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2023 NFL Draft: Defensive Line Big Board

(Mandatory Image Credit: Gary Cosby, Jr / USA Today Sports)

Written by: Joseph Yun

Twitter: @2Yoon2ZeroBlitz

The defensive line class is again loaded to the gills, with supreme talents slated to go very high in this year’s draft. Superstars dot the board with top-ten potential, middle-round gems, and late-round steals up and down the rankings. Who are the next wave of big-monied stars waiting to make their mark on the league like Aiden Hutchinson, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Ed Oliver, the Bosa brothers, and Jeffery Simmons have done before them? Is there a clear-cut winner for EDGE1 and IDL1 titles in the class? How many of the EDGE rushers go in the first round? Are there any sleepers that can make their way onto the big stage of night 1?

If you missed any previous big board articles, they can be found below:


Running Back

Wide Receiver

Offensive Line

Note: All statistics courtesy of college football reference and RAS courtesy of Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb)


1. Will Anderson, Jr | 6’3 253 | Junior | Alabama

- WAJ has a compelling argument for being the best player in the class, regardless of position. An honor considered very lofty, given the talent level of the elite players in the draft. He’s a prime-time athlete with the monstrous production to back it up. While he didn’t produce as high as a junior that he once did as a sophomore, it was still terrific. He leaves Tuscaloosa with a bevy of awards and records to his name. In the storied and hallowed history of Tide defenders under Nick Saban, he can be considered the king of the mountain in terms of pure talent. It takes a lot to earn reps as a freshman on Alabama’s defense, yet he did so in style. The junior produced 34.5 career sacks, ranking in the top five all-time in that category in school history. Offensive coordinators had to scheme around him instead of the other way around. He was that good. No question, he should be a top-five selection, maybe even top-three, depending on how the board shakes out. Athletically, he compares to former Florida State standout and first-round selection, Jermaine Johnson II. He profiles similarly to a recent top-five selection and rising superstar sophomore Kayvon Thibodeaux for a stylistic comparison.

2022 Stats: 51 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, ten sacks, and one interception

Round Projection: Top Five

Player / RAS Comp: Jermaine Johnson II / Kayvon Thibodeaux

2. Tyree Wilson | 6’5 271 | Redshirt Senior | Texas Tech

- Wilson is one of the premier athletes in the class, regardless of position. He’s all arms and legs, it appears. He has the frame to add more weight to get stronger to take on bigger blockers. Fundamentally, he’s a raw prospect, so much development will be needed at the next level. In time, he could be the best EDGE prospect in the class. A freak athlete with the ideal height and length to succeed in the pros as a pass-rush specialist. He presents an intriguing package of raw potential for a team to build him up to become an impact starter eventually. The versatility between three and four-man fronts is another plus. His athletic skillset should entice a team to select him in the top ten. The former Red Raiders’ EDGE athletic and play style is similar to veteran star Chandler Jones, who’s had a distinguished and successful career. In any other year, he would have the foremost argument for EDGE1. Production wasn’t an issue as the pass rusher exploded in tackles, maintained his sacks, and increased tackles for loss as a senior.

2022 Stats: 61 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, seven sacks, and one forced fumble

Round Projection: Top Ten

Player / RAS Comp: Chandler Jones

3. Myles Murphy | 6’5 268 | Junior | Clemson

- Murphy was a tackle-for-loss machine, posting double digits in all three seasons, finishing his illustrious career with 36 total. He was an impact EDGE from the first snap to his last in a Tigers uniform. He is an outstanding athlete for his size. He has great lateral movement skills along the line and can slide inside to tackle in certain packages. He possesses a good burst and quick first step to overwhelm blockers to match his above-average hand work. Size and length are good for his position group, and he uses it well. He has reps where he pursues the ball laterally to the sideline regularly to completion. An outstanding athlete who can win with both power and speed but speed is more his vibe right now. He’s a surefire first-round selection and could go within the top 15. The former Clemson EDGE’s stylistic and athletic profile resembles former Giants superstar pass rusher Justin Tuck.

