Could Chop Robinson be the Best Edge Rusher in this Class?

Rutgers v Penn State
Rutgers v Penn State / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

There are quite a few talented edge rushers in the 2024 draft class, several of whom will hear their names called in the first round of the draft at the end of April even with a crazy amount of tackles and wide receivers likely to also be first round picks. Players like Jared Verse, Laiatu Latu and Dallas Turner have all jockeyed around as the proclaimed "best defensive player in the draft" or the "best pass rusher in the draft". Is it possible that there is a player who is more ready than those three to make the jump to the NFL? Maybe. Let's talk about Chop Robinson.

Chop Robinson stands 6'3" and weighed in at the combine at 254 pounds, great size for an NFL edge rusher, more likely as an outside linebacker.

Chop Robinson's 2023 season at Penn State

Chop Robinson had a great year at Penn State which unfortunately gets overshadowed by the bigger big dogs Michigan and Ohio State, making it somewhat easier for Penn State players to get lost in the shuffle. That should not be the case with Chop Robinson. Robinson finished First Team All Big-10 and was a Third Team All-American.

Per Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Chop Robinson had 26 quarterback pressures in 148 pass rushes which equates to a 17.6 percent pressure rate. Also in 2023 Robinson only missed 7.1 percent of tackles, a number that shows he is a very reliable tackler.

Also from PFF, Robinson played 91 coverage snaps in his career and facing 12 targets allowed just a 68.1 passer rating. Chop Robinson did miss two games in 2023 with an undisclosed injury but even still was very productive and very noticeable when on the field.

How does Chop Robinson compare to other top edge rushers?

The aforementioned Laiatu Latu, Dallas Turner and Jared Verse all have fair claims as the edge rusher in the 2024 NFL Draft class, however, there are certain things that can elevate Chop Robinson above each of them.

Starting with Laiatu Latu, who could easily be the best edge rusher in this draft, the ugliest statistic on Latu is his missed tackles. In 2023 Latu missed 24 percent of his tackles, if you zoom out to his college career, the number slightly increases to 25.2 percent. A 17.9 percent difference in sure-tackling acumen is a massive one when splitting hairs and comparing Latu to Robinson. Also, there is a potential fear with a previous neck injury that Latu had in 2021, not that's a knock on Latu's play because he is a beast, but something that NFL teams are no doubt considering in their selections.

Next, Dallas Turner, the Alabama edge rusher is an athletic freak with a very strong 18.8 percent pressure rate, better than Robinson by one percent. However, similarly to Latu, Turner is not a strong tackler. Dallas Turner has a tendency to try to tackle high which occasionally allows ball carriers to slip away from him, leading to a 22.2 percent missed tackle rate in 2023. While neither I nor anyone else would argue with putting Turner ahead of Robinson, the converse comparison of Robinson ahead of Turner is totally fair.

Lastly, after these top four there is something of a tier break at edge rusher, Jared Verse. Verse does have an inch of height and six pounds on Chop Robinson but it doesn't show up on tape. Verse can be easily swallowed by bigger offensive linemen at times and his over-pursuit on the edges in games like the matchup with Duke leads me to not trust Verse in space like I do Chop Robinson. Also, like the two previous players, Verse has a significantly higher rate of missed tackles, 19.1 percent, a full 12 percent, over double the rate at which Chop Robinson misses.

To conclude, these four players can be put in any order from one through four if you're ranking edge rushers for the 2024 NFL Draft Class and all four could and probably will be first-round picks. However, Chop Robinson is absolutely deserving of consideration (and in my opinion, the number one spot written in ink) for the best edge rusher in the draft.