NFL DRAFT PROSPECTS - INTERIOR DEFENSIVE LINE

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

IDL #1: DERRICK BROWN, AUBURN TIGERS

Height: 6’5”.   Weight: 318lbs

PRO’S: Huge interior defensive lineman who has the size athleticism to line up in multiple spots in an odd or even front. Huge, wide frame that along with his big arms is able to two-gap and swallow up anything that comes his direction. Amazing quickness for a man his size and shoots immediately off the line and into his blocker. Fast, violent hands that usually gets the first contact, disrupts the lineman and puts them on the back foot. Stacks and sheds with unnerving ease as the ball carrier hits the line. Power move is almost uncontrollable for guards. Brings interior pass-rushing ability and is constantly wreaking havoc in the backfield. Ridiculous speed to run down ball carriers and quarterbacks from the backside.

CON’S: Is tall and plays it - demonstrates a lack of knee bend and that might cause leverage problems at the next level. Needs to develop speed rush moves to compliment his power game. Can sometimes get a little impatient and misread the running lane.

SIMON CARROLL: “Every draft there are maybe a maximum of five prospects who you can consider ‘elite’, and Derrick Brown is without doubt one of those guys. His athleticism takes your breath away - just watch the game vs Ole Miss where he runs on late from the sideline and takes out the running back as if he was playing corner! His scheme versatility - can play nose or 5 tech in a 3-4 or either interior spot in a 4-3 - makes him a home run selection for any team in this draft”.

NFL COMPARISON: MARCELL DAREUS

PREDICTION: TOP FIFTEEN PICK

IDL #2: JAVON KINLAW, SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS

Height: 6’5”.   Weight: 315lbs

PRO’S: Mean and nasty dude with all the physicality required to dominate the battle of the trenches. Beast of a man with thick, muscular trunk and logs for arms. Aggressive off the snap, shocking blockers with the force at which he gets into their body. Hands just as active at the point of attack and you can see offensive linemen reeling upon impact. Impressive initial quickness off the line. Rarely gets locked out by an opponent - can stack and shed them in the run game or completely dispose of them when getting after the quarterback. High work ethic and brings the heat on every play. Can find a home on the defensive line in any alignment.

CON’S: A little raw - you get the ‘bull in a china shop’ feel about him sometimes. Will need to add variance to his game rather than just overpowering blockers with aggression and strength. Can see his momentum used against him by more savvy linemen and contact balance needs work.

SIMON CARROLL: “I watch Kinlaw’s tape and I feel tired for the lineman tasked with blocking him! He’s a non-stop wrecking ball who plays with fearless intensity but also enough discipline to be reliable in the run game. Not quite as polished as Brown, he may just have a touch more upside. He looks to be a three-tech in a 4-3 or play the five on the outside of a three man front - wherever you play him he’s going to need accounting for by an offense”.

NFL COMPARISON: RICHARD SEYMOUR

PREDICTION: 1ST ROUND PICK

IDL #3: ROSS BLACKLOCK, TCU HORNED FROGS

Height: 6’4”.   Weight: 305lbs

PRO’S: Pass rushing interior lineman who loves nothing better than penetrating into the backfield and getting after the quarterback. Unnatural levels of athleticism - so quick into his blocker and working the gaps. Pairs this speed with excellent bend and technique - stays low and has his hands under his opponents pads in a shot. Love his ability to ‘slink’ through slivers of daylight like he’s an edge rusher. Works the offensive line all day with a combination of a non-stop motor, polished pass rush moves and clever speed adjustments.

CON’S: Has the tools and know-how to be better against the run but gets inconsistent results. Tape will show he can stack and shed to two-gap but again, fails to execute on a consistent basis. Sometimes slow in play diagnosis and can be deceived by play action on occasion. Suffered a torn ACL as a sophomore which medical teams will want to check out.

