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Laiatu Latu 2024 NFL Draft Profile

Laiatu Latu
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Laiatu Latu 2024 NFL Draft Profile

UCLA’s Laiatu Latu is next on the docket to receive their 2024 NFL Draft profile, and this one might get a little spicy at the end. Latu was noted on Trey’s Stock Report series this year for his showing against Colorado. However, the pre-draft process hasn’t been terribly kind to him, as he landed on my losers list from the Senior Bowl and he had an underwhelming NFL Combine. What does his draft profile look like? Let’s talk about it.

Latu, a former four-star recruit out of California, committed to Washington in 2019, but only played a season there. He hurt his neck and had fusion surgery, and the medical staff at Washington wouldn’t clear him, so he retired for three years. He got cleared in 2022, where he committed to UCLA and played in 24 games over two seasons. He finished with 10.5 sacks in 2022 and 13 in 2023.

Laiatu Latu ran around what I expected at the combine, maybe a little slower, posting a 4.64 40 time. It’s clear he has some athletic traits in his game. Pops off the line quickly, and uses an initial chop at his linemen to disrupt the play. UCLA lined him up standing up and down in a three-point stance, which helps his versatility in the NFL. Does a solid job keeping his pass rush moves coming at his linemen if his first move were to get stopped.

There’s quite a bit more to talk about, however. We have to discuss those medicals. Neck injuries terrify me, and I am not 100% sure I could draft a guy AT ALL after having fusion surgery in his neck. What do those NFL teams look for in those meetings? How are the docs looking at that neck? The durability and rigorous grind of the NFL on that neck scare me to death.

On the football side of things, there are quite a few holes in Laiatu Latu’s game as well. He’s not overly strong, so he is going to rely on speed moves to win a rep. The issue with that is he isn’t terribly fast, either. So no power and no speed, and I am expected to believe he will be a good pass rusher? Not convinced the motor runs hot. Not very good in coverage, which shows me all he wants to do is rush the passer. Doesn’t have very long arms. Can’t disengage off his blocker to get outside on run plays to save his life.

I can’t help but get Andre Carter vibes from last year. A lot of the issues I had in his profile from last year ring true here as well. I just don’t see a first-round EDGE rusher. I have a third-round grade on Laiatu Latu, and you can think I am crazy all you want. You go ahead and pick him. But when he finishes his first two seasons with a combined 4.5 sacks, just remember I tried to warn you.

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