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2024 NFL Draft Position Rankings: The Top 3 Defenders By Position Group Ahead Of The 2024 NFL Combine

We are entering the next stage of the NFL Draft player rankings process. As always, I start with the top 5 quarterbacks (QB), top 5 running backs (RB), top 10 wide receivers (WR), and the top 5 tight ends (TE) before diving into the updated offensive line and top defender grades.


Nate Wiggins NFL Draft Ranking

The defender rankings below are the top three ranked players at their position ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft.


We evaluate every player using a proprietary grading process that involves film evaluation combined with advanced data. On the back end, our scouting process mirrors the same process deployed by current NFL front-office personnel so that we can deliver the most in-depth player scouting reports available. All of this is currently free (subject to change).


Football Scout 365 NFL Draft Big Board

Each player scouting report includes:

  • In-depth player scouting report

  • Play Style and Scheme Fit Analysis

  • Player Strengths & Weaknesses

  • Player Comparisons


The Top 3 Cornerbacks


(CB1) Nate Wiggins, Clemson (CB, 6'2", 185 lbs)

Projection: High-End Starter Potential

Analysis: Wiggins excels with his disruptive range and efficiency against vertical threats. His agility and sharp route recognition make him adaptable to various defensive schemes, emphasizing his role in off-man coverage. His potential in the NFL aligns with 'High-End Starter Potential,' showcasing his capability to adjust and excel in numerous roles.


Nate Wiggins NFL Draft Projections

Draft Projections

  • Projected NFL Draft Round: 1st

  • NFL Teams Mocked: Colts, Vikings, Jaguars


(CB2) Cooper DeJean, Iowa (CB, 6'1", 210 lbs)

Projection: Elite

Analysis: DeJean's spatial awareness and athleticism afford him versatility across the boundary, slot, and potentially safety roles. His explosive athleticism and quick response to plays highlight his proficiency in zone and off-man coverage, marking him as an 'Elite' prospect ready for early-round selection.


Draft Projections

  • Projected NFL Draft Round: 1st

  • NFL Teams Mocked: 


(CB3) Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo (CB, 6'0", 196 lbs)

Projection: High-End Starter Potential

Analysis: Mitchell showcases exceptional zone and off-man coverage prowess, leveraging his excellent route recognition and ball skills to disrupt plays. His coverage instincts and reactive athleticism render him perfectly suited for schemes that value versatility, allowing him to excel both in open spaces and near the line of scrimmage.


Draft Projections

  • Projected NFL Draft Round: 1st

  • NFL Teams Mocked: Steelers, Eagles, Rams


The Top 3 Edge Rushers


(EDGE1) Dallas Turner, Alabama (ED, 6'4", 240 lbs)

Projection: High-End Starter Potential

Analysis: Turner's flexibility across defensive alignments, comparable to notable NFL talents, underpins his value as a dynamic pass rusher. His need for refinement in run defense and block shedding does not overshadow his 'High-End Starter Potential,' promising a strong NFL impact.


Dallas Turner NFL Draft Projections

Draft Projections

  • Projected NFL Draft Round: 1st

  • NFL Teams Mocked: Falcons, Vikings, Bears


(EDGE2) Laiatu Latu, UCLA (ED, 6'5", 265 lbs)

Projection: High-End Starter Potential

Analysis: Latu's pass rush ability and motor, suitable for odd front schemes, resonate with his compelling comeback story. His 'High-End Starter Potential' forecasts an impactful NFL career, emphasizing his skill set for aggressive defensive play.


Draft Projections

  • Projected NFL Draft Round: 1st

  • NFL Teams Mocked: 


(EDGE3) Jared Verse, Florida State (ED, 6'4", 250 lbs)

Projection: High-End Starter Potential

Analysis: Verse's adaptability, mirroring the versatility of NFL edge rushers, positions him as a potential cornerstone in defensive strategies prioritizing quarterback pressures. His 'High-End Starter Potential' suggests year-one NFL readiness.


Draft Projections

  • Projected NFL Draft Round: 1st

  • NFL Teams Mocked: Seahawks, Rams, Bucs


The Top 3 Interior Defensive Linemen


(IDL1) Jer'Zhan Newton, Illinois (IDL, 6'2", 295 lbs)

Projection: High-End Starter Potential

Analysis: Newton's athleticism and technical skills make him a fit for dynamic defensive fronts, aiming for Pro Bowl levels. His ability to lead Power 5 in pressures denotes his 'High-End Starter Potential,' promising a disruptive NFL presence.