2022 Stats: 40 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, two passes defended, and one forced fumble

Round Projection: First

Player / RAS Comp: Justin Tuck

4. Lukas Van Ness | 6’5 272 | Redshirt Sophomore | Iowa

- Here’s a guy who looks the part straight out of central casting for an EDGE rusher. Van Ness was a part-time role player throughout his Iowa career, never starting a game collegiately. He was the second banana in 2021 behind Zach Van Valkenburg and tied for the team lead in sacks. The prospect offers positional versatility in that he spent 2021 lined up as a defensive tackle while spending 2022 on the perimeter. He has excellent athleticism for his size but is somewhat unrefined in how to master those physical traits. LVN offers the potential to become something greater if he’s given more time to develop further the speed portion of his game rather than the power. Like most Iowa defenders, he has a ton of likable traits like a relentless motor, power, and a mix of speed and lateral agility. If life as an EDGE doesn’t work out, he can always kick inside to continue his progression there. Van Ness was a consistent producer through his two playing seasons at Iowa. He’s likely a first-round selection but might slip into the second-round round in the right circumstances. His athletic profile is similar to star edge rusher Preston Smith has had an excellent career so far.

2022 Stats: 37 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, and six sacks

Round Projection: First to Second

Player / RAS Comp: Preston Smith

5. Keion White | 6’4 285 | Redshirt Senior | Georgia Tech

- White dominated at the Senior Bowl, easily winning nearly all his reps. He transferred to Tech from Old Dominion, where he converted to EDGE. He’s a relentless worker who doesn’t quit on a rep. His sacks are of the effort variety more than pure athleticism. While he does have a lot of athleticism to offer for a guy his size, his motor gets him where he needs to go. Scheme versatility is another plus, as he has reps featuring both traditional fronts and positional versatility. He has rocketed up the boards after a great ‘22 season and an even better off-season process. The former Yellow Jackets star could have a chance to go in the first round but will likely be selected early on Day 2. His athletic and stylistic profile compares to former UCLA standout Datone Jones.

2022 Stats: 54 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, one pass defense

Round Projection: First to Second

Player / RAS Comp: Datone Jones

6. Nolan Smith | 6’2 238 | Senior | Georgia

- After serving as a capable backup for two seasons, the former five-star recruit broke out as a junior. He’s a monster athlete who can roam sideline to sideline just as well as rushing the passer. Unfortunately, he was injured after eight senior season games due to a pectoral. Like most Bulldogs defenders, he’s technically sound with his hands and uses them aggressively to counter the blocker. An outstanding athlete who posted a blazing 4.39 40-yard dash at the Combine. However, the size may limit him to off-ball linebacker / pass rush specialist duties unless he can get a little bigger without sacrificing his athleticism. Character isn’t a concern as the team captain was constantly on the sidelines after injury, despite the option to leave and prepare for the draft. His physical and style comparison is former Penn State EDGE, Shaka Toney.

2022 Stats: 18 tackles, seven tackles for loss, three sacks, one pass defense

Round Projection: Second

Player / RAS Comp: Shaka Toney

7. BJ Ojulari | 6’2 248 | Junior | LSU

- The younger brother of rising star Azeez Ojulari is an impressive prospect in his own right. He’s athletic and long-limbed, which helps him get free from bigger blockers. A bendy and quick twitch athlete who can run around the edge. He’s a solid run defender and will stick with the assignment towards the end. Ojulari earned the legendary jersey number 18 for his junior and final campaign in Baton Rouge. Only a select few ever get to achieve that honor. He had consistent production in both seasons as a starter. The junior EDGE should go in the early stages of Day 3 due to his athletic gifts and output. Scheme and position versatile as he underwent significant coaching changes throughout his career. He compares physically and stylistically to former first-round selection Takkarist McKinley.

2022 Stats: 58 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, one forced fumble

Round Projection: Second

Player / RAS Comp: Takkarist McKinley

8. Will McDonald IV | 6’3 239 | Redshirt Senior | Iowa State

- McDonald, you guessed it, was unblockable in Mobile. He’s a big-time athlete that’s a little undersized for the defensive end spot but can be better suited for outside linebackers. The prospect had immense production during the 2020 and 2021 seasons, posting double-digit sacks each season. 2022 was underwhelming in production as he fell off in the sack department but maintained his tackle numbers, which is a good sign. A position and scheme versatile EDGE is what you’re getting in WM4. However, he must add a few pounds to overcome the rigors of a long season. Bigger blockers will have their way with him at the next level. The athletic traits should translate well as he matures from a pass-rushing specialist to a full-time EDGE. He’s also experienced a ton in the Big 12, where the conference emerged from a pass-happy shootout league to one of defensive stoutness in just a few years. His stock is likely in the Day 2 range and shouldn’t drop any further. The athletic and style profile resembles current Denver Broncos EDGE Randy Gregory.

