2024 NFL Draft: Chop Robinson tops Jared Verse and Darius Robinson as the best defensive end

A look at the 2024 NFL Draft defensive end class which is led Penn State's Chop Robinson.
Chop Robinson
Chop Robinson / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages
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2024 NFL Draft defensive end class ranking No. 13-16

13. Xavier Thomas, Clemson

Expectations were high for Xavier Thomas coming out of high school as he was rated as the fourth best player in his recruiting class by 247Sports. However, he has not lived up to expectations missing all but three games in 2022 and has never had more than 3.5 sacks in year. Despite having a somewhat disappointing career he still should hear his name called late in the 2024 NFL Draft. The main reason for this is him impressive athletic ability. He shows an explosive first step, which was on full display at the East-West Shrine Bowl. In addition, to his burst off the ball he also shows good change of direction skills and should get some as an outside linebacker especially in an odd front. Draft Grade: Sixth Round

14. Zion Tupuola-Fetui, Washington

Going into the 2023 season I named Zion Tupuola-Fetui the most overrated defensive end in the 2024 NFL Draft, and after another average season, draftniks are starting to agree with my opinion on him. One of my biggest concerns with him is he has not looked like the player he was back in 2020 when he recorded seven sacks in just four games. Since then he has ruptured his Achilles and only has nine sacks over the past three seasons. His biggest downfall as a prospect is he lacks the explosion off the ball, you want to see in an edge defender. He also lacks the agility to hold up in coverage as an outside linebacker at the NFL level. Draft Grade: Sixth Round

15. Marshawn Kneeland, Western Michigan

Marshawn Kneeland is another defensive lineman who is being overrated. One reason why he is being overvalued is his average production never having more than 4.5 sacks in a season for the Broncos. Another reason why I am not as high on him as others are is his lack of quickness off the ball, and how he will likely prevent few issues for NFL offensive tackles coming off the edge. On the positive side he does play with good strength and his 34-inch arms allow him consistently push back the man assigned to block him. Draft Grade: Sixth Round

16. Javon Solomon, Troy

Javon Solomon of Troy led the nation in sacks this year with 16 and is one of the more productive pass rushers in the 2024 NFL Draft. Over the past three years he has gotten to the quarterback 31.5 times and has made 42.5 tackles for loss over the same time period. One of the reason he has such success is his long arms that allow him to preventh offensive tackles getting into his body. He also plays with good power for a defensive end only 247 pounds. Despite these traits and production I only have a sixth round grade on Solomon. One of the reasons for this is that he is on;y 6-foot-1 and doesn’t look agile enough to move to outside linebacker. Another reason for this ranking is he only shows an average burst off the ball. Draft Grade: Sixth Round