Lance Zierlein’s “Postcards from the Edge”: A Draft Survey of a Major Position of Need

| April 12th, 2024

Dallas Turner, Edge, Alabama

Zierlein Comparison: Brian Burns

Zierlein 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.”


Jared Verse, Edge, FSU

Zierlein Comparison: LaMarr Woodley

Zierlein 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.”


Laiatu Latu, Edge, UCLA

Zierlein Comparison: A “boom or bust” T.J. Watt

Zierlein 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.”


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