Building an NFL draft board is a work in progress throughout the offseason. The NFL Combine is always a significant step towards completing the process, and the final touches can be put on as players work through their Pro Days.

Here’s how my top defensive prospects look right now.

These rankings are based on my personal estimation of each player’s value, based on the assumption each prospect lands in an offensive or defensive scheme suited to his skill set.

Ryan McCrystal has the seventh-best big board over the last five years according to The Huddle Report.

He had the best big board in 2019 and third-best in 2020 according to Wide Left.

2024 NFL Draft Defensive Big Board

RankPlayerPositionSchool
1Laiatu LatuEDGE1UCLA
2Dallas TurnerEDGE2Alabama
3Byron Murphy IIDL1Texas
4Jer'Zhan NewtonDL2Illinois
5Quinyon MitchellCB1Toledo
6Terrion ArnoldCB2Alabama
7Kool-Aid McKinstryCB3Alabama
8Nate WigginsCB4Clemson
9Chop RobinsonEDGE3Penn State
10Jared VerseEDGE4Florida State
11Edgerrin CooperLB1Texas A&M
12Calen BullockS1USC
13Payton WilsonLB2NC State
14Cooper DeJeanCB5Iowa
15Adisa IsaacEDGE5Penn State
16Kamari LassiterCB6Georgia
17Michael Hall Jr.DL3Ohio State
18Darius RobinsonDL4Missouri
19Mohamed KamaraEDGE6Colorado State
20Trevin WallaceLB3Kentucky
21Braden FiskeDL5Florida State
22T.J. TampaCB7Iowa State
23Max MeltonCB8Rutgers
24Tyler NubinS2Minnesota
25Kris Abrams-DraineCB9Missouri
26Jaden HicksS3Washington State
27Elijah JonesCB10Boston College
28Mike SainristilCB11Michigan
29Javon BullardS4Georgia
30DJ JamesCB12Auburn
31Junior ColsonLB4Michigan
32T'Vondre SweatDL6Texas
33Ennis Rakestraw JrCB13Missouri
34Bralen TriceEDGE7Washington
35Kamren KinchensS5Miami
36Gabriel MurphyEDGE8UCLA
37Leonard Taylor IIDL7Miami
38Chris BraswellEDGE9Alabama
39Cole BishopS6Utah
40Kris JenkinsDL8Michigan
41Marshawn KneelandEDGE10Western Michigan
42Ruke OrhorhoroDL9Clemson
43Austin BookerEDGE11Kansas
44Khyree JacksonCB14Oregon

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2024 NFL Draft Big Board: Player Analysis

1. Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA

Where he’ll make an impact in the NFL

Latu wins with an elite blend of athleticism and refined pass-rush moves. He seems to have an answer for everything linemen throw at him, and he should immediately impact the game by consistently getting to the quarterback.  

What are his weaknesses? What concerns do teams have?

While at Washington, team doctors would not clear him to play due to a neck injury. He missed two seasons before transferring to UCLA in order to get on the field. He also lacks elite physical traits, which might set a lower ceiling relative to other pass rushers in this class. 

Good team fits: Rams, Falcons, Buccaneers, Bengals, Vikings, Bills, Broncos, Raiders

2. Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama

Where he’ll make an impact in the NFL

Turner has a special blend of length and athleticism and should be able to immediately cause problems with his speed rush off the edge. 

What are his weaknesses? What concerns do teams have?

Pass rushers who win with speed in college sometimes have issues adjusting to NFL tackles who can match their first step. Turner will need to prove he has the physical strength to counter when linemen are able to get their hands on him.   

Good team fits: Falcons, Bears, Vikings, Chargers, Broncos

3. Byron Murphy II, DL, Texas

Where he’ll make an impact in the NFL

Murphy is a disruptive force on the interior defensive line. As a pass rusher, he wins with a quick first step and an impressive closing burst and should immediately make his presence felt in that area of the game. 

What are his weaknesses? What concerns do teams have?

He lacks ideal size and length, which shows up in the run game 一 when bigger linemen get into his pads, he can struggle to disengage. 

Good team fits: Vikings, Broncos, Rams, Falcons, Dolphins

4. Jer’Zhan Newton, DL, Illinois

Where he’ll make an impact in the NFL

Newton makes his mark as an interior pass rusher and wins with a quick first step which gives him the ability to fly through gaps into the backfield.

What are his weaknesses? What concerns do teams have?

Can he be a three-down lineman? Newton lacks ideal length and strength, and it shows up in his performance against the run. If he’s just a situational pass rusher, his value diminishes greatly.

Good team fits: Vikings, Rams, Dolphins, Chargers, Texans, Bills

5. Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

Where he’ll make an impact in the NFL

Mitchell is an outside corner who has the athleticism to stick with receivers down the field and a knack for locating and making plays on the ball. 

What are his weaknesses? What concerns do teams have?

There aren’t many unanswered questions about Mitchell’s game other than the level of competition. We won’t know for certain if he can match that level of production against receivers with NFL size and athleticism until we see him in action. 

Good team fits: Steelers, Jaguars, Vikings, Packers, Lions, Chiefs, Dolphins

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This preview shares insights into players, coaches, teams, and philosophies with one goal in mind: to prepare you for the 2024 NFL season by delivering the smartest information in the fastest, most direct way possible.

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