2022 Stats: 36 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, five sacks, four passes defended, and one forced fumble

Round Projection: Second to Third

Player / RAS Comp: Randy Gregory

9. Felix Anudike-Uzomah | 6’3 255 | Junior | Kansas State

- Anudike-Uzomah is a long-framed athlete with limited experience at Kansas State. He came onto the scene as a junior with 11 sacks and six forced fumbles. His production took a dip but was still highly productive. FAU’s athleticism is above average, and his technical ability as a pass rusher is quite good for one, with only two seasons of productivity. Despite the size, the former Wildcats star doesn’t get washed out in the run game. He’s a quick learner and will apply the teachings rather studiously. If he can add just a few more pounds to his frame, he can play in a three and four-man front. There are plenty of good physical traits teams can mold him around as a middle Day 2 selection. His athletic and style profile resembles former Georgia Tech star rusher Jeremiah Attaochu.

2022 Stats: 46 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and one pass defense

Round Projection: Second to Third

Player / RAS Comp: Jeremiah Attaochu

10. Adetomiwa Adebawore | 6’1 282 | Senior | Northwestern

- The former Northwestern EDGE is a versatile chess piece for any defense, as he played all over the line for the Wildcats. He’s a solid athlete with a great burst off the snap. Adebawore was yet another Senior Bowl find as he stood out there. He increased his production every season and was remarkably consistent for a bad NW team the past two years. He doesn’t have the ideal physical traits for either EDGE or tackle so he can be stuck in no man’s land regarding positioning in the league. AA could be a versatile rotational piece for a team needing depth in time. The talent is there to merit a late Day 2 selection, however. Athletically, he compares to Packers glue guy Rashan Gary who also has been floated around their defense.

2022 Stats: 38 tackles, nine tackles for loss, five sacks, two forced fumbles, and one pass defense

Round Projection: Third

Player / RAS Comp: Rashan Gary

11. Mike Morris | 6’5 275 | Senior | Michigan

- Morris is a better athlete than how he tested at the Combine. He has the size and athleticism to stick outside but could be better suited for a full-time interior role. He’s a toolsy prospect that needs to refine his pass-rush arsenal. The prospect is all potential at this point in his career due to only one year of production sitting behind a few stars. A guy who needs a redshirt season to develop further. He compares physically and in play style to former Spartans pass rusher William Gholston. He’s likely a Day 3 selection, but his traits could get him drafted on Day 2.

2022 Stats: 23 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, three passes defended, and one forced fumble

Round Projection: Third to Fourth

Player / RAS Comp: William Gholston

12. Derick Hall | 6’2 254 | Senior | Auburn

- Hall is an athlete with two seasons of good consistent production under his belt. He was invited to the Senior Bowl as well. Athleticism is evident as he can drop back fluidly and laterally adept in the run game. While he’ll likely won’t be asked to drop back into coverage much, he can do it. He possesses above-average length for reaching and jabbing at the blocker like a boxer. Heavy punch allows him to stun in both the run and pass aspects. A veteran who’s seen and experienced a lot in the premier college football conference. He wins with more athleticism than power, but the power game is an underrated part of his game. The former Auburn pass rusher projects to be an early Day 3 selection. Athletically, he’s similar to another Auburn Tiger lineman, Corey Lemonier. As a player, former USC EDGE Drake Jackson is his like-for-like comparison.

2022 Stats: 60 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, two fumbles forced, and one interception

Round Projection: Fourth

Player / RAS Comp: Drake Jackson / Corey Lemonier

13. Tuli Tuipulotu | 6’3 266 | Junior | USC

- He exploded statistically as a junior, posting 13.5 sacks with 22 tackles for loss. Interestingly, USC fibbed a little over his size, listing him at 300 pounds when he weighed 266 pounds at the Combine. Tuipulotu is a big-time athlete who offers positional versatility as a prospect lined up inside and outside. He would be better projected as an EDGE due to his frame and athleticism. While the arm length isn’t ideal for an EDGE, he wins with the power in his hands. Lineage is impressive as older brother Marlon was a Trojan before going pro; cousins Fili Moala and Talanoa Hufanaga also played at USC before going to the league. His size and speed should make him versatile for both a three-man and four-man front. He likely will be an early Day 3 selection. Athletically, he resembles former Utah star Bradlee Anae.

