2021 NFL Draft – DT Preview

The Big 3

Jordan Davis – UGA, JR

Davis is an absolute monster (6’6” 330 lbs) and has gotten off to a strong start in 2020. He is more than a run stuffer, and utilizes a quick burst off the line of scrimmage and agile moves along the line of scrimmage, which adds versatility to his draft stock. He could plug into any 3-4 defense, either at nose tackle or one of the ends. He also could fit as a traditional defensive tackle in a base 4-3 set. Davis is very quick for a guy of his size and frequently catches ball carries 2-3 yards past the line of scrimmage. His film against Auburn this season is extremely impressive, as he shows off his versatility and proves he is one of the top players in the SEC. Not only does he frequently find himself beating strong offensive lineman and getting off blocks, but he also recovers better than most lineman this stage of their career… his football IQ really stand out. There are several times in the game where Bo Nix takes the option to scramble through emerging holes on the opposite side of the line and Davis catches him and limits the gain to under 5 yards. Right now Davis is going to be a work in progress in the NFL and could take some time to develop, but he stands out as the top option in this weaker defensive line class.

Jay Tufele – USC, JR

If Davis is 1a in this class, then Tufele is 1b. Both are a different style of defensive lineman yet have remarkably similar draft value. Tufele is also a great pass rushing tackle, who is light on his feet for a 300 pounder and has great technique for a college lineman. The 2019 first team PAC-12 lineman finished the year with 42 tackles and 4.5 sacks, with 3 of those coming against ranked opponents. Unfortunately, we won’t get to see him in action in 2020 as he as already declared for the draft and opted out of the season, however, he has the tape and production to go in the first round. Tufele has enormous potential to be an elite defensive tackle in the NFL and can be plugged into virtually any defensive scheme.

Marvin Wilson – FSU, SR

Wilson has had a disappointing start to the 2020 season, but don’t let that get in the way of everything else he has done. Wilson finished 2019 as a First Team All-ACC player and combined for 86 tackles and 8.5 sacks in the prior 2 seasons. Wilson has seen double teams on most plays, which has really limited his production in 2020, but he is on a terrible defense that can exposed by taking him out of plays. Don’t let his production scare you; Wilson is a high motor player who isn’t afraid to mix it up when he feels the need to. He is a natural born leader and one of the most well-respected players in the Florida State program, which should bode well for him in the draft process. Analysts have been low on Wilson and already predicting his stock could have lowered to a mid-round pick, but with several years of production and good film, I think he has done more than enough to stay in the top 2 rounds. Marvin Wilson will be an NFL starter.

Knocking on the Door

Levi Onwuzurike – Washington, SR

Onwuzurike is a name you probably don’t know, but certainly won’t forget. He is my dark horse first rounder that continues to increase his stock every week. As a 2019 All-PAC12 selection, he should be a bigger name by now, but continues to fly under the radar. He is an incredible pass rusher and has a great combination of technique, speed, and strength. He is a bit undersized to be a pure nose tackle, but certainly plugs in well anywhere on the 4-3 line or in the end position on a 3-4 scheme. Onwuzurike adds constant pressure to the QB and utilizes a combination of several very skilled pass rushing moves. A big season would have been a huge boost in stock for Onwuzurike, but he has officially opted out. As of now I think he still gets picked in the first two days because he is the type of player who will dazzle at the combine.  

Strong Potential from the SEC

Tyler Shelvin – LSU, JR

Shelvin was a total disruptor for the LSU defense in 2019, but is another highly rated tackle prospect that elected to opt out of the 2020 season. LSU certainly misses Shelvin’s presence as the reigning NCAA Champions now have the 3rd worst defense in the SEC and one of the worst in the country. Shelvin is a monstrosity standing at 6’3” 350 lbs and acted as the wrecking ball for LSU’s defense. Shelvin has a safe floor as a prospect, probably somewhere in the top 2 rounds, but has seriously limited his potential by opting out of the season. He plays with a ton of speed and energy for a big fella and bull rushes with ideal pad level. Shelvin could dazzle during the draft process, but he is a bit down the list due to not playing.

Christian Barmore – Alabama, SO

Barmore is certainly amongst the most athletic players in college football, but on the contrary is one of the most undisciplined linemen I have watched. Originally a 4-technique player, Barmore has the athleticism to really play any spot on the defensive line. He is listed on the Alabama website as 6’5” 300 lbs, which would rank him towards the top of the class in size, however, he plays tall and keeps his pad level extremely high which limits his pass rushing abilities. His go to move 95% of the time is the bull rush, which will not be very useful at the next level. When you watch him on film you can easily tell he was a 5-Star elite prospect, but it shows that he has very limited experience in college football and was buried behind depth in his very couple of years. Some analysts are so intrigued by his raw talent that he has received extremely high ratings going into the season, but has gotten off to a slow start and finds himself splitting time after hurting his knee. Barmore is a raw talent and with another year of experience in 2021 he could find himself as a first-round pick, but it may be a big risk for him to declare this offseason.

Remember the Name: Jaylen Twyman

Jaylen Twyman – Pittsburgh, JR

Twyman is not the most versatile prospect and might not be viewed as a every down starter in the NFL, but he will be drafted to play in a rotation right away. Twyman joins the long list of tackle prospects who opted out of the season, but instead of medical concerns he cited financial reasons to sit. Twyman probably won’t go in the first round, but is a guy to keep an eye out for as he certainly could climb draft boards soon.

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