2024 NFL Draft All-Defensive Team: 11 draft prospects every NFL defensive coordinator will love

Dallas Turner leads a talented 2024 NFL Draft class of defensive players, find out which other players round out the all-defensive team.
NFL draft prospect Dallas Turner
NFL draft prospect Dallas Turner / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages
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As the 2024 NFL Draft approaches, we assembled an All-Draft defense from the most talented defensive prospects. We needed some ground rules before embarking on this process.

Firstly, unlike the NFL Pro Bowl, we did not differentiate between outside linebackers and defensive ends. The two roles are so interchangeable that they are barely recognizable from each other in the vast majority of defensive schemes.

Secondly, we did not split safeties into free or strong roles. Safeties increasingly play multiple roles in the NFL. It’s reductive to lump the position into just two categories.

Finally, we built this defense with the most common NFL defensive formation in mind - the 425 Nickel, comprising two interior defensive linemen, two edge rushers, two off-ball linebackers, three cornerbacks, and two safeties. In reality, NFL teams use their ‘starting unit’ infrequently on defense, but we had to draw the line somewhere, so backups are not included.

2024 NFL Draft All-Defensive Team: The beasts in the middle

Jer’Zhan Newton, DT - Illinois: Newton lacks the ideal size for the position but possesses several qualities NFL teams covet in a defensive tackle prospect. He has an advanced repertoire of pass-rush moves, has proven adept at playing the run, and was awarded the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year after producing 52 combined tackles, seven-and-a-half sacks, and 43 pressures in 2023.

2024 NFL Draft; Jer'Zhan Newton
Jer'Zhan Newton / David Berding/GettyImages

The 21-year-old's 22.3 percent win rate against blockers ranked 12th out of 488 interior defensive linemen in the FBS (minimum 100 pass rush snaps). As one of the most talented defensive players available in the draft, Newton was an easy choice to be the first interior defensive lineman selected for the All-Draft defense.

Byron Murphy II, DT - Texas: T'Vondre Sweat and Kris Jenkins were considered here, but Murphy's potential to become the best pass rusher in the class was too good to pass up. He combined elite-level quickness with a relentless motor to wreak havoc in the backfield and was unfortunate to record only five sacks in 2023 after compiling 45 pressures.

"I think one guy that stands out to me that at times, to me, he’s unblockable, was Byron Murphy. And that’s internal pressure. This guy is so active, he’s so strong, he’s so quick, and he’s very smart. He has presented some real issues."

Longhorns' HC Steve Sarkisian on Murphy

The 21-year-old lacks the ideal mass to step into an immediate three-down role, but Murphy has what it takes to become a disruptor on passing downs early in his career.