Ranking Jared Verse, J.T. Tuimoloau, and Others

Who are the top 10 EDGE prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft off preliminary viewings? Evaluators were perhaps spoiled by a 2023 group that was very top-heavy in the Round 1 range. That said, that’s no reason to become pessimistic about 2024. Early on, the 2024 NFL Draft group looks very promising, and there’s clear Round 1 talent in front.

Ranking the EDGEs in the 2024 NFL Draft

The 2023 NFL Draft truly had it all when it came to the EDGE position. It wasn’t just a deep class. It hosted a barrage of player types, from power rushers to finesse rushers and everything in between. Pass rush has always been an indispensable area for coaches, but especially in the modern NFL, it’s one of the most important components of the game itself.

Every pass-rushing unit, in order to function properly, needs both top-end talent and reliable depth. And looking at the 2024 NFL Draft class at the surface level, it appears to have a good mix of both. Let’s dive into the early film observations and see who leads off our list of 2024 EDGE prospects.

10) Khordae Sydnor, Purdue

A couple of cycles ago, the Purdue Boilermakers had a highly-regarded power EDGE in George Karlaftis. They could have another in the wings with redshirt sophomore Khordae Sydnor — only Sydnor’s tools are even more exciting. Sydnor put up 4.5 sacks and 6.5 TFLs in 2022, and under former Illinois defensive coordinator Ryan Walters, he could explode.

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Sydnor is still relatively raw, but at 6’4″, 265 pounds, he has overwhelming mass and absolute vines for arms. Two of his sacks came against Maryland offensive tackle Jaelyn Duncan in 2022. Sydnor can get inside his opponent’s frame so easily with his length, and he has the linear burst, raw strength, and drive to forklift blockers out of his path.

9) Laiatu Latu, UCLA

Quietly, Laiatu Latu is one of the most productive returning edge defenders in the 2024 NFL Draft crop. And were it not for Bralen Trice of Washington, he might have more hype as one of the Pac-12’s best prospects on the defensive front. Latu amassed 10.5 sacks, 12.5 tackles for loss, and three forced fumbles in a standout 2022 campaign.

Latu visibly lacks elite bend, and he’s more of a lumbering athlete in space than preferred, but he has a few traits that skew overwhelmingly in his favor. At 6’4″, 265 pounds, power and strength aren’t issues, and Latu also has the motor and persistence with his hands to win one-on-one battles through second and third-effort attempts. That motor will ensure he sustains an NFL career.

8) Jack Sawyer, Ohio State

It’s almost unfair how much talent Ohio State has at every position on a year-to-year basis, but the EDGE position, in particular, is a revolving door of NFL talent. In the 2024 NFL Draft cycle, the Buckeyes have a potential top-10 selection in J.T. Tuimoloau, and Jack Sawyer is another former five-star recruit who could erupt as he returns to the defensive line.

Sawyer played JACK linebacker in 2022 and was out of position at times as a result. But a return to the line could ultimately unlock his full potential, especially playing alongside Tuimoloau, Michael Hall Jr., and others. Sawyer has an NFL frame at 6’4″, 267 pounds, and he’s shown he can win routinely with forceful hands and urgent pursuit.

7) Princely Umanmielen, Florida

There’s an ascending talent on the Florida defensive line who could have a higher ceiling than all of the recent Florida EDGE prospects to come out of the collegiate ranks — among them Jonathan Greenard, Brenton Cox Jr., and Jachai Polite. Princely Umanmielen is his name, and if all goes well for him, we could hear his name in the early rounds.

Umanmielen still has room to keep building on his 4.5-sack, 9.5-TFL 2022 campaign, but all of the tools are there. At around 6’4″ and 250 pounds, he offers legitimately eye-catching bend and cornering ability around the arc. Whether it’s a dip-and-rip, a bull rush, or a more expansive counter, Umanmielen has the quickness and length to make it happen.

6) Chop Robinson, Penn State

Demeioun Robinson — better known by his very fitting nickname “Chop” — is a prospect we can reliably project near the top of the 2024 NFL Draft EDGE class. He might not have the elite overarching tools that other potential inclusions possess, but he’s already proven his method of success is effective, with 5.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss this past season.

MORE: 2024 NFL Draft Prospect Watchlist

Robinson is 6’3″ at most and only 240 pounds, so he isn’t going to win with strength consistently. But with his burst, natural leverage, and proportional length, he has an underrated power profile, and he also has the bend and ankle flexion to accelerate around the apex after establishing a lever. And his motor is the ultimate fusing agent for his game.

Brandon Dorlus (3) celebrates after a defensive stop against the Brigham Young Cougars at Autzen Stadium.

