NFL DRAFT 2024

Broncos can find edge rushers in any round of the 2024 NFL Draft

Apr 21, 2024, 8:41 AM

The 2024 NFL Draft will be here before you know it. This is a good draft class at multiple positions, and teams will be shuffling around to find the best fit for them on both sides of the ball.

My position previews are always fun to write. The scouting is over, and I’ve graded over 400 players in this draft class. Now, it’s time to give you a taste of what I’ve seen on film.

Here are some of the edge players from this draft you need to know.

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Top-Five Studs

I really like this group of edge players. I could list more than five players who could go off the board in the first round. For this exercise, I will keep the list to just five. Know that talent abounds at this position, so you can find mid and late-round playmakers too. Let’s start at the top of this talented group.

Dallas Turner (Alabama) is hands down the best edge player in this class. He’s got a ton of moves to get after the passer, and Turner plays with violent striking hands. Turner is relentless in his pursuit of the quarterback. There is no doubt he plays all out, but that can lead to mistimed moves. Turner needs to anticipate the snap better because pro signal callers wil know they can draw him offsides due to his aggressive nature. While Turner has nuanced moves to get after the quarterback, I’d like to see him stack them better so he can swiftly and efficiently change on the move.

Jared Verse (FSU) has the game of a modern edge player. He’s consistent and relentless. Verse has quickness off the line, and he’s got strength to use a bull rush effectively. I like the way he understands leverage when fighting in the trenches. He’s never out of the play, and when the ball-carrier goes away from him, Verse pursues at full speed. Verse is aggressive, and that leads to some missed tackles in the backfield.

Darius Robinson (Missouri) could be my favorite player in this entire draft class. During the week of practice for the Senior Bowl, I got some Aaron Donald vibes from his game. He’s not Donald, but Robinson can be problematic to block on the edge because of his strength and quickness combination. Donald is the best player I’ve seen at the Senior Bowl (Von Miller is a close second), and Robinson was near that neighborhood. Now, that’s just an All-Star game, but it shows how Robinson can hang with the best competition.

Laiatu Latu (UCLA) is going to be a stud in the NFL – so long as he stays healthy. Medical reports are going to tell the tale when it comes to Latu’s draft stock. On film, there is no doubt he’s a craft pass-rusher. However, he was forced to medically retire in 2021. Latu transferred from Washington, where a neck injury suffered in 2020 knocked his college career off track. He found a home with the Bruins, and Latu stayed healthy for two seasons which gives you confidence he can continue that in the pros.

Chop Robinson (Penn State) is a hotly contested player when it comes to pro prospects. Count me on the side of admiring his game. With only 11.5 sacks in three college seasons (two at Penn State, one at Maryland), there’s more to come with Robinson’s skill set. He’s got first-step explosion, and I like the way he uses his hands to slap away blockers on the edge of the line. Robinson is best suited putting out wide where he can attack and set up tackles with his quickness. He wins with violent hands and a quick first step. To be the best pro he can be, Robinson needs to improve his functional strength – something a pro weight program should be able to do.

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A Couple of Names to Remember

I think there’s going to be a flurry of activity at the top of the draft. Then, there should be a lull of edge guys in the second round. After that, late round three and Day 3 picks should come flying off the board. We’ll get to the Day 3 picks in a bit, but here’s a few second and third-round picks I like at edge.

Marshawn Kneeland (Western Michigan) was supposed to play for Deion Sanders and the CU Buffs, but chose to stay at Western Michigan even though he entered the transfer portal. Kneeland has heavy hands, and he can deal a blow to blockers that helps him disengage and continue his pursuit of the quarterback. Kneeland has a few moves, but he does not yet know how to put it all together. Proper pro coaching should be able to take this high-motor player and teach him the nuances of the game.

Chris Braswell (Alabama) has strength and speed to his game. He’s strong enough to win with power, and he’s got explosion to turn that power into speed around the bend. Braswell plays like a wild man at times, and he does seem to hesitate when reading the play. I like the way he sets up blockers with small ghost moves, and Braswell can be effective on stunts and twists. He’ll need to add more size because he can be engulfed by larger blockers at times.

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Day-Three Gems

The guys in the mid-rounds are fine, but I love the crop of talent on day three. I believe some of these players could be impact players, and in fact I believe there’s some Pro Bowl upside here for some of these guys. This is one of my favorite spots to take an edge player in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Eyabi Okie-Anoma (Charlotte) is one of my favorite sleepers in this class. He began his college career at Alabama (where his roomate was Miami Dolphins WR Jaylen Waddle). Okie-Anoma was a standout during the week of practice for the East-West Shrine Bowl earlier this year. In fact, he was one of my favorite players to watch that week. There is some Randy Gregory to his game because Okie-Anoma looks like a basketball player on the football field. He’s laterally agile and can change direction without losing much speed.

Javonte Jean-Baptiste (Notre Dame) transferred from Ohio State to play one year for the Fighting Irish. In 2023, Jean-Baptiste had his best season, registering the most sacks (5.0) and tackles for loss (10.5) on the team. He’s the definition of a hustle player who does not quit. Jean-Baptiste lacks elite skill in terms of strength or speed, but he makes up for that with a ton of heart. He produces on effort, so refined skill will help him produce more in an NFL system.

Mohamed Kamara (Colorado State) is a player you can rely on to never quit. He’s aggressive and wants to eat quarterbacks for breakfast. Kamara has violent hands, and he can be dangerous to block because he will take unorthodox paths to the passer. He does play out of control at times, but pro coaching should refine that skill. He lacks ideal length, but Kamara can get low and get around the edge without a tackle being able to get much contact on his body.

Xavier Thomas (Clemson) needs to stay healthy, something that was a problem for a couple of seasons in college, but he has the ability to at least be a quality sub-package player. Thomas has tremendous upper body strength, and he can rip away from blockers who get their hands on him. He is a fine tackler who makes sure his guy gets to the ground. Thomas relies on strength and guile, but he’s got some moves that need to be refined. Overall, Thomas needs to listen to his coaches and follow their guidance. He’s far from a finished product, but the skill is there with Thomas. He’s the type of player who should be a better pro than he was a collegian.

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