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Could the Bolts Add to Their Edge Rusher Group in the Draft?

Edge Cover

Welcome to Part 9 of our 2024 draft preview series, which will be a position-by-position look at key prospects and where the Chargers roster stands ahead of the NFL Draft. This series will include a look at which prospects could be options for the Chargers later this month.

We chatted with Dane Brugler of The Athletic to break down the tight ends in this draft class. Brugler, one of the most well-respected draft analysts in the country, can be found on Twitter @dpbrugler for his analysis.

Chargers status at EDGE

Brevin Allen, Joey Bosa, Andrew Farmer II, Khalil Mack, Chris Rumph II, Tuli Tuipulotu

The Bolts bring back nearly the same edge rushing group from a season ago.

The duo of Mack and Bosa return to the Bolts in 2024 after restructuring their contracts this offseason and will look to reach their potential in their third season together.

Mack is coming off one of the best seasons of his career, breaking his personal sack record and tying the franchise single-season mark with 17.0 sacks.

Bosa, meanwhile, was limited to nine games in 2023 and played 320 snaps after battling through different injuries.

With Bosa in and out of the lineup, Tuipulotu became a valuable piece of the defense as a rookie.

A 2023 PFWA All-Rookie team selection, Tuipulotu played in all 17 games (11 starts) and notched 4.5 sacks, eight tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and 12 quarterback hits in his debut season.

Chargers Defensive Coordinator Jesse Minter praised the edge rusher back in early March, as he will fit in exactly what the Bolts will look to do under Head Coach Jim Harbaugh.

"You look at how he played his rookie year and I thought he stepped in and played really well," Minter said. "Didn't look like a rookie, didn't feel like a rookie when you were watching him. He plays with the toughness and the physicality that we certainly want our guys to play with."

Rumph, a 2021 fourth-round pick, enters his fourth season in the NFL after only playing in six games and missing most of the second half of the season with a foot injury.

Rounding out the group are 2023 undrafted free agents Allen and Farmer, both of whom spent most of the season on the practice squad but also saw game action.

Is EDGE a position of need?

Even with Mack and Bosa back in the fold, Brugler believes more depth would be a good thing at the edge position.

He pointed to drafting Tuipulotu last year and how a rookie could come in and make an impact from the jump.

"You don't want to wait for it to become a huge, glaring need before you address the position," Brugler said. "It makes sense for a lot of teams.

"Look at last year, they drafted Tuli in the second round. On the surface it's like, 'We have Bosa, we have Mack, why would we draft a pass rusher in the second round?,'" Brugler added. "But we saw the impact he was able to make as a rookie."

And if the Bolts were to address the position again, he expects it in the middle rounds and someone who they can bring along slowly.

"If they did that again this year, maybe not in the first two rounds but third or fourth, it's hard to argue against it," Brugler said. "Especially when we don't know what the long-term outlook will be with the starters in Bosa and Mack.

"I think it always makes sense to add young, promising pass rush talent that you can work into the rotation and mold," Brugler added.

Key draft questions

1. Who is your top edge rusher in this class?

"I think Dallas Turner is the top guy. He's so freaky. He's 6-foot-3, 250 pounds and he could play middle linebacker and be just fine because he's that good of an athlete. He's awesome in the trenches because he can play the run, he has the juice to rush the passer. He's still coming along in terms of setting up his rush and his move to move transitions and some of the details of playing the position at a high level. That's still a work in progress for him, he's still developing so he's not a Will Anderson, who was his mentor at Alabama. He's not on that level quite yet, but you're talking about a guy that just turned 21 years old and is still growing into who he's going to be and has all the tools. That's why there's a good chance Dallas Turner is the first defensive player drafted this year."

2. How's the edge depth in 2024? And who's a prospect the Chargers could target in the middle rounds?

"It's an interesting edge rusher group because we got four or five guys that are going to go in the first round and then there's a little bit of a drop off. Every team needs pass rushers, so a lot of these guys are going to get pushed up and maybe go a bit earlier than they should.

If you're talking round three or four, Jonah Elliss from Utah could be in that mix. He's a guy that really came on this year. The first 10 games of the year, he had 12 sacks. A consensus All-American, got hurt with a shoulder injury so he missed the final three games. He hasn't been able to work out during the pre-draft process. I think he's been a little bit out of sight, out of mind for a lot of people, but I think he's going to go in that late third, early fourth round range as a guy that shows a lot of promise. His dad, Luther, was a longtime NFL player. There's just a lot to like about what he put on film and the tools he has that you can continue to develop. He's a little bit inconsistent as an edge setter in the run game, but he's got that up field burst, he's got the motor, uses his hands well.

He kind of reminded me of Alex Highsmith when he was coming out of Charlotte, when the Steelers drafted him in that same kind of range as a toolsy guy that you can develop. Obviously, Alex Highsmith has turned into a really good NFL player, I think Jonah Elliss could be a similar type of path for him."