2022 Stats: 46 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks, three passes defended, and two forced fumbles

Round Projection: Fourth to Fifth

Player / RAS Comp: Bradlee Anae

14. Dylan Horton | 6’4 257 | Senior | TCU

- Horton is another Senior Bowl attendee who stood out at the event. A common refrain for this defensive class, it seems. He burst onto the scene as a senior, more than doubling his sack total, maintaining his tackle numbers, and increasing his tackles for loss. He’s not the best athlete, but he is serviceable enough to drop back into coverage occasionally. His hand usage is above average, even if the length isn’t as great for an outside prospect. The motor always runs hot, and he continues pursuing the ball well downfield. A consistent performer who showed up in the big games. He projects as an early Day 3 selection. Athletically, he compares to former Clemson pass-rusher Shaq Lawson.

2022 Stats: 51 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, four passes defended, and one forced fumble

Round Projection: Fourth to Fifth

Player / RAS Comp: Shaq Lawson

15. KJ Henry | 6’4 251 | Senior | Clemson

- Henry is another Senior Bowl standout who proved to the world that he’s not just the Robin to Murphy’s Batman. A solid athlete who tested well during the process. He’s undersized for a three-man front DE role but has enough athleticism to play as a standup linebacker in the scheme. Ideally, he goes to a team with a premium on four-man fronts to better utilize his athletic traits. He’s a veteran that stayed in school for five seasons. After three similar years, he blossomed as a senior, increasing his tackle numbers by twofold and maintaining his sack totals. Henry even pitched in six passes defended in 2022 as well. Clemson used him as a hand-in-the-dirt DE and a standup OLB so the versatility is there. However, he does need to get stronger without adding bad weight to compete against bigger blockers. He has a lot of bend going around the corner. The former Clemson edge rusher does need to develop his pass-rush arsenal. He projects as a middle Day 3 selection due to his physical traits and pliable body of work. The athletic and play style profile resembles former Utah pass rusher, Nate Orchard.

2022 Stats: 51 tackles, nine tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, six passes defended, and one forced fumble

Round Projection: Fifth to Sixth

Player / RAS Comp: Nate Orchard

16. Byron Young | 6’2 250 | Senior | Tennessee

- Interestingly, there are two Byron Youngs in the class. The Tennessee version is an uber-athlete who’s just scratching the surface of his talent after transferring from the JUCO ranks for two seasons. Young is a big-time athlete with premier speed but is still learning the position. During his two seasons in Knoxville, he posted consecutive double-digit tackles for loss campaigns and increased his sack totals. He stood out at the Senior Bowl before impressing at the Combine to further boost his stock. The former Volunteers EDGE was lined up all over the line and can be used equally in a 3-4 and 4-3 system. He has a chance to go much higher than his Day 3 projection and could get into the Day 2 range for a team looking to upgrade its athleticism on defense. His play style and athleticism are similar to underrated veteran Samson Ebukam.

2022 Stats: 37 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, and seven sacks

Round Projection: Sixth

Player / RAS Comp: Samson Ebukam

17. Tavius Robinson | 6’6 257 | Senior | Ole Miss

- Robinson is a solid athlete from Canada’s University of Guelph before transferring to the Rebels. He has the prototypical measurables and athleticism for the position. The prospect has increased his production every season since transferring to the SEC. He wins with great lateral quickness and speed rounding the corner. Ole Miss lined him up at linebacker and on the edge, so positional versatility is there. Robinson has a frame that could add a few more pounds to build more strength to combat bigger blockers. He’s an intriguing late Day 3 prospect for a team to hone his athleticism further. A team deploying wide nine concepts made famous by Jim Washburn and carried further by Jim Schwartz would be fit for him. He profiles similarly to former Clemson athlete Ricky Sapp.

