2024 IDP Football Top 10 Rookie Defensive Line Rankings

by Steve Hungarter (IDPHunter)
2024 IDP Football Top 10 Rookie Defensive Line Rankings

Welcome to the Defensive Line installment of my 2024 Positional IDP Football Top 10 Rookie Rankings.

With the Shrine Bowl, Senior Bowl and Super Bowl behind us and NFL Draft buzz heating up, these rankings will change as we get closer to the 2024 NFL Draft and then again once we find out player's landing spots.

The defensive line position in this draft class is deep, especially at EDGE, and we expect to see two or three guys in the top ten this year. It's hard to say anymore without any uncertainty as this quarterback and wide receiver draft class is deep so I'm expecting defense to be pushed down the board.

Speaking of which, check out our latest 2024 NFL Draft Big Board and Mock Draft!

The 2024 NFL Draft class has plenty of depth. We may not see another Aidan Hutchinson or Will Anderson for a while, but should we honestly expect that each year?  A few risers and fallers make this top 10 list as I see them all as legit studs.

2024 IDP Football Top 10 Rookie Defensive Line Rankings

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No. 10: Kris Jenkins, DT/EDGE, Michigan

The son of a former NFL player of the same name (who played for the Panthers and Jets) makes our top ten on just the potential threat that he will impose on the NFL.

At 6'3 307 pounds he was a rotational player, playing both defensive end and tackle. He became a force for the Wolverines, resulting in leading the nation in run stops. Besides his excellent run-stopping abilities, he also played 13 games and achieved 27 tackles with 15 pressures.

It's uncertain where he will get drafted, so it's important to watch the Senior Bowl and Combine (note: He did not have a great Combine two seasons ago) He profiles as the type of player that should get plenty of buzz as we gear toward the NFL Draft.

No. 9: Jonah Elliss, DE/EDGE, Utah

Let's start No. 9 off with a bang as no rankings list ever comes without at least one hot take. Not too many lists will feature a player this low, yet has achieved an outstanding 26 QB hurries and 13 sacks.

Jonah Elliss is heralded and being talked about by many analysts and NFL scouts as a top-5 DL. Then why do we have him ranked so low? While all that is well and good, I want you to consider two things; that he is slightly undersized for this position and he got most of those stats in just two games. During his nationally publicized games last season, he was on fire during a two-game stretch and had 5.5 sacks and 7.5 TFL.

Too many inconsistency concerns for me to want to jump him ahead of anyone on this list.

No. 8: Leonard Taylor III, DT/NG Miami (FL)

Oh man here is where the list gets interesting. The only zero-tech nose tackle to make our list, Taylor is a highly coveted five-star recruit who continues to draw comparisons to Christain Barmore.

He is a literal bull in a china shop and possesses a top-10 type of talent. The problem is, and the only reason he is lower on our list is because he does not do it consistently enough, and has shown a tendency to disappear in big games.

Regardless, the talent and pedigree is there. Not a lot of teams are running that scheme in the NFL (Giants come to mind) but I imagine he will quickly find a home.

No. 7: Byron Murphy II, DT, Texas

At 6'1 and 308 pounds this junior figures to have excellent leverage and continue to win matchups at the next level. This would be great news as Murphy brought more pass-rush pressure (producing 40 total pressures) than any other interior defensive lineman in College Football.

Before we get too excited about him and jump for joy, we are keeping him lower on our lists here, is because he also had one of the higher missed tackle rates as well. He will need to be coached up to make a true impact next level.

No. 6: Bralen Trice, DE/EDGE, Washington

Trice is a strong run defender and is a terrific pass rusher with 4.7 speed. As a pass rusher, he produced 70 total pressures, which included 51 QB hurries, 17 QB hits, and 7 sacks on the year.

He'll need a little work next level but should be a good solid player for a team that selects him.

No. 5: Chris Braswell, DL/EDGE, Alabama

There are a few guys to consider here but Braswell rises this list and is by far the steadiest to trust in terms of production. Braswell is an appealing prospect as he could play defensive end as well as stand-up rusher.

Braswell's 13 sacks, 10 QB hits, and 33 pressures are going to create some noise. That pressure rate I mentioned, gets him to the Quarterback 20% of the time.

He stands a fringe-first-round talent and is slightly below a tier than the top four on this list.

No. 4: Chop Robinson, DE/EDGE, Penn State

At 6'3 and 250 pounds, Robinson somehow runs 4.6 speed and that is truly remarkable.  He is a five-star recruit transfer from Maryland. He excels at creating sacks to force fumbles and was 7th this season with 5.5 sacks while also being an above-average run defender.

Expect many teams to be looking at him early as a potential fringe-first-round draft pick. He is explosive with low stats, I just wish he had more production so this is as early as I feel comfortable ranking him.

No. 3: Jer'zhan Newton, DT, Illinois

Won Defensive Player of the Year in 2023. Newton is the consensus number-one Defensive Tackle and a top-25-ranked player in the country. Expect him to go in the first round of NFL Drafts. His 73 tackles and five sacks over his first two seasons are something that will be high in demand for any one-gap defender at the next level.

I know drafting a three-technique player doesn't feel glamourous, but in a league where this sort of elite pass rush to a harder-to-fill this move would allow owners to set it at forget it at a tough positions such as DT. Newton could be a huge cheat code for Dynasty managers.

No. 2: Laiatu Latu, DL/EDGE, UCLA

Laiatuu Latu, lead the FBS with 13 sacks on 37 hurries, then applied a win pressure rate of 20% on the season. As an odd-man edge rusher, he displays rare NFL-ready talent and could be a day-one starter.   Despite potential medical concerns (neck), he will likely be an early first-round talent for potential teams in need.

No. 1: Jared Verse, DE/EDGE, Florida State

This is a name you want to know. Last season, draft experts had him as a top-12 draft pick if he came out to the NFL, and had comparisons to Will Anderson and Boye Mafe. Instead, he decided to go back to school. As a fifth-year player, he compiled 9 sacks on 14 QB hits and 35 hurries.

Honorable Mention

  • Dallas Turner LB/EDGE, Alabama - counts as LB/EDGE (will be included in the LB ranks entry and is the consensus No. 2 for EDGE-rushing)
Just Outside the Top 10
  • Darius Robinson, DL, Missouri - just to show you how deep this position is I had a hard time getting this player in the top 10. Robinson is a 6'5 285 long armed athlete who finished with 8.5 sacks
  • Adisa Isaac DL/EDGE, Penn-State - barely missed the list and is often overlooked as the second-best edge rusher on his team, but also finished Top 25 in College in creating pressure among outside defenders
  • Braden Fiske, DL, Florida State - 6'5 297lbs, should shoot up draft boards. Is more of a three-technique player but overwhelms blockers resulting in six sacks, and nine tackles for a loss. As Draft Day approaches he won't be this low

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