Laiatu Latu

Prospect Profile: Laiatu Latu

The NFL world is lucky that it will soon have the opportunity to watch UCLA edge rusher Laiatu Latu. The deadly pass rusher almost passed up a football career after leading his high school to two national championships in rugby. After briefly considering an international career as a professional rugby player, Latu made the decision to go to college for football and is now preparing to receive a call this Thursday from an NFL coach or general manager.

Latu was a consensus four-star recruit out of Jesuit HS in Carmichael, CA, with 247Sports ranking him as a top-100 recruit and a top-five weakside defensive end in the country. Latu received all the major college football offers before narrowing it down to an all-west coast top-five of Cal, Oregon, USC, UCLA, and Washington. Latu committed to the Huskies as their third-best recruit in the Class of 2019 behind only Trent McDuffie and Puka Nacua.

As a true freshman, Latu failed to see the field much at all as a reserve and special teamer. In the runup to the 2020 season, Latu suffered a serious neck injury and was eventually told he would have to medically retire because of the ailment. After seeking out the opinion of the doctor who performed Peyton Manning‘s neck surgery back in the day, Latu was medically cleared to play again.

During his rehabilitation, Latu returned to the rugby pitch. Once again, the young athlete was given the opportunity to go pro, receiving a contract offer from the Seattle Seawolves, but yet again, Latu refused to give up on his dream of playing football. He entered the transfer portal and found his way back to his home state with the Bruins, following his position coach at Washington, Ikaika Malloe, whom Latu saw as a bit of a father figure.

In his debut season at UCLA, Latu exploded coming off the bench. Despite not starting a single game, Latu led the team in both sacks (10.5) and tackles for loss (12.5) on his way to first-team All-Pac-12 honors. Last season, as a full-time starter, Latu improved on both of those numbers, leading the Pac-12 in sacks (13.0) while leading the nation in tackles for loss (21.5). Not only did Latu return to the All-Pac-12 first team in 2023, but he was also the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year and a consensus All-American. On top of his ability to bring opponents down behind the line of scrimmage, Latu was disruptive in other ways with five forced fumbles, five passes defensed, and two interceptions during his two years in Los Angeles.

Latu is a pass-rush specialist. With 129 total pressures in 25 games, NFL teams will be licking their chops to add the 23-year-old to their defensive front. He’s wily and effective in putting together his pass-rush moves. His hands are quick and strong, helping him beat any player in his path with rips, clubs, and punches. He is quick off the line, and his elite flexibility helps him to get around tackles on the outside with ease. He’s used to getting double teams and still finds ways to be productive. Latu keeps his eyes on the backfield, helping him to rack up those TFLs, and he uses the drive and aggression from his rugby days to pursue ball carriers all over the field. He also showed athleticism dropping back in coverage, and the coaches at UCLA claim he could have been their best tight end if they had played him both ways.

Latu’s biggest red flag is going to be his medical history. The two-and-a-half-year sabbatical from football due to the neck injury could scare some teams off, though they’ll all have done their homework on the situation at this point in the process. On the field, though, he could stand to improve in his run defense. He’s great at identifying the play but can too easily be erased when runs are designed to go right at him, and he misses too many tackles.

Alabama’s Dallas Turner has long been viewed as the top edge rusher in a class that maybe isn’t as strong as groups of the past. Latu has already worked his way up the draft board, passing Penn State’s Chop Robinson and Florida State’s Jared Verse to get to the second spot on most draft boards at the position. As the draft gets closer and closer, front offices are starting to become enamored with Latu’s disruptive abilities. There isn’t a better pure pass rusher in this draft, and with the ability to play standing up or with a hand in the dirt, he could go to nearly any team and become their sacks leader as a rookie.

NFL Draft Rumors: Falcons, Jaguars, Browns

The Falcons top two sack-getters last year (Calais Campbell and Bud Dupree) are currently free agents. And while free safety Jessie Bates‘ first season in Atlanta went swimmingly with career highs in tackles (132), forced fumbles (3), and interceptions (6), as well as Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro honors, he seemed to be the only player showing up each Sunday for the Falcons.

