Bills Top 30 Visits: Edge Laiatu Latu

04/17/2024
DB+

As the NFL Draft approaches, the Buffalo Bills have conducted their due diligence by hosting a series of top 30 visits with prospective draftees. These visits represent the most in-depth meetings between the players and the team, providing a prime opportunity for both parties to assess fit and potential. Among the pool of talented prospects are individuals showcasing a diverse array of skills and talents, each bringing unique strengths and capabilities to the table. Let’s take a closer look at some of the standout prospects who have recently met with the Bills as they prepare to make crucial selections in the upcoming draft.

 

Measurables: 6’4 3/4”, 259 pounds, 32 5/8″ Arm Length

 

Career Statistics:

 

Film Grade: 1st rounder

 

Signature Skill/Trait: Pass Rush Hand Usage

 

Summary Report:

Laiatu Latu is a dynamic edge rusher with smooth transitions into his moves and plans. His exceptional ankle flexion allows him to bend the arc at the top of rushes, showcasing both inside and outside moves, particularly excelling in spin, swipe rip, and inside swim techniques. Latu’s quick, reactive athleticism enables him to beat offensive linemen frequently, utilizing martial arts hand usage and effectively squaring up against blockers. While he sets a proper edge, he sometimes struggles to shed blocks and make tackles at the point of attack, occasionally getting overwhelmed by blockers in the run game. However, he compensates with his ability to seal short edges and utilize his length well against both the run and pass. Latu demonstrates sudden lateral burst and change of direction off the snap, coupled with very good closing speed, making him a formidable threat as a pass rusher. His active hands and feet work in unison, showcasing his coordination as an athlete, and he consistently looks to make impact plays by punching out at the ball carrier. Latu displays a varied pass rush plan from play to play, stacking moves and executing pass rush plans from both sides of the defensive line. While he excels in tighter alignments and displays cat-like agility on run stunts and blitzes, he may benefit from adding a power element as a changeup to his repertoire when facing patient offensive tackles who don’t shoot their hands. Overall, Latu’s rhythmic pass rushing style and ability to shrink surface area make him a formidable force on the defensive line, but his medical history may cause him to be pulled off of some team’s boards.

 

Film:

 

 

Medical Report Courtesy of Kyle Trimble (@BangedUpBills)

Of all the variables to consider when evaluating a prospect, Latu’s medical history is by far the biggest concern. Following a cervical neck fusion in 2020 that forced him to medically retire while at Washington, Latu received a second opinion and transferred to UCLA. While he has avoided injury for the last two years, the concern is if there are neck issues above and below the surgical area moving forward. This could present as repeated stingers, disc herniations or progressive stenosis in the spine causing him to miss time. Latu’s talent makes him a first round selection, but how long his career may be due to his neck could lead to a shortened career.

 

 

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