2022 Stats: 43 tackles, seven tackles for loss, six sacks, four forced fumbles, and one pass defense

Round Projection: Sixth

Player / RAS Comp: Ricky Sapp

18. D.J. Johnson | 6’4 260 | Senior | Oregon

- A winding career path for the former Duck was in store. He originally signed with Miami, transferred to Oregon, converted to tight end, and converted back to EDGE. 2021 was an interesting season as he was a two-way player. In 2022, he finally settled into a permanent EDGE with a new coaching staff. He’s an above-average athlete with sufficient length for the position but doesn’t play with much strength in his game. Perhaps the rotation between positions took away much-needed development for the defensive side. He was a Senior Bowl participant who didn’t fare well in Mobile. A speed rusher with a limited pass-rush arsenal. Regardless, the athletic tools are there for a team to take a chance on him as a rotational EDGE on Day 3. He projects athletically and stylistically to former Illinois star Whitney Mercilus.

2022 Stats: 39 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, and two passes defended

Round Projection: Sixth to Seventh

Player / RAS Comp: Whitney Mercilus

19. Isaiah Foskey | 6’5 261 | Redshirt Junior | Notre Dame

- The all-time leader in sacks for the Fighting Irish is a great athlete, as the testing and film indicate. Foskey was effective at the Senior Bowl, if not spectacular at times. He won a lot of his reps there. He possesses a quick first step and is laterally efficient in his movements. However, his pass rush arsenal is somewhat limited, and he can get contained by larger tackles if his move is beaten. There are not a lot of wasted steps with him, just more technical things with his hands that he can improve. The production was consistent from 2021 to 2022 as well. He could go anywhere from early to the middle of Day 3. Athletically, he’s almost a direct match to Marcus Davenport, who has succeeded in the league as a second-banana type. The play style is reminiscent of Robert Quinn coming out of college.

2022 Stats: 44 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, and one forced fumble

Round Projection: Fifth to Sixth

Player / RAS Comp: Marcus Davenport / Robert Quinn

20. Isaiah McGuire | 6’4 268 | Senior | Missouri

- McGuire is, you guessed it, another Senior Bowl standout. His production fell off slightly from 2021 to 2022 regarding tackle numbers, but he maintained his tackles for loss and increased in sacks. He’s an exceptional athlete with a great first step and lateral agility to bend. Flexible and twitchy. In a similar fashion to some EDGE prospects in this list, he does need to build up strength to beat bigger blockers. He wins with speed and athleticism rather than pure power in his career. The former Tiger pass rusher formed a dynamic duo with Trajan Jeffcoat while in Columbia. He currently projects as a Day 3 selection and could go as early as the fourth round. McGuire’s athletic and style profile is similar to Bradley Chubb's.

2022 Stats: 40 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, two forced fumbles

Round Projection: Sixth

Player / RAS Comp: Bradley Chubb


1. Jalen Carter | 6’3 314 | Junior | Georgia

- Carter is the top IDL on the board, no questions asked. He was the heir apparent to Jordan Davis in 2021 and took over the “that dude” role in 2022. It could’ve been argued that Carter was the best player on that NFL factory defense of 2021. He’s a position and scheme versatile prospect who played all over the Bulldogs’ defensive line. The film is undeniable. JC played a grown man amongst boys during the 2022 season, leading the national champions’ defense to consecutive titles before declaring for the draft. A tremendous athlete with light tower power, as the old heads say. However, he was charged with reckless driving and racing charges before the Combine concerning the tragic accident after the championship parade. Also, there are unverified allegations that he was immature before the accident. I will not comment on those allegations in this space. He’s a top-five talent, but the off-field stuff may knock him down a couple of slots. Physically and stylistically, he compares to former Alabama star lineman Marcell Dareus.

2022 Stats: 32 tackles, seven tackles for loss, three sacks, three passes defended, and two forced fumbles

Round Projection: Top 15

Player / RAS Comp: Marcell Dareus

2. Calijah Kancey | 6’1 281 | Redshirt Junior | Pittsburgh

- Kancey is just the latest defensive stud from the Pitt factory under Pat Narduzzi’s auspices. He’s undersized for the position, but his athleticism stands out well. His lateral movement is on par with the top tier in the league. He consistently performed in 2021 and 2022, notching 7.0 and 7.5 sacks, respectively along with double-digit tackles for losses. The lack of size and length does hurt him against bigger blockers but a relentless motor allows him to work his way out of a jam. He’s a definite first-round caliber prospect and should be taken there on draft day. Prime-time athlete with the versatility to play outside in certain packages and on the interior in a four-man scheme. The size and athletic profile compare to Bills standout Ed Oliver, but the play style is reminiscent of Geno Atkins.

2022 Stats: 31 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, and 7.5 sacks

Round Projection: First to Second

Player / RAS Comp: Geno Atkins / Ed Oliver

3. Bryan Bresee | 6’5 298 | Redshirt Sophomore | Clemson

- Bresee is one tackle prospect full of intrigue as he’s battled through a lifetime’s worth of adversity in just two seasons. He tore his ACL in 2021 after just four games, derailing a promising beginning to that campaign. In 2022, he suffered an unspeakable tragedy in his personal life, losing his sister to cancer. Amidst the pall of grief, he returned to action to finish out the season when it would’ve been perfectly reasonable to miss it. He has all the physical traits that made him a number one overall recruit. His athleticism is top-notch, and he’s a freak. The size is ideal as well. However, the former Clemson product is still unfinished due to the lack of experience. He still has room to develop a more refined pass-rush arsenal and more bulk in the run game. Still, there are enough tools in his toolbox for a team to take him in the upper to the middle first round. Physically and stylistically, he compares to Bilal Nichols.

2022 Stats: 15 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, and two passes defended

Round Projection: First

Player / RAS Comp: Bilal Nichols

4. Mazi Smith | 6’3 323 | Redshirt Junior | Michigan

- Smith is an exciting prospect who increased his numbers every year. He’s primarily a run-stopping nose tackle type in a four-man front with sufficient athleticism. While he won’t wow anyone with lateral agility or straight-line speed, he does feature some quickness for his size. He wins his reps with solid hands to propagate TKO levels of force against blockers. He’s physically imposing at 6’5 323. A team looking for a run-stopper that offers solid pass-rush tools would do well to take him later on Day 2. The former Michigan lineman has some versatility in both 4-3 and 3-4 schemes as a enormous defensive tackle. His athletic and play style profiles similar to longtime veteran IDL Linval Joseph.

2022 Stats: 48 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, and one forced fumble

Round Projection: Third

Player / RAS Comp: Linval Joseph

5. Zacch Pickens | 6’3 291 | Senior | South Carolina

- Pickens is another standout Senior Bowl performer with much more development than he was given credit for. While still technically raw, he’s further along in his hand usage and uses his length well to keep the blockers at bay. South Carolina used him in various roles and front packages, so the versatility exists. Due to sufficient athleticism, he can play 0-tech or as a big end in specific packages. As it stands, his biggest fit is as a tackle in a four-person front. However, he does have to improve the pass rush arsenal to get by blockers. While he improved his tackle numbers, his sack totals decreased as a senior. The former Gamecocks lineman has the potential to sneak into late Day 2 but will likely settle into early Day 3. Physically, he compares to the former first-round selection, Nick Fairley.

2022 Stats: 42 tackles, four tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, and three passes defended

Round Projection: Third to Fourth

Player / RAS Comp: Nick Fairley

6. Gervon Dexter, Sr | 6’5 310 | Junior | Florida

- The true junior blossomed as a sophomore in 2021 before breaking out in a big way in 2022. He’s a toolsy type of tackle prospect in which the tools are raw, but a patient team can mold the size and athleticism. He has a lot of speed and athletic tools, but the fundamentals are lacking. Dexter has the prototypical size to play nose if a team requires it, but he’s better off as a four-man front type of tackle. He can sometimes be fooled by misdirection style plays due to a lack of developed instincts. He’s a tremendous athlete, as the RAS score indicates, but the slow reaction timing somewhat negates that. The prospect possesses a good punch and hand usage to shed blockers, but it’s an above-average tool. He will likely turn into a Day 3 selection. Athletically, he resembles former Auburn lineman Montravious Adams while the play style tracks similar to Angelo Blackson, also of Auburn fame.

