2024 NFL Draft Riser — No. 3: Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA
Another player who likely should have graded out higher based on the 2022 tape is UCLA’s Laiatu Latu. However, his most glaring concern cannot be rectified until medical checks occur at the NFL Draft Scouting Combine. Latu was forced to medically retire while enrolled at Washington.
The Bruins' medical staff cleared the gifted pass rusher for action in 2023, but this is something NFL teams will have some hesitancy on until they see him with their own doctors. That clouded his projection on my Big Board, though his Round 2 grade was still respectable.
But Latu’s play in 2023 has made me more willing to bet on his health going forward. In terms of on-field production, there isn’t a single edge rusher in the country that is better than the UCLA superstar. Jared Verse and Dallas Turner included. No one is as natural at getting to the quarterback as Latu.
He currently ranks inside the top 20 after the latest Big Board update, while some folks even have Latu challenging for a top-five spot in the 2024 NFL Draft. The most recent PFF mock draft featured Latu coming off the board at No. 4 overall to the Denver Broncos.