Part 6 of the series now and we’re really getting into the meat of these positional rankings now.
Defensive tackle is really one of this drafts’ strengths, as well as the guys on the outside, rushing the passer off the edge. I feel like there are a few hybrid guys too who can do a little bit of both… As the Philadelphia Eagles showed a couple of years back when they won the Superbowl; you can never have too many players on the defensive line, it’s great when you can rotate these guys and keep them fresh to keep the pressure on opposing QB’s.
Let’s dive straight in…
1. Quinnen Williams, Alabama
Fits; Cardinals, Jets, Bucs… essentially anyone but there’s no way he’s making it out of the top 5 in any circumstance.
Quinnen is an absolute game wrecker; he basically lived in the opponent’s’ backfield last year with 19.5 tackles for loss and 8 sacks last year.
Williams is a supreme athlete for his size; his 4.83 second 40 time at almost 300 lbs is an example of this.
Williams combines his speed with strength and intensity too,he never stops fighting until the play is dead.
He’s going to make the pro bowl very early on in his career.
2. Jeffrey Simmons, Mississippi State
Fits; Jets, Bucs, Eagles, Chargers, Colts
I hate that Jeffrey Simmons is injured but despite that he remains #2 on the board at defensive tackle and is probably still the third player on my board overall after Nick Bosa and Quinnen Williams. To me, an ACL isn’t nearly as serious an injury as it once was, even if Simmons misses most of his rookie year, he’s still worth taking in the first round, and getting that fifth year option, otherwise he’s going to be a Myles Jack or Jaylon Smith style bargain for someone in the second round.
Simmons is a tall and thick 3-tech who plays low and uses good leverage against the linemen he faces and shoes good quickness, hand usage and power.
He also may fall due to a past assault incident in 2016 but by all accounts he’s a reformed character ever since and the coaches at Mississippi State rave about him.
3. Christian Wilkins, Clemson
Fits; Broncos, Eagles, Colts, Chargers
I’m a huge fan of Wilkins, he probably could have come out last year and been a first rounder but he went back to Clemson, improved his stock, won a national championship and cemented his place in the top 12 of this draft.
Wilkins plays with excellent pad level and actually looks smaller than he is when you watch him; which would usually be a bad thing but not so for defensive linemen.
Not the greatest of pass rushers yet but you can see the traits are there in terms of his physical skill set, I just feel like he needs to become more refined in this area.
Wilkins is also the kind of guy you want to draft into your community too. He worked as a substitute teach in the off season last year and that’s just one example of him giving back to those around him whilst at Clemson.
4. Ed Oliver, Houston
Fits; Broncos, Falcons, Chargers
Unbelievable athlete. Unbelievable penetration into the back field despite playing a lot as a nose tackle and being double and triple teamed. Tackle for loss numbers are insane with over 50 in 3 years.
So why is he only number 4 for me? Well, level of competition; didn’t go to a power 5 school. Injury concerns; started the year as the number 2 player behind Bosa but then got injured and only played 8 games.
It does feel a little crazy to have Oliver as my IDL4 but I think it speaks to the strength of the class more than anything.
5. Charles Omenihu, Texas
Fits; Eagles, Colts, Patriots
Ahhh… I kind of cheated here. Omenihu is an edge but can play inside too and I think we’ll see that at the next level, at least on long and late downs.
Super lengthy linemen who actually may play on the edge mostly like he did at Texas. He’s moved around a little bit at Texas so it wouldn’t be a completely foreign move. Hence why I kind of cheated to cram him into a top 5.
Omenihu is a competitor who always fights until the end of the play and he improved every year at Texas so he’s shown that growth that I always like to see.
Omenihu’s best trait is his hand usage; he has said himself that he studies Joey Bosa and you can tell as Bosa is one of the best technical D linemen in the league.
Sleeper. Daylon Mack, Texas A&M
Fits; Seahawks, Colts, Chargers
How about a big old nose tackle? Mack is short and stocky at 6’, 320lbs but is very explosive for a man of those dimensions and when that’s paired with the natural leverage that’s created with being 6’ it means pass rush ability. Mack isn’t the most consistent in the area but the tools are certainly there, I say this but 27 tackles for loss and 8 sacks in 4 years as a nose aren’t to be sniffed at.
However, when he came to A&M he was a big recruit so I guess he’s not lived up to those expectations but I think there’s plenty of time left.