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Laiatu Latu

Laiatu Latu (EDGE) – UCLA / Senior

6’4-3/4”, 259 Lbs. (Combine)

2023 Stats:  12 Games, 28 Solo, 49 Total Tackles, 21.5 TFL, 13 Sack, 2 FF

Reference: {https://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/players/laiatu-latu-1.html}

Awards/Leadership: 2023 Consensus All-America, 2023 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, 2023 Ted Hendricks Award, 2023 Vince Lombardi Award

Measurables (Combine):

Hand Arm Wing
9-5/8″ 32-5/8″ 78-1/4″
40-Dash 10-Split Vertical Broad 3-Cone 20-Shuttle Bench
4.64 sec 1.62 sec 32″ 9’8″ *** *** ***

RAS: (Available post-combine/pro day)

Games Watched: 2023 vs USC; 2023 vs Arizona

PRO’S

From a purely technical standpoint, Laiatu Latu is the best edge rusher in the draft. His hand moves are extremely polished, making Latu an instant impact pass rusher. UCLA lined him up everywhere. Precise hand placement. Latu strikes high on the lineman’s pads to dictate the play. He rushes with full effort every play. He’ll fight through continuous blockers, and sheds blocks as a run defender. Latu rushes with a plan, combining hand swipes, chops and a refined swim move to win reps. He has an elite pass rush arsenal for a college prospect. He can with both inside and outside, which he uses to his advantage to fake one way and rush the other. Latu contorts his upper body. Latu has been the most productive college pass rusher this season, posting 15 sacks (1st in CFB), 63 pressures (2nd) and an outstanding 96 PFF grade (1st). His pass rush win rate was 25.9%.

CON’S

Laiatu Latu lacks the elite, eye popping athletic traits of the other top edge prospects. His get off isn’t elite. His explosiveness is decent, but he doesn’t shoot off the line. Latu’s bend is solid, but not special. His lack of true bend makes it harder for him to win with speed. Latu can be pushed around and ended up on the ground too often. His juice is fine, but he isn’t overly twitchy. Latu’s also an older prospect. The biggest issue with Laiatu Latu is his medical report. Latu dealt with spinal issues at Washington in 2019, and was forced to medically retire. Anytime injury issues are that extreme, some teams take the prospect off their board altogether. Latu has bounced back the past two seasons, but those medical concerns won’t go away.

OVERALL 

Laiatu Latu has a full arsenal of pass rush moves and will use it to be an immediate sack technician. He isn’t the most elite athlete, but that hasn’t stopped him yet. Draft media may obsess over the freaky edge athlete, but Latu has proven himself more at the college level. Latu’s combine medical evaluations are massive for his draft positioning. Latu is a longterm plus starter with a shot of exceeding his athletic traits and becoming a true all pro pass rusher.

Completed by: Mr. Irrelevant (@Mr1rrelevant), 01/19/24

Reviewed and edited: J. Clark, 01/19/24

 

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