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2019 NFL Draft: Defensive Line Big Board

Who are the best defensive linemen prospects in this year's class?

Washington v Oregon Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

EDGE

1. Nick Bosa 6’3 266 Ohio State

- Bosa showed very little rust at the Combine after missing out on the majority of the 2018 season due to injury. He’s by far the best edge prospect in this year’s class. He should be the second overall pick to San Francisco barring a major surprise with the Arizona Cardinals.

2. Josh Allen 6’4 262 Kentucky

- Allen came back for his senior year and he made the most of it, catapulting himself into the top defensive prospect discussion. He’s a top 15 lock.

3. Brian Burns 6’4 249 Florida State

- Burns had a monstrous junior season in 2018 despite questions about his size. Well, he answered those questions and then some by showing up to the Combine at 249. If not for Bosa, he would be the top ranked edge prospect. Had an excellent Combine. Has elite bend and burst off the line. Top 20 lock.

4. Montez Sweat 6’5 260 Mississippi State

- A fundamentally sound pass and run defender. Athleticism is a plus. Character and work ethic are a plus as well. He’s one of the best in a strong DL class. Lateral agility is a plus. Possesses a good arsenal of pass rush and counter pass rush moves. He didn’t have the greatest of Senior Bowls despite all the hype. The Combine was just as expected. Still a first round pick.

5. Clelin Ferrell 6’4 264 Clemson

- Next man up on that monster Clemson defensive line factory. He might be the most talented out of the group. A top 10 pick.

6. Jachai Polite 6’2 258 Florida

- On the field, he was spectacular in 2018. Off the field, the offseason was a bit of mixed bag for him. He infamously called out teams that were critical of him at the Combine and then proceeded to not do well for the drill portion.

7. Chase Winovich 6’3 253 Michigan

- He’s one of the better edge rushers that no one talks about. A relentless worker that won’t quit until the echo of the whistle. A load to handle for offensive tackles. He may be limited athletically but he just doesn’t stop working to get the sack. Had a solid Combine. Cemented himself as a third round edge rusher in my book.

8. Rashan Gary 6’4 277 Michigan

- The former top recruit in the country had a somewhat middling career at Michigan given his status as such. He needed a big Combine to offset the lack of production concerns and he delivered to a degree. Teams will draft him in the first round based on the talent even if he’s a second round talent in my book.

9. L.J. Collier 6’2 283 TCU

- Collier had an impressive week at Senior Bowl practices and carried it over to the game. He was nearly unblockable the whole week. He carried it over to the Combine with another great effort. Having an excellent offseason.

10. Wyatt Ray 6’3 257 Boston College

- He finished the 2018 season in a big way with 44 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, and 9 sacks. A consistent rusher with a ton of potential. He definitely benefited from the attention that Zach Allen got and did work. Quietly having a solid offseason process. A better talent than Allen.

11. Justin Hollins 6’5 248 Oregon

- Hollins had a pretty solid finish to his Ducks career. He flashed a lot more pass rush ability in 2018 than I originally thought he had. Looked good on film. He was so dominant during the East-West Shrine Game that he won MVP. Had an excellent Combine, featuring a sub 4.6 40 and looked good during the drills. People thought that Jalen Jelks was the better prospect but no longer.

12. Oshane Ximines 6’3 253 Old Dominion

- He had a good Senior Bowl week, won a majority of his reps. Flashed a lot of talent but had some raw moments as well. People had some more questions for him at the Combine and he passed that test. He’s been flying up the boards.

13. Jaylon Ferguson 6’5 269 Louisiana Tech

- The offseason has been mystifying for a guy who is the career sack record holder. He didn’t do much at the Senior Bowl nor at the Combine. Then at his Pro Day, he put up a miserable 8.08 three cone drill. Not a good look.

14. Anthony Nelson 6’7 271 Iowa

- Nelson had a big Senior Bowl week even though he lost a couple of reps here and there. He showed up ready to roll as most Iowa guys are. Has really long arms, which is great for leverage and keeping away from blockers. Power is the name of his game. Had a great Combine. He should be ranked higher than this but that speaks to the talent and depth of this EDGE class.

15. Ben Banogu 6’4 250 TCU

- Banogu won the week as the best linebacker in Mobile. He featured quite a pass rush arsenal when he was in one on ones. He stood out on Day 3 as well. This is all coming from a guy who made the switch to linebacker full time during the week. That’s impressive. He carried it over to the Combine, cementing himself as a Day 2 selection.

iDL

1. Quinnen Williams 6’3 303 Alabama

- The rising superstar of the 2018 season did little to disappoint at the Combine. In fact, he surpassed even the most optimistic of standards held for him. He’s the top ranked iDL in the class. Teams will question why it didn’t show up any earlier than it did for him at Alabama.