With all this in mind, it’s no surprise to hear that adding draft prospects on the defensive side of the ball is expected to be a major focus for Atlanta come this week’s draft, according to Adam Caplan of Pro Football Network. In Caplan’s most recent mock draft, he slotted Alabama pass rusher Dallas Turner as the team’s first-round pick. Previous iterations of his mock draft saw Atlanta taking Clemson cornerback Nate Wiggins and Florida State pass rusher Jared Verse.

Going pass rusher seems to make more sense after losing Campbell and Dupree to free agency, but expect multiple picks throughout the three-day event to address both positions. Turner is likely the preferred option as most see him as the top pass rusher on the board, but Verse or even UCLA’s Laiatu Latu could be the selection if Turner is drafted before they have the chance to claim him.

Here are a few other draft rumors from around the NFL:

Draft OL Rumors: Fashanu, Latham, Fautanu, Buccaneers

Some teams in the NFL are known for drafting the best player on the board in their draft slot regardless of position. Others have made a reputation for drafting players at a position of need regardless of value. The Saints are a team that could end up in the best of both worlds later this month, according to Jason La Canfora of The Washington Post.

At 14th overall, the Saints could be in position to take a player at a huge position of need. La Canfora informs us that multiple general managers in the league have the sense that New Orleans is “all about finding players to fill immediate starting needs.” With offensive line as a big position of need at the moment, Penn State offensive tackle Olu Fashanu has been repeatedly linked to the Saints.

Drafting Fashanu at No. 14 overall would hardly be considered a reach. Fashanu projects as a prototypical left tackle and, in most rankings, ranks as the draft’s second-best tackle prospect behind Notre Dame’s Joe Alt. Getting the OT2 on the board at 14th would be a huge win for the Saints, especially if Alt goes to the Chargers at No. 5, as many suspect. If someone between the Chargers and Saints selects Fashanu, look to Alabama tackle JC Latham as another potential target in New Orleans.

Here are a few other rumors concerning the offensive line class of the 2024 NFL Draft:

  • While we mentioned that most rankings see Fashanu as the OT2 in this year’s draft, some have pegged Latham in that draft slot. According to Peter Schrager of NFL Network, some teams like Latham so much that he could be taken as the second offensive tackle off the board. Alabama hasn’t had the best recent history producing offensive tackles under Nick Saban. Evan Neal, Alex Leatherwood, Jedrick Wills, and Jonah Williams all serve as recent examples who have failed to live up to their draft stock. Some see Latham projecting best as a guard at the next level, as he’ll need to continue improving to play tackle in the NFL. If those teams that see him as the second-best tackle in the draft are right, though, Latham could break recent trends for the Crimson Tide.
  • Washington offensive line prospect Troy Fautanu is another player that splits teams on where he will play at the next level. While many see him projecting as an interior lineman in the NFL (the best interior lineman in this year’s draft according to some), Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post tells us that some scouts are starting to believe he can play tackle as a pro, like he did for the Huskies. He has the talent and potential to play any position on NFL offensive lines. As we’ve reported, so far, he has visited the Bengals, Ravens, Jaguars, Steelers Eagles, and Jets.
  • One team who has been labeled as a squad looking to add to the trenches is the Buccaneers. According to ESPN’s Jenna Laine, Tampa Bay is looking to upgrade at guard, center, and outside linebacker. With the 26th pick in the draft, the Buccaneers can expect to see players like Arizona’s Jordan Morgan and Kansas State’s Cooper Beebe available at guard and, perhaps, Oregon’s Jackson Powers-Johnson at center. The top tier of pass rushers should be long gone, but players like UCLA’s Laiatu Latu, Penn State’s Chop Robinson, Western Michigan’s Marshawn Kneeland, and Missouri’s Darius Robinson could be available late in the first round.

Draft Notes: Newton, Lions, Latu, Bills, Titans, Texans, Jets, Eagles, Broncos, Cardinals, Commanders, Giants, Panthers

Wednesday marks the final day for “30” visits during this year’s cycle. Illinois defensive tackle Jer’Zhan Newton is on the way back from a January surgery to repair a Jones fracture in his foot. Newton went through a belated pro day in Champaign on Tuesday, per Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz, who noted more than eight teams were in attendance. The Lions are not one of the teams Schultz named, but the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett notes Newton did go through a visit with the defending NFC North champs. A first-team All-American and reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Newton played through his foot injury last season — a 7.5-sack slate. The acclaimed DT, who ranks as the No. 32 overall prospect on Daniel Jeremiah’s NFL.com big board, also recorded 14.5 tackles for loss in 2022.

