When you think of the top position groups teams target early in the NFL Draft these days, quarterbacks and edge rushers are some of the most highly sought after. If you land an elite player, that can help catapult your team to the next level (i.e.: Detroit Lions taking Aidan Hutchinson over Travon Walker). The 2024 class currently looks to have a strong group at the top, as well as some really intriguing mid and later-round prospects.
When you look at the data, over the last 5 years teams are on average drafting AT LEAST 24 Edge rushers, and if you check out Brian or Shane’s Rankings, you’ll see there are plenty of talented options in the upcoming draft! If you check out our friends over at Mock Draft Database, the consensus so far shows 4 Edge rushers in round 1 (today at least).
Top Tier Edge Rushers – The Best of the Best!
I expect all 5 of these players to step in and have immediate impacts on whatever team drafts them. With Jared Verse, he was being mocked near the top of round 1 last year, so not sure much could cause him to slide out of the top 10-15 spots in 2024. He brings the size/speed combination to make him a force off the edge, and I’d love to see him in a base 4-3 front, maybe even more of a wide-9 because he’s got such a great burst to get behind the line of scrimmage on any play. I really see these top five players falling into two buckets, I see them as nice edge rushers from a 4-3 front (Verse, Robinson, and Tuimoloau) or 3-4 outside linebackers (Turner, and Latu).
Tier 2 Edge Rushers – Day 1 Rotational Prospects!
This next group of pass rushers could easily be starters for a team within the next couple of seasons, though I labeled them rotational because you could make the case they play some role for a team from day 1. I also could see the order these players a drafted really go any which way, they all have a fairly well-rounded skillset that could be intriguing depending on the scheme the team that’s interested runs. I think Sawyer is currently my favorite from the group today, his physicality and explosion are apparent on the film, and I think he could stand out as a hard-working pass rusher teams will fall in love with next spring.
Tier 3 Edge Rushers – Has the tools, needs the time!
Adisa Isaac – Penn State
Chris Braswell – Alabama
Collin Oliver – Oklahoma State
Patrick Payton – Florida State
Cedric Johnson – Mississippi
Princely Umanmielen – Florida
John Mogan III – Arkansas
Jaylen Harrell – Michigan
Gabriel Murphy – UCLA
Javontae Jean-Baptiste – Notre Dame
Eyabi Okie – Charlotte
Grayson Murphy – UCLA
David Walker Central – Arkansas
Ashton Gillotte – Louisville
Sean Martin – West Virginia
My tier three is much larger, in large part because it hasn’t really had anyone differentiate themselves enough to make it out of this tier. Most of these players have a trait or two that stand out and make them draftable in my mind but will most likely start as depth players that push to become rotational hopefully.
Patrick Payton from Florida State is a guy I have been keeping an eye on the most from the group. Probably more so because I was watching Verse. But Payton has had some decent production at FSU. If you asked me today to make a prediction, he’s a depth outside edge rusher in a 3-4. I think he’s probably too light weight-wise and will need to be able to have some space to work the offensive lineman. I still have liked what I’ve seen with all of these players, so there’s that!
Thanks for stopping by, I really do appreciate your time! As always if you want to talk all things football, hit me up on Twitter or over on the Draft Countdown Discord! And check out the rest of my work here.