NFL Draft : Top Interior Defensive Linemen in the 2021 NFL Draft by Darrell D. Lane

NFL Draft : Top Interior Defensive Linemen in the 2021 NFL Draft by Darrell D. Lane

NFL Draft

Top interior defensive linemen in the 2021 NFL Draft

 Darrell D. Lane

Previously I have gone through my top running backs, wide receivers, offensive tackles and interior offensive linemen in the 2021 NFL draft. Now it is time to release my big board for the top 15 interior defensive linemen (4-3 defensive tackles and 3-4 defensive linemen) in this upcoming draft. I also thought it would be a fun exercise to show some clips of traits that make my top 5 interior defensive linemen special. 

  1. Christian Barmore, Alabama 

The former Crimson Tide defensive tackle is a monster in the interior. Barmore can rush the passer at a high level. He recorded 8 sacks this past year, which was second in the SEC. Barmore has a fantastic swim and spin move that keeps offensive linemen off balance. Barmore can also beat offensive linemen with his bull rush. The Alabama product has position versatility across the defensive line. Barmore’s ability to make an impact in the run game is special as well. With Barmore’s strength and power he never gets moved off the ball and always requires double teams. Barmore has elite explosiveness which allows him to get off the ball and create penetration in the backfield https://youtu.be/i5MSB-Iz0Ns?t=1523 (Number 58 is Barmore).

  1. Darius Stills, West Virginia

Stills is a fantastic athlete. He has quick feet, twitchiness and the raw power you need to be successful in the interior of the defensive line. Stills uses his tremendous athletic ability to create pressure in the interior as a pass rusher https://youtu.be/0nGiSMlx3SA?t=2444 (Number 56 is Stills). In addition, Stills is a nightmare matchup up in one-on-one situations. He uses his superior athletic ability to blow past linemen who are less athletic. 

  1. Khyiris Tonga, BYU

Tonga is one of my favorite players in the draft and a phenomenal athlete. He has amazing quickness and agility for being a massive man standing at 6’4, 321 pounds. The BYU product is a constant force in the pass game. Tonga uses his burst and strength to constantly push opposing centers into the face of the quarterback. What makes Tonga special in my eyes is his dominance in the run game https://youtu.be/NRBr6XbqnZA?t=6734 (Number 95 is Tonga). The former Cougar is never moved off the ball. More times than not Tonga is pushing opposing linemen into the backfield and creating negative gains in the run game.

  1. Marvin Wilson, Florida State

Wilson is a load to handle at 6-5, 305 pounds. He is unmovable in the run game and can take on double teams regularly. The former FSU standout has strength and power that make him an instant mismatch against physically weaker players. The former Seminole has a great rip move he uses as a pass rusher to create pressure. The athleticism Wilson possesses for being over 300 pounds is impressive. Aspects of Wilson’s elite athletic ability show as he chases running backs down the field while making the tackle https://youtu.be/pMBKm0sSdaQ?t=1754 (Number 21 is Wilson).

  1. Ta’Quon Graham, Texas

The Texas product rounds out the top 5. Graham has a thick body and great frame standing at 6’4, 294 pounds. The former Longhorn is a solid interior pass rusher. His combination of power and hand use allow him to collapse the pocket. Graham does not always get the sack himself. His value is collapsing the pocket so the edge rushers on his team can get the sackhttps://youtu.be/cGFSL5CsbUk?t=3872 (Number 49 is Graham) Graham is good against the run too. He has the strength to hold his ground and does not get overwhelmed. I love Graham’s ability to shed blocks and make tackles as well.

  1. Levi Onwuzurike, Washington
  2. Tyler Shelvin, LSU
  3. Jay Tufele, USC
  4. Daviyon Nixon, Iowa
  5. Jaylen Twyman, Pittsburgh
  6. Tedarrell Slaton, Florida
  7. Marlon Tuipulotu, USC
  8. Osa Odighizuwa, UCLA
  9. Alim McNeill, NC State
  10. Tommy Togiai, Ohio State

*all stats are from ESPN.com.