2024 NFL Draft: 10 draft-eligible edge defenders to know

2NHPT55 TALLAHASSEE, FL - NOVEMBER 25: Florida State Seminoles defensive lineman Jared Verse (5) battles Florida Gators offensive lineman Richard Gouraige (76) during the game between the Florida Gators and the Florida State Seminoles on November 25, 2022 at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fl. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

  • Florida State’s Jared Verse: The redshirt junior likely would’ve been a top-20 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft if he declared.
  • Alabama’s Dallas Turner: The junior will try to fill the massive shoes left behind by Will Anderson Jr.
  • Ohio State’s J.T. Tuimoloau: The junior was a top-10 recruit and will now try to be a top-10 pick in 2024.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Since 2013, there has been only one NFL draft where there wasn’t at least one edge defender taken in the top five (2021). Will there be another in 2024? Here are the 10 edges to know as we head into summer scouting.

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QB | RB | WR | TE | OT | IOL | IDL

Jared Verse, Florida State

One of the most surprising returners in college football, Verse was a projected top-20 pick in the 2023 draft before announcing that he’d stay in Tallahassee for another season. 

The former Albany edge dominated in his first season at the FBS level, as the redshirt sophomore’s 24.4% pass-rush win rate ranked fourth among Power Five edge defenders while his 10 tackles for loss/no-gain were tied for sixth. 

Dallas Turner, Alabama

It’s not easy to stand out when your counterpart is Will Anderson Jr., whose 207 career pressures are the most in the PFF College era.

That’s the predicament Turner has been in over the past two seasons, but the spotlight will be fully shining on him with Anderson now with the Houston Texans. Over Turner’s first two years, his 14 sacks are tied for the second most among returning Power Five edge defenders. He’s on the slimmer side for the position at 240 pounds but makes up for it with his elite burst and agility. 

Chop Robinson, Penn State

Robinson dominated in his first year with the Nittany Lions after transferring in from Maryland. He led all Power Five edge defenders in overall grade (90.6) and pass-rushing grade (92.4) this past season. Robinson’s 23.6% pass-rush win rate ranked sixth among that same group. He’s not the biggest (6-foot-3, 242 pounds) but is incredibly explosive and relentless. 

J.T. Tuimoloau, Ohio State

Tuimoloau had one of the greatest games you’ll ever see against Penn State. In that contest, he recorded two sacks, two interceptions (one of which he returned for a touchdown), a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, a tackle for loss, a batted pass and three pressures. He needs to be more consistent, earning just a 67.0 grade in the other 12 games. Still, his physical tools are worth betting on early in the draft.

Bralen Trice, Washington

For the first time since 2019, Alabama’s Will Anderson Jr. didn’t lead the nation in total pressure.

Trice set the pace this year with 70 pressures and was college football's most productive pass-rusher. The redshirt sophomore also led all FBS edge defenders in pass-rush win rate (29.5%) and ranked second in pressure rate (22.4%).

Laiatu Latu, UCLA

If there was a comeback player of the year award in college football, Latu would have been a top candidate.

The redshirt junior missed the last two seasons at Washington after he was forced to medically retire with a neck injury. He resumed his career this past season at UCLA and was one of the most productive edge defenders in the country. Among Power Five edge defenders, Latu tied for second in pressures (64), ranked third in pressure rate (21.7%) and tied for third in sacks (12). He has good power at 6-foot-4 and 265 pounds with an array of pass-rushing moves at his disposal already. 

Jack Sawyer, Ohio State

Between Sawyer and the aforementioned Tuimoloau, Ohio State brought in two edge defenders in the 2021 class who were top-five overall recruits. Sawyer has been mostly a rotational edge for the Buckeyes the last two seasons but should start alongside Tuimoloau since Zach Harrison was drafted by Atlanta Falcons.

As a sophomore, he led all Buckeye edge defenders and ranked 11th in the Big Ten with a 16% pass-rush win rate. He was also top-10 in the conference with a 73.4 run-defense grade. He’s still pretty raw overall, but a season as a full-time starter should show more of his potential. 

Zion Tupuola-Fetui, Washington

Tupuola-Fetui broke out in 2020 with a 91.8 pass-rushing grade that ranked second among all edge defenders in the country. He played only five games the following season due to a torn Achilles tendon that he suffered in spring practice. He was healthy the following season but was third in Washington’s edge rotation behind Trice and Jeremiah Martin.

He’s earned just a 61.4 grade over the last two seasons, raising questions over whether the torn Achilles has made him lose a step. ZTF can answer those doubts this season as he’ll likely start alongside Trice. 

Gabriel Murphy, UCLA

Latu wasn’t the only transfer edge defender who excelled for UCLA.

Gabriel Murphy and his twin brother, Grayson both joined the Bruins after they dominated at North Texas. While Grayson still excelled as a pass-rusher, Gabriel was the more well-rounded of the two this season, as he was one of two Power Five edge defenders who earned 80-plus grades as both a pass-rusher and run-defender on at least 400 snaps. The other was Will Anderson Jr. 

Princely Umanmielen, Florida

Umanmielen’s 88.1 pass-rushing grade over the past two seasons ranks fourth among returning Power Five edge defenders.

The junior can do more than just get after the quarterback, as his 21 run-defense stops this year also stood top 10 among Power Five edge defenders. 

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