10 best edge rushers in 2024 NFL Draft, ranked

The 2024 NFL Draft is fast approaching. With the NFL Combine, Senior Bowl, and other major pre-draft events behind us, it’s time for our final rankings and grades on prospects to come together. We’ve assembled a panel of top draft experts from across the network here at SB Nation to present you with our consensus rankings for each position group.

Today, we’ll be focusing on the edge rushers. While this group isn’t being talked about inside the top-5 due to an abundance of talent (and need) at quarterback and wide receiver, make no mistake, this is a very interesting class with a “big three” group of prospects who could all be in the conversation inside the top-10 picks. There’s also a relatively deep well of talent to be had on Day 2, giving teams ample opportunity to bolster their pass rush.

Read on for SB Nation’s consensus top-10 rankings for the edge rushers in the 2024 NFL Draft.

10. Gabriel Murphy, UCLA

While Laiatu Latu has received the bulk of the praise and a significantly higher spot in our rankings, the player opposite him at UCLA also turned in an impressive career. Gabriel Murphy is actually a similar player to Latu in many ways. He wins with advanced technique and savvy to maneuver around opponents in both the run and pass game, and has the athleticism to finish when the opportunity arrives. Murphy impressed at the Combine with an 8.95 RAS, proving his athletic flashes on tape were no mirage.

Murphy’s issues stem from a lack of ideal size. He’s got a small frame at 6’2, 247 and alarmingly short arms at just 30.5”. That’s less than 6th percentile for the position. His technical ability and hand usage prevented the length from becoming a problem in college, but the NFL is another thing entirely. Can Murphy overcome his limitations against the longer, more athletic tackles in the league? That’s the big question holding him back from a higher spot on this ranking.

Utah v USC

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9. Jonah Elliss, Utah

If you love watching high-energy, relentless pass rushers, then Utah’s Jonah Elliss will check those boxes. He’s got a non-stop motor and an ability to simply outlast and outwork his competition, leading to very good pass rush production. Elliss took a big step forward with his technique in 2023, adding a number of counters to his game and improving his hand usage and placement. He’s a plus athlete who can bend the edge and possesses good overall explosiveness.

Size is the main issue for Elliss — an issue that eventually led his brother, Kaden, to switch to an off-ball role in the NFL. Jonah is heavier at 6’2, 248 and has slightly better length with 33” arms, but he’s undoubtedly small for the NFL level. Strength is also an area of major improvement for Elliss, as he was displaced by bigger, more physical tackles and was not a difference-maker against the run. Elliss may be a designated pass rusher in the NFL, but he’s got the tool kit to carve out a valuable role there.

8. Adisa Isaac, Penn State

Penn State’s Adisa Isaac is a high-energy, athletic edge rusher who worked his way into the Day 2 conversation with an eye-opening 2023 season. Isaac has good size at 6’4, 247 and checks the length box with nearly 34” arms. He impressed at the NFL Combine with a 9.00 RAS and also turned in a good week of practice at the Senior Bowl.

Isaac possesses ideal explosiveness and bend to succeed at the NFL level, and pairs it with an advanced repertoire of pass rush moves. His hands are quick and powerful. He’s a productive and instinctive pass rusher who also contributed against the run at a high level this year. However, strength is an area of his game that needs improvement. He doesn’t generate much power with his rush and can be displaced by more physical offensive linemen. Isaac has starting upside as a pass rusher, but I wonder if he’ll be as effective against the run in the NFL.

Alabama v Auburn

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7. Chris Braswell, Alabama

The unanimous seventh edge rusher in our panel’s rankings, Alabama’s Chris Braswell is a solid all-around player who checks the boxes NFL teams look for but doesn’t excel in any one area. Braswell has a good frame at over 6’3, 250 and with over 33” arms and tested out as a very good athlete at the NFL Combine with an 8.66 RAS. He was a productive pass rusher in 2023 across from Dallas Turner with 13 sacks and showed off some special teams flashes with a blocked punt for a TD.

Braswell simply isn’t physical enough at this stage to earn a full-time role. He didn’t stand out against the competition at the Senior Bowl, which cooled his stock a bit. His explosive traits make him a dangerous pass rush presence, but he’s not as strong against the run as he should be at his size. Technically, Braswell still has a lot to learn in terms of counters and hand technique. He’s got a high floor but needs significant development to turn into a full-time starter.

6. Darius Robinson, Missouri

Speaking of the Senior Bowl, one of the biggest winners and risers was Missouri’s Darius Robinson. Robinson dominated the week of practice and vaulted himself into the early Day 2 (and possibly even first-round) conversation. Robinson’s calling card is versatility, as his 6’5, 285 frame (with 34.5” arms!) and excellent athletic traits give him the ability to line up in a variety of positions on the defensive line.

Robinson’s power at the point of attack is dominant, especially when combined with his length. He’s a three-down player who can play on the outside on early downs and provide the flexibility to shift inside in pass rush situations. Technically, Robinson still has work to do in developing his rush counters, as he lacks a pass rush plan and has trouble recovering if he loses the initial contact. Still, his package of traits and positional versatility should make him an enticing target for just about any defense.

