2024 NFL Draft: Dallas Turner is the favorite to be the first defender picked, but how early will a defensive player get chosen?

Just when will a defensive player get picked Thursday night in the first round of the 2024 NFL draft?

With quarterbacks widely expected to occupy the top three picks and Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison considered the best non-QB prospect in the draft, it’s a foregone conclusion that a defender won’t go in the top four or even the top five. And there may not be a defender in the top 10, either.

According to Yahoo Sports’ latest mock draft, a defender won’t get chosen in the top dozen picks. Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell was the first defensive player off the board at No. 13 to the Las Vegas Raiders. That’s backed up a bit by BetMGM’s odds. The favorites for each of the top 10 picks are all offensive players.

If a defender isn’t chosen in the top 10, some modern NFL draft history will be made. At least one defensive player has been picked in the top 10 in every NFL draft since 1990. The longest defensive players have had to wait in that span is through the first seven picks in 2021. That season, the Carolina Panthers took South Carolina DB Jaycee Horn as the first defender with the No. 8 pick.

Mitchell, however, isn’t the favorite at BetMGM to be the first defensive player off the board. That honor goes to Alabama’s Dallas Turner. The edge rusher is currently -125 to be the first defender chosen and he was slotted in at No. 15 to the Indianapolis Colts in our last mock draft.

If Turner isn’t the first defender, the odds favor another pass rusher to go first. UCLA’s Laiatu Late is the second favorite at +200 and ahead of Texas’ Byron Murphy at +400 and Florida State’s Jared Verse at +500.

Latu seems to have a wide range of draft possibilities Thursday night. Even though he’s one of the favorites to be the first defender taken, he went to the Arizona Cardinals at No. 27 in Yahoo’s mock. Murphy was mocked at No. 18 to the Cincinnati Bengals and Verse was selected with the No. 23 selection.

Mitchell is great value to be the first defender taken based on Yahoo’s mock draft. His odds are currently at +1200 as the No. 5 favorite. That’s a 12-1 return if he’s taken ahead of every other defensive player.

Favorites to be first defensive player chosen

  • Alabama Edge Dallas Turner (-125)

  • UCLA Edge Laiatu Latu (+200)

  • Texas DT Byron Murphy (+400)

  • Florida State Edge Jared Verse (+500)

  • Toledo CB Quinyon Mitchell (+1200)

  • Alabama CB Terrion Arnold (+2000)

  • Iowa CB Cooper DeJean (+10000)

  • Clemson CB Nate Wiggins (+10000)

  • Illinois DT Jer’Zhawn Newton (+15000)

  • Penn State Edge Chop Robinson (+15000)

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