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Draft Primer 2024: Edge

One sack in the last six games, Cardinals need pressure off the edge


The Cardinals have been at the center of the NFL draft conversation for weeks, sitting at the top of the league with the most picks (six) within the first 90 selections of the draft. There's a lot of areas the Cardinals will look to address through the draft. General manager Monti Ossenfort's first draft was a success, adding multiple full-time starters and role players that played meaningful snaps. He will look to replicate that performance when the Cardinals are on the clock. Before the draft kicks off on April 25th, let's take a look at each position group and see how the Cardinals may use the draft to evaluate their needs.

Primer schedule: S April 18; DL April 19

Draft primer: Edge

Previous primers: WR, QB, TE, RB, OL, CB, ILB

Players under contract: Zaven Collins, Dennis Gardeck, BJ Ojulari, Victor Dimukeje, Jesse Luketa, Cameron Thomas, Tyreke Smith

Need: High

The Cardinals' situation: Defensive coordinator Nick Rallis loves to utilize a rotation when it comes to the defensive front seven. The rotation has its benefits, such as keeping the players fresh as the games and season rolled on. But the room itself struggled to generate enough pressure, finishing near the bottom of the NFL with 33 sacks.

The draft class: It seems unlikely an edge rusher will make sense at No. 4, but there will be prospects available towards the Cards' second first-round pick at 27. Florida State's Jared Verse and Alabama's Dallas Turner likely won't fall that far, but players like Chop Robinson, Chris Braswell, and Darius Robinson have been mocked to the Cardinals in previous mock drafts. Laiatu Latu out of UCLA is an elite talent, but has an injury history that makes him a wild card.

The conclusion: Except for BJ Ojulari and Cameron Thomas, no other outside linebacker is under contract beyond this season. Besides forcing Justin Fields out of bounds in Week 16 against the Bears, the Cardinals did not record a sack in their last six games of the season. Finding an edge rusher that can help in that regard figures to be high on the priority list.

A look at some of the top edge rushers entering the 2024 NFL Draft.