Broncos Meet With Laiatu Latu; OLB To Visit Vikings, Cardinals

Among the first-round edge rushers in this year’s class, Laiatu Latu is coming off back-to-back 10-plus-sack seasons. This came after the UCLA alum had retired from football due to injury. Given the production and medical history, Latu is becoming popular on the visit circuit.

The Broncos have met with the former Washington recruit, according to’s Ian Rapoport, who adds Laiatu is in Minnesota today for a Vikings visit. The Cardinals will huddle up with Latu on Wednesday. The Bears met with Latu on Monday, with the Eagles having already brought him in for a previous visit.

[RELATED: Vikings, Cardinals To Host Dallas Turner]

It certainly should be expected a talent with this medical issue in his past will log a number of visits before the draft. A neck issue during the Huskies’ training camp in 2020 led to a medical retirement. Latu, however, resurfaced at UCLA in 2022. He ripped off 10.5- and 13-sack seasons. The latter effort produced a Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year honor in the conference’s swansong season. Daniel Jeremiah’s big board slots Latu 16th — behind fellow edges Dallas Turner and Jared Verse — while Mel Kiper Jr.’s big board places him 12th.

The Broncos jettisoned both their veteran edge players — Frank Clark, Randy Gregory — during the season and went with a trio of younger performers (Jonathon Cooper, Baron Browning, Nik Bonitto) and saw improvement. An argument can also be made the Broncos are missing an anchor pass rusher. While Latu only makes sense for the Broncos if they pass on a quarterback at 12 or avoid the urge to trade up for one. Considering the need Sean Payton‘s team has at the game’s premier position, mock drafts continually send QBs Denver’s way.

Although the Vikings lost Danielle Hunter after nine seasons, they replaced him with Jonathan Greenard. Ex-Dolphin hybrid linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel also joined the Vikings, but the team lost D.J. Wonnum and Marcus Davenport as well. Brian Flores‘ bunch is in need of a pure edge rusher to complement Greenard.

After totaling just 33 sacks last season, the Cardinals have a bigger need than most at this position. While Arizona moved Zaven Collins to the edge and returns 2023 sack leader Dennis Gardeck (six), the team certainly needs more help here. Arizona used a second-round pick on edge BJ Ojulari last year. The Cardinals hold the Nos. 4 and 27 picks in this year’s first round. Closely tied to being the team that trades out of the top four to give a QB-needy team — like the Vikings or Broncos — the opportunity to land one of this draft’s top four arms, the Cards could wind up in the Latu range if they move out of 4.

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