5) Brandon Dorlus, Oregon

Brandon Dorlus provides a unique mold of defensive lineman for evaluators in the 2024 NFL Draft cycle. At 6’3″, 285 pounds, Dorlus has the size, mass, and elite proportional length to line up at 3-tech or shade over 1-tech, but he’s also athletic and explosive enough to function as a stand-up EDGE or swerve across the line on stunts like a battering ram.

The Ducks lost DJ Johnson to the 2023 NFL Draft, and they also lost Bradyn Swinson to the transfer portal, so Dorlus may be used on the edge more often in 2023. With his sheer versatility and disruptive profile wherever he lines up, he has some Travon Walker-lite appeal. With five sacks and 16.5 TFLs over the past two seasons, he’s trending up.

4) Bralen Trice, Washington

The 2023 NFL Draft class was graced with several elite power profiles in the early rounds. Tyree Wilson, Myles Murphy, Lukas Van Ness, Isaiah Foskey, and Keion White are just a few prospects who provided the size, length, and explosiveness to fit that mold. In the 2024 NFL Draft cycle, Washington’s Bralen Trice keeps that elite power element alive.

Trice was one of the NCAA’s most prolific pass-rushing threats in 2022, with nine sacks and 12 tackles for loss. He’s not the most flexible rusher, and he’s largely a linear threat at this point. But he’s a massive defender at 6’4″, 260 pounds, whose sheer speed to power and heavy hands can be overwhelming for opposing tackles.

3) J.T. Tuimoloau, Ohio State

It’s important never to get ahead of yourself with prospects in upcoming cycles. No one knows how the 2024 NFL Draft class will pan out at this point. But since 2021, Ohio State EDGE J.T. Tuimoloau has been anticipated as a potential top-10 pick. He was a five-star recruit who broke out in 2022 with 3.5 sacks, 10.5 TFLs, two picks, and four PBUs.

Tuimoloau is just built differently. He’s 6’4″, 277 pounds, and yet, he’s an explosive long-strider who bounds off the line. He has terrifying power capacity with his burst and length, but he’s also surprisingly nimble and flexible for his size, and he has a nose for the football in close quarters. He’s not EDGE1 yet, but he could get there if he takes a leap in 2023.

2) Dallas Turner, Alabama

In all likelihood, any prospect Alabama fields at the EDGE position in the 2024 NFL Draft cycle won’t grade as highly as Will Anderson Jr. did. But that’s a high bar to clear. Anderson was a clear blue-chip prospect with an immediate impact projection. Dallas Turner’s NFL transition might not be as smooth, but he has a ceiling in the same range.

At 6’4″, 245 pounds, Turner first appears as more of a finesse-oriented player. He’s a bolt of lightning off the line with absurd hip flexibility and ankle flexion around the apex. Those two traits alone can be overwhelming for tackles. But just when you think you’ve figured Turner out, he’ll hit tackles with devastating long-arms and bull rushes. With his length and burst, he has power on his side, too.

Who Is the Best EDGE in the 2024 NFL Draft?

Odds are, the fight for EDGE1 will become a much more tumultuous and convoluted conversation as the 2024 NFL Draft cycle progresses. But right now, there’s only one prospect who has the production and the volume of tape to warrant holding that spot, and that’s Florida State’s Jared Verse.

1) Jared Verse, Florida State

Ahead of the 2022 campaign, the Florida State Seminoles scored a highly-regarded defensive transfer from the FCS ranks in edge rusher Jared Verse. Originally from Albany, Verse flashed the high-end tools that Florida State coveted.

It was believed that playing for the ACC program might unlock his talents, but no one expected it to happen as quickly as it did. Verse dominated straight from Week 1 against LSU and carried his performance all through the season, racking up nine sacks and 17 tackles for loss in a first-team All-American and All-ACC showing.

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Verse could have declared for the 2023 NFL Draft. He almost assuredly would have been a Round 1 selection. In fact, on my board, he would have been a top-five prospect in a loaded EDGE group. But instead, Verse chose to return to school. And in he’s in the driver’s seat for the EDGE1 mantle in 2024.

At 6’4″, 249 pounds, Verse isn’t an elite size threat. But that’s one of the few knocks on his profile. He has good length. He has good bend. He’s a ruthless technician with his hands who can successively exert power and deconstruct anchors with swipes, rips, and chops. And at the foundation of it all, he’s a supremely explosive athlete with a kind of hyper-elite twitch that constantly has tackles fighting for their lives.

Production, traits, a complete prospect profile — early on, it looks as though Verse truly has it all.

Honorable Mentions

  • Barryn Sorrell, Texas
  • Zion Tupuola-Fetui, Washington
  • Jordan Burch, Oregon
  • JJ Weaver, Kentucky
  • Jaylen Harrell, Michigan
  • Braiden McGregor, Michigan
  • Josaiah Stewart, Michigan
  • Brennan Jackson, Washington State
  • Collin Oliver, Oklahoma State

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