have a clear #1 player, so depending on who you ask, they will tell you a different name as the best at the position. Now, if you ask each scout to put together a top 4 of the best in the draft at the position, the names will be repeated but in different positions.

1-Chop Robinson, Penn State

One of the most athletic physiques in the class. Robinson’s long arms, low center of gravity, and body agility make him almost unique in the class. He is a player who is technically very good at defending the ground game, both in the use of his hands and in his lower body strength to anchor himself, which is something that NFL teams value highly.

His weakness is in his pass-rush technique, he doesn’t have developed moves and his use of his hands is messy, which is why he often ends up being ineffective in his pass-rush attempts. The team that chooses him will have to work on this, but in Chop Robinson there is a potential #1 pass rusher, who can achieve double-digit sacks and be a double-edged sword because he can win by both agility and strength.

Grade: 1st round
2-Jared Verse, Florida State
If we’re talking about a polished EDGE, we have to mention Verse. He’s been playing at the collegiate level for five years and that experience carries over to the playing field. Technically, he is very well-rounded and is polished enough to play in the NFL. He does a good job of using his hands to execute moves and win matchups, plus he’s very smart when it comes to finding the weaknesses of the offensive lineman he’s facing.

In the ground game, he makes good use of his hands to not let them move him, but he is someone who looks uncomfortable in traffic, where he often misses blocks. Lack of explosiveness and change of pace may be limiting him from becoming the team’s #1 EDGE, but the floor he offers is the highest in the class, someone who can see the field as a freshman and produce. Defensive rookie of the year candidate.

Grade: 1st round
3-Laiatu Latu, UCLA
The most productive EDGE at the collegiate level of the class. He has double-digit sacks in consecutive years, something no other defensive back in this class has accomplished. His physical build and athleticism are optimal for the position, it’s hard not to fall in love with someone with this kind of profile.

He is a pass rusher who is neat with his hands, can bend the arc, and is intelligent in every matchup he faces. His inconsistency in the get-off to be explosive in his pass rush and his ability to slow down the ground game are the reasons why he is not the best EDGE in the class. He is a diamond in the rough, the team that selects him must polish him to become the best EDGE rusher in the class.

Grade: 1st round
4-Dallas Turner, Alabama
Being a defensive lineman at Alabama gives you a pedigree that no other player on this list is going to have. Turner is someone who comes with a wealth of experience being a starter in his three years in college. He is a speed rush expert and has the speed, strength, and technique to attack and beat the outside tackle he faces.

He is also a very good tackler and someone capable of dropping into coverage, whether it be zone or man-to-man, so a transition to playing linebacker is something that shouldn’t surprise us. His athletic limitations and not being technically developed in his pass rush are his main weaknesses and may limit his use in his first year in the NFL.

Grade: 1ra Ronda
5-Jonah Ellis, Utah

Ellis is a pass rusher that is very easy to fall in love with. His technical preparation, patience, and intelligence to use his hands in the pass rush, added to an explosiveness that gives him that change of pace to be dangerous in every matchup against an offensive lineman. His game tape is very solid, showing him as a pass rusher ready to make the jump to the NFL.

However, he has one major limitation, which is his athleticism and small size for the position. In addition to this, he does not have a low center of gravity or great body agility. This means that many times, when he can’t win by technique, he doesn’t have a physical aspect that he can use and win his matchup. The jump to the NFL can be a big one and if he can’t adapt to the speeds it demands, he may have limited time on the field.

Grade: 2nd round
The pick: Darius Robinson, Missouri

One of the biggest risers in Draft Stock this offseason. His great Senior Bowl and what he showed at the NFL Combine were reasons to position him as one of the best EDGE rushers of the second day. His role in the NFL is still unclear, as he is a 4-3 Defensive End, but if he adds weight he can also play DT in a 3-4, so he is still a prospect to be polished.

Robinson is a defensive end who has great strength in his hands and wins many of his matchups by being aggressive, but more importantly, this aggressiveness is combined with good tidiness in the use of his hands. It’s hard to imagine him as the main pass rusher in defense yet, but he’s someone who can contribute from the get-go in any defense he goes to.

Grade: End of 3rd round
Best of Day 3: Marshawn Kneeland, Western Michigan
One of the most intriguing defensive backs in the entire draft. A very interesting physical build for the position, with a physique yet to be polished, but with athleticism that allows him to project. He is powerful in using his hands and has a first punch where he transfers his strength very well. Defending the ground game, he uses his hands well and manages to anchor himself so as not to let them turn him.

He is not technically worked in his pass rush, he does not have a main move and in several pass rush attempts, he gets messed up because he does not know how to use his hands or what to do to win the matchup. He needs to learn how to move.

Grade: 4th round starts

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