2021 NFL DRAFT PROSPECTS - INTERIOR DEFENSIVE LINE

Click on the names of the prospects below to see their draft profiles:

IDL #1: CHRISTIAN BARMORE, ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE

Height: 6’5”.   Weight: 310lbs

PRO’S: Big, strong defensive linemen with impressive power and the measurements needed to use it effectively. Brings immediate heavy hands at the point of contact, and uses his core strength to drive into offensive linemen. Urgency off the snap can surprise blockers, giving him the upper hand and aiding penetration into the backfield. Consistently wins the leverage battle with excellent weight distribution and bend. Plenty of speed and shows good acceleration towards the ball, particularly if he’s beaten his man early in the rep. Lateral quickness jumps off the screen. Excellent production as a starter. Raised his game in the big situations, dominating in this year’s college football playoff. 

CON’S: Not quite as impressive against the run, despite his stout physique and ability to control double teams. Can be too aggressive and has been caught overpursuing at times. Play recognition still developing, possibly as a result of limited experience - Barmore only has one season as a starter on tape. Inconsistent motor and has gone missing in games. Failure to hustle from the backside of plays will annoy NFL coaches.

SIMON CARROLL: “Lining up mostly as a 3-tech for Alabama and playing the B-Gap, Barmore’s pass-rushing ability and elusiveness into the backfield will give him some scheme and situation versatility at the next level. He has all the physical tools to be an immediate contributer in the NFL, but his inconsistent tape, susceptibility against the run and lack of experience mean he might not be a three-down lineman as a rookie. An excellent prospect, but not a top-tier, blue chip one.”

NFL COMPARISON: QUINNEN WILLIAMS

PROJECTION: 1ST ROUND PICK

IDL #2: LEVI ONWUZURIKE, WASHINGTON HUSKIES

Height: 6’3”.   Weight: 290lbs

PRO’S: Elite athlete with impressive explosion off the snap. Body beautiful with a ripped, lean physique. Lightning speed into the body of his blocker, with active, aggressive hands that when timed right can divert opponents out of his way with ease. A nightmare for offensive lines to control, with double teams proving ineffective against his speed. Excellent bend and low trajectory allow him to drive into blockers and win the leverage battle. Ultra tough, no plays off. Turned heads with his Senior Bowl performance and showed the ability to learn and implement against elite competition. High ceiling prospect.

CON’S: Inconsistent results from play to play. Still learning the nuances of the game, and opting out of 2020 may have delayed his growth in this area. Needs to work on his pass-rush moves and show variance when his go-to technique is being stymied. Should look to add mass to his frame without compromising athleticism if he want to be as effective against the run as he is the pass. 

SIMON CARROLL: “Far from the complete package, but the excitement surrounding Onwuzurike is palpable. The deficiencies in his game look to be coachable and improve with growth and experience, making him a very intriguing prospect. Already a danger as an interior pass-rusher as a three-tech, the former Husky will make an immediate impact as a situational piece for an NFL team. And if he can get more stout against the run the sky really is the limit for this kid.”

NFL COMPARISON: JUSTIN MADUBUIKE

PROJECTION: LATE 1ST ROUND PICK

IDL #3: JAY TUFELE, USC TROJANS

Height: 6’3”.   Weight: 305lbs

PRO’S: Aggressive, twitched up interior pass-rusher whose first step explosion startles opposing linemen. Scary speed into the point of contact and shows the same urgency with his hands too - always first to make contact and uses his arms effectively to slide past blocks. WIll not give up on a play, showing a borderline desperation to get to the football. His whirlwind style makes offenses account for him on every snap. Scheme-versatile and can use his devastating speed from pretty much any alignment.

CON’S: Lack of recent game tape after opting out in 2020. Stats and production fell from 2018 to 2019. Too eager to make a play and there’s plenty of tape where he gets burned. A distinct lack of body control. Dubious play recognition sometimes see him make poor gap decisions. Lower body torque needs improving - not as stout versus the run as NFL scouts will like. Road graders will have their way with Tufele on early downs.

SIMON CARROLL: “It’s hard not to enjoy watching Tufele play - the energy he brings to every snap will make him a fan favourite. He needs to develop his maturity and improve his run blocking if he wants his fair share of snaps, but it seems there is a high ceiling and you can expect further development despite the regression in 2019 and opt out in 2020. His versatility will appeal to NFL teams with creative pass-rush schemes. One of those guys who will come up with the goods in the biggest of moments”.

NFL COMPARISON:DOMINIQUE EASLEY

PROJECTION: 2ND ROUND PICK

IDL #4: DAVIYON NIXON, IOWA HAWKEYES

Height: 6’3”.   Weight: 305lbs

PRO’S: Persistent, attacking lineman who tends to cause plenty of chaos at the line of scrimmage. A true fighter, looks to delver a killer blow to his opponent. Plays with good lower body torque that aids him in his ‘pop’ at the point of contact, and has sufficient strength in his upper body to hold off grabby blockers. Feet are fast and active, you never see a play where he isn’t busy. Brings playmaking ability in both against the run and pass - doubled his sack totals from 2019 to 2020. Enjoys roles in disguised pressures or when he’s able to get to full speed before contact.

CON’S: Alarmingly inconsistent results from his substantial efforts. Concerns about play recognition and maintaining fundamentals discipline each snap. Has a tendency to bite on misdirection. Struggles to disengage from blocks once offensive linemen have their hands on him. Frequently walled off in the run game by quicker blockers. Double teams pose problems for him in the run game. Dominated against inferior competition but struggled against the better units he faced in 2020.

SIMON CARROLL: “Nixon was just a two-star recruit coming out of high school, and was forced to go to a JuCo before making his mark with Iowa. That slow maturation and delayed progression can explain his somewhat underdeveloped and inconsistent game. The flashes are terrifying; he has all the physical attributes to be a dominant rush force on the interior, with surprising competency against the run. Until he puts it all together, he’s a 3-tech in an even front that will likely have to work his way into an NFL team’s rotation. But the upside alone will see him taken early on day two.”

NFL COMPARISON: KAWANN SHORT

PROJECTION: 2ND ROUND PICK

IDL #5: TOMMY TOGIAI, OHIO STATE BUCKEYES

Height: 6’2”.   Weight: 300lbs

PRO’S: Bulldozer defensive linemen with enough lower body power to move the stoutest of blockers off their spot. Rarely if ever rocked back on contact. Excellent knee bend and leverage aids his strong anchor. Strikes the breastplate of his opponent with alarming ferocity and uses those heavy hands to manipulate his way to the football. A grafter who brings his lunch to every snap. Dominant against the run, showing patience when engaged with blockers but also the desire and hustle to hunt down a ball carrier. Nimble, quick feet off the snap and has more than sufficient short-area quickness to get where he needs to be.

CON’S: Short arms a concern at the next level. Slightly undersied for the position, although this is mitigated with his core strength. Lack of pop off the snap may show on tape more often in the NFL. Needs to develop his pass-rushing arsenal - just two sacks in his college career. Susceptible to niggling injuries (nothing major) and has missed game time in every year at Ohio State.

SIMON CARROLL: “An accomplished run defender, Togiai was a force to be reckoned with in Columbus. Ohio State’s struggles in the National Championship Game showed their reliance on the disruptive linemen, and it should be a similar story for a team in the NFL. Questions about his measurables and lack of production as a pass rusher will likely force him to only be courted by scouts looking for an A or B gapper in a 4-3 scheme, but he’s the kind of guy to have a low-key, consistently effective 10 year pro career.”

NFL COMPARISON: NEVILLE GALLIMORE

PROJECTION: 3RD ROUND PICK

IDL #6: JAYLEN TWYMAN, PITTSBURGH PANTHERS

Height: 6’2”.   Weight: 290lbs

PRO’S: Nimble, elusive interior pass rusher with a nose for the backfield. Excellent production at Pitt in 2019 with 10.5 sacks and 12 tackles for a loss. A true gap shooter; quick off the line of scrimmage and slips between blockers effortlessly. Plays low with good bend and can round his opponent at pace. Has a knack for avoiding engagement and staying free. Efficient footwork with no wasted steps. Flows to the football with ease if the play runs away from him. Pass rush repertoire, whilst limited, is effective thanks to impeccable timing and hand placement.

CON’S: Desperately needs to add more strength to his game. Distinct lack of anchor, hindering his effectiveness against the run. Doesn’t have desired arm length for the NFL. Accurate hands but lacks the power and aggression on first strike. Play diagnosis can be a tick slow. If blockers latch on to him he finds it quite difficult to shed them. Needs to vary up his pass rush attack to keep opponents on their toes. Opted out of 2020, removing the opportunity to showcase development. Lack of positional versatility.

SIMON CARROLL: “Jalen Twyman will really miss being able to showcase his speed in this year’s limited pre-draft process. Two years ago he terrorised the ACC with his ability to get to the quarterback, but his game and his body are very much still in the development phase. The good news? A lot of his deficiencies can be eradicated with weight and strength gain, which his frame looks like it can handle. The production speaks for itself; it might take time, but I believe Twyman can go from situational interior pass rusher to a three-down, 4-3 NFL defensive tackle.”

NFL COMPARISON: MAURICE HURST

PROJECTION: 3RD ROUND PICK

IDL #7: TYLER SHELVIN, LSU TIGERS

Height: 6’3”.   Weight: 362lbs

PRO’S: Simply massive. The classic immovable object on a defensive line. Phenomenal upper and lower body power as you would expect. Strong enough to not just match up against double teams, but consistently win. Excellently coached with good hand technique, footwork and stack and shed skills. Surprising quickness off the snap, and can move better than you would expect for a man this size. Revels in the dirty, understands the nuances of the position and has a natural feel for the game.

CON’S: Little to no pass rush. Shelvin isn’t slow, but he’s not going to be slipping past NFL offensive linemen. Can push the pocket but brings zero backfield penetration. Opted out of 2020 which, coupled with his academic redshirt year, will have scouts worried about the body of work and his readiness to embrace a heavier pro playbook. Conditioning will need to be constantly monitored - his weight has been a significant problem at college and unless micromanaged will get out of hand.

SIMON CARROLL: “Tyler Shelvin doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what he is - a lead weight that will swallow up an opponent’s inside run game for fun. He offers no pass-rush upside and will be on the field for just first and second down - providing his conditioning allows him to be. That being said, there is still a need for these dominant pseudo-nose tackles with speed to play in even fronts, making him plug and play for any NFL team. He’ll need constant handling, but as a day two pick he’s probably worth the effort.”

NFL COMPARISON: SHAUN ROGERS

PROJECTION: 3RD ROUND PICK

IDL #8: MARLON TUIPULOTU, USC TROJANS

Height: 6’2”.   Weight: 308lbs

PRO’S: Surprising nose-like strength packed into a 3-tech’s frame. Remarkable lower body torque that explodes off the line and into his blocker. When timed right, Tuipulotu’s first strike is scary. Able to get his hands inside and drive linemen backwards towards the football. Hands are an asset - able to manipulate his way off blocks and around into the backfield. Commands double teams and has learned to deal with them. Shows good quickness in his lateral movement and hunts down the ball. Graceful but quick, able to come through the wash cleanly. High effort and high character guy.

CON’S: Struggled to establish himself in the Trojans lineup and has just one year as a fully fledged starter. Limited pass rush moves and production; much better suited to run defense despite his frame suggesting otherwise. Releasing into the backfield has proven problematic. An average athlete - can slide to the football but speed is a concern. Predictable, almost textbook game with a lack of wow plays.

SIMON CARROLL: “'Jay Tufele's absence in 2020 allowed Marlon Tuipulotu to become a valued component of USC's front seven, yet three years of consistent production for the Trojans has seen just modest growth. Tuipulotu is a high floor, low ceiling prospect whose work ethic, team mentality, physicality and strength will allow him to find a home in any pro scheme. He has more of an all round game than most day two prospects possess, and you can see scouts banging the table for him. If he blossoms into more than a valued rotational piece at the next level it should be seen as a bonus.”

