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College Football: Top 10 Defensive Tackles

Oct. 09, 2019 - Michael Stewart

College Football: Top 10 Defensive Tackles

Introduction: The 2020 class of Defensive Tackles has immense talent and depth with the versatility of many moving along the defensive line in the NFL.  Over the last few years, we’re seeing more and more defensive tackles with the ability to rush the passer and this year’s class is no exception. Here’s my top 10 list of defensive tackles in college football.

  1. Derrick Brown (Auburn) 6’5/318: Brown has good height and length in his body frame to also play on the outside. Browns combination of power and speed off the snap enables him to create leverage; which usually results in a tackle/sack.
  2. Marvin Wilson (Florida State) 6’5/314: Wilson plays every snap through the whistle and has a non-stop motor. Wilson has the height, length and strength to control the gaps and make plays.
  3. Raekwon Davis (Alabama) 6’7/306: Davis would be more suitable in the 3-4 alignment as has ideal length and size to play the edge. Davis is extremely strong and is surprising quick for his size.
  4. Rashard Lawrence (LSU) 6’3/317: Lawrence is an effective 2-gap DT who can hold his ground and take on double teams. Lawrence has great character traits on and off the field; which is highly coveted by NFL teams. Lawrence can play anywhere along the defensive line.
  5. Javon Kinlaw (South Carolina) 6’6/302: Kinlaw has all the tools (height, length, strength and speed) to be a dominant interior run stuffer/pas rusher in the NFL. Kinlaw could be moved around the defensive line to utilizes his skill set and create mismatches.
  6. Corey Bethley (TCU) 6’2/290: Bethley is a little under sized compared to the other prospects on this list, but that doesn’t stop him from being a disrupted force. Bethley’s unique traits allow’s him to be equally effective as a run stuffer and a pass rusher.
  7. Lorenzo Neal (Purdue) 6’3/315: Neal is a prototypical nose tackle as he can anchor himself and clog the middle effectively. However; Neal is far from being one-dimensional as he can exhibit flashes of rushing the passer and making plays behind the line of scrimmage.
  8. Raequan Williams (Michigan State) 6’4/300: Williams has good combination of power and speed as he can take on double teams and also burst pass an offensive linemen and make plays for losses. Williams has a high ceiling and could even be better at the pro level.
  9. Nyles Pinckney (Clemson) 6’1/305: Pinckney has a stout frame and if not at Clemson; would be a starter at vertically any other school. This super sub has not been unnoticed by NFL scouts who are well aware of his immense value and upside.
  10. Justin Madubuike (Texas A&M) 6’3/305: Madubike has a low center of gravity off the ball and keeps his legs moving.  Stays with the play until the whistle and often encounters double teams.  Madubuike needs to work on some pass rushing moves and not always try to bull rush into the backfield.

Final Thoughts: Projection among NFL scouts is that at least 18-22 defensive tackles could hear their name called on draft day. The versatility is abundant and defensive coordinators will have the luxury of being very creative in their schemes with the new type of defensive tackles coming into the NFL.