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Latest 2024 NFL Draft big board: Defensive linemen | Top 10 Tuesday

View the top 10 NFL Draft prospect rankings based on position

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As your New Orleans Saints prepare for the 2024 NFL Draft, we take a look at the top 10 ranked players at various positions. The 2024 NFL Draft big board rankings are reflective of Bucky Brooks' top five 2024 NFL Draft prospects by position 1.0 and ESPN's NFL Draft "Best Available" list.

Here are the top five ranked draft prospects at defensive end and the top five ranked draft prospects at defensive tackle:

2024 NFL Draft prospects - Defensive End | No. 1 Dallas Turner | Alabama

Rank
1
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Dallas Turner | Alabama
2023 Season Stats: 28 SOLO | 10 SACK | 2 FF

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Given a player comparison of Brian Burns by NFL.com, Turner enters the draft as a consensus Day 1 selection according to NFL.com and ESPN. He's a talented rusher from a highly regarded program, but there is still a bit of refining needed in his game. An NFC executive said, "He's such a talented athlete. One of the biggest mistakes people make is looking past athletic ability and focusing too much on technique or polish when they come out. Just look for 'dudes' and coach the rest of it.". Turner has played for a number of winning programs, and with the talent of a Year 1 starter, he will be looking to continue that winning stretch in the NFL. 

Height: 6 feet 3

Weight: 247 pounds

NFL.com draft grade: 6.70

NFL.com overview: "Long and athletic with the explosive traits needed to become an impactful NFL pass rusher. Turner's first-step quickness and elite closing burst are important building blocks, but he still needs to work on his process from Point A to Point B. He hasn't learned to create the space and angles needed to consistently attack the edges, but that should come with better hand development and a more diversified approach. A team would be wise to widen him out and allow him a better runway to ignite his burst and overwhelm tackles with his speed. He's added 20 pounds since coming to Alabama, but he struggles at times to stack and shed run blockers or set a firm edge. Turner's frame and game are much less developed than Will Anderson Jr.'s coming out of Alabama last year, so it could take time for him to make his mark as a starting 3-4 outside linebacker."

2024 NFL Draft prospects - Defensive End | No. 2 Laiatu Latu | UCLA

Rank
2
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Laiatu Latu | UCLA
2023 Season Stats: 28 SOLO | 13 SACK | 2 FF | 2 INT

Latu has impressed scouts so much during the pre-draft process that he has been given a player comparison of T.J. Watt, one of the most dominant edges in the league. An AFC executive had this to say about Latu, "Dallas Turner is going to go higher, but Latu is easily the most skilled rusher in the draft." With expectations this high, he will need to prove that his neck injury that happened during his time at Washington is far behind him, and that the UCLA version is the version the NFL will be getting. If that proves to be true, Latu could be in the Pro Bowl in just a few years.

Height: 6 feet 5

Weight: 259 pounds

NFL.com draft grade: 6.50

NFL.com overview: "Latu possesses the kind of rare maturity to his game that you usually see from NFL veterans. He rarely stays blocked by tackles as a run defender and dominates blocking tight ends on the collegiate level. His pass-rush approach is both well conceived and instinctive, and he's brilliant at taking possession of the rep using clever hands and slippery angles to pry open opportunities. His eyes play beyond blockers, and he feeds off of a voracious motor that keeps him pushing forward as a run defender and pass rusher. Concerns surrounding his neck injury (while at Washington) will certainly come into play when he gets to medical exams, but his durability and play at UCLA are certainly promising. Everything about Latu's skill set and production is translatable to the NFL, and he could become a Pro Bowler as a 3-4 outside linebacker with a heavy influence on the game."

2024 NFL Draft prospects - Defensive End | No. 3 Jared Verse | Florida State

Rank
3
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Jared Verse | Florida State
2023 Season Stats: 23 SOLO | 9 SACK | 1 FF

Verse is being compared to LaMarr Woodley as he enters the draft, making him one of the most interesting prospects this year. An NFC executive said, "He really sees the game well and he's got the athleticism to go with it. I think he'll be one of the best defensive players to come out of this draft." The biggest knock against Verse is his size, but he more than makes up for it by playing faster and stronger than a typical edge of his size. He is more of a speed rusher, but absolutely has the power to bull rush through an offensive lineman with ease. He was listed as the best edge prospect on ESPN, so he is extremely likely to be taken Day 1.

Height: 6 feet 4

Weight: 254 pounds

NFL.com draft grade: 6.73

NFL.com overview: "Talented edge defender with the field demeanor, athleticism and skill set to rack up statistics in key categories fairly early in his NFL career. Verse dominated at Albany and then showed an ability to do the same at Florida State. He's twitchy and compact, with explosiveness featured at the point of attack and in his upfield burst as a pass rusher. He's great with his hands and does a nice job of diagnosing plays quickly and staying out of the clinches of offensive linemen looking to snatch him up. Verse's ability to threaten the edge only bolsters his hellish speed-to-power bull-rushing ability to run tackles deep into the pocket. He can play up or down and should be in consideration for all defensive schemes looking to add a safe, high-impact edge."

2024 NFL Draft prospects - Defensive End | No. 4 Chop Robinson | Penn State

Rank
4
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Chop Robinson | Penn State
2023 Season Stats: 12 SOLO | 4 SACK | 2 FF

Chop Robinson has been equated to Micah Parsons entering the draft, which would set an extremely high set of expectations on him. An NFC national scout offered their take on the comparison when they said, "I get the comparison to Micah Parsons, but I think Parsons was a little more polished as a football player when he came out. Chop is still a little green." Whether he is an exact representation of the dominant Cowboys end remains to be seen, but the upside is there. With a comparison like that, it is hard to image he makes it through the first round without hearing his name called.

Height: 6 feet 3

Weight: 254 pounds

NFL.com draft grade: 6.70

NFL.com overview: "Edge defender who offers the type of elite athleticism we've seen from players like Micah Parsons and Myles Garrett. Robinson might not be as fast as Parsons, but he's close. He's ultra-twitchy with the explosiveness to get on top of blockers and overwhelm them in an instant. However, he will need to level up his hand skills and attack angles to reach his potential against NFL tackles. Robinson's electric athletic traits alone should give him a floor as a good NFL starter. If he crafts a rush approach and learns to string moves/counters together, he could reach his ceiling as a destructive force capable of forcing teams to game plan around him."

2024 NFL Draft prospects - Defensive End | No. 5 Bralen Trice | Washington

Rank
5
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Bralen Trice | Washington
2023 Season Stats: 30 SOLO | 7 SACK | 1 FF

Trice may not be a first-round selection, but he can still provide quality depth at the edge position, and he has the skills to develop into a started over time. His personality is exactly what you'd want in the locker room, and he can be a consistent leader on a young squad. If he is behind a veteran leader, his coachability should allow him to develop into a starting role when it comes time for the vet to retire. His sense of urgency is his biggest positive on the football field, so if he learns some more technique, he could be a better-than-average player.

Height: 6 feet 3 1/2

Weight: 245 pounds

NFL.com draft grade: 6.19

NFL.com Overview: "Team captain with good size who is well-liked by his teammates and coaching staff. Trice isn't going to be the most skilled edge defender, but he parlays urgency and effort into impressive production. He carries a thick frame but lacks juice as an edge rusher and fails to stack and control tackles as a run defender. He's a better fit in gaming fronts that allow him to play on the move, but he might lack the athleticism and explosiveness needed to carry his production to the next level. Trice's try-hard demeanor and play strength give him a chance to become a decent backup end in a 4-3 defense."

2024 NFL Draft prospects - Defensive Tackle | No. 1 Jer'Zhan Newton | Illinois

Rank
1
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Jer'Zhan Newton | Illinois
2023 Season Stats: 26 SOLO | 7.5 SACK | 1 FF

Newton enters the draft as the best interior defensive lineman according to both NFL.com and ESPN. He has been given a player comparison of Jason Hargrave, but he will be looking to make a name for himself as he enters the league. His size is a bit small for a defensive tackle, but he more than makes up for it with his explosiveness and disruptiveness. His weight is highly concentrated in his upper body, allowing him to garner tremendous power when engaging in blocks. He has all the traits required to potentially develop into a productive starter, but he will need a little more work before he is solidly there.

Height: 6 feet 2

Weight: 304 pounds

NFL.com draft grade: 6.36

NFL.com Overview: "Active interior defender with the potential to build on his disruptive production in college. Newton's size and length don't stand out, but he has shown a consistent ability to gain extension and set edges against bigger opponents. Newton is clever in setting up blockers and then beating them with sudden hand usage and foot quickness as both a run defender and a pass rusher. He's strong enough to hold the point, but he's not going to overwhelm NFL guards with force or power. His skill level and athleticism should create additional playmaking opportunities for him as a three-down 3-technique with early starting potential."

2024 NFL Draft prospects - Defensive Tackle | No. 2 Byron Murphy II | Texas

Rank
2
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Byron Murphy II | Texas
2023 Season Stats: 13 SOLO | 5 SACK

Murphy II was dubbed a similar player to Ed Oliver by NFL.com, which is a high bar to set, but many believe he can easily surpass it. An AFC area scout said, "I know people love talking about (T'Vondre) Sweat but Murphy is the guy who will be the better pro. If he was bigger, he would be talked about as much as any defensive tackle in the draft." His size being his biggest knock is both a positive and negative for Murphy II. It's a positive because it proves that there are not and overarching flaws within his game. It is a negative because it is something mostly out of his control. Sure, he could put on a few pounds of muscle and try to beef up, but at the end of the day he will still be just above 6 feet, making him a tougher selection to take a flyer on.

Height: 6 feet 0 1/2

Weight: 297 pounds

NFL.com Draft Grade: 6.48

NFL.com Overview: "Muscular ball of explosiveness with the tools and talent to become a productive three-down defender in the right scheme. Twitchy first-step quickness combined with flexion and power in his lower half create a recipe for disruption as a gap shooter or as a pass rusher. Murphy is powerful and well-schooled at taking on double-teams but lacks ideal mass and length for that role long-term. He's successful at bypassing protection with sudden hands and quick feet, while his motor and passion create an activity level coaches will love. Forget the average physical traits and modest production and focus on his competitive spirit and disruptive qualities. Murphy is ascending and could become a successful nose tackle or 3-technique in an even front."

2024 NFL Draft prospects - Defensive Tackle | No. 3 T'Vondre Sweat | Texas

Rank
3
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T'Vondre Sweat | Texas
2023 Season Stats: 18 SOLO | 2 SACK

Sweat is one of the rare prospects that has been given two player comparisons: Vita Vea and Sam Adams. His biggest asset is his sheer size, making it virtually impossible to move him off of the line with just one guy. AN AFC area scout summed it up by saying, "He's not going to be single-blocked, so offenses are going to have to end up accounting for him on anything they want to do with their inside running game." The biggest drawback to Sweat's game is that he likely will not be super effective in passing situations, as he only had 2 sacks by the end of the 2023 season. If a team needs a defensive tackle to help stop the run, the Sweat is the perfect candidate. And as a bonus, he may surprise some people with the amount of snaps he can play in a game.

Height: 6 feet 4 1/2

Weight: 366 pounds

NFL.com draft grade: 6.38

NFL.com overview: "Sweat is a massive space-eater whose size and skill set will have him plugged into a role as a run-plugger for odd- or even-front defenses. He's not quick off the snap or explosive into first contact, but it takes a village to try to uproot him and move him out of the way. The attention he will require from blocking schemes should help unlock the playmaking potential of speedy inside linebackers who won't have to contend with as much traffic climbing into the second level. He offers more rush than expected for a man his size and could play more snaps than most at his position. Sweat's area of impact will be narrowly focused, but it could create a much larger impact on the defense overall."

2024 NFL Draft prospects - Defensive Tackle | No. 4 Kris Jenkins | Michigan

Rank
4
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Kris Jenkins | Michigan
2023 Season Stats: 17 SOLO | 2.5 SACK | 1 INT

Jenkins has defensive tackle in the bloodlines as his father, Kris Jenkins, was a four-time Pro Bowler during his time in the league. Additionally, Kris Jenkins is a proven winner, securing the National Championship victory with the Michigan Wolverines last season. His player comparison entering the draft is Milton Williams, making him an interesting prospect for teams looking to bolster their defensive front. Jenkins is quick to attack and is a consistent energy player on pass rushes. While he is undersized, he has enough skills to get some attention from teams. 

Height: 6 feet 3

Weight: 299 pounds

NFL.com draft grade: 6.30

NFL.com overview: "Possesses rare pedigree with a college football national title under his belt and a father who was a four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle. Jenkins has a smaller frame for his position, but he plays with good strength in one-on-one power swaps. He can neutralize single blocks but has trouble fighting back to muddy his gap against double-teams. His motor stays engaged. He's frequently running down ball-carriers and chasing quarterbacks by the end of the play. Jenkins flashes more rush talent than his sack production would indicate, but he still needs to work on developing more go-to moves to pair with his spin counter. Jenkins isn't a natural two-gapper, but he can play upfield or read-and-react football on the next level as an eventual starter capable of creating disruptions."

2024 NFL Draft prospects - Defensive Tackle | No. 5 Darius Robinson | Missouri

Rank
5
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Darius Robinson | Missouri
2023 Season Stats: 29 SOLO | 8.5 SACK | 1 FF

Considered either a defensive tackle or a defensive end, Robinson has been given a player comparison of Desmond Bryant entering the draft. An NFC scouting director believes there may be a more fitting comparison, though, saying "He's still learning to play and kind of reminds me of Keion White (Patriots second-round pick in 2023) with his traits and what he could become." Robinson's stats speak for themselves. With 29 solo tackles and over 8 sacks, he is a force on the defensive line. He isn't the most polished of players, but his raw athleticism cannot be ignored, and it likely won't be as some teams will definitely have him on their draft boards.

Height: 6 feet 5

Weight: 285 pounds

NFL.com draft grade: 6.37

NFL.com overview: "Right out of the gate, Robinson's physical attributes should give him a potential advantage in head-to-head matchups. He has jarring power in his hands and a twitchy upper body to get rid of blockers quickly. His arm length is a weapon at the point of attack. His play can lack control and awareness at times, but the good outweighs the bad. He's a good athlete, but his pass rush is predictable. He lacks potent moves and counters as an edge rusher, leaning heavily on force. Robinson's power and motor increase the chances he becomes a good starting base end who reduces inside on third downs."

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