NFL Draft 2024: Comparing The Top Edge Prospects

By Matt Edwards | March 18, 2024 | 3-minutes

NFL Draft 2024: Comparing The Top Edge Prospects

The Cowboys recently exercised the 5th year option on All Pro EDGE defender Micah Parsons. Nothing really of note there, Parsons has been one of the top defenders in the league for a while now. The interesting part arises when looking at how the Cowboys went about it. The Cowboys designated Parsons as a Defensive End instead of a linebacker, saving just over $2.5 million. In this article about Edge defenders, we luckily don’t have to nitpick about outdated position names and can just analyze four of the top prospects for the draft: Dallas Turner, Jared Verse, Laiatu Latu, and Chop Robinson.

Dallas Turner

Dallas Turner looks to be the next star Alabama DL taken in the draft after teammate and partner in backfield destruction Will Anderson was drafted #2 overall last season. Turner tested incredibly well at the Combine. He ran a 4.46 40, had a vertical jump over 40 inches (40.5), and broad jumped 10’7”. For comparison, Anderson (who is similar in height and weight to Turner) only participated in the 40 at the Combine last year, and ran it in 4.6 seconds. Their 10-yard splits were more similar with Turner coming in at 1.54 seconds while Anderson ran 1.61 seconds.

It’s easy to get lost in comparing players who play the same position from the same school. The bad reputation of Ohio State Quarterbacks in the NFL for some reason was used as a negative in evaluating CJ Stroud for whatever reason. But, it can be used to compare how successful two players who play the same position, in the same scheme were. Below is Will Anderson’s radar from the 2022 season at Alabama.

Anderson and Turner’s trait radars almost overlap perfectly. Anderson did have a slightly deeper depth of tackle. But the performance radar is where the difference shows, and gives some context as to why Anderson was the 3rd overall pick. Anderson had similar production in pass rush scenarios, but was a much better defender against the run. He was better than Turner in most of the run metrics we track: Stuff %, run disruptions, and stop %. Not to mention the depth of tackle from his trait radar.

While Dallas Turner is a better athlete, and a good pass rush defender, his run defense is a reason (as well as this being a potential all time draft for QB and WR, and maybe OT as well) that he is not being talked about as a top 5 pick.

Jared Verse

I love Jared Verse’s college football journey. One offer, to FCS Albany, to play college football out of high school. Verse did not play his 1st year at Albany. Then the world shut down in the offseason as he was getting ready for his 2nd year. At the start of the covid shutdown he was 210 pounds. He then ate and worked out practically all day every day and came out the other end as a CAA defensive rookie of the year. After two good seasons, he entered the transfer portal and had a much different recruiting experience. He committed to Florida State and the rest is history.

Even after putting on 40-50 pounds since 2020, Verse has not lost his explosiveness off the ball. At the Combine he ran a 4.58 40 yard dash, and had a 1.6 10 yard split. He was one of only 5 people to participate in all of the testing events and also did well in the 20 yard shuttle and the 3 cone.

Here is where we get the chance to highlight some of our physical metrics. At StatsBomb we take great pride in producing not only data, but tools that are designed by people who have worked in the team space, for people who work in the team space. This concept leads our development of metrics, visual tools for the site, our API design, and all other decisions we face. With this in mind, we not only have the most accurate player speed and accelerations on the market, we take these and contextualize them as much as possible.

Our contextual physical metrics for edge defenders is Get Off Distance. Taking the distance people travel in the first second after the snap on pass rush scenarios. Looking at all Edge defenders in the FBS last season, Verse ranked 5th in average get off distance with an average distance of 3.13 yards. His best get off was 4.3 yards on a pass rush against Miami where he and Patrick Payton both ran over 4 yards.

Laiatu Latu

Because we started with Combine numbers for Dallas Turner and Jared Verse, let’s do the same here. Mainly to use as a comparison for how Latu tested. Latu ran a 4.64 40 and 1.62 10 yard split, jumped 32” in the vertical test, and 9’8” in the broad jump. Those numbers are noticeably lower than Turner (especially the vertical and broad jump), and a little bit lower than the running times that Verse put up. Latu does however have huge production in the pass game.

Looking at Latu’s performance radar, the spokes for the passing game production are all out to the edges (the edge of the radar is the 95th percentile for that stat). Latu was top 15 in QB proximity, 4th among all Edge defenders in the country in our pressure metric, and 3rd in sacks. Those numbers represent the stages of an effective pass rush.

  • How close are you getting to the QB, even if you don’t get a pressure, or a sack?
  • Are you getting close enough to pressure the QB?
  • Are you turning those pressures and close encounters into sacks?

Latu does a great job turning his pass rushes into pressures, and his close rushes into sacks. One reason Latu is such a good pass rusher is his ability to get off the blocker quickly. Latu had the 7th lowest Pass ALOE (if you need a reminder what that is, check out the article last week on Offensive Lineman and ALOE) of all Edge defenders. His ability to get off blocks extended to the run game as well.

Above are the top 250 Edge defenders and their Run and Pass ALOE. The four defenders from this article are highlighted. Latu and Verse are both in the top right of the graph, showing their strong ability to get off blocks in both the run and pass game. Turner and Chop Robinson (more on him below) are both noticeably farther down the line.

Chop Robinson

When I was young my grandpa was still coaching at BYU. Each year I would get the media guides for that season and devour them to get all the information I could get about BYU and the opponents. During my grandpa's last season coaching (2000), BYU played against Mississippi State and an offensive lineman with a certain food based nickname hopped off the pages, Porckchop Womack. At that moment, Porkchop became the player I was most excited to see in the upcoming season.

When I heard about Chop Robinson it brought back shades of reading about Porkchop in my childhood bedroom and I knew I would be following his career closely. Turns out, it was pretty easy to follow because he is all over the place in games. As I was watching clips of his pass rushes to prepare for this article, it didn’t take long for his skills to jump off the screen. Below is the tracking data, mixed in with our event data, for the 2nd clip I watched of his.

The above visual is a mixture of our frame by frame tracking data with our event data. The pauses are short, but there are quick pauses for the snap, the start of the engagement, the end of the engagement, and when Chop Robinson hits the QB. This play was particularly interesting because it had one of the lowest engagement times of a blocked pressure (obviously unblocked pressures have no engagements) from last season: .3 seconds! Again, that is point three seconds, not 3 seconds. Look at that rush line too, no wiggle, no setting up a pass move. Just run to the spot and beat the OL. It was poetry in motion.

It’s only fair to highlight his Combine as well. 4.48 40, 1.54 10 yd split, 10’8” broad jump, and 34.5” vertical. He also was one of the few Edge defenders to run the 20 yard shuttle and got a blazing 4.25 seconds.


The attention may be on the QB’s, the game changing WR, and a few big Offensive Linemen for this upcoming draft. But these Edge defenders have a chance to be just as impactful this season. Using our integrated datasets allows for deeper analysis, and more thorough studying of what these players bring to the table.

Matt Edwards
Head of American Football Analysis - StatsBomb
@thecoachedwards on X (Formerly Twitter)

By Matt Edwards | March 18, 2024