2024 NFL Draft Position Review: Edge Defender

Dallas Turner

Edge Defender Class

Early-round talent: B-
Mid-round: C-
Late-round: C-
Overall grade: C

Merging the 2023 and 2024 prospects

Will Anderson
Dallas Turner
Tyree Wilson
Jared Verse
Lukas Van Ness
Laiatu Latu
Will McDonald
Myles Murphy
Chop Robinson
Nolan Smith
Darius Robinson
Chris Braswell
Isaiah Foskey
Keion White
Bralen Trice
Marshawn Kneeland

Just to be clear, this article and series is all my opinion based off my own study and information I’ve gotten from general managers, directors of college scouting, national scouts, area scouts and NFL coaches. They all know way more than I do.

The 2023 had a strong class of edge rushers, and the 2024 NFL Draft is not a good year for edge-rush talent. This year’s top prospect, Dallas Turner, is not as good as other recent top-10 edge-rush prospects like Travon Walker, Aidan Hutchinson, Kayvon Thibodeaux and Will Anderson.

If you were to merge the two classes together, Anderson would be the best prospect. I think Dallas Turner is a better prospect than Tyree Wilson and both are late top-10 talents. I feel Jared Verse is better than Lukas Van Ness, although Verse might end up going lower than Van Ness did. I believe Laiatu Latu is better than Will McDonald, but medical concerns could cause Latu to slide. I think Chop Robinson is not as good as Myles Murphy but is a better prospect than Nolan Smith. Darius Robinson is about equal to Nolan Smith. Chris Braswell is a second-rounder similar to Isaiah Foskey. Bralen Trice and Marshwn Kneeland would both be behind White.

Safest Pick: Dallas Turner, Alabama

Previous Picks:
2023: Will Anderson
2022: Aidan Hutchinson
2021: Jaelen Phillips
2020: Chase Young
2019: Nick Bosa, Josh Allen
2018: Bradley Chubb, Tremaine Edmunds
2017: Myles Garrett
2016: Joey Bosa, DeForest Buckner
2015: Dante Fowler
2014: Jadeveon Clowney
2013: Bjoern Werner, Dion Jordan

This was an easy choice because Turner is one of the safer prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft. That is also why he is the favorite to be the first defensive prospect taken in the 2024 NFL Draft. Turner is a super-fast quarterback hunter with natural pass-rushing skills. While he is not the biggest, he is a dangerous force off the edge with lightning speed. Turner looks like a safe pick to be a good NFL starter.

Biggest Bust Potential: Bralen Trice, Washington

Previous Picks:
2023: Nolan Smith
2022: Amare Barno
2021: Gregory Rousseau
2020: Terrell Lewis
2019: Jachai Polite
2018: Arden Key, Lorenzo Carter
2017: Takk McKinley
2016: Kevin Dodd, Noah Spence
2015: Owa Odighizuwa, Randy Gregory
2014: Kareem Martin, Dee Ford
2013: Barkevious Mingo

Trice was a good college player, but I think he could have issues translating to the NFL. Trice plays hard, but at 6-foot-3, 245 pounds, he is extremely undersized for the NFL. Along with being undersized, Trice does not have dominant speed and athleticism off the edge. I think Trice is going to have a hard time shedding blocks and could top out as just a backup at the pro level.

Edge Defender Rankings by Attributes

Pass Rush:

NFL prototype: T.J. Watt, Steelers

  1. Dallas Turner
  2. Laiatu Latu
  3. Chop Robinson
  4. Jared Verse
  5. Chris Braswell
  6. Darius Robinson
  7. Bralen Trice
  8. Marshawn Kneeland

Recap: The NFL is a passing-driven league, and coaches will tell you that an elite pass-rusher is the most important position on the defensive side of the ball. Unless a team has a defensive tackle like the Rams had with Aaron Donald, it has to have edge rushers who can consistently pressure the quarterback.

While Turner is not the biggest of defenders, he has a natural ability to put pressure on the quarterback. Turner is quick off the ball, possessing a fast first-step and a burst to get upfield. With serious speed, Turner can run the arc around offensive tackles and fly to the quarterback. When he gets there, Turner will be physical and can dish out some violent hits on the signal-caller. Turner is not a dirty player taking cheap shots, but he will put the quarterback into the turf hard. In pursuit, Turner is a fast defender with a burst to close and is quick to flow to the ball. He can redirect to get pointed to the quarterback and is not a stiff rusher. As good as Turner is right now as a pass rusher, he could be so much better if he receives good NFL coaching. Some sources think Turner could be a T.J. Watt-caliber rusher if he develops pass-rushing moves, and figures out technique, rush angles, depth of rush, etc. Hence, those developmental issues are why he is behind Will Anderson or Aidan Hutchinson as a prospect.

As a pass rusher, Latu is not a pure speed demon off the edge, but he is a versatile defender. Latu has superb hands to fight off blockers, and he is very skilled in how he uses them. Alongside some quickness off the edge, Latu can use his hands and feet at the same time, which makes it tough for tackles to latch onto him. Latu has a dangerous move to the inside, possessing functional strength to swim and then dart to the inside of an offensive tackle before using a burst to close on the quarterback in a hurry. Latu also has the versatility to line up on the inside, and he gives guards a lot of problems with his quickness and hands. He shows nice vision, recognition, and ability to redirect to chase down moving quarterbacks. To top it off, Latu has fabulous instincts that put him a step ahead.

There is no doubt Robinson is a dangerous pass rusher off the edge. He is fast with a quick first-step to get upfield and the ability to accelerate around the corner. Aside from being fast, Robinson is very bendy with no hint of stiffness. He can get low to duck underneath tackles, as Robinson is very athletic, showing the skills to sink his hips and redirect. With his speed and fluidity, offensive tackles are in trouble when there is space for Robinson work with because he adept at dodging blockers. As a pro, Robinson could be a dangerous edge rusher and quarterback hunter with his sheer speed to blow by tackles around the corner.

As a pass rusher, Verse is a tough defender who has some natural ability to get after the quarterback. Verse plays hard and has a very good motor that allows him to generate some late pressures even after being initially blocked. While Verse is not elite speed demon off the edge, he has quickness to close and is a threat to turn the corner thanks to having enough speed to dart by offensive tackles. Beyond being fast, Verse has functional strength to shed blocks, using his hands well to break free of blocks and then having the quickness to dart away. Verse has powerful bull rush and shows some serious speed to power. For Florida State, he had some impressive rushes where he burst off the line, slammed into the chest of the offensive tackle, and rolled them back to the quarterback.

Braswell has a serious burst off the ball to work upfield and a first-step that turns into being a fast edge rusher. With his speed and athleticism, Braswell is dangerous to fly around the corner and get quick pressure on the quarterback. However, Braswell lacks some size and needs development of pass-rushing moves. He never had a dominant season at Alabama despite a great skill set, and that illustrates the need for patient coaching at the pro level.

As a pass rusher, Robinson is a talented player capable of making a difference for his defense. He is a dangerous power rusher with a strong upper body and a serious ability to grab offensive tackles and toss them to the side. His ability to shed blocks is phenomenal and very developed for a player entering the NFL. Thanks to the power in his upper and lower body, Robinson can bull rush offensive tackles into the pocket or knock them off balance to get them out of position. Robinson has the size and power to slide inside in the sub package. While Robinson is big and strong, he lacks juice and explosion off the ball. His lack of speed rush off the edge is his biggest weakness.

Trice brings a good rush plan and plays with a lot of effort to get off of blocks. While he can get tied up by blockers, he has active hands to slap away tackles, and he possesses an impressive rip move to gain leverage on tackles and shed their blocks. Over the past two seasons, Trice showed developed technique to use his hands and feet at the same time to get the better of edge blockers. Trice has functional upper body strength to scrap with blockers and get free on some second efforts. There is no doubt that Trice is tough, plays hard, and is instinctive. However, he has some real stiffness and lacks juice as a pass rusher off the edge.

Kneeland is a dangerous pass rusher with a nose for the quarterback. Kneeland has a nice repertoire of moves and is very physical with offensive tackle. He possesses the strength to push through blockers, showing a vigorous bull rush and rip move to get tackles moving backward to the signal-caller. After getting a push, Kneeland can shed blocks with his strength and consume the quarterback. Once he breaks free, Kneeland has closing speed to finish the play and get to the signal-caller. In the NFL, he won’t overwhelm offensive tackles with explosive speed or agility. Kneeland has athletic limitations and stiffness that make him more of a second-day pick for the 2024 NFL Draft.

Run Defense:

NFL prototype: Jadeveon Clowney, Panthers

  1. Darius Robinson
  2. Marshawn Kneeland
  3. Laiatu Latu
  4. Jared Verse
  5. Chris Braswell
  6. Dallas Turner
  7. Bralen Trice
  8. Chop Robinson

Recap: Defending the run isn’t as in demand as it used to be with NFL coaches, but they still watch it closely when evaluating prospects, and teams need some tough run defenders at the point of attack. They also are looking closely at effort. This class features some quality run defenders.

As a run defender, Robinson is very good when lining up at defensive end. He uses his strong build and length to set a tough edge at the point of attack. Robinson can hold his ground in run defense, maintaining his gap and not get pushed back. With heavy hands, Robinson has the power and good hands to fight off blocks to get in on tackles of ball-carriers. However if he lines up inside at tackle, he could have problems with the power and mass of NFL guards.

Kneeland is strong in run defense and capable of holding his ground. He gives a good effort and plays tough. Kneeland fights hard to get off blocks and pursues backs out of his gap. He lacks some length, but as a pro, he could become a solid edge setter in the ground game.

Latu is solid in run defense, as he is strong to set the edge and hold his ground against downhill runs. Latu uses his strong hands, length and strength to shed blocks and chase down backs for tackles. With his burst, Latu is dangerous to get upfield and blow up runs in the backfield. He is a well-rounded player who will be a contributor against the run in the NFL.

