clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Mel Kiper mock draft: Rams take impact edge rusher in first round

Kiper gave Byron Young and Kobie Turner some help

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 25 Florida State at Florida Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The success of first-year stars Kobie Turner and Byron Young was a big reason why the Los Angeles Rams made the playoffs this season. Despite Turner and Young combining for 17 sacks and 35 QB hits, LA’s defensive line is still in need of quality depth pieces moving forward.

The Rams could go in any direction with the 19th overall pick in April, including a quarterback to develop behind Matthew Stafford.

Rather than send one of the top passers to Hollywood, ESPN’s Mel Kiper has the team taking Florida State defensive end Jared Verse with its first-rounder in his first 2024 mock draft.

“Verse was inconsistent in his two seasons at Florida State, but there’s no doubting his talent and 6-foot-4, 253-pound frame. He put up 18 sacks and 81 pressures from 2022-23, with 50 of those pressures coming last season. That’s the pass-rush improvement I hoped to see before the season. His next step is creating more turnovers, as he had just one forced fumble for the Seminoles.”

Verse was named First-team All-American and First-team All-ACC in back-to-back years in 2022 and 2023. His violent pass rushing prowess led the conference in pass rush win rate last season in his 12 starts for the 13-1 Seminoles.

The Florida State product lacked consistency in college as Kiper noted, so could he find it in the pros? Learning alongside one of the game’s best defenders in Aaron Donald would certainly further his development. Having another big body next to AD on the defensive line could make LA’s pass rush quite scary next season.

His pure strength and size should put him at an advantage once he does reach the NFL. Yet, will he even be there at 19 when the Rams are ready to make a selection? Anything is on the table between now and draft day. Verse’s stock might continue skyrocketing, eventually landing outside LA’s grasp. None of it would be surprising after watching him dominate his ACC competition.

The only true knock on Verse’s game is a lack of turnovers. Dating back to his time at Albany before his transfer to FSU, Verse forced only three fumbles in 39 collegiate games. That is not exactly an ideal additional to a Rams defense that only finished 30th in takeaways with 15.

If Verse can figure out how to generate turnovers at a consistent rate, he will be an absolute monster. The pass rushing ability is already there. There is so much untapped potential in his game and working with a future Hall of Famer in Los Angeles just might help him unlock it.