Here is the latest from the draft scene:

  • Speaking of the Lions, they are also believed to be high on NC State linebacker Payton Wilson, The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman notes (subscription required). Last season’s Bednarik award winner (given to Division I-FBS’ top defender), Wilson ranks 41st on Jeremiah’s big board. In need at linebacker, the Cowboys are also believed to be intrigued by Wilson, though Feldman adds some teams are too concerned about his medical history to consider drafting him. Season-ending knee and shoulder injuries halted Wilson in 2018 and 2021, respectively, but the six-year Wolfpack cog has been healthy over the past two years.
  • The Bills have brought in two likely first-round defenders, hosting edge rusher Laiatu Latu and cornerback Cooper DeJean (via Schultz and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). Holding the No. 28 overall pick, Buffalo saw a concerning season from Von Miller (zero sacks after a second ACL rehab journey) and did not re-sign Leonard Floyd. The Bills also released Tre’Davious White and have not replaced him. While wide receiver is the buzz position in Buffalo given the exits of longtime performers, the Bills also have some needs to address on defense.
  • A fourth team booked a visit with Alabama tackle JC Latham. The first-round-level tackle will meet with the Jets tonight and Wednesday, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter. One of seven tackles Jeremiah places among his top 25 overall prospects, Latham has already met with the Cardinals, Titans and Bears. The Jets have been linked to an O-line investment, and the prospect of moving down from No. 10 has also come up for Gang Green.
  • Both the Alabama cornerbacks expected to go off the board early in this draft booked more visits before the Wednesday deadline. Terrion Arnold met with the Titans on Monday, Rapoport adds, while Kool-Aid McKinstry visited the Eagles (via the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane). With Darius Slay and James Bradberry set to begin the season north of 31st birthdays, the Eagles have been tied to corners. The Titans acquired L’Jarius Sneed via trade and signed Chidobe Awuzie; this would seemingly take Tennessee out of the early-round CB mix. Though, the team did lose Sean Murphy-Bunting and has seen ex-first-rounder Caleb Farley prove undependable.
  • Although the Texans have taken multiple fliers on former top-10 corners (Jeff Okudah, C.J. Henderson), they may be interested in bolstering their cornerback corps with a higher-upside player. Houston hosted Missouri’s Ennis Rakestraw on Monday, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson tweets. A Texas native, Rakestraw (Jeremiah’s No. 28 overall prospect) allowed just one touchdown on 28 targets last season, per Wilson. The 5-foot-11 defender broke up 11 passes with the Tigers in 2023.
  • This draft features a number of tackles set to go off the board in Round 1, but the second round could produce some investments at the position. The Giants, Jets and Commanders scheduled late visits with Arizona’s Jordan Morgan, ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan tweets. Jeremiah’s No. 49 overall player, Morgan also visited the Bills, Broncos, Cardinals and Panthers, Wilson adds, noting also the three-year Wildcats starter worked out for the Texans during the pre-draft process. Morgan earned first-team All-Pac-12 recognition last season.

NFC South Rumors: Bucs, Saints, Wonnum

Moving on from Shaquil Barrett after four years, the Buccaneers do have some options following that release. They saw 2023 Day 3 pick YaYa Diaby lead the team in sacks, and they signed Randy Gregory to pair with the ascending rusher and 2021 first-rounder Joe Tryon-Shoyinka. Granted, the Bucs have not seen tremendous production from Tryon-Shoyinka. Three years after that pick, the team is looking into first-round-caliber edge rushers once again. Already hosting Jared Verse on a visit, the Bucs have done “a ton” of work on UCLA’s Laiatu Latu and Penn State’s Chop Robinson, ESPN.com’s Matt Miller notes. The team was active on the pro-day circuit as well, speaking to a host of edges. The Bucs, who saw only one front-seven player (Diaby) eclipse six sacks last season, hold the No. 26 pick in this year’s draft.

