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2024 NFL Draft: UCLA EDGE Laiatu Latu scouting report

The 2024 scouting combine is right around the corner, which means that it’s time to take a more critical and detailed look at this year’s draft prospects. With that in mind, we here at Touchdown Wire are doing as many thumbnail scouting reports as possible before the combine gets going on February 29. We will of course be doing more comprehensive reports before the draft, but here’s a good starting point.

We now turn our attention to UCLA edge defender Laiatu Latu. In 2023, his second season with the Bruins after one season at Washington, the 6-foot-5, 265-pound Latu had 15 sacks, 11 quarterback hits, 36 quarterback hurries, 33 stops, six tackles for loss, 33 forced fumbles, and four catches allowed on five targets for 19 yards, 12 yards after the catch, no touchdowns, two interceptions, and an opponent passer rating of 42.9. Latu got 42% of his pressures from the left defensive edge, 47% from the defensive right edge, 7% from defensive tackle positions, and 3% from nose tackle or nose shade.

Here’s our thumbnail scouting report on Laiatu Latu.

PLUSES

— Primarily an edge defender, but can disrupt at nose shade and 3-tech in a standup or three-point position.

— Crosses the faces of blockers and jumps gaps with incredible quickness to drive to the pocket; it’s his fastball.

— Speed to and through the pocket is nightmare fuel for opposing blockers.

— Brings impressive speed-to-power from the edge; you had better do more than just chip him.

— Swipe move is a pure killer; brings a lot of strength in his hands.

— Can drop into flat and curl coverage, and has good eyes and hands to go after the ball.

— Was dominant more often than not at the Senior Bowl.

MINUSES

— Has an embryonic bull-rush and dip-and-rip potential, but he’ll want to round those out at the NFL level.

— His slow-play to disengage move might not be as effective against better NFL tackles.

— Can get caught watching the ball and will miss the action.

— Would like to see him become more violent with his hands in his initial strike as opposed to glancing off blockers.

Latu is the best edge defender in this class in my opinion; the things that need work are common among draft prospect pass-rushers. His athletic traits and multi-gap potential make him an ideal player in today’s NFL.

Story originally appeared on Touchdown Wire