Jerzhan Newton NFL Draft Projections

Draft Projections

  • Projected NFL Draft Round: 1st

  • NFL Teams Mocked: Bengals, Raiders, Seahawks


(IDL2) Byron Murphy II, Texas (IDL, 6'1", 308 lbs)

Projection: High-End Starter Potential

Analysis: Murphy's prowess in run defense and potential in pass rush align him with traditional 4-3 schemes, where his foundational skills forecast 'High-End Starter Potential' as a solid interior force in the NFL.


Draft Projections

  • Projected NFL Draft Round: 1st

  • NFL Teams Mocked: Lions, Texans, Cardinals


(IDL3) Kris Jenkins, Michigan (IDL, 6'3", 305 lbs)

Projection: Mid-Level Starter Potential

Analysis: Jenkins' effectiveness against the run and effort in pass rush cater to his suitability as a nose tackle or defensive tackle, suggesting 'Mid-Level Starter Potential.' Despite speed limitations, his strengths indicate a reliable defensive contribution.


Draft Projections

  • Projected NFL Draft Round: 2nd-3rd

  • NFL Teams Mocked: Packers, Bengals, Vikings


The Top 3 Linebackers


(LB1) Edgerrin Cooper, Texas A&M (LB, 6'3", 230 lbs)

Projection: Mid-Level Starter Potential

Analysis: Cooper's athletic profile and diagnostic ability fit a weakside linebacker role, highlighting his 'Mid-Level Starter Potential.' His versatility promises a dynamic impact within NFL defensive schemes.


Edgerrin Cooper NFL Draft Projections

Draft Projections

  • Projected NFL Draft Round: 2nd-3rd Round

  • NFL Teams Mocked: Packers, Eagles, Steelers


(LB2) Junior Colson, Michigan (LB, 6'3", 247 lbs)

Projection: Mid-Level Starter Potential

Analysis: Colson's agility and coverage skills, effective in a 4-3 defense, mark him as a 'Mid-Level Starter Potential.' His comprehensive abilities suggest a path toward becoming a substantial defensive contributor.


Draft Projections

  • Projected NFL Draft Round: 3rd-4th

  • NFL Teams Mocked: Commanders, Chargers, Cardinals


(LB3) Jeremiah Trotter Jr., Clemson (LB, 6'0", 230 lbs)

Projection: Mid-Level Starter Potential

Analysis: Trotter Jr.'s blend of run-stopping and pass rush potential positions him for versatile linebacker roles, with 'Mid-Level Starter Potential' indicating a promising NFL journey with substantial room for growth.


Draft Projections

  • Projected NFL Draft Round: 3rd-4th

  • NFL Teams Mocked: Packers, Eagles, Steelers


The Top 3 Safeties

(S1) Kamren Kinchens, Miami (S, 6'0", 205 lbs)

Projection: High-End Starter Potential

Analysis: Kinchens' comprehensive coverage abilities and adaptability signal 'High-End Starter Potential,' predicting a significant defensive role. His need for improved tackling technique suggests areas for enhancement.


Kam Kinchens NFL Draft Projections

Draft Projections

  • Projected NFL Draft Round: 2nd-3rd Round

  • NFL Teams Mocked: Packers, Eagles, Bears


(S2) Tyler Nubin, Minnesota (S, 6'2", 210 lbs)

Projection: Mid-Level Starter Potential

Analysis: Nubin's proficiency in run defense and straight-line speed cater to zone or nickel safety roles, with 'Mid-Level Starter Potential' underscoring his capacity for solid NFL contributions.


Draft Projections

  • Projected NFL Draft Round: 2nd-3rd

  • NFL Teams Mocked: Packers, Eagles, Bears


(S3) Calen Bullock, USC (S, 6'3", 190 lbs)

Projection: Low-Level Starter Potential

Analysis: Bullock's prowess in deep coverage juxtaposes his need for tackling improvement, with 'Low-Level Starter Potential' highlighting developmental areas alongside promising pass-defense capabilities.


Draft Projections

  • Projected NFL Draft Round: 3rd-4th

  • NFL Teams Mocked: Packers, Bears, Bills


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