Expert rankings

Jeremiah currently has six edge rushers in his latest overall Top 50 list, while ESPN's Mel Kiper, Jr., has three in his Top 25.

The Athletic's Dane Brugler had 11 edge rushers in his most recent Top 100 list, with the highest coming in at No. 14 (Dallas Turner).

Meanwhile, Pro Football Focus has 12 edge rushers ranked in the top 100 in their Big Board Rankings, with a highest of No. 11 (Laiatu Latu).

Potential Chargers options

Note: Heights and weights are from each player's profile on (linked for each player's name).

D. Turner

School: Alabama | Year: Junior | Ht: 6-foot-3 | Wt: 247 pounds

2023 stats: 14 games; 53 tackles (28 solo), 15.5 tackles for loss, 11.0 sacks, one pass defensed, two forced fumbles

Quick fact: A consensus First-Team All-American in 2023, Turner was voted as the SEC's Defensive Player of the Year. He led the Crimson Tide with 14.5 tackles for loss and 13 quarterback hurries during the regular season.


School: Florida State | Year: Senior | Ht: 6-foot-4 | Wt: 254 pounds

2023 stats: 11 games; 34 tackles (20 solo), 9.0 tackles for loss, 6.0 sacks, three passes defensed, one forced fumble, one blocked kick

Quick fact: Verse began his collegiate career at Albany before joining Florida State in 2022. He became the school's first two-time First-Team All-ACC selection since 1996.

Latu DE

School: UCLA | Year: Senior | Ht: 6-foot-5 | Wt: 259 pounds

2023 stats: 12 games; 49 tackles (28 solo), 21.5 tackles for loss, 13.0 sacks, two interceptions, four passes defensed, two forced fumbles

Quick fact: Latu became the Bruins first-ever winner of the Lombardi Award, given to the college player "who best embodies the values and spirit of NFL's legendary coach Vince Lombardi." His 1.8 tackles for loss per game led the country and he ranked fourth nationally in sacks per game (1.08).

D. Robinson

School: Missouri | Year: Senior | Ht: 6-foot-5 | Wt: 285 pounds

2023 stats: 12 games; 43 tackles (29 solo), 14.0 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery

Quick fact: Robinson had his most productive season in 2023, earning First-Team All-SEC honors. He led the Tigers in major statistical categories like total tackles, tackles for loss and sacks.


School: Penn State | Year: Junior | Ht: 6-foot-3 | Wt: 254 pounds

2023 stats: 10 games; 26 tackles (19 solo), 7.5 tackles for loss, 4.0 sacks, one pass defensed, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery

Quick fact: Robinson began his collegiate career at Maryland, where he spent one season before moving on to Penn State. He would go on to play 22 games for the Nittany Lions, racking up 9.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss.


School: Washington | Year: Senior | Ht: 6-foot-3½ | Wt: 245 pounds

2023 stats: 15 games; 49 tackles (30 solo), 11.5 tackles for loss, 7.0 sacks, two passes defensed, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery

Quick fact: Trice was a team captain on the Huskies team that made a run to the National Championship Game. He would earn First-Team All-America honors by some outlets and was named to the All-Pac 12 First Team.


School: Penn State | Year: Senior | Ht: 6-foot-4 | Wt: 247 pounds

2023 stats: 13 games; 37 tackles (23 solo), 16.0 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery

Quick fact: Isaac was a steady piece of the Nittany Lions defense during his time there with 46 career games played. He was named a team captain in his final season.


School: Kansas | Year: Redshirt Sophomore | Ht: 6-foot-4½ | Wt: 240 pounds

2023 stats: 12 games; 56 tackles (40 solo), 12.0 tackles for loss, 8.0 sacks, two forced fumbles, one pass defensed

Quick fact: After spending a couple years at Minnesota, Booker joined the Jayhawks in 2023 and made his impact from the jump. He would earn the Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year Award and also garnered a First-Team All-Big 12 selection.


School: Western Michigan | Year: Senior | Ht: 6-foot-3 | Wt: 267 pounds

2023 stats: 10 games; 57 tackles (29 solo), 7.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles

Quick fact: A 2023 Second Team All-MAC selection, Kneeland had a career season in his final year. He also scored his first career touchdown, a 1-yard run in the season opener.


School: Alabama | Year: Redshirt Junior | Ht: 6-foot-3 | Wt: 251 pounds

2023 stats: 14 games; 42 tackles (16 solo), 10.5 tackles for loss, 8.0 sacks, one interception, two passes defensed, three forced fumbles, one blocked kick

Quick fact: Braswell was a Second-Team All-SEC selection in 2023 after leading the Crimson in forced fumbles and finishing second on the team in sacks.

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