2024 NFL Draft: Top 10 edge rushers are pick-your-flavor class with Alabama, Penn State lean

With the 2024 NFL Draft approaching, let's take a look at each individual position's rankings. Here are the top 10 edge rushers.

[Nate Tice's NFL Draft top 100 big board Top QBs Top RBs Top WRs Top TEs Top OL Top Edges Top IDL Top LBs Top CBs Top safeties]

1. Dallas Turner, Alabama

Turner is long and is outstanding when knifing inside as part of some defensive line movement, constantly disrupting offenses with his bend and surprising strength despite his leaner frame. He can create pressure as a pocket pusher or with his athleticism, and he is still improving his pass rush tool set. He is a positive-play generator playing the run or pass, and will fit into any type of scheme, with his flexibility even opening possibilities as a spy or coverage player.

I see him ideally as a high-end No. 2 pass rusher who does a lot of other things well for his team, like a traditional 3-4 Sam outside linebacker or what is now known as a Jack in newer three-down defenses. There are similarities between Turner and former Seattle Seahawk Bruce Irvin.

With college basketball done and MLB Opening Day in the rearview mirror, attention is heating up on the NFL's marquee offseason event. Let's make our turn toward the NFL Draft. (Taylar Sievert/Yahoo Sports)
With college basketball done and MLB Opening Day in the rearview mirror, attention is heating up on the NFL's marquee offseason event. Let's make our turn toward the NFL Draft. (Taylar Sievert/Yahoo Sports)

2. Jared Verse, Florida State

Verse is all about power, power, power. He loves to fire off the ball and lock onto offensive tackles and push them into quarterbacks’ laps, or drive them into the path of a running back trying to get outside. He doesn’t have many auxiliary moves, lacking finesse and bend to supplement his hammerhead approach, which means certain teams are going to like him for their defensive make-up more than others.

I like Verse a lot as a high-end secondary pass rusher and overall useful player who can help solidify any run defense, but his pass-rushing upside has a ceiling because of his lack of overwhelming bend.

3. Laiatu Latu, UCLA

Latu is a technician as a pass rusher, adapting his attack as the game goes along, constantly working and picking at weaknesses or lapses in the protection. Latu’s play against the run game is a bit more boom-or-bust and he lacks ideal length and explosive athleticism, leading to questions about what upside there is left to tap into. His medicals are also going to be pored over by teams.

Still, Latu’s effort and pass move set give him value for teams looking to create pressure on the quarterback. Think of him as a Diet Coke version of Trey Hendrickson.

4. Chop Robinson, Penn State

I struggle with Robinson. There were plays where he looks unblockable, firing off the ball and obliterating the tackle’s hands with a swipe, or erasing his angle and ability to recover. Robinson is twitchy and explosive, he bursts at the snap and can quickly drive blockers back, with some auxiliary pass moves to help balance out his pass rush arsenal.

But there isn’t a lot of production and consistent finishing with those instant wins on the outside. At times Robinson kept looping around the QB and took himself out of plays, or got swallowed up by a bigger tackle whenever he tried to win through a blocker. Robinson put on a show at the scouting combine, and that athleticism shows up on film, but those flashes of elite rushing ability will have to become more consistent. As his ability to hold up in the run is also a question mark with his game (he is not bad, but more just a neutral player in the area), it's led to me comparing him to Yannick Ngakoue, a player with similar size and style.

5. Marshawn Kneeland, Western Michigan

Kneeland is built like a defensive end more than an outside linebacker, and plays with heavy hands and has a frame to grow into. He consistently strikes back blockers as a run defender and as a pass rusher. He does not have a diverse set of pass rush moves, which is often why you see him using his strength and bull rush so much. He plays (and tested) like a very good athlete who has much more to tap into. He will take some time to harness his tools, but Kneeland can contribute early as he adds more to his arsenal.

6. Bralen Trice, Washington

Trice is a power-first defender who can consistently push the pocket and impact the run game. He's more of a useful player than one with huge upside, a limited athlete who doesn’t win with bend and underwhelmed at the combine. But his film shows off a tough and competitive player who constantly contributes on all three downs.

7. Chris Braswell, Alabama

Braswell wins with more effort than high-end athleticism. He can affect the pocket because of his active hands, and does his best work when knifing inside on stunts. He contributes in a lot of ways, but has a limited ceiling as a pass rusher.

8. Austin Booker, Kansas

Booker was productive in his one year at Kansas, and that was despite no real plan as a pass rusher and lack of consistency with his game, often being a non-factor for long stretches. He has length, twitchiness, and shows flashes of pass-rushing upside. Booker is a project, but a fun one!

9. Adisa Isaac, Penn State

Harnessing Isaac’s gifts will be important at the next level. He will often take himself out of a play because of his lack of a plan and hands ending up all over the place. Still, Isaac shows the ability to be a strong run defender and plenty to work with as a pass rusher.

10. Jonah Elliss, Utah

A bit undersized as an edge defender (6-foot-2, 243 pounds at his pro day), Elliss has length (33-inch arms) and athletic juice to help overcome his lack of overwhelming size. Elliss plays with strong hands and with his hair on fire every single snap and makes for a fun combination of quick-twitch athleticism and competitiveness. He is a non-factor when defending the run at this point because of his lack of size and will likely start his career as a designated pass rusher type, but with room to grow into more of an every-down player.

Elliss had production in his career, tested like an excellent athlete and has the length and toughness to help overcome his lack of size. I think his arrow is pointing up and he can be a fun home-run hitter for teams to trot out on passing downs early in his career. He could be worth a swing on Day 2 of the draft.