SIMON CARROLL: “Blacklock and Gallimore are very similar prospects in that they’re exciting interior pass rushers with an explosion to their game that isn’t easy to find. I have Blacklock just ahead as he has shown the ability to play the run better, even if it isn’t as consistent as you’d like. That probably precludes him from coming off the board day one, but the ceiling is high and he could well be something special in two years time”.

NFL COMPARISON: GRADY JARRETT

PREDICTION: 2ND ROUND PICK

IDL #4: NEVILLE GALLIMORE, OKLAHOMA SOONERS

Height: 6’2”.   Weight: 304lbs

PRO’S: Active, frantic lineman who dials it up to ten from the first play to the last. Excellent twitch off the snap, and so quick in his lateral movement. Able to locate the gap too quickly for blockers to get in their sets. Immense upper body strength - violent hands that put offensive linemen on their haunches and can shed a blocker effortlessly. Gets his second shot in quickly to help move bodies out of his way as an interior pass rusher. 2019 tape shows off impressive speed from the back end to chase down ball carriers.

CON’S: Inconsistent pad height. Sometimes he gets under the linemen and drives them, but too often he plays tall and loses the leverage battle as a result. Initial quickness can mask this but if his blockers are able to reset he runs out of ideas. Lower body strength nowhere near matches his upper body strength. Lack of anchor betrays him when he can’t win with his athleticism. Struggles to find his way off double teams.

SIMON CARROLL: “The growth seen from Gallimore in his final season at Norman was astonishing. He went from this kid that was big and sluggish to a lean, mean interior pass rusher. He’s by no means the finished article and he could stand to add more power to his game, but the potential flashes on the tape. Probably ideal as a 3-tech tackle in an even front, he shows the traits that will make him a late draft riser”.

NFL COMPARISON: TIMMY JERNIGAN

PREDICTION: 2ND ROUND PICK

IDL #5: JUSTIN MADUBUIKE, TEXAS A&M AGGIES

Height: 6’3”.   Weight: 304lbs

PRO’S: Productive. Over 100 tackles and 25 sacks in 43 games for The Aggies. Agile and athletic lineman - bend, dip and pad height are elite. Seems to be always moving and keeping blockers on their toes with an array of pass rush moves. Quick and heavy hands that land clean on linemen before he manipulates them out of the way. Acceleration appears to increase throughout the rep and powers into the ball carrier or quarterback with unbridled ferocity. Scheme-versatile and has lined up in numerous spots for Texas A&M over the last three seasons.

CON’S: Play strength a concern - a somewhat skinny frame that he may not be able to add more muscle mass to. This, coupled with his short arms make his effectiveness in the run game limited. Unable to work off double teams, and he’s not going to face up to a guard or center and two-gap with consistent results. Motor can run hot or cold, particularly late in games as fatigue sets in.

SIMON CARROLL: When on form, there isn’t many more exciting interior linemen to watch game tape of than Madubuike. He can terrorise blockers with his speed and lateral quickness off the snap, and you can sometimes feel the force at which he hits the quarterback. If he can add more weight and keep his athleticism he’s very much an NFL starter, at either spot on the interior or even as a 5-tech in a 3-4”.

NFL COMPARISON: LEONARD WILLIAMS

PREDICTION: 2ND ROUND PICK

IDL #6: MARLON DAVIDSON, AUBURN TIGERS

Height: 6’3”.   Weight: 297lb s

PRO’S: Pass-rushing specialist who played mostly off the edge at Auburn. Looks to offer scheme versatility - probably best suited as an interior rusher but could also be a 5-tech in an odd front. Excellent length for the position. Phenomenal upper body strength too - hands that knock the wind out of blockers when they land. Excellent athleticism, particularly as he moves inside - quick off the line, good lateral quickness and able to shoot gaps consistently. Starting to develop pass rush nuances, such as differentiating play speed, shoulder drops, clever hand moves and taking better angles.

CON’S: Currently not a three down player as he develops his run defending. Often frustrated as he tries to stack and shed his blocker to get his hands on the ball carrier. Play diagnosis whilst engaged needs improvement. Lack of dip and bend - flexibility isn’t ideal, certainly for playing off the edge like he did in college. Lack of lower body strength evident against some of the bigger offensive lines in the SEC.

