UCLA Edge Laiatu Latu may still be within reach of the Rams, but only barely

NFL Combine
NFL Combine / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

When LA Rams fans discuss who they want the team to select with the 19th overall pick of the 2024 NFL Draft, two names come to the front of the class. Either Toledo defensive back Quinyon Mitchell, or UCLA DE/OLB Laiatu Latu were their choice. That has been a bit of a surprise, because the team has plenty of options at 19, many of whom are arguably significant upgrades to the roster.

That is not to say that Mitchell or Latu are not huge additions to the roster if selected. They are very promising rookie prospects who could go a long way to reinforcing a young defense in areas that are clearly in need of improvement for 2024. They are pass coverage and quarterback pressure.

Mitchell supplies the pass coverage, while Latu hunts quarterbacks.

Will Laiatu Latu land with LA Rams?

The problem with reaching a consensus on what the team should do with the 19th overall pick this far out from the 2024 NFL Draft is so obvious that it's being a bit overlooked. What happens if Laiatu Latu comes off the board before the Rams ever step up to the podium? If you haven't considered that possibility, you should do so now.

Laiatu Latu is another rookie prospect whose stock is rising rapidly. And with a projection starting at being among the Top-15 off the board, the likelihood that he will fall to the Rams at 19 is shrinking.

The consensus long before the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine was that Laiatu Latu would be a Top-10 prospec, and his Combine performance merely reinforced his rising stock. His lone speed bump hinged on his medical evaluation. But the absence of negative information from his medical exams and reports suggest that Laiatu Latu is bound for an early selection.

With edge rushers beginning to come off the board from many mock drafts from the eighth to twelfth overall pick, the Rams will likely need to trade up to land Latu in the 2024 NFL Draft. Still, a strong showing from Penn State's Chop Robinson could bump Latu to the Rams at 19 if he is taken sooner.

My Top Four edge rushers right now are:

  1. Dallas Turner - Alabama
  2. Laiatu Latu - UCLA
  3. Jared Verse - Florida State
  4. Chop Robinson - Penn State

They are all almost certainly going to hear their names called out in Round 1. But if Chop Robinson and/or Jared Verse are selected before Laiatu Latu for whatever reason, the team may be able to make many Rams fans quite happy.