Laiatu Latu NFL Draft Profile

Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Laiatu Latu NFL Draft Profile, Edge Rusher

Class: Red-Shirt Senior

College: UCLA Bruins

Height: 6’4″

Weight: 261 pounds

Combine Results: Coming Soon

NFL Player Comparison

Josh Allen, Kentucky

Teams With 1st Round Need At Edge

Chicago Bears, Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Rams

Projection

Pick 8: Atlanta Falcons

NCAA Football: UCLA at Stanford
Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Laiatu Latu NFL Draft Profile: Bio

For a while, it seemed uncertain if we’d ever witness the talents of Laiatu Latu from 2021 and 2022. He began his college football journey at Washington in 2019 as a highly regarded four-star recruit. Despite showing promise in his freshman year, a neck injury during fall camp in 2020 sidelined him for the entire season. In the spring of 2021, Coach Jimmy Lake announced Latu’s medical retirement due to doctors’ concerns of potential paralysis if he returned to play.

Latu persevered, undergoing extensive rehabilitation behind the scenes. Following his transfer to UCLA after the 2021 season, he received medical clearance from UCLA’s doctors in the spring of 2022. Since then, Latu has emerged as a dominant force on the field. His impressive stats in 2022, including 10.5 sacks, 12.5 tackles for loss, and three forced fumbles, were followed by an outstanding 2023 season, where he notched 49 tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, two interceptions, two pass breakups, and two forced fumbles.

Latu’s remarkable performance in 2023 earned him prestigious accolades, including the Lombardi Award for the nation’s top defensive lineman, a first for the UCLA Bruins. Additionally, he clinched the Ted Hendricks Award, recognizing him as the country’s top defensive end.

NCAA Football: California at Washington
Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Laiatu Latu NFL Draft Profile: Upside

With a robust frame with requisite length and athleticism for an NFL edge. Played in both two-point and three-point stances. Latu combines quickness with power to gain the edge and unsettle tackles, making him a formidable force.

Latu showcases remarkable lateral agility and an elusive nature. Employing a diverse set of rush moves with advanced hand techniques, he consistently outmaneuvers blockers, demonstrating commendable body control at the rush apex and effectively disrupting quarterbacks who step up in the pocket.

Additionally, he excels in creating mismatches inside against guards on passing downs, utilizing his quickness and relentless pursuit to pressure the quarterback.

While more inclined towards zone coverage, he displays good instincts and an instinctive playmaking ability, frequently forcing turnovers and disrupting offensive momentum with his persistent motor.

Laiatu Latu NFL Draft Profile: Downside

Latu’s ceiling may be limited because of his athleticism. Additionally, his average arm length could affect his production. He has occasional lapses in his ability to diagnose and react to run plays. Moreover, his medical history presents a significant risk factor.

NCAA Football: UCLA at San Diego State
Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports