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NFL Draft

2024 Draft Preview - Defensive Tackles (Interior Defenders)

Jon Cooper
12/28/2023 3:56PM ET

1. Newton, Jer’Zhan

Illinois  6012  300

Three year starter, St. Petersburg, FL. First team All-Big 10 and first team All-America in 2022.  High motor player who has lined up all along the Illini defensive front including zero, one, three and five techniques. At his best as a three technique where double teams aren’t quite as much of a factor. Quick at the snap he plays with leverage and power showing a variety of moves to escape blocks. In one on one situations he can stun and separate from blocks along with locating the ball. Shows quick lateral movement in pursuit chasing plays to the perimeter. Solid one gap defender he can penetrate gaps and disrupt blocking schemes. Relentless pass rusher he shows a bull rush, push pull and arm under as part of a solid pass rush repertoire. Second effort gets him to a lot of plays. He will often face double teams in the pass rush and has to be accounted for in blocking schemes. Lacks ideal length and it shows at times taking on blocks and tackling as he will miss occasionally in traffic. He struggles with double teams and can get locked on.

 

2. Taylor lll, Leonard*

Miami 6030  305

Two year starter, Miami FL. Second team All-ACC in 2022. Big and athletic Taylor is an imposing figure on the Hurricanes' defensive front. He has a good mix of power and athleticism and can line up at multiple spots on the Canes' defense. With extreme first step quickness he can get into a gap and penetrate the backfield disrupting blocking schemes along the way. As a five technique he shows solid bend and squeeze to get around a tackle to the quarterback. As an interior pass rusher he shows strong hands and lower body strength to push the pocket with a bull rush. He also flashes ability to disengage and chase the quarterback. Excellent lateral movement he can flatten down the line and make plays along the line of scrimmage. Shows a high motor penetrating and pursuing. Could use more pass rush technique to develop consistency escaping blocks. He has a tendency to get upright and lose leverage against a powerful blocker. Needs to develop consistency in pad level as he can come off high at times at the snap. Still a work in progress, but he has elite potential.

 

3.  Jenkins, Kris

Michigan  6024  293

Two year starter, Olney, MD. Honorable mention All-Big 10 in 2022. Powerful athletic tackle who lines up primarily as a three technique but will slide out to a five on occasion. Excellent run defender he’s solid at the point of attack and consistent with pad level. Often draws double teams and can control the line of scrimmage. Block protection is a major strength as he plays with strong hands creating separation on initial strike. Solid lateral quickness allows him to shed on the move and pursue to the ball. Has range to chase to the perimeter. As a pass rusher he flashes ability to bull rush into an arm under move to pressure the quarterback. Effective getting up field against single blocks. Gets some push against double teams but is generally neutralized. Overall as a pass rusher he lacks technique but is consistent in effort. He works the edges of blockers but lacks the technique to consistently escape and get to the quarterback. Has solid NFL three technique potential but will need pass rush development. 

 

4. Sweat T’Vondre

Texas  6042  346

Two year starter, Huntsville Texas. Honorable mention All-Big 12 in 2022.  Massive tackle prospect who has played nose tackle but more recently has seen action as a five and three technique. Dropped a few pounds going into this season and is having a tremendous year. He not only stuffs the run but has also shown athleticism to play down the line and create some pressure on the quarterback. He’s been a solid two gap defender who can clog running lanes and create opportunities for linebackers to make plays. He plays with strong hands and is extremely stout at the point of attack. Can stack and shed to make plays inline using decent short space change of direction coming off blocks working to the ball.  As a pass rusher he’s more of a bull rush collapse the pocket player but has flashed ability to escape and chase the quarterback. His ability to push the pocket can make him more than a two down run stuffer. He still will not offer elite inside pass rush as he lacks technique and functional speed to consistently close. That said he’s much more than a space eater.  

 

 

5. Davis, Tyler

 Clemson  6017  309

Four year starter Apopka, FL. Three time All-ACC including first team in 2021 and 2022. Consensus All-America in 2022. After a phenomenal freshman year in 2019 he suffered through injuries in 2020 and a good portion of 2021.  Last year he flashed the ability that made him an elite prospect and is having a solid season so far in 2022. He’s powerful at the point of attack with a high motor and second effort working to the ball. Quick at the snap he can penetrate gaps showing body control to work through and slip blocks. Physical attacking a block he uses a quick strong punch to separate along with a violent rip move to shed. As a pass rusher he’s quick at the snap and shoots his hands into a blocker to stun before working into a move. He can be relentless working the edge of a blocker and using an arm under or push pull off a bull rush to escape. Once free he can chase and adjust to the quarterback. His doesn’t always maintain leverage and his pad level can get upright at times. The injury question lingers but he has shown elite skill.

 

6.  Williams, Tyleik*

Ohio State 6020  290

 

7.  Dorlus, Brandon 

Oregon  6030  290

 

8.  Wingo, Mekhi 

LSU  6010  295

 

9.  Murphy ll*, Byron 

Texas  6010  308

 

10.  Stackhouse, Nazir 

Georgia  6040  297

 

11.  Smith, Maason 

LSU  6050  300

 

12.  Orhorhoro, Ruke

Clemson  6041  290

 

13.  Hall Jr, Michael*  

Ohio State 6020  290

 

14.  Corleone, Dontay *

 Cincinnati  6020  318

 

15.  Jackson, McKinnley

 Texas A&M  6015  320

 

16  Cross lll, Howard

 Notre Dame  6000  288

 

17.  Carter, DeWayne

 Duke  6025  309

 

18.  Johnson, Brett

 California 6040  297

 

19.  Mills, Rylie

 Notre Dame 6054 296

 

20.  Brinson, Warren

 Georgia   6044  309

 

21. Anderson, Evan

Florida Atlantic  6006  332

 

22. Bristol, Jacques

Central Michigan  6010  295

 

23. Crumedy, Jaden

Mississippi State  6040  311

 

24. Lovett Sr, Fabien

Florida State 6033  323

 

25. Hall, Gabe

 Baylor  6050  295

 

26. Randolph Jr, Keith

Illinois  6032  297

 

27. Hemingway, Tonka

South Carolina 6025  283

 

28. Smith, Tim

Alabama  6040  300

 

29. Rogers, Justin

Auburn 6023  341

 

30.  Murphy, Myles

North Carolina  6045  308

 

31. Barber, Ricky

Central Florida  6014  292

 

*Denotes Underclassman