Verse’s strength translates as a run defender because he can stack offensive linemen at the line of scrimmage and keep them from pushing him back. Thanks to his active hands, Verse shows the ability to work off his blocks and make tackles out of his gap. With his steady motor, Verse plays hard and fights to get in on tackles in the ground game. You don’t see Verse taking plays off or loafing when the play goes away from him.

Braswell is a solid run defender considering he weighs just about 250 pounds. He flashes the ability to get off blocks and flow to the ball-carrier. While Braswell is not big, he is strong for his size and has some natural power in his body. In the NFL, Braswell will need to get better at defending downhill runs coming straight at him.

Turner plays hard against the run and will hold his ground or shed a block to get in on a tackle. He has developed strength and stands his ground surprisingly well for an undersized defender. For the NFL through, Turner lacks size to play defensive end in a base defense. In that set, he should rotate with other ends to protect him and have a bigger defender available for run defense. Turner could have problems holding up against NFL mass for four quarters.

As a run defender, Trice competes and gives an effort to chase down ball-carriers out of his gap. He is best in pursuit and plays physical. While Trice has adequate size to be an edge defender in the NFL, he is not overly powerful, so continuing to get stronger and hold up against much larger offensive tackles coming at him downhill will be points of emphasis for his development. However, his frame could be close to maxed out.

While Robinson is an effective rusher, he has problems as a run defender for the NFL. Robinson is undersized, lacking height and weight to be a pro edge defender. In the ground game, he can get covered up and pushed around. He also is not very physical as a defender and needs to get stronger for taking on pro offensive linemen.


NFL prototype: Aidan Hutchinson, Lions

  1. Laiatu Latu
  2. Bralen Trice
  3. Dallas Turner
  4. Chop Robinson
  5. Darius Robinson
  6. Marshawn Kneeland
  7. Jared Verse
  8. Chris Braswell

Recap: Prospects who show a lack of effort can get knocked quickly by coaches when they start evaluating players. Coaches have zero patience for players who dog it. Conversely, a great motor will help players who may be short on athletic ability. This draft class has a lot of good motors amongst the early-round prospects. There really is not a single player who has a motor in need of improvement.

Latu and Trice have excellent motors and play with relentless effort. Turner, Robinson and Robinson are all very steady, showing a steady motor. Kneeland, Verse and Braswell all play hard as well. Verse and Braswell can have some quiet stretches, but they aren’t taking plays off.

Forcing Fumbles:

NFL prototype: Myles Garrett, Browns

  1. Laiatu Latu
  2. Chris Braswell
  3. Chop Robinson
  4. Dallas Turner
  5. Marshawn Kneeland
  6. Jared Verse
  7. Bralen Trice
  8. Darius Robinson

Recap: The art of a strip-sack is a great equalizer in the NFL. Strip-sacks can change games and have a big impact on the scoreboard. Latu is the clear leader in this category, forcing five fumbles over the past two seasons. He is very cognizant to go for the strip when he gets the opportunity.

Braswell did a nice job of going for the strip last season, notching three forced fumbles. Robinson and Turner each recorded two forced fumbles last year. With their speed off the edge, they have upside to become strip-sack threats in the NFL. Kneeland had two forced fumbles last year after not recording much production perviously. Verse picked up one forced fumble last year, none the year before, and one the season before that. He needs to be coached up on going for the strip. Trice had one forced fumble over the past three seasons. Robinson picked up one forced fumble last year and zero in the previous two seasons. Verse, Trice and Robinson need to learn to go for the strip when they get to the quarterback.


NFL prototype: Joey Bosa, Chargers

  1. Darius Robinson
  2. Marshawn Kneeland
  3. Laiatu Latu
  4. Jared Verse
  5. Chris Braswell
  6. Dallas Turner
  7. Bralen Trice
  8. Chop Robinson

Recap: Robinson, Kneeland, Latu and Verse already have NFL-level strength with shock in their hands to disengage from blocks. They all are strong ends who can set a physical edge.

Braswell and Turner are each strong for their size. They both have functional strength, but limitations given their frames. Trice and Robinson could stand to get stronger.


NFL prototype: Nick Bosa, 49ers

  1. Dallas Turner
  2. Laiatu Latu
  3. Darius Robinson
  4. Chop Robinson
  5. Chris Braswell
  6. Jared Verse
  7. Marshawn Kneeland
  8. Bralen Trice

Recap: Defensive coordinators love versatility. Edge defenders who drop in coverage and play in space highly desired. Coaches also like ends who can move inside to tackle on passing downs. This class of edge rushers features a lot of versatility as a group.

Turner and Latu have the versatility to play either as a 3-4 outside linebacker or a 4-3 defensive end. Robinson has the size and length to be a 4-3 end or a 3-4 five-technique, and could rush from the inside in the sub package. Braswell and Verse could be 4-3 defensive ends or 3-4 outside linebackers. Kneeland is probably only fit as a base end for a 4-3 scheme. Trice lacks size for defensive end and has stiffness and a lack of juice to play linebacker.

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