The Post’s Ryan Dunleavy gives his top 10 defensive linemen in this year’s NFL draft, based on evaluations and conversations with people around the league:
- Christian Barmore, Alabama, 6-4, 310 lbs.: Named Defensive MVP of the 2021 National Championship Game, finishing the best stretch of his career. Explosive first step, but was a late-bloomer in high school and a one-year starter for the Tide.
- Levi Onwuzurike, Washington, 6-2, 290 lbs.: Needs to turn the corner from pass pressures to sacks. Opted out of the 2020 season and was limited by injury at the Senior Bowl. Undersized, but can be dominant.
- Daviyon Nixon, Iowa, 6-3, 313 lbs.: Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year after a breakout season with 13.5 tackles for loss, leading all FBS interior linemen. One-year starter after junior college who has some consistency issues.
- Marlon Tuipulotu, USC, 6-3, 305 lbs.: Overcame injury-plagued start to his career to become three-year starter. Could be a dominant run defender who flashes as a pass rusher because of nimble feet.
- Jay Tufele, USC, 6-2, 305 lbs.: Played alongside Tuipulotu for two years until opting out of the 2020 season after COVID-19 impacted his family. High motor and loads of upside. Born in American Samoa.
- Marvin Wilson, Florida State, 6-5, 304 lbs.: Consensus No. 1-ranked defensive tackle in the nation out of high school who was a possible first-round pick at one point. Three blocked kicks in an otherwise disappointing 2020. Plays with power.
- Alim McNeil, N.C. State, 6-1, 317 lbs.: Named one of the freaks of college football by The Athletic because he benches 445 pounds and squats 650 pounds. Powerful enough to blow up plays in the backfield but concerns exist about his length.
- Tyler Shelvin, LSU, 6-3, 350 lbs.: Massive nose tackle who weighed 390 pounds at one time in college. Built to anchor a defensive line, but also has rare athleticism. Only one year as a contributor and not a third-down pass rusher.
- Milton Williams, Louisiana Tech, 6-3, 284 lbs.: Is he an end or a tackle? Versatility is a good label; being a ’tweener is not. Notched 19 tackles for loss over the last two seasons but allows some big gainers with wrong steps.
- Bobby Brown III, Texas A&M, 6-4, 321 lbs.: Plenty of room for development, especially using his hands. Mentioned by scouts as a potential Day 3 “boom” sleeper, which might cause him to be over-drafted.
Bobby Brown III: All-SEC Freshman Team in 2018 and All-SEC First-Team in 2020. Says he stacks up against the best-of-the-best. Not lacking for confidence.
Osa Odighizuwa, UCLA, 6-2, 280 lbs.: Brother was third-round pick in 2015 who flamed out after 18 career games. Scheme-versatile and tireless, but too often overpowered on the interior.
Khyiris Tonga, BYU, 6-4, 321: Played 50 games and could be first BYU defensive tackle drafted since 1999. Comes from a rugby background. Will be 25 years old before the season begins.
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