Here is the latest from the NFC South:

  • Regularly investing early-round resources in their O-line, the Saints are in a bind at tackle. All-Pro right tackle Ryan Ramczyk is no longer a lock to play in 2024, and 2022 first-round pick Trevor Penning has not proven the answer yet at left tackle. The player the Saints kicked outside to replace Penning last season, Andrus Peat, is unsigned. This uncertainty has brought Saints connections to Penn State’s Olu Fashanu and Oregon State’s Taliese Fuaga, ESPN.com’s Jordan Reid offers. This is a good year to need a tackle, with several first-round-caliber options available. Daniel Jeremiah’s NFL.com big board, which slots Fuaga 10th and Fashanu 15th overall, includes seven tackles in the top 25.
  • Going into his 14th NFL season, Cameron Jordan recently underwent surgery to address a badly sprained ankle, according to NOLA.com’s Matthew Paras. The longtime Saints edge anchor suffered the injury in late November, and while he played through it, the malady limited him down the stretch. The Saints believe the ankle issue contributed heavily to Jordan’s disappointing two-sack season. Last season marked Jordan’s first with fewer than 7.5 sacks since his 2011 rookie year. Jordan, 34, joins Chase Young as Saints D-ends who will be on the mend heading into the team’s offseason program. Young, who signed a one-year deal with much of its value in per-game roster bonuses, underwent neck surgery shortly after signing with the Saints.
  • On the subject of pass rusher injuries in this division, the Panthers will not have one of their edge pickups to start the offseason. Wonnum will not be available for Carolina’s OTAs, The Athletic’s Joe Person tweets. The former Vikings contributor suffered a torn quad near the end of last season. The Panthers gave Wonnum a two-year, $12.5MM deal; of that amount, however, only $1.25MM came guaranteed at signing.
  • Antonio Hamilton‘s recent Falcons contract is worth $1.4MM, ESPN.com’s Michael Rothstein tweets. Hamilton, who played for $1.5MM last season with the Cardinals, secured $985K guaranteed in his recent Atlanta agreement. Eddie Goldman, who has vacillated on retirement since his 2022 Bears release, did not see any guaranteed money on a vet-minimum deal. The Falcons, who have ex-Bears GM Ryan Pace in their front office, are giving Goldman a third chance. The veteran nose tackle has not played since 2021.

Draft Notes: Titans, Alt, Chargers, Jags, Hawks, Cardinals, Bucs, Pats, Latu, Rams

Cutting Andre Dillard and not replacing him to this point, the Titans have a clear left tackle need going into a draft loaded with high-end prospects at the position. The Titans are “definitely” interested in Joe Alt, ESPN.com’s Matt Miller writes, noting the team’s recent visit and Combine meeting with the two-time All-American. But the Chargers should be considered a team to watch for the Notre Dame alum. The Bolts, whose first-round slot (No. 5) is two in front of the Titans’, have a clear wide receiver need but have hired a coach (Jim Harbaugh) who has not emphasized that position.

Alt continues to come up in connection to the Chargers at 5, ESPN’s Jordan Reid adds, and SI.com’s Albert Breer is not sure the Titans will have a chance at the decorated blocker due to the Bolts staying drafting Alt at 5. Alt would replace Trey Pipkins at right tackle in this scenario. Alt was a left tackle for the Fighting Irish and would step in there immediately if he lasted until the Titans at 7. One avenue for Tennessee to have a shot here would be if the Bolts trade down — a move they have made it known they are willing to make. Other quality tackles like Alabama’s JC Latham and Oregon State’s Taliese Fuaga could be options for the Bolts if they move down, Reid adds.

Here is the latest from the draft:

