No. 9: Barrett Carter, LB, Clemson
Are you looking for a do-it-all linebacker in the 2024 NFL Draft? If so, pour yourself a drink and flip on some Clemson tape. Dabo Swinney’s crew boasts the two best players at the position according to my big board. But Barrett Carter is the better prospect right now.
Carter puts his fingerprints all over the box score. His 52 tackles, five sacks, five pass breakups, and two interceptions cement his status as a versatile weapon. The underlying question with the 225-pounder: Is he strong enough to last in the NFL? I say yes.
Another NFL Draft, Another Superb Alabama Cornerback
No. 10: Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama
Currently, King and Kool-Aid McKinstry are 1a and 1b at the cornerback position. The latter is an Alabama star poised to break out even more in 2023. McKinstry is easily the most well-rounded prospect in the secondary. He is a sure tackler and shows the traits to be a versatile weapon on defense.
I would like to see the Crimson Tide defensive back be more comfortable and in control working downfield. If his assignment gains a step, McKinstry’s first instinct is to tug at their jersey and arms. In the NFL, the veteran wideouts will feast on this deficiency. The good news? Another year under Nick Saban should do the trick.
No. 11: Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama
Depending on who you ask, the EDGE class is either a one-man race or a three-man race. Most NFL Draft analysts agree that Verse is the top dog. But for my money, Dallas Turner (and another name coming soon) is right on his heels.
Turner is not quite Will Anderson Jr., but that is an unfair comparison for anyone. The Crimson Tide star recorded nine sacks as a freshman before seeing his production nearly cut in half with five sacks in 2022. Turner has a chance to prove he’s worthy of early-round praise now that he is the unquestioned best pass rusher on the roster.
No. 12: Bralen Trice, EDGE, Washington
The final head of the three-headed EDGE monster I referred to earlier is Bralen Trice. Washington has quietly been an NFL powerhouse over much of the past decade, and the 2024 NFL Draft will be another wringing success for the program.
Trice is nearly impossible to block in one-on-one situations. He is chiseled from stone and has the long arms NFL defensive coordinators love to see from a pass rusher off the edge. The Husky defender has an expansive catalog of moves in his arsenal and is a technician when hand-fighting. Can he hold up vs. the run? That is the only question.
No. 13: J.C. Latham, OL, Alabama
Nicknamed “Trench King”, J.C. Latham lives up to the moniker by bullying his assignments. The Alabama lineman has some experience at guard, but the bulk of his in-game action has come at right tackle. Although penalties litter his tape, Latham is incredible in pass protection and has the size to continue improving in the ground game.
The Impressive Illinois Defense Sends Another Player To The League Early In The 2024 NFL Draft
No. 14: Jer’Zhan Newton, DL, Illinois
Devon Witherspoon, Quan Martin, and Sydney Brown made Illinois football must-see television last fall. However, more often than not, Jer’Zhan Newton stole the show. Listed at 6-foot-2 and 295 pounds, he is hard to miss.
Newton is an elite run stuffer with untapped potential as a pass rusher. He forced 36 quarterback hurries in 2022, including four sacks from the interior. The Illini defender is a tad small in a conventional sense, but his brute strength and sneaky athleticism shield it well.