Category Archives: Defensive Tackles

Defensive Tackles: Final Position Rankings

2019 NFL Draft:  Top Ranked DTs

Defensive Tackle is another very deep class, from top to bottom. There’s some amazing talent in the first seven – all first and second round picks. Then there’s a handful of third and fourth round talent, but after that, a lot of names will start flying off the board.

Quinnen Williams has reportedly signed with Young Money APAA Sport, a sports agency headed by rap artist, Lil Wayne.  Photo: UA Athletics

1. Quinnen Williams, Alabama, 6-3/303

One of the most dominant players in college football last year, is certainly in the mix for first player taken overall in the 2019 NFL Draft. Showed an excellent display of size, power, slipperiness, and speed to project as an immediate impact player at the next level.

2. Ed Oliver, Houston, 6-2/287

At one point, Ed Oliver was on everybody’s list of top five players in this draft. Then questions began to surface about his playing weight and would he be big enough to hold up at the next level. Good coaches find places for good players to succeed. Oliver has all the tool, just needs to find the right fit.

3. Dexter Lawrence, Clemson, 6-4/342

Somebody was saying that run-stuffing DT’s are a thing of the past … until the Super Bowl they said that anyway. Controlling the clock and wearing down a defense can win games. Stopping the run and getting off the field also wins games. Plenty of room for a high quality player like Lawrence in today’s game.

4. Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State, 6-4/300

Like Lawrence, Simmons excels at stuffing the run and being a disruptive presence. Players with Simmons physical assets won’t stay on the board long. He might not go in the top 15, maybe not in the first round – now that he has the ACL issue. But some team will snatch him up and consider him an investment in the future.

5. Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame, 6-6/296

Tillery has surprising agility for a guy six-foot-six. He’s quick off the ball and can get his pads low rather consistently for a tall man. He’s a long-strider with good backside pursuit.

6. Christian Wilkins, Clemson, 6-3/315

Winner of the 2018 “Academic Heisman” (aka William Campbell Award). Can play up and down the line. Some think he’s a 3-4 defensive end, other a three-technique in a 4-3. Either way, plenty of teams will be eager to draft him.

7. Dre’Mont Jones, Ohio State, 6-3/281

Jones is explosive off the snap and the agility to make plays at or near the line of scrimmage. He’s not just one who pushes the linemen back and cause a disruption in the play, Jones likes to get to the quarterback.

8. Zach Allen, Boston College, 6-4/281

Allen is listed as a DE in most places, however, he’s a bit of a one-trick bull-rushing pony and that doesn’t translate well at the next level. Let the NFL bulk him up a bit and put him at DT where his strength can be used to its maximize his potential — disrupting the backfield and holding up the line of scrimmage.

9. Kingsley Keke, Texas A&M, 6-3/288

Keke is one of those players who stood out over Senior Bowl week. He gets his power from his lower body and likes to pin his ears back and go forward. He’s another guy who can play up and down the line. Good coaching will add more tools to his belt as he goes along.

10. Khalen Saunders, Western Illinois, 6-0/324

Saunders was another Senior Bowl storyline. His short stature allowed him to constantly win the low-pad-level game and his strong lower body allowed him to get plenty of push. Might be best in line rotation.

OTHER PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON:

  1. Trystan Hill, Central Florida, 6-3/308
  2. Daniel Wise, Kansas, 6-3/281
  3. Armon Watts, Arkansas, 6-5/300
  4. Renell Wren, Arizona State, 6-5/318
  5. Gerald Willis, Miami, 6-2/302
  6. Isaiah Buggs, Alabama, 6-3/306
  7. Chris Slayton, Syracuse, 6-4/307
  8. Greg Gaines, Washington, 6-1/312
  9. Bryan Cowart, Maryland, 6-3/298
  10. Dylan Mack, Texas A&M, 6-1/320
  11. Derrick Brown, Auburn, 6-3/319
  12. Kevin Givens, Penn State, 6-1/285
  13. Cortez Broughton, Cincinnati, 6-2/293
  14. Kenny Bigelow, Virginia, 6-3/307
  15. Michael Dogbe, Temple, 6-3/286
  16. Ray Smith, Boston College, 6-1/302
  17. Olive Sagapolu, Wisconsin, 6-1/324
  18. Immanuel Turner, La. Tech, 6-3/286
  19. Albert Huggins, Clemson, 6-3/305
  20. Ed Alexander, LSU, 6-3/339
  21. Terry Beckner, Jr., Missouri, 6-4/296
  22. Marquise Copeland, Cincinnati, 6-2/281
  23. Dontavious Russell, Auburn, 6-2/319
  24. Isaiah Mack, UT-Chattanoogo, 6-3/305
  25. Jonathan Ledbetter, Georgia, 6-4/280
  26. Anthony Rush, UAB, 6-5/340
  27. P.J. Johnson, Arizona, 6-5/315
  28. Jay-Tee Tiuli, Eastern Washington, 6-4/320
  29. Alec Heldreth, Clarion, 6-4/283
  30. Deyon Sizer, Colorado State-Pueblo, 6-2/279

