2021 NFL Draft- Defensive tackles
Christian Barmore, JR, Alabama
In a not-very-deep defensive tackle class, Barmore is easily the best of the bunch. You shouldn't judge a prospect on just one game, but his dominance against Ohio State in the National Championship will do a lot of convincing. He has a quick first step with tremendous power and is the only DT I would consider in the first round this year, although there are recent reports that teams are concerned about his character.
Daviyon Nixon, JR, Iowa
All-American and finalist for many national awards after breakout 2020 season. Had 45 tackles and 13.5 TFL in second year as starter. Nixon has an explosive first step and will beat many offensive linemen at the snap. He's also one of the best pass-rushing DTs in this class. He's not the biggest guy but crafty enough to be a good player. 2nd-4th round in my book.
Marlon Tuipalotu, JR, USC
23 starts across three seasons with 81 tackles and 6.5 sacks. Not overly impressive at first glance, but DTs are not usually known for big sack numbers. He's an All-PAC 12 player with the ability to play anywhere on the d-line. Needs to develop more moves to become a better pass-rusher. 3rd-5th round rotational player.
Jay Tufele, JR, USC
Tufele is the more dominant USC product and one of several DTs who opted out of the 2020 season. He only played 2 seasons before declaring for the NFL yet made an instant impact on the field. He projects best as a 3-technique DT and can use his athleticism to his advantage on the interior. May start out as a rotational player and eventually become a quality starter as a Day 2 pick.
Carlo Kemp, SR, Michigan
A little on the lighter side for an interior defender but may be able to play outside in some schemes. You can see his athleticism on tape but the production doesn't match up. Teams will have to gather the full story for quality evaluations. Textbook case of late round pick or undrafted free agent.
Tommy Togiai, JR, Ohio State
Togiai is underrated in my opinion. You can see his influence on the defensive front in almost every game. He was definitely one of the most consistent Buckeye defenders throughout the season. He needs to improve his flexibility but I see some good traits to work with. Plus, he's coming off of his best college season. Expect him off the board early Day 3.
Marvin Wilson, SR, Florida State
Wilson went into the season as DT1 in this class, but quickly dropped during the Seminoles' tumultuous season. He didn't look as dominant to start the season and eventually opted out of the season. He;s shown flashes of greatness but still lacks consistency and versatility. He'll be a nose at the next level. Fallen to Day 3 value but can be a steal if he finds his old self on the field.
Naquan Jones, SR, Michigan State
Jones is an athletic nose tackle. He didn't have the 2020 season he had hoped for and will likely have to wait a while to hear his name called. He's a very powerful player at the point of attack and is deceptively quick for his big size. Late round sleeper candidate on the defensive front.
Bobby Brown, SR, Texas A&M
Brown is sort of like Jones in that he doesn't get enough credit for the work he does up front. Brown isn't quite as big, but he's athletic and has a knack for blowing plays up. He does have a tendency to disappear a little as the game goes on, but training and conditioning should be able to help that. Brown is a player who can do many things well and should warrant a selection this weekend.
Daniel Archibong, SR, Temple
Archibong didn't get much of a chance to show his stuff during 2020 because Temple barely played any games. Therefore, I'm basing my thoughts on him from previous seasons. I think he's and underrated player with potential to make an impact at the next level. His 6'6" length on the interior could make things very difficult for opposing quarterbacks. His college production isn't great, but I saw enough I liked to warrant a 7th round pick or priority undrafted free agent.
Isaiahh Loudermilk, SR, Wisconsin
Loudermilk is a good player, but I constantly wanted to see him make a bigger impact while watching Wisconsin. He played 3-4 defensive end in college, but I see him as more of a DT in the pros. His size and production fit better at that position and should give him a better chance to carve out a career.
Tyler Shelvin, JR, LSU
Nose tackle all day. Shelvin was a disruptive player in the middle of the defensive line for LSU's 2019-20 National Championship team. He's a huge guy and can control the line of scrimmage. His tape alone would make him look like a first-rounder. However, he sat out this season, was never a full-time starter in college, and has some concerns with his effort and some injuries. All that could make him drop and have to prove that he is still the same player.