2. Ed Oliver 6’1 287 Houston

- The most talked about defensive prospect did not but assuage concerns by blowing up at the Combine and subsequently at Houston’s Pro Day. We all knew he was an athletic freak. The events just confirmed. One team even asked him to do linebacker drills. He’s guaranteed a top 20 , if not top 10 selection.

3. Christian Wilkins 6’3 315 Clemson

- The anchor of the vaunted Tigers defensive line in 2018. A former five star recruit that developed nicely. An athletic force at the defensive tackle position. Has experience playing edge rusher at times. He really had a great couple of years to finish out at Clemson.

4. Jeffery Simmons 6’4 301 Mississippi State

- Simmons wasn’t invited to the Combine due to the issue he had before his freshman year at Mississippi State. The tape doesn’t lie about his immense talents, however. Unfortunately he tore his ACL at a workout recently. If not for the off field issue and the injury, he would have been a first round pick. He may be one regardless given that he has been an upstanding citizen ever since.

5. Charles Omenihu 6’5 280 Texas

- Speaking of a guy who has been having an excellent offseason, Omenihu is one. He had a great week of Senior Bowl practice, winning most of his one on one reps with a variety of moves. In his last game action, he was the dominant defensive lineman in the Sugar Bowl. Had a good Combine to top it off. Should be a Day 2 pick.

6. Khalen Saunders 6’3 324 Western Illinois

- Saunders was the star of the defensive line at the Senior Bowl. He definitely proved that he belonged with the big boys of Division 1. Carried it over to the Combine somewhat. I compare him to current Baltimore Raven DT Brandon Williams, who like Saunders, was a small school prospect who dominated Mobile and parlayed it into an NFL career.

7. Dexter Lawrence 6’4 342 Clemson

- After a solid first two years in Death Valley, Lawrence tailed off somewhat as a junior. He was still there as a disruptive presence but not on Oliver’s level. It will be interesting to see where he lands on draft weekend.

8. Gerald Willis III 6’2 302 Miami

- Willis was a monster in the middle for the Canes this past season. Athleticism is on point. Still refining the little things in terms of fundamentals. He’s vaulted himself into first round conversations with his play. Been unstoppable at times. He’s really good. There were some off field issues early on but he has matured a ton. He tested pretty decently at the Combine.

9. Isaiah Buggs 6’3 306 Alabama

- The next guy up in the defensive trenches for Alabama. He had an outstanding junior campaign in 2017 and was impressive in 2018. He’s seriously talented and should be a first round pick. He didn’t need to be in Mobile to be a high draft pick but chose to be there anyway. His stock has been taking some hits due to the other guys at his position but he’s still a guy to be taken seriously.

10. Jerry Tillery 6’6 295 Notre Dame

- Tillery was an impact defender for the resurgent Irish defense. The man in the middle that dominates in the interior offensive linemen. Standout senior. Athleticism is underrated. Won’t be the first guy off the board but will likely have a long career in the league. He’s been getting some top 15 hype as of late but I don’t see it.

11. Daylon Mack 6’1 336 Texas A&M

- Mack carried over his domination at the Shrine Game to the Senior Bowl effortlessly. He has shown a ton of improvement from his tape in terms of pass rush. A big nose tackle type. It’s rare for a guy to blow up at both Shrine and Senior back to back. Most guys would be fatigued but this guy wasn’t. He could fit as a 3-4 space eating type of nose tackle ala Vince Wilfork.

12. Renell Wren 6’5 318 Arizona State

- Wren was a force to be reckoned with in Mobile. He did pretty well at the Combine as well. The tape did a lot of favors for him athletically. He doesn’t feature a ton of pass rush moves but he has some. Needs to refine them. He can move for a big guy.

13. Demarcus Christmas 6’3 294 Florida State

- Christmas was an unheralded prospect that garnered a Senior Bowl call up at the last minute. On tape, he’s a run stopping defensive tackle with limited pass rush capability. He was a monster in the middle for the Seminoles defense that really didn’t get beat until they got gassed due to the lack of offensive support.

14. Dre’Mont Jones 6’2 286 Ohio State

- A disruptive force in the interior of the defensive line. Pass rush ability is a plus. Holds up well at the point of attack. Lateral agility is among the best in the country. Fundamentally sound as most Buckeye DL are under the tutelage of Larry Johnson, Sr.

15. Trysten Hill 6’3 308 UCF

- Hill was the man for the Golden Knights’ defense until the bowl game when they inexplicably went away from him in the game. He’s underrated and 15th might be too low for him. Has been quietly going up the boards with a good Combine effort.