2024 NFL Draft: Dallas Turner, Byron Murphy lead odds for first defender selected

The 2024 NFL Draft is less than a day away as hundreds of college prospects and 32 fanbases across the country wait to see how the selections unfold.

Standout players on offense headline this year's class. Potential future stars at quarterback, wide receiver, and offensive line could set a record for the most players drafted on one side of the ball in the first round.

On defense, there aren't the same number of top-tier prospects but there are plenty of talented players who will be selected Thursday night in Round 1. Which one will be the first off the board? Here's what the latest NFL Draft odds from BetMGM and mock draft predictions from USA Today, ESPN, and The Athletic look like:

2024 NFL mock draft: Six QBs make first-round cut as trade possibilities remain

1. Dallas Turner, Edge, Alabama (+150)

Another year, another top edge prospect from the Crimson Tide. Turner holds a slight edge in odds to be the first defensive player off the board like former Alabama standout Will Anderson Jr. was in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Turner totaled 23.5 sacks and 33.5 tackles for loss in college. Though he stands 6 feet, 2 inches tall, he boasts an 83-inch wingspan, one of the longest in the edge rusher class. He turns 22 next February, making him the second-youngest edge rusher in the group as well. His explosiveness, in combination with that length and youth, give him the tools to become an impact edge rusher with time to develop.

Current mock draft predictions:

NFL draft trade candidates: Which teams look primed to trade up or down in first round?

2. Byron Murphy II, DT, Texas (+160)

Murphy's an undersized interior defensive lineman at 6-foot-1 and 297 pounds but plays bigger than his size. His incredibly quick first step makes him a threat in both pass rush and run defense situations. Though he only started for his final season with the Longhorns, he's tallied 15 tackles for loss and eight sacks over his college career.

His athleticism shined through in pre-combine testing. His 33-inch vertical jump and 4.87-second 40-yard dash both ranked in the 92nd percentile.

Current mock draft predictions:

NFL draft boom-or-bust prospects: Drake Maye among 11 players offering high risk, reward

3. Laiatu Latu, Edge, UCLA (+200)

A fifth-year senior, Latu originally played for Washington before medically retiring in 2021 due to a neck injury. He un-retired a year later after getting medically cleared to return to football and transferred south to play at UCLA.

He proved to be a standout performer for the Bruins immediately. Over two years in Los Angeles, Latu tallied 33 tackles for loss, 23.5 sacks, and five forced fumbles. He's not as elite an athlete as Murphy or Turner but is the most pro-ready with his array of pass rushing moves. Medical evaluations could hurt his draft stock but he's an NFL-ready edge rusher.

Current mock draft predictions:

4. Jared Verse, Edge, Florida State (+900)

Like Latu, Verse was a fifth-year senior this past fall with the Seminoles. Verse transferred to Florida State after starring for Albany. In two years for Florida State, Verse tallied 18 sacks and 29 tackles for loss and earned All-ACC First Team honors twice.

Verse has the size at 6 feet, 4 inches tall and 254 pounds to hold up at the NFL. His power shows up on film and in testing; Verse hit 10 feet, 7 inches in the broad jump (89th percentile) and 31 reps in the bench press (100th). His power and quick get-off pair with a high motor to give him lots of NFL potential.

Current mock draft predictions:

  • USA Today: No. 19 overall to the Los Angeles Rams

  • ESPN: No. 19 overall to the Los Angeles Rams

  • The Athletic: No. 17 overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars

NFL uniform power rankings: Where do new Texans, Jets, Broncos and Lions kits rank?

5. Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo (+1300)

Mitchell could be the top player drafted outside of a Power 5 conference this week. The Toledo star thrived in both man and zone coverage schemes and finished his career with 52 passes defensed, six interceptions and 6.5 tackles for loss.

At the Senior Bowl, Mitchell showed that he can handle NFL-caliber receivers. His size (6 feet, 196 pounds) and speed (4.33-second 40-yard dash) could help even with the adjustment to a higher level of competition.

Current mock draft predictions:

2024 NFL draft rankings: Caleb Williams, Marvin Harrison Jr. lead top 50 players

Next five: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama (+2000); Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson (+10000); Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa (+10000); Jer'Zhan Newton, DT, Illinois (+10000); Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State (+10000)

We occasionally recommend interesting products and services. If you make a purchase by clicking one of the links, we may earn an affiliate fee. USA TODAY Network newsrooms operate independently, and this doesn’t influence our coverage.

Gannett may earn revenue from sports betting operators for audience referrals to betting services. Sports betting operators have no influence over nor are any such revenues in any way dependent on or linked to the newsrooms or news coverage. Terms apply, see operator site for Terms and Conditions. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, help is available. Call the National Council on Problem Gambling 24/7 at 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ, OH), 1-800-522-4700 (CO), 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN). Must be 21 or older to gamble. Sports betting and gambling are not legal in all locations. Be sure to comply with laws applicable where you reside.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NFL Draft odds: Top star defenders favored to be selected early