2022 Stats: 55 tackles, four tackles for loss, two sacks, one pass defended, and one interception

Round Projection: Fourth to Fifth

Player / RAS Comp: Montravious Adams / Angelo Blackson

7. Jalen Redmond | 6’2 291 | Senior | Oklahoma

- Redmond is a spectacular athlete that’s a little undersized for the position. He also was at the Senior Bowl and was largely effective. He won a large majority of his one on one reps. A prospect who pursues the ball fluidly. The former Sooner does have some inconsistencies, as he can get punished by bigger blockers due to a lack of size. He has a quick first step and burst off the snap to get by blockers, though. Versatility is a significant asset for him, as the Sooners liberally used him in both inside and outside situations. He may be better suited for a big EDGE role in a three-man front or as an under tackle in a four-man front. Production is a huge issue; he was injured for chunks of his career. When healthy, he is an effective pass rusher. Physically and stylistically, he compares to veteran Allen Bailey. Due to his athleticism and versatility, he is projected to go in the early stages of Day 3.

2022 Stats: 23 tackles, ten tackles for loss, four sacks, and four passes defended

Round Projection: Fourth

Player / RAS Comp: Allen Bailey

8. Nesta Jade Silvera | 6’2 304 | Senior | Arizona State

- NJS transferred to Arizona State for the 2022 season after spending four years at Miami, where he was a positive contributor. He increased his tackle numbers on an annual basis. While not the quickest tackle prospect, he does have some athleticism. Silvera wins with power and length, reacting faster than the blocker. Speed isn’t the name of his game, but it is there in spurts. He was a big winner at the Senior Bowl. Athletically, his profile trends an undersized run-down specialist tackle, but he can play all three downs as a nose / under in a four-man front. Statistically, an excellent career for a nose tackle type with 161 tackles, 20.5 tackles for loss, and 3.5 sacks. A consistent producer for two of his final seasons in Coral Gables before exploding in Tempe. A relentless motor that bullies blockers with physicality rather than finesse. He projects to be a middle Day 3 selection. The athletic profile resembles current Falcons lineman Marlon Davidson, while the player profile is similar to former Louisville standout Amobi Okoye.

2022 Stats: 56 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, three passes defended, and one forced fumble

Round Projection: Fifth to Sixth

Player / RAS Comp: Amobi Okoye / Marlon Davidson

9. Keeanu Benton | 6’3 309 | Senior | Wisconsin

- Benton is a versatile tackle whose primary position was the nose, but he can play the traditional four-man defensive tackle as needed. He’s a physically imposing run-stuffer whose biggest strength is his power. Despite the turmoil of a coaching change, he was a steadying force in the middle of the Badgers' defense. He had a productive two years; his most productive was as a senior. The former Badgers tackle earned a Senior Bowl invite, where he was nigh unblockable at times. He’s a big powerful tackle with strong hands and a frame to combat blockers’ attempts at reaching him. However, he’s not the quickest on tape but did have a great showing at the Combine and Pro Day to boost the RAS. Some have him higher in positional rankings, but a top-ten ranking fits him. He has the size and strength to play nose in the pros, but he projects to be a 4-3 tackle hybrid who can play both positions. It appears likely that he will be an early Day 3 selection. The former nose tackle profiles are athletically similar to Christian Wilkins but play like former Nebraska star Jared Odrick.

2022 Stats: 36 tackles, ten tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, and two passes defended

Round Projection: Fourth to Fifth

Player / RAS Comp: Jared Odrick / Christian Wilkins

10. Byron Young | 6’3 294 | Senior Alabama

- Young was a two-year starter for the Tide defense but played significant snaps throughout his career. He improved his tackle numbers year after year, so that’s a positive. While he wasn’t the most dominant statistically, he was effective as a run-stopper on various fronts. The athleticism isn’t his greatest trait. He’s frequently seen caught slow to read and plodding towards the action. Power is the name of his game, and the hands are good enough to stun blockers once they connect. Laterally, he is not the quickest, but he makes do with what he has. He performed well at the Senior Bowl, boosting his stock there. He’s more of a static defender than one who pursues the ball. Still, the big-time experience should help him at the next level. He projects as a specialized tackle that comes in on run-downs due to insufficient athleticism. The former Tide tackle should be a late Day 3 selection. His play style and athletic ability resembles another former Alabama tackle, A’Shawn Robinson.

2022 Stats: 48 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, two passes defended, and one forced fumble

Round Projection: Sixth

Player / RAS Comp: A’Shawn Robinson


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