5. Bralen Trice, Washington

Washington’s Bralen Trice is a physical edge rusher with an non-stop motor and absolutely absurd pressure numbers over the past two seasons. Trice put up an absurd 53 hurries in 2023 (and 46 in 2022!), which just goes to show how relentless he is. He’s got a solid build at 6’3.5, 245 but does lack ideal arm length (32.5”). Trice’s straight-line explosiveness and athleticism is good, but he lacks plus flexibility and isn’t a particularly agile mover. His sack production comes from his outstanding effort; Trice never gives up on the play and will always work his way back to the QB.

Trice has a very high floor due to his physicality and play against the run, and he’ll be able to carve out a role as a base package defender early. The question is if his pass rush production can stay this high at the NFL level, where his lack of length and advanced technique could create greater mismatches. If he can develop better counters and hand usage to compliment his strength, Trice could become a three-down NFL starter.

Rutgers v Penn State

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4. Chop Robinson, Penn State

A near-unanimous fourth overall in our panel’s rankings, Chop Robinson is the latest in the line of uber-athletic prospects to come out of Penn State. If not for Myles Cole’s absolutely ridiculous testing at his size, Robinson would have had the highest RAS among all pass rushers at the NFL Combine at 9.70. At nearly 6’3, 254, Robinson ran an incredible 4.48s 40 with a 1.53s 10-yard split and a 4.25s short shuttle. The explosiveness, agility, and bend absolutely jump off the tape when evaluating Robinson.

Some length questions exist (just 32.5” arms), but Robinson otherwise looks like a prototypical NFL 3-4 OLB and has a sky-high ceiling. The reason he isn’t higher on this list is that Robinson’s incredible traits have simply not translated to production thus far. Robinson managed just 3.0 sacks in 2023 and 5.0 in 2022. He lacks technical ability at this stage, with very little pass rush plan or counters to speak of. Robinson will need a lot of development to reach his ceiling and thus carries more risk than the prospects above him, but his ceiling is as high as anyone in the class.

3. Laiatu Latu, UCLA

We’re now entering the “big three” edge rush prospects, and I think there’s a case to be made for each of them at the top of the class. UCLA’s Laiatu Latu ends up in third, but don’t let that fool you. Latu is one of the most polished and technically advanced edge rushers I’ve ever scouted coming out of college. He has a deep and varied repertoire of moves and counters and knows when to deploy them. College linemen simply couldn’t keep him blocked for long, as demonstrated by his ridiculous production (15.0 sacks in 2023). That technique extends to the run game as well, where Latu plays above his weight class thanks to his ability to beat blocks.

Latu’s athleticism was in question heading into the NFL Combine, but he surprised by testing out very well between Indianapolis and his Pro Day and finished with an elite 9.31 RAS. He’s got a good frame at nearly 6’5, 260, although his arm length is a bit below ideal thresholds at 32 5/8”. On film, Latu is arguably the top pass rusher in the class. Questions about a lack of prototypical size and athleticism, along with medical questions considering a brief medical retirement several years back, could lead to him falling into the mid-to-late first round.

2023 ACC Championship - Louisville v Florida State

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2. Jared Verse, Florida State

A near-unanimous selection at second overall (aside from me, who had him first), Florida State’s Jared Verse fits right in between Latu and Turner in terms of his evaluation. Verse has better size, physicality, and athleticism than Latu, but isn’t as polished as a technician. He’s not quite on the level of Turner in terms of athleticism or elite length, but is much more accomplished in terms of his technique and ability against the run.

I love Verse’s consistent production and ability to be an instant three-down starter. To me, he checks all the boxes of a top-10 edge rusher even if he isn’t quite the elite athlete that Turner is. Verse’s 9.53 RAS is more than good enough for me, and I like his ability to become and instant-impact player a bit more than betting on the traits of Turner. That being said, Verse is a bit of a straight-line player and will never possess the elite bend and cornering ability of Turner. Depending on scheme and team need, I could see certain defenses preferring one skill set or the other.

1. Dallas Turner, Alabama

The consensus top edge rusher in the class and a near-unanimous selection by our panel, Alabama’s Dallas Turner is the prototype for the position in the NFL. Turner is an outstanding athlete at nearly 6’3, 247 and measured in with incredible length for his size (34 3/8” arms). His 9.30 RAS includes a wild 4.46s 40, 40.5” vertical jump, and 10’7” broad jump. Turner is the complete package from a physical standpoint and absolutely has the potential to join the league’s most elite pass rushers.

However, Turner is by far the most raw of the top edge prospects. His hand usage is inconsistent, he lacks a repertoire of moves and counters, and his play against the run is middling. Turner needs more development than Latu or Verse and may have a longer runway to NFL success. He’s more likely to start his career as a pass rush specialist while growing into a three-down role. Regardless, his sky-high ceiling will almost certainly see him drafted inside the top 10.

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