  • Personnel around the NFL are tying the Jaguars to a cornerback investment at No. 17, Reid adds in the above-referenced ESPN piece. Jacksonville has hosted both Alabama CBsTerrion Arnold, Kool-Aid McKinstry — and has a need at the position due to the Darious Williams cut. The Jags signed Ronald Darby, but the 30-year-old CB is signed to a two-year deal that can be shed easily in 2025. A young corner to pair with Tyson Campbell would make sense. With Josh Allen signed long term and Trevor Lawrence perhaps on deck this year, the Jags finding quality starters on rookie contracts will be paramount.
  • The Cardinals and Seahawks have hosted Penn State edge rusher Chop Robinson on visits this week, NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero notes. The ex-Nittany Lions sack artist has been busy during the draft run-up, having already met with the Eagles, Ravens, Saints, Giants and Jets. Robinson would come into play for the Cardinals if they moved down from No. 4, but Arizona — which certainly needs help on the edge — also holds the No. 27 choice courtesy of its Texans trade early in last year’s draft. The Seahawks hold the No. 16 selection. Mel Kiper Jr.’s ESPN.com mock draft sends Robinson to the Buccaneers at 26.
  • Speaking of the Bucs, they recently brought in Western Kentucky wide receiver Malachi Corley for a pre-draft meeting, Pelissero tweets. The Bucs have plenty of money allocated to the receiver position, with both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin on deals north of the $20MM-AAV mark. Corley profiles as a second-round option in a deep receiver draft, with teams who pass on filling a WR need in Round 1 likely paying attention to the ex-Hilltoppers standout’s status entering Day 2. The Browns, Ravens, Seahawks and 49ers have also scheduled Corley visits.
  • Moving to another Day 2-level wideout, Troy Franklin is believed to have scheduled a Patriots meeting, ProFootballNetwork.com’s Adam Caplan tweets. The Patriots not landing Calvin Ridley places them on the radar for a wideout in Round 2, assuming they fill their QB need at No. 3 overall. The Pats did sign K.J. Osborn and kept Kendrick Bourne off the market, but the team’s rookie QB will need more help.
  • Most teams to meet with UCLA edge rusher Laiatu Latu have cleared him medically, per Sportskeeda.com’s Tony Pauline, who indicates the Rams are one of them. A neck issue forced a Latu medical retirement in 2020, and the ex-Washington recruit missed the 2021 season. He re-emerged to post back-to-back double-digit sack seasons in L.A., and ESPN.com’s Sarah Barshop notes edge rusher is a priority for the Rams. With Aaron Donald gone and the team not making any additions here in free agency, that adds up. The reigning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year has already met with the Eagles, Bears, Broncos, Vikings and Cardinals.

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 NFL.com’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 NFL.com big board slots Latu 16th — behind fellow edges Dallas Turner and Jared Verse — while Mel Kiper Jr.’s ESPN.com 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.

Bears Set To Host Top WRs, DE On Monday

We already heard today that the Bears are bringing in LSU wide receiver Malik Nabers for a “top 30” visit this Wednesday. Now, Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic informs us that Chicago plans to host Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. and Texas speedster Xavier Worthy, as well. Both wideouts are set to be at Halas Hall tomorrow and will be joined by UCLA edge rusher Laiatu Latu.

The Bears’ most pressing concern for the 2024 NFL Draft is obviously at quarterback. With only Tyson Bagent and Brett Rypien on the roster at the position, it has become a foregone conclusion that the Bears will use the first of their two top-ten picks (and the first overall selection of the draft) on USC passer Caleb Williams. This week’s visitors, though, provide a bit of insight into what the team is planning to do with their second pick of the draft, the ninth pick.

Nabers makes sense as a target if the team intends to sit pat and select in the ninth position after drafting Williams. There’s a chance he may not make it that far, but with a run of quarterbacks expected in the first four picks and teams in the next four picks having needs that aren’t wide receiver, it’s not insane to believe that Nabers may drop to ninth overall. Harrison, on the other hand, will not be around that long. As the top wide receiver available in this year’s draft, according to nearly every ranking, Harrison likely won’t be available after the fifth or sixth pick. If Chicago is seriously considering adding Harrison to the team, they will need to trade up to get him.

Targeting Worthy and Latu provides the alternate opportunity to the Bears. Both players are seen as mid- to late-first-round picks, so it could actually really benefit the team to trade back, as Chicago may have two top-ten picks, but their next selection after that doesn’t come until the 11th pick of the third round. Adding a top receiver or edge rusher with a second first-round pick while bringing in a bit more draft capital by trading back could be a perfect storm for the Bears.

It’s clear that adding a third wide receiver is a priority in Chicago, though. With top returning receiver D.J. Moore now paired up with Keenan Allen, a third top wideout could give the Bears their best receiving corps in a very long time. Both Nabers and Worthy would provide a level of speed to the passing attack that could easily take the top off any defense already covering Moore and Allen. Harrison hasn’t been officially timed, but there are few (if any) facets of his game that are a demerit on his draft stock. Latu, on the other hand, with 23.5 sacks in his final two collegiate seasons, could pair nicely opposite Montez Sweat in their efforts to meet at the quarterback.

