UCLA football final seven-round NFL mock draft: Laiatu Latu stays in LA

It's been a while since UCLA has produced a first-round pick in the NFL draft, but Laiatu Latu, despite his injury concerns will end that drought at the 2024 NFL Draft in Detroit.
UCLA defensive lineman Laiatu Latu (DL42)
UCLA defensive lineman Laiatu Latu (DL42) / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Josh Rosen is the last UCLA Bruin to be drafted in the first round of the NFL draft. Rosen went No. 10 overall to the Arizona Cardinals in 2018 and after just one season was replaced by Kyler Murray and traded to Miami. Kolton Miller also went in the first round that year, but since then, only five UCLA players have even been selected with a pick before Day 3. 

Laiatu Latu should snap that streak, though there are concerns that the pass rusher could drop out of the first round because of injury concerns. His history of neck injuries which previously forced him to retire from football could have him off many teams’ draft boards, but it just takes one. 

UCLA would love to see Latu get selected in the first round because it won’t be a busy draft for Bruins fans after that selection. Despite having multiple prospects, only two others are likely to hear their names called in Detroit. 

Laiatu Latu. . Laiatu Latu. Laiatu Latu. 51. Edge. Round 1 Pick 19. 19. player.

There isn’t a better edge rusher in the 2024 NFL Draft than Laiatu Latu. If there were no medical concerns then he would likely be a top-10 pick, even in a draft that is loaded at quarterback, offensive tackle, and wide receiver. However, because of the red flags on his medical report, Latu will fall later in the first round, but the slide could stop with LA. 

The Rams need to improve on the defensive line after Aaron Donald’s retirement and a 6-foot-5 265-pound edge with an elite pass-rush repertoire is a perfect fit. 

Latu racked up 62 total pressures and 15 sacks at UCLA last season and dominated at the Senior Bowl in Mobile. His pass-rush win rate of 26.2% was second in the country last season and LA needs a player who can consistently win on the outside now that Donald won’t be occupying two or three offensive linemen on the interior.