NFL COMPARISON: LAWRENCE GUY

PROJECTION: 3RD ROUND PICK

IDL #9: ALIM MCNEILL, NC STATE WOLFPACK

Height: 6’2”.   Weight: 315lbs

PRO’S: Burly run-stuffer with impressive lower body strength. Difficult to move off his spot if he gets his feet in place early. Proficient dealing with double teams and is comfortable as a nose tackle in an odd front despite being a little lightweight for the role. Brings some juice with his hands, initial contact can give him an early advantage in a rep. Good technique and timing allow him to set the tone on a play more often than not. Surprising motor for his size and never gives up on a play.

CON’S: Limited explosion off the snap. Not slow but definitely not quick. Lateral movement a tad clumsy and seems to get caught up in the wash if the ball goes away from him. Rarely in the backfield and offering an interior pass rush isn’t currently part of his game. Mental processing a tick slow - able to be manipulated out of the play. Weight distribution sometimes ‘off-keel’ and doesn’t always appear in control of his movement.

SIMON CARROLL: “You can get excited about McNeill if you take him for what he is; an extremely capable run stuffing nose tackle who can hold his own against double teams and has just enough speed to have offensive linemen on their heels when pushing the pocket. If you want him haring after the quarterback you’re going to be disappointed. The big question is, will he develop his pass rush ability sufficiently enough to be a three-down lineman? A borderline day 2/3 prospect who could prove to be a steal.”

NFL COMPARISON: JAVON HARGRAVE

PREDICTION: 4TH ROUND PICK

IDL #10: BOBBY BROWN, TEXAS A&M AGGIES

Height: 6’4”.   Weight: 315lbs

PRO’S: Strong, forceful lineman with a big solid frame. Solid anchor makes him difficult to relocate. Extremely heavy handed and able to manipulate the biggest of offensive linemen. Excellent fundamentals; love the leverage he plays with, and this with his accuracy on first strike allows him to move people at will. Has the power to control double teams and can two-gap if lined up directly over the center.  Good bend and dip and able to find his way into the backfield when desired.

CON’S: Sometimes shows up, sometimes doesn’t. Infuriating inconsistency when you look at his physical tools. Takes plays off, maybe when having a breather. Doesn’t light up the stats sheet, although saw a major improvement on that front in 2020. Lacks the initial burst and acceleration to be a consistent danger in the pass game, and doesn’t possess the speed to chase after plays.

SIMON CARROLL: “Brown is one of my sleepers in this draft class, but that is predicated on him continuing his development like we saw in his final year in College Station. If an NFL team can get him focused and eradicate the moments he switches off, he’s a three down lineman who will dominate against the run and provide bonus ability in the passing game. Despite being used solely as a 1-tech in a 4-3 for Texas A&M, I’m convinced he’s stout enough to play nose in a 3-4, further increasing his appeal as a high ceiling, day three prospect.”

NFL COMPARISON: KENNY CLARK

PROJECTION: 4TH ROUND PICK

IDL #11: MARVIN WILSON, FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES

Height: 6’3”.   Weight: 319lbs

PRO’S: Possesses impressive natural strength. Ultra-physical when engaging with opponent. Uses hands like clubs, shocking offensive linemen and bullying them into favourable positions. Hand movements are fast and angry as he fights his way to the quarterback. Competitive - works until the end of the play, and relishes taking on double teams. Has shown positional versatility in his time at Tallahassee, lining up at every spot on the defensive line in both an odd and even front.

CON’S: Wilson relies on determination & strength to win, with very little attention paid to fundamentals. Top heavy and plays with poor leverage. Body holds bad weight and conditioning is a concern. Lack of stout base and is toppled far too often, particularly in pursuit. Footwork off the snap lackadaisical - despite reasonable athleticism is always slow from the get go. Reacts late to adjustments and pulling linemen. Not as hungry in run defense as he is in the passing game. 

SIMON CARROLL: “Marvin Wilson made my 2019 Lookout List after a promising sophomore season, yet has failed to develop his body or his game to the levels he is clearly capable of. NFL scouts will feel confident they can clean up his fundamentals, get his muscle mass up, and improve his focus against the run. If he shows the dedication to the rest of his game as he does rushing the quarterback, there’s hope of a high ceiling. Suited best as a 4-3 tackle with the flexibility to be moved around as needed”.

NFL COMPARISON: FLETCHER COX

PROJECTION: 5TH ROUND PICK

IDL #12: DARIUS STILLS, WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS

Height: 6’1”.   Weight: 281lbs

PRO’S: Uber-aggressive interior pass-rusher with lightning quick reaction off the snap. Gets his hands inside his opponent early and earns the upper hand throughout the rep. Good hand strength that jolts blockers and keeps him free from engagement. Has shown a wide array of developed pass-rushing moves and uses his hands relentlessly through the play to get into the backfield. No quit in him - will work every snap like it’s his last. Flashes the power necessary to push the pocket. Understands the nuances of the position and is aware of what is coming his way.

CON’S: Lack of core strength. Power in arms isn’t matched in his lower half, and has a narrow base. Ability to stack & shed to fill gaps is limited, and rarely holds up well against double teams. A bit careless maintaining backside coverage and has been prone to overpursuing when scraping to the football. Has the speed to chase down ball carriers in the run game but not the core strength to match them when the play comes directly towards him. Lack of positional versatility.

SIMON CARROLL: “It’s easy to get excited when watching Stills on tape - his athleticism and urgency jump off the screen. He requires a lot of polish and is limited in what he can currently offer against the run, and will probably need some dedication to the weight room. Without that, he offers situational interior pass rushing ability and should carve out a valuable third down role early in his career whilst developing the rest of his game.”

NFL COMPARISON: MATT IOANNIDIS

PROJECTION: 5TH ROUND PICK

IDL #13: TA'QUON GRAHAM, TEXAS LONGHORNS

Height: 6’3”.   Weight: 290lbs

PRO’S: Ideal NFL measurables with good length. Impressive natural power; possesses strength you would expect from a 320lb lineman. Stout anchor and capable of setting his feet and stonewalling blockers as they attempt to get downfield. Hand strength is the key to Graham’s game - his first strike can take your breath away, and when engaged is able to put his opponent somewhere they really don’t want to be. Flourished in single-gap responsibility. Has experience playing off the edge in high school and saw some reps there too at Texas. Flashes of that pass-rushing history can be seen on the interior, where Graham enjoys using crashes & stunts to get into the backfield.

CON’S: Little finesse to his game. Displaces blockers with power rather than using his hands to slide by them. Surprising lack of burst for a former edge rusher, and late to the party off the snap. Some hesitance can be attributed to his lack of confidence in play diagnosis. Short-area quickness is average and he rarely gets outside the tackles when chasing down plays. Plays tall and loses the leverage battle - mostly evident when he encounters double teams.

SIMON CARROLL: “It is remarkable to me that Graham began life on the outside yet is much more adept against the run than he is the pass. A few technique tweaks could see him be a true asset as an interior run-stuffer, but there are only rare occasions where he seems capable or indeed interested in affecting the quarterback, despite having the physical tools to get there. Athleticism is where scouts will get nervous, yet it feels like he just needs to be unlocked to take the next step. His profile screams 3-tech in an even front as a two-down lineman who - one day - might offer another pair of hands against the pass.”

NFL COMPARISON: BRAVVION ROY

PROJECTION: 5TH ROUND PICK

IDL #14: KENNY RANDALL, CHARLESTON GOLDEN EAGLES

COMING SOON!

(REBECCA RENNIE)

IDL #15: TEDARRELL SLATON, FLORIDA GATORS

Height: 6’5”.   Weight: 358lbs

PRO’S: Looks every inch an NFL nose tackle. Huge powerful frame that carries his considerable bulk extremely well. Ridiculous core strength that makes him near impossible for two men to move him, let alone one. Brutal hand strength allows him to dictate where offensive linemen are located. Plays with good leverage. Two-gapping not a problem; Slaton can disengage and fill holes all game. Enough burst to get where he needs to be and his power does the rest. Smart football player who is aware of opponent’s attempts to box him in or out of a play.

CON’S: A one trick pony, Slaton lines up over the center in some form and offers little else. Inconsistent motor on a play by play basis, and perhaps his big frame affects his conditioning, making him take plays off throughout games. Little in the way of effort or speed chasing down plays. Balance seems an issue when not instantly engaged, and he sometimes can be found reaching. Offers no interior pass-rush.

SIMON CARROLL: “Slaton is an intimidating, infuriating run-stuffing nose tackle who will make life hell for any offense’s inside running game. His mobility is surprisingly good for a man his size, but don’t assume that means he can be given any other responsibilities than the A-gaps, because he wins on strength and leverage alone. Two-gapping 0-tech’s are still valuable in today’s NFL, albeit in a limited capacity. Slaton will find a home on day three and should linger in the league for some time.”

NFL COMPARISON: LINVAL JOSEPH

PROJECTION: 6TH ROUND PICK

IDL #16: NAQUAN JONES, MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS

Height: 6’4”.   Weight: 323lbs

PRO’S: An absolute load - you can immediately pick out Naquan when watching the tape. A mauler in the middle of a defensive front who employs his significant strength to great effect. Immovable anchor when he stays low and sets his feet. Comfortable stacking down blockers and two-gapping. Shows patience waiting for the play to develop before shedding to the football. Arms like tree trunks that move people at will. Powerful first strike that, if timed well, can give him significant advantage on the play. Surprising movement for a guy his size, and can be found getting after the quarterback on a good day.

CON’S: Where’s the production? Struggled to claim a starting job in East Lansing despite his 4 star recruit status. Under-developed fundamentals and technique; sloppy footwork, inconsistent hand accuracy, and relies on brute force when tasked to get into the backfield. Doesn’t see lateral blocks very well and can be moved with angled contact too easily. Noted lack of aggression or intensity to his game.

SIMON CARROLL: “It’s hard to peg whereabouts on the development curve Jones is. Is he a wrecking ball waiting to be unlocked by an NFL line coach who can put a fire under him? Or is he just another big guy with intriguing tools that will never put it all together? Scouts will want to know just how much he loves football before banging the table for him in the draft room, but as a late round flier you can’t argue with the upside.”

NFL  COMPARISON: DAVON HAMILTON

PROJECTION: 6TH ROUND PICK

IDL #17: KHYIRIS TONGA, BYU COUGARS

Height: 6’4”.   Weight: 322lbs

PRO’S: Smart, cerebral defensive lineman that excelled against the run in Provo. Impressive lower body strength with a good anchor. Employs his hands forcefully and aggressively, with a lot of power in his first strike. Able to stack the center and two-gap, shedding comfortably when the ball arrives. Showed consistent dominance at the point of attack, so much so that teams became to reluctant to run at him. Surprising quickness and mental processing when he diagnoses the play pre-snap. Operated in both odd and even fronts at BYU. Good awareness to break the pocket push and try and disrupt the pass instead.

CON’S: Sloppy fundamentals. Inconsistent to downright shoddy pad level, often relying on his brute strength to displace opponents. Motor runs hot and cold. Poor conditioning & he needs breathers too often. Lack of burst off the snap and shows sub-par lateral mobility in both effort and speed. Footwork needs improving. Hand placement is wildly erratic. Easily triggered and can lose his composure.

SIMON CARROLL: “Teams will be intrigued by Tonga. There are moments on tape where you can see he is fully aware of what is about to happen, and that level of understanding of the game is hard to teach. Some of his shortcomings, particularly the fundamentals, are correctable. But you can’t give him that extra quickness, the mental toughness to control emotion, or the desire to hit the weight room and have his body ready for the NFL. His scheme versatility should see him be a backup who can start in a pinch.”