Trading up for Harrison would be difficult but could be worth it to bring in a potentially generational talent at receiver. Staying pat won’t cost them any more than they’ve already given, and adding Nabers would be a great compliment to their current corps. And trading back while still being able to add a day one contributor like Worthy or Latu could work wonders for their pick totals. Regardless, it’s clear that the Bears are making an effort to bring in even more weapons for their presumed 2024 starter under center, Williams.

Draft Notes: Barton, ’30’ Visits, Wilson

The 2024 tackle class has drawn rave reviews in the lead-in to this month’s draft, but Graham Barton is among those expected to play on the inside upon entering the NFL. The Duke product has nevertheless helped his draft stock recently.

Barton was already gaining steam as a rising prospect before his Pro Day, as noted by ESPN’s Jordan Reid. He battled injuries during the 2023 season and was forced to miss the Senior Bowl as a result, but the two-time All-American managed to take part in the Blue Devils’ Pro Day last week. Tony Pauline of Sportskeeda reports Barton’s performance was highly impressive, and it secured his status as a Day 1 prospect.

Following up on the strong workout, Reid notes Barton could now work his way into the top 15 come draft night. Many NFL teams view the first-team All-ACC selection as a center, but he could also see time at guard at the pro level. Wherever he lines up as a rookie, Barton will face high expectations and no doubt draw the attention of many teams near the top of the order in need of reinforcements up front.

Here are some other draft-related notes from around the NFL:

  • Missouri’s Darius Robinson has also seen his stock rise in the wake of the Senior Bowl, and NFL teams are keeping an eye on him. The Steelers recently hosted him on a ’30’ visit, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. He adds Robinson has 20 meetings with teams on the books, making him one of several potential first-rounders who will remain busy as the draft approaches. O-lineman Taliese Fuaga is among the prospects who also met with the Steelers, as noted by Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  • Staying in Pennsylvania, the Eagles hosted Laiatu Latu on a ’30’ visit, Geoff Mosher of Inside the Birds reports. The UCLA product is one of the best edge rushers in the 2024 class, having earned Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2023. His college resume includes a medical retirement, however, so there will be risk involved in selecting him. Philadelphia and all other prospective suitors will no doubt have a vested interest in Latu’s medical examinations. The Eagles traded Haason Reddick to the Jets, creating the need for a new investment along the edge.
  • The inside linebacker class is not believed to have a Day 1 prospect, but Edgerrin Cooper is among the top options teams will have to choose from. The Texas A&M product had a strong Pro Day showing, and he has a number of ’30’ visits lined up. Per KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson, the list of interested teams includes the Texans, Eagles, Cowboys, Panthers, Chargers and Buccaneers. Cooper was a consensus All-American in 2023 after racking up 84 tackles (including 17 for loss), eight sacks and a pair of forced fumbles.
  • Pittsburgh, Dallas, Carolina and Tampa Bay are among the teams also set to host Western Kentucky wideout Malachi Corley, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo notes. Garafolo adds the Browns, Ravens, Seahawks and 49ers have also booked a visit with the small school standout. Corley is a member of a very deep receiver class, but his 180 catches, 2,279 yards and 22 touchdowns over the past two seasons along with a strong pre-draft process has put him firmly on the draft radar.
  • Marshawn Kneeland has also drawn considerable pre-draft attention. The Western Michigan defensive end has either already met with (or plans to visit) the Eagles along with the Chiefs, Saints, Jaguars, Jets, Vikings, Colts and Commanders, per Pauline. Kneeland spent four years with the MAC program, totaling 12.5 sacks and 28 tackles for loss while establishing himself as a power rusher and strong run defender.
  • While a number of prospects have helped their stock recently, the opposite is of course true of others. Michigan receiver Roman Wilson appears to have fallen into the latter category, per ESPN’s Matt Miller. He notes Wilson is in danger of falling to the late second round or early in the third, something which could become increasingly possible if a run on the draft’s other pass-catchers takes place. Wilson averaged 16.4 yards per catch and scored 12 touchdowns on a run-heavy Wolverines offense last season, but his size (6-0, 180) and mediocre statistics from his three other campaigns could make him less appealing than other WR options.