SIMON CARROLL: “Marlon Davidson is a trait-based projection for the NFL. His stock is soaring as he goes through the pre-draft process and scouts get to see his natural athleticism. A shift inside allows him to have favourable matchups against slower guards, and if he continues his growth in his duties outside of pass rushing he could become a dangerous three down player in the NFL. Until then he’s a complimentary piece with plenty of upside”.

NFL COMPARISON: ALLEN BAILEY

PREDICTION: 2ND ROUND PICK

IDL #7: RAEKWON DAVIS, ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE

Height: 6’7”.   Weight: 312lbs

PRO’S: Very well coached - excellent fundamentals and technique as a two-gapper. A physical beast; simply will not be overpowered and can more than hold his own against double teams. Can absolutely embarrass linemen if he catches them off guard. Able to set the edge and funnel the play back inside. Ideal measurables for the NFL with good length that enables him to control his blocker until he’s ready to disengage. Lays the wood when tackling. Impressive short-area agility for a man his size. Extremely intelligent and has an innate feel for what the offense is about to show him.

CON’S: Very tall, and struggles to win the leverage battle as a result. Natural power mitigates that at college level, but will be more of a problem as a pro. Really doesn’t bring much as an interior pass rusher - lack of moves, and his speed dies quickly despite an impressive twitch off the snap. Production has dropped every year in Tuscaloosa and there are some concerns about his maturity. Brings a varied lack of effort on a play by play basis. Conditioning may be an issue at the next level.

SIMON CARROLL: “If this was 2000 and not 2020 then Raekwon Davis would be considered a top ten prospect. His run defense skills and abilty to destroy plays with his physical presence are impressive. But teams want gap penetrators who can get after the quarterback and Davis just doesn’t bring that to the table. That means he’s off the field on third downs and limits his draft stock to a day two pick accordingly”.

NFL COMPARISON: ALAN BRANCH

PREDICTION: 3RD ROUND PICK

IDL #8: LEKI FOTU, UTAH UTES

Height: 6’5”.   Weight: 337lbs

PRO’S: Huge defensive lineman with impressive play strength. Elite length that coupled with his power mean he’s often uncontrollable for blockers. Physically dominant and loves to bull-rush blockers straight up or obliterate gaps en route to the backfield. True two-gapper who can hold an opponent in place before disengaging and using those long arms to corral the ball carrier. Surprising twitch for a guy his size to keep offensive linemen on their toes. Double teams not a problem - can break off them and hunt or keep both busy and let his colleagues feast.

CON’S: Enough quickness off the line but don’t confuse that with athleticism. Too big of a bloke to be shooting through gaps untouched and needs to work his way into the backfield. Lateral quickness and change of direction speed prohibitive. A tall guy and plays like it - difficult for him to keep his pads down and blockers with good hands and technique can get their arms inside and lock him out. Arc to the quarterback once through the line is predictably wide.

SIMON CARROLL: “A behemoth of a defensive lineman, Fotu has the size to be a true nose tackle but also the strength and nous to line up as a 1-tech and split the center and guard. His capability of getting to the ball behind the line of scrimmage isn’t something you often see for a man of his proportions. Will fit some schemes perfectly and should come off the board on day two”.

PREDICTION: 3RD ROUND PICK

IDL #9: LARRELL MUCHISON, NC STATE WOLFPACK

Height: 6’2”.   Weight: 294lbs

PRO’S: Active lineman who is always busy. Never gives a blocker a break, working them with quick movements and repetitive hand strikes to keep them from locking in. Excellent gap penetrator with a sixth sense on how to get through the line and into the backfield. Plus athleticism with excellent twitch off the snap. Good reaction speed to counter what his opponent throws at him. Good use of pass rush moves at the point of engagement. Has some positional versatility after lining up inside and out at NC State.

CