The 2023 NFL Draft is over and teams are getting comfortable with their new draft picks. The next class of players is preparing for another year of college football. Each position will be analyzed in the coming days. Here is the 2024 NFL Draft prospect watchlist: Edge Rushers.
Jack Sawyer, Ohio State Buckeyes
As the best prospect in the state of Ohio, Sawyer signed with the Buckeyes in the class of 2021. He saw the field a little bit as a true freshman, registering three tackles for loss and three sacks on the season. His role increased in 2022, as he totaled 6.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks, as he helped the Buckeyes make the College Football Playoff.
While he has solid size at 6-foot-4 and 265 pounds, Sawyer doesn’t appear to have great length for an edge rusher. He gets a good jump at the snap of the ball and is able to convert that speed to power. Sawyer needs to read plays better, especially the read option, and he’ll have to add more pass-rush moves to his arsenal.
Xavier Thomas, Clemson Tigers
Thomas joined the Tigers in 2018, which has allowed him to get great experience over his college career. He helped the Tigers win the National Championship in 2018 and has led them to double-digit wins every season he has been on campus. Thomas has 29 tackles for loss in his career and 15 sacks. Last season, he was only able to play in three games due to a foot injury.
He has nice strength at 6-foot-2 and 270 pounds, but lacks elite length. Thomas has a quick first step and good athleticism for the position. He needs to prove he’s fully healed from his foot injury in 2022 and add more pass-rush moves to his game to improve his stock.
J.T. Tuimoloau, Ohio State Buckeyes
Tuimoloau was a highly-recruited prospect in the 2021 class. He had 4.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks as a true freshman. In 2022, Tuimoloau improved with 10.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. For the 2023 season, he is expected to take a big step forward.
At 6-foot-4 and 270 pounds, Tuimoloau is a bigger edge rusher. He is advanced against the run and shows good pursuit of ball carriers. Tuimoloau will need to add more pass-rush moves to his game and show he can achieve better production as a pass-rusher.
Dallas Turner, Alabama Crimson Tide
Turner was a coveted recruit who immediately made an impact for the Crimson Tide. He was a Freshman All-American with 10 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. In 2022, Turner he registered eight tackles for loss and four sacks. Turner will be hoping to get Alabama back to the College Football Playoff next season after they missed out last season.
He is a little undersized for the position at 242 pounds. Turner will need to add strength to his frame to be able to shed blocks more quickly. He does have explosive athleticism and flexibility that helps him win on the edge. Turner attacks gaps well and can be a productive pro.
Jared Verse, Florida State Seminoles
Verse started his collegiate career at the FCS level at Albany. After finding success there, he transferred to Florida State for the 2022 season. Verse immediately made an impact with 17 tackles for loss and nine sacks, which helped the Seminoles win 10 games.
Verse can add more to his frame, as he is 6-foot-4 and 248 pounds. Adding strength will help him hold his spot against the run. He is very explosive at the snap of the ball and can convert speed to power. Verse keeps his pad level low, which helps him keep his power.
Other Draft Prospects to Watch
Laiatu Latu, UCLA Bruins- After starting his career at Washington, Latu starred for UCLA last season. He had 10.5 sacks and will be looking to build on that in 2023.
Collin Oliver, Oklahoma State Cowboys- Oliver is a little undersized for the position, but was very productive in 2021 for Oklahoma State. He will need to regain that form, as his production dipped in 2022.
Bralen Trice, Washington Huskies- Trice took a huge step forward for the Huskies in 2022, as he had 12 tackles for loss and nine sacks. He’ll be one-half of a dangerous Washington pass rush.
Zion Tupuola-Fetui, Washington Huskies- Tupuola-Fetui has battled injuries through his collegiate career. He was able to get back to 5.5 sacks in 2022 and could really regain his draft stock with a good 2023 season.
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