Quinnen Williams - DT

NFL Draft Top 10 Positional Rankings: Defensive Tackle Edition

1. Quinnen Williams, Alabama, r-Junior (6'3" 303lbs)

Quinnen Williams - DL

  • Board Ranking: #1
  • Round Grade: 1
  • Draft Prediction: Early Day One

There's not much to say about Quinnen Williams. He's the best player in this class and it's not all that close. After only one year of real production, Williams proved to be one of the most dominant football players I've ever scouted, and will greatly improve the defense of whatever team drafts him. There are really no holes in Quinnen Williams game, and he's just getting started. Look out, NFL.

2. Ed Oliver, Houston, Junior (6'2" 287lbs)

Ed Oliver DL

  • Board Ranking: #7
  • Round Grade: 1
  • Draft Prediction: Early Day One

Houston's Ed Oliver is everything the NFL is looking at in 3-techniques coming out of college. Explosive, twitched up, with pass rush moves. Ed Oliver has it all. While measuring in on the smaller side, Oliver showcases freaky athleticism for a 287lb interior rusher. Oliver is still a bit raw around the edges but it will take him no time to start making an impact in the NFL with the traits he possesses. The NFL would be silly to let Oliver slip out of the top eight.

3. Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State, Junior (6'4" 301lbs)

Jeffery Simmons - DL

  • Board Ranking: #8
  • Round Grade: 
  • Draft Prediction: Late Day One

Jeffery Simmons is by no means the cleanest player in this class. Simmons has domestic abuse flags tagged to his name, along with injury flags thanks to a torn ACL in the NFL draft training process. On the field, Simmons is just a tick below Alabama's Quinnen Williams. Simmons has the ideal size, athletic traits, and technique to be one of the league's best disruptive interior defensive lineman for many years to come. If Simmons can return to 100% health, he will be one of the biggest steals of the draft after a year of recovery, healing his torn ACL.

4. Christian Wilkins, Clemson, Senior (6'3" 315lbs)

Christian Wilkins - DT

  • Board Ranking: #16
  • Round Grade: 
  • Draft Prediction: Mid Day One

Pass rush, pass rush, pass rush. That seems to be all that Christian Wilkins knows. Wilkins, a two-time national champion has an impressive blend of size, athleticism, and pass rushing technique to play anywhere along the defensive line. Though he'd best fit as a 3-tech in 4-3 schemes, Wilkins has the strength and anchor to hold us as a 1-tech and 5-tech as well. Wilkins possesses a great first-step, along with a variety of counters to beat an initial block. Wilkins brings a great character and was regarded as one of Clemson's leaders over his last three seasons.

5. Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame, Senior (6'6" 295lbs)

Jerry Tillery - DL

  • Board Ranking: #18
  • Round Grade: 1
  • Draft Prediction: Early Day Two

When we mentioned Jerry Tillery, we mention him as "Connor Livesay's Draft Crush". Tillery has the potential to be one of the top defensive players drafted in this class. With ideal size, length, power from the position, Tillery is a handful to deal with lined up along the interior. Tillery moves extremely well for a 6'6" 295lb lineman and lives in the backfield on the regular throughout a 60-minute game. Tillery has some questions regarding his love for football, but his play on the field in 2018 showed a guy with extraordinary potential, measurables, and effort play in and play out.

6. Dexter Lawrence, Clemson, Junior (6'4" 342lbs)

Dexter Lawrence

  • Board Ranking: #32
  • Round Grade: 2
  • Draft Prediction: Late Day One

There are few (check that, none) 342lb people on planet Earth that can run a 40-yard dash in 5.05 seconds. Dexter Lawrence can. But he's more than just a big, fast guy. Lawrence is an ideal nose tackle in the NFL. Thanks to his size, athleticism, and brute strength, Lawrence has the ability to eat up blocks, manhandle offensive lineman, and push the pocket laterally consistently. Along with all of his measurables, his length is the one that stands out the most. Most large nose tackles do not possess the length that Lawrence does, and if they do, they aren't good at using it. Dexter Lawrence needs to work on his consistency, and can continue to develop his pass rush, but should be a walk-in starter for teams looking for help at nose tackle.

7. Zach Allen, Boston College, Senior (6'1" 281lbs)

Zach Allen - DL

  • Board Ranking: #42
  • Round Grade: 2
  • Draft Prediction: Mid Day Two

You'll notice a split with Zach Allen from many analysts. Many will have Zach Allen listed as an EDGE, but some will have him listed as a DT. For me, the best of Zach Allen would come from the interior in a 4-3 scheme. While lacking the change of direction skills, elite athleticism, and length to make a career out on the EDGE, Allen has an exceptional motor, vertical quickness, and the ability to get skinny when playing around the ball. Allen is perfectly able playing outside in the NFL, but if we're looking to maximize his potential, it's putting him close to the football and telling him to get upfield. He can do that very, very well.

8. Charles Omenihu, Texas, Senior (6'5" 280lbs)

Charles Omenihu

  • Board Ranking: #62
  • Round Grade: 3
  • Draft Prediction: Late Day Two 

Similar to Zach Allen, many will have Charles Omenihu listed in their EDGE rankings, but for the same reasons listed for Allen, is why I have the former Texas Longhorn ranked at #8 in my DT rankings. Omenihu has rare size, length, and vertical burst playing along with the interior, but the lack of flexibility in his hips and legs will limit just how productive he can be outside. Putting Omenihu close to the football, and allowing him to get upfield sets up Charles Omenihu with a scary-high ceiling at 3-technique.

9. Renell Wren, Arizona State, Senior (6'5" 318lbs)

Renell Wren - DT

  • Board Ranking: #64
  • Round Grade: 3
  • Draft Prediction: Late Day Two

There are two players in this class that could deserve a Chris Jones (KC DT) comparison. One is Jerry Tillery, the other is Renell Wren. Wren played out of position at Arizona State, playing as the team's nose tackle on a high percentage of snaps. Moving Wren over to the 3-technique and allowing him to rush the pass 1-on-1 with the guard is exactly the way that Wren could one day reach the Chris Jones ceiling. Wren has exceptional size, length, and showed off his quickness and explosiveness at the Senior Bowl and combine this offseason. Wren has some position flex along with the interior, and his measurables and traits should find him getting his name called before the end of day two.

10. Daylon Mack, Texas A&M, Senior (6'1" 336lbs)

Daylon Mack - DT

  • Board Ranking: #72
  • Round Grade: 2
  • Draft Prediction: Mid Day Three

Former five-star recruit Daylon Mack didn't quite have the career at Texas A&M that many Aggie fans had hoped for. With that being said, Mack made great strides in 2018 after a coaching change to the Aggies. Mack, while being on the shorter side, has tons of size to his frame making him a prime nose tackle candidate at the next level. For a big man, Mack gets up the field in a hurry and can create chaos in the middle of the pocket for a quarterback. Mack showcased the power, anchor, and spurts of explosiveness in 2018, after disappointing in his first three seasons at A&M. While he likely won't get drafted in the top 100, I view him as a guy whose best football is ahead of him.

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