NFL COMPARISON: WILL SUTTON

PROJECTION: 6TH ROUND PICK

IDL #18: LORENZO NEAL, PURDUE BOILERMAKERS

Height: 6’3”.   Weight: 315lbs

PRO’S: Huge man with ridiculous movement for his size. Out of the traps in a hurry, attacking his opponent immediately. Heavy, scary arms that just bludgeon blockers aside. Able to slip through gaps men half his size would struggle with. Effective hands - he utilises good timing and placement to keep offensive linemen at bay. Hungry for the football and relentless in his efforts to get to it. Effective in the run game when he’s tasked with one gap responsibility where he can meet the ball carrier in the hole.

CON’S: All of his weight seems to be in the upper half of his body. Limited power from the waist down and his anchor is vulnerable on any given play. Uncompetitive against double teams. Lack of lower body strength makes two-gapping a significant problem. Plays tall and loses the leverage battle too often, ending up on the ground or marshalled out of the play. Missed the whole of 2019 after suffering a serious knee injury in the final game of the previous season, and has played just five games since 2018.

SIMON CARROLL: “If Lorenzo Neal had more sand in his pants he’d be a day two pick. Everything else is there; length, speed, effort and a nose for the football. But his lack of anchor makes him a liability against the run and he’s likely only suitable as a situational 3-tech in an even front. His father played 16 years in the NFL and ‘Junior’ comes with that same work ethic, plus the knee injury doesn’t appear to have had any long-term effects. He’ll outplay his draft position and make a career for himself, albeit in a rotational capacity.”

PROJECTION: 7TH ROUND PICK

IDL #19: MUSTAFA JOHNSON, COLORADO BUFFALOES

Height: 6’2”.   Weight: 290lbs

PRO’S: Creative defensive lineman with a nose for the backfield. Finds a way to win and get home on almost every play. Quick, with a lightning first step. Loves to attack gaps, and utilises his physical tools well to keep it open. Plays with outstanding leverage. Holds up against the run by keeping low and implementing good technique. Hand accuracy allows him to move bigger men more than he should. Colorado moved him around their defensive line, allowing him to pit his quick burst and acceleration in favourable matchups.

CON’S: Size will limit his effectiveness in the NFL. Not enough lower body torque and could find problems coping with down blocks at the next level. Doesn’t have the power to stack defenders, two-gap and shed to the football. Double teams take him out of plays. Re-directed all too easily and ends up on the floor more than he should. Not convinced his frame can take much more weight to help his core strength. Lacks desired length, something that will stand out more at the next level.

SIMON CARROLL: “Johnson is a savvy footballer and should be commended for carving out an excellent career in Boulder, but there are glaring warning signs regarding his effectiveness in the NFL. He has succeeded at college in spite of his physical limitations, and you get the feeling he’s almost ‘maxed out’ what he can achieve on the football field. That being said, 15 sacks and 100 tackles in 26 games speak for themself, and he could provide valuable depth to a team with a 3-4 base defense.”

PROJECTION: 7TH ROUND PICK

IDL #20: CARLO KEMP, MICHIGAN WOLVERINES

Height: 6’3”.   Weight: 286lbs

PRO’S: Versatile interior defensive lineman with more than sufficient speed to play as a 1-tech. Quick off the snap and gets his hands into blockers bodies early. Shows the ability to deflect grabby opponents and keep himself free. Plays with good leverage and can bull rush/forklift offensive linemen when he gets it right, despite his lack of mass. Has the mobility to get outside of the tackles as the ball flows away from him.Mostly played as a 1-tech in the interior in an even front, but could see snaps as a 3-tech with a mandate to get to the QB.

CON’S: Too light and lacks sufficient power to compete in the run game at the next level. Relies solely on technique, timing and speed to win battles. If a blocker gets his hands on him, he’s not got the arm or hand strength to shed to the football. Could be considered a ‘tweener’ in the NFL, and will be tasked with adding weight to stay lined up over the center, or become solely a pass rushing specialist as a 3-tech. Almost always defeated by double teams. Low production numbers during his time at Michigan. 

SIMON CARROLL: “More of a gap shooter than a gap clogger, Kemp is going to find life difficult against the run lining up on the interior in the NFL. He could find work as a situational rusher in a team’s subpackage, but that’s a limited scope of work and prospects offering that restricted a portfolio won’t see their name called until late on day three. With the need to transition in some way, he’s going to find it hard to convince scouts he can do that - or has done that - with the severely shortened pre-draft process.”

PROJECTION: 7TH ROUND PICK

IDL #21: JORDON SCOTT, OREGON DUCKS

Height: 6’1”.   Weight: 322lbs

PRO’S: A big guy who can move for an interior lineman. Quick off the snap and straight toward the gap he’s responsible for. Keeps his pads low and plays with excellent leverage, giving him the ability to drive blockers out of the way. Edgy; even when he can’t get home he ‘makes a scene’ and disrupts proceedings at the point of contact. Showed multiple ways to affect the passing game at Oregon, sliding into the backfield or pushing the pocket. Competitive against the run; utilises his fairly strong anchor and big upper body to hold his own and shed to the football.

CON’S: Inconsistent effort level and focus. Undeveloped hand technique, particularly for a gap shooter. Play diagnosis, particularly pre-snap, needs to improve. Where is the production? For an interior pass rusher, three sacks in 43 games at Oregon is underwhelming. Whilst he has adequate power, his body size and shape leaves you wanting more from him.

SIMON CARROLL: “A hard eval, Scott seems to possess most of the traits you want for a guy on the interior, but somehow leaves you feeling a bit sold short. He has the measurables and sufficient speed to play inside, yet it hasn’t translated into big stat numbers. More of a ‘creator of chaos’ rather than a true interior pass-rusher, Scott does show three-down ability thanks to his underappreciated value against the run. He’s strictly a 1-tech in a 4-3 defense with coaches who have patience waiting for him to put it all together. If you’re looking for upside from a UDFA with plenty of games under his belt, Scott fits the bill.”

PROJECTION: UDFA

IDL #22: MALIK HERRING, GEORGIA BULLDOGS

Height: 6’3”.   Weight: 280lbs

PRO’S: Good speed off the snap and into the offensive line. Slippery, attacks gaps quickly, and finds his way into the backfield. High motor prospect who brings his lunch to every snap and never gives up on a play. Will continue to work towards the football as it runs away from him. Sufficient strength to compete in the run game at the college level - impressive lower body drive helps him compete with bigger guys. Flashed the ability to stack and shed. Has a natural feel for the game and rarely falls for misdirection.

CON’S: Likely too small to play on the interior at the next level. Not sure his frame will take more weight to improve power and anchor.  All-round game but doesn’t particularly excel in any area. Lack of bend and struggles to stay low as he rounds blockers. Plays with poor leverage, negating the lower body torque he possesses. Distinct lack of power in his hands; they are a tool he rarely uses. Needs to develop his pass rush repertoire. Straight line speed not matched by short area quickness & change of direction.

SIMON CARROLL: “NFL scouts are going to take a look at Malik Herring and wish there was a whole lot more tape of him playing out on the edge. His 100% effort & work rate allowed him to be used inside by Georgia, but he simply doesn’t have the measurables to do the same at the next level. That pigeon-holes him as a 4-3 end, and i’m not sure he has the athleticism to challenge a depth chart. A high character roster guy who leads by example and improves a position room by his sheer presence.”.

PROJECTION: UDFA

Mock Draft

SIMON CARROLL

HEAD OF CFB/NFL DRAFT CONTENT

PREVIOUSLY THE FOUNDER OF NFL DRAFT UK, SIMON HAS BEEN SCOUTING DRAFT PROSPECTS FOR MORE THAN A DECADE.  HE FULLY MIGRATED TO THE TOUCHDOWN AS HEAD OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL AND NFL DRAFT CONTENT IN JULY 2019. ALL THE RANKINGS ABOVE ARE HIS OWN, AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE OPINIONS OF ALL THE WRITERS AT THE TOUCHDOWN. FOR DISCUSSION OF ANY OF THE DRAFT PROSPECTS ABOVE, HIT HIM UP ON TWITTER @NFLDRAFTSI.

5/5