Kyree Campbell, SR Florida
Three year starter with over 100 career tackles. He plays kind of high with pad level and isn't as powerful as you want in a DT. But he is quick and very good at beating defenders off the ball. There are better prospects, but someone will give him a chance.
Tedarrell Slaton, SR, Florida
Slaton is a quality Day 3 nose tackle. Finished his career with 98 tackles in 45 games. He's a big guy at 360 lbs but doesn't look nearly that heavy. Plays with good leverage and effort. Has a future as a nose in the league, whether backup or eventually starting.
Elijah Ponder, SR, Cincinnati
Ponder played defensive tackle at Cincinnati and has the frame to possibly move to defensive end in the NFL. 2019 was his breakout season when he led the team in QB hurries and earned first team All-AAC. He was a key part of an elite Bearcat defense. His future in the NFL will depend on how teams see his fit in their defenses. I'm not sure if he has the natural athleticism to be an every down end, but he is at worst a rotational d-lineman.
Osa Odighizuwa, SR, UCLA
Impressed during Senior Bowl week . Finished each of his college seasons in the top 3 on the team in sacks and led the d-line in tackles in 2020. 1st team All-Pac 12 player built more like a defensive end. Has experience at all defensive line positions. That flexibility will be key since he isn't the most powerful player. Intriguing mid-round prospect that didn't get much attention during his career.
Alim McNeill, SR, North Carolina State
McNeil is one of the bigger, more elusive defensive tackles in this class and should have a future as a nose. He isn't that well known to fans because NC State hasn't had any great seasons lately, but he was easily the best player on that team. He has a rare combination of size and speed at the line of scrimmage and could play some 3-technique if needed. Not a long player but strong and explosive. Can be a starter eventually and will be off the board by the end of the 3rd round if not sooner.
Xavier Kelly, SR, Arkansas
Kelly was highly recruited but did not see much playing time at Clemson, which led him to transfer to Arkansas. He made a decent impact with the Razorbacks but it may not have been enough. There is potential in him that could get him drafted late.
Khyiris Tonga, SR, BYU
Tonga was the leader in the middle of the BYU defense. He's a big dude who is extremely powerful and penetrates the line of scrimmage. Seems like he was making an impact almost every play. Although not the fastest, he moves better than expected and plays his gaps well. Clearly will be playing nose and could be a solid player. Late round draft choice with some upside based on the tape.
Quinton Bohanna, SR, Kentucky
Another overlooked player from the Kentucky program. Bohanna played at nearly 360 lbs and stuffs gaps very well. He could be a little more powerful at that size, but he's still an All-SEC player. He;s apparently lost some weight, so I'm eager to see what he can do in better shape. Very much a run defender at this point and could warrant 6th or 7th round selection.
Darius Stills, SR, West Virginia
Stills lacks the length but definitely has the motor. He played nose at West Virginia and will probably play the 3-technique at the next level. First Team All-American who finished 3rd in the team in TFL. May need to get better conditioned as he did not get as many snaps as he should. Will need to show he can play more than just nose to be a factor in the league. Some experts have him way down on boards and other have him high. I'll go in the middle and say 5th round.
Lorenzo Neal Jr, SR, Purdue
Neal is the son of former NFL fullback Lorenzo Neal. He has a good size for an interior defender and is disruptive in the pass rush. He moves with good agility and is quick to attack. I think he has high potential as a late-round sleeper if he can put everything together. Only issues are strength and pad level.
Levi Onwuzurike, SR, Washington
Onwuzurike sat out the 2020 season but was a productive enough player in past seasons to put him into first round consideration. He's not big enough to play nose in the NFL and should be a good player at the 3-technique in a four-man front. I'd like to see him improve against the run, but his quickness off the line and pass-rush are great traits for the NFL.