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Team Needs:

AZ | SF | NYJ | OAK | TB | NYG | JAX | DET | BUF | DEN | CIN | GB | MIA | ATL | WASH | CAR | CLE |MIN | TEN | PIT | SEA | BALT | HOU | CHI | PHI | IND | DAL | LAC | KC | NO | LAR | NE

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The 2019 NFL Draft will be held Thursday-Saturday, April 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn.

2019 Player Profile: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

A two-year team captain, Wilkins guided Clemson to a 2018 National Championship. He was one of the most recognized players in the NCAA. He was a finalist for the Bednarik Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, the Outland Trophy, and the Lott IMPACT Trophy. He was the runner-up for both the ACC Player of the Year and the ACC Defensive Player of the Year for 2018.

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2019 NFL DRAFT: CHRISTIAN WILKINS | DT | CLEMSON

Height: 6-3 | Weight: 315 | Class: Senior | 40 time: 5.04

Wilkins won the William V. Campbell Award as the top scholar-athelte in the nation.

Wilkins personifies the scholar-athlete ideal, having already earned his degree while twice claiming First Team All-America honors and guiding Clemson to a national championship. After graduating in December 2017 with a 3.33 GPA in communication studies, Wilkins became the first scholarship player in Clemson football history to finish school in two and a half years. 

In his four years with the Tigers, Wilkins played in 55 games. He had 192 total tackles; 94 solo; and 98 assists. He had 40.5 tackles-for-loss and 16 sacks. He also had fifteen passed defended, recovered four fumbles and forced two fumbles.

Incredibly durable, Wilkins has a strong, compact, compact frame with the strength to take on double teams. He has shown incredible short area burst and can play off the edge when asked. Can pull off the line and drop back in space. His versatility only increases his stock. However, it’s his athleticism that pops off the tape. Might be best suited at the 3-technique where his quickness can be showcased.

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Check out the updated Position Rankings: QBWRDEDT, and more.

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(Updated) Team Needs:

AZ | SF | NYJ | OAK | TB | NYG | JAX | DET | BUF | DEN | CIN | GB | MIA | ATL | WASH | CAR | CLE |MIN |TEN | PIT | SEA | BALT | HOU | CHI | PHI | IND | DAL | LAC | KC | NO | LAR | NE

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The 2019 NFL Draft will be held Thursday-Saturday, April 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn.

2019 Player Profile: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State

Mississippi State’s Jeffery Simmons is one of the more challenging prospects in this class to project. Simmons was not invited to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine because of 2016 incident from which he would later pleaded no contest to a simple assault charge.

Scouts were anticipating Simmons’ workout at Mississippi State’s Pro Day on May 27th. However, due to an ACL injury in Florida earlier in May, he was unable to participate in drills.

These setbacks haven’t stopped teams from wanting to see more of Simmons. He has a full-schedule of team visits between now and mid-April.

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2019 NFL DRAFT: JEFFERY SIMMONS | DT | MISSISSIPPI STATE

Height: 6-3 | Weight: 305 | Class: Junior | 40 time: x.xx

Simmons is a former 5-star recruit – considered the nation’s No. 10 overall player and No. 2 defensive end by Scout.com. In 2016, he earn Freshman All-SEC honors. In 2017 and 2018, he joined Montez Sweat on the SEC Coaches and Associated Press All-SEC First Team.

Simmons has eye popping quickness. He is strong enough to hold up to any double team. His tape shows good that he is good at disengaging from opponents with a quick and heavy handed rip move. He hustles to the ball, keeping his eyes up.

Simmons is a workout warrior. He’s ripped. He can bench 450 pounds and squat 600 pounds. Even with a ridiculously long wingspan, he benched 225 pound 28 times at Pro Day – the only activity he was able to participate in, besides interviews (see below).

In his three years at Mississippi State, Simmons played in 38 games. He had 163 total tackles; 58 solo; and 105 assists. He had 33 tackles-for-loss and seven sacks. He also had seven passed defended, two forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries, and one touchdown.

He has worked hard to rehabilitate his reputation, and has been recognized for his community service is Mississippi. His head coach and teammates (notably Montez Sweat) have only positive things to say about the man they’ve known for the past three years.

Photo: The Clarion-Ledger

Players with Simmons physical assets won’t stay on the board long. He might not go in the top 15, maybe not in the first round – now that he has the ACL issue. But some team will snatch him up and consider him an investment in the future.

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Check out the updated Position Rankings: QBWRDEDT, and more.

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Team Needs:

AZ | SF | NYJ | OAK | TB | NYG | JAX | DET | BUF | DEN | CIN | GB | MIA | ATL | WASH | CAR | CLE |MIN |TEN | PIT | SEA | BALT | HOU | CHI | PHI | IND | DAL | LAC | KC | NO | LAR | NE

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The 2019 NFL Draft will be held Thursday-Saturday, April 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn.

2019 Player Profile: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

The number of Alabama defensive linemen in the NFL since 2016 is quite impressive: Daron Payne, Da’Shawn Hand, Josh Frazier, Jonathan Allen, Davlin Tomlinson, A’Shawn Robinson, and Jarran Reed. In a little less than a month, Isaiah Buggs and Quinnen Williams will join them.

Daron Payne went 13th overall to the Washington Redskins last year; and Jonathan Allen went 17th overall in 2017, also, to the Washington Redskins.

Quinnen Williams, however, has been rated above his alumni brethren. His name frequently appearing on draft boards as a top five pick in the 2019 NFL draft.

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2019 NFL DRAFT: QUINNEN WILLIAMS | DT | ALABAMA

Height: 6-3 | Weight: 303 | Class: RS Sophmore | 40 time: 4.83

On the surface, Williams appears to be your typical Alabama defensive lineman – big and strong. Like other former-Alabama d-linemen, Williams has excellent short-area burst. What sets him apart though, his his ability to get skinny, using his quickness to slip between defenders. At times, last year, he seemed to be in the backfield before the play had barely started. That kind of instant disruptive burst allows him to wrapped up ball carriers and quarterbacks in ways that impact field position and ultimately the outcome of the game. He also has an incredible, amazing, ability to shed blocks and disengage like it’s no effort at all. He does it so efficiently, you almost don’t notice. He’s that good.

At the Scouting Combine, Williams ran a 4.87 – which is good for any 300 pound Nose Tackle. His agent advised him to not to run again, the time was good enough. But Williams, being the competitor he is, decided to run again. The second time, he clocked a 4.83. The fourth fastest time, ever, by a man over 300 lbs. That’s moving.

Williams has a rare combination of size, power, and speed.
Photo: Associated Press

In his two years at Alabama, Williams played in 24 games. He had 91 total tackles; 56 solo; and 35 assists. He had 26 tackles-for-loss and 10 sacks. He also had 1 passed defended.

Just like Ed Oliver, Williams won the Outland Trophy after his sophomore campaign. The Outland Trophy being awarded to the best interior lineman in the nation. Williams was named a Consensus All-American in 2018 and was a finalist for the Bednarik and Nagurski awards.

Over the course of the past few months, draft pundits have projected Williams anywhere between the first overall pick and the fifth overall pick. It seems almost a foregone conclusion that Bosa will go ahead of him – and possibly Murray too. Still, most expect to hear Williams name called in the top three picks of the NFL draft.

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Check out the updated Position Rankings: QBWRDEDT, and more.

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Team Needs:

AZ | SF | NYJ | OAK | TB | NYG | JAX | DET | BUF | DEN | CIN | GB | MIA | ATL | WASH | CAR | CLE |MIN |TEN | PIT | SEA | BALT | HOU | CHI | PHI | IND | DAL | LAC | KC | NO | LAR | NE

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The 2019 NFL Draft will be held Thursday-Saturday, April 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn.

2019 Player Profile: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

Houston’s Ed Oliver had been considered a top three pick going back as far as January of 2017. By January of 2018, every publication had Oliver, Bosa, and Oregon QB Justin Herbert as the top three players heading into the 2019 NFL draft. Herbert decided to stay in school, while, Bosa has been consistently at the top of mock drafts ever since. Oliver, however, has been largely ignored in draft conversations, his name freely floating up and down draft boards without much discussion. All of that has changed since Oliver’s Pro Day earlier this week.

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2019 NFL DRAFT: ED OLIVER | DT | HOUSTON

Height: 6-2 | Weight: 287 | Class: Junior | 40 time: 4.71

Oliver is rising up draft boards and receiving plenty of well-deserved press since his Pro Day earlier this week. He is one of the most explosive players in the draft, even drawing comparisons to DT Aaron Donald of the LA Rams. Oliver is the best pass-rushing DT in the draft.

He possesses cat-quick get off which has allowed him to pile up 53 tackles-for-loss over his career. At his Pro Day, his 10-yard split was 1.7 – proof of his short area burst. Oliver has also displayed incredible strength for a man of his size. At the Scouting Combine, Oliver benched 225 lbs. thirty-two times – tied for second best among his position group. He also recorded a group best 36″ vertical and a 120″ broad jump.

Unlike the cats from Clemson, Oliver was the only stud in the front seven at Houston and took on double and triple teams, the majority of time. And still he dominated. Don’t be surprised to hear his name called in the top five picks of the 2019 NLF Draft.

In his three years in Houston, Oliver played in 32 games. He had 192 total tackles; 122 solo; and 70 assists. He had 53 tackles-for-loss and 13.5 sacks. He also had 11 passed defended, five forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

He won the Outland Trophy after his sophomore campaign. The Outland Trophy is awarded to the best interior lineman in the nation. He was named a Consensus All-American in 2018, even though he played in only 8 games.

Due to his playing weight (speculated as low as the 260’s), there has been some talk of Oliver making a position switch at the next level. Could he move to end, or linebacker? That, of course, will depend on what team he ends up with.

For more, check out Ed Oliver’s post-Pro Day workout interview with Jane Slater for NFL.com.

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Check out the updated Position Rankings: QBWRDEDT, and more.

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Team Needs:

AZ | SF | NYJ | OAK | TB | NYG | JAX | DET | BUF | DEN | CIN | GB | MIA | ATL | WASH | CAR | CLE |MIN |TEN | PIT | SEA | BALT | HOU | CHI | PHI | IND | DAL | LAC | KC | NO | LAR | NE

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The 2019 NFL Draft will be held Thursday-Saturday, April 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn.

2019 Player Profile: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

Clemson’s Dexter Lawrence will easily be the most coveted run-stuffer in the 2019 NFL Draft. At the NFL Scouting Combine, Lawrence weighed in at 342 pounds – looking like the second coming of Vince Wilfork. In 2004, Wilfork weighed in a 340, ran a 5.08 and benched 36 reps. Lawrence ran a 5.05 and also had 36 reps on the bench. Wilfolk was drafted 31st overall by the New England Patriots. Lawrence should be drafted somewhere in the 20’s range.

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2019 NFL DRAFT: DEXTER LAWRENCE | DT | CLEMSON

Height: 6-4 | Weight: 342 | Class: Junior | 40 time: 5.05


Lawrence is clearly the biggest defensive tackle in the draft. He possesses the size to eat up double and triple team blocks. He has the strength to overpower almost any guard/center combo he’s played against – and shows a great ability to anchor. He is happy doing the dirty work that doesn’t always show up on the stats sheet, freeing his teammates to make plays. What makes Lawrence special is his straight line speed; lateral quickness; and balance and agility.

Lawrence is the prototypical run-stuffing nose tackle teams covet.
Photo: Gwinn Davis|The Post and Courier

In his three years with the Tigers, Lawrence played in 38 games. He had 131 total tackles; 50 solo; and 81 assists. He had 18 tackles-for-loss and 10 sacks. He also had an interception, four passed defended, recovered three fumbles and forced one.

Lawrence made the news earlier this year when he was suspended for a Peds/drug violation which caused him to miss the National Championship game versus Alabama. While for many players, this kind of negative press would drive down their stock value, for Lawrence it has not created a major impact. Championing forgiveness for the mistake has been Clemson head coach Deebo Sweeney. Sweeney and the Clemson coaching staff have spoken publicly about the situation, even going so far as to say they may have been inadvertently responsible for the Peds that Lawrence unknowingly took.

With the Clemson staff backing Lawrence’s good character, he should be one of the top defensive tackles taken in this year’s draft.

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Check out the updated Position Rankings: QBWRDEDT, and more.

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Team Needs:

AZ | SF | NYJ | OAK | TB | NYG | JAX | DET | BUF | DEN | CIN | GB | MIA | ATL | WASH | CAR | CLE |MIN |TEN | PIT | SEA | BALT | HOU | CHI | PHI | IND | DAL | LAC | KC | NO | LAR | NE

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The 2019 NFL Draft will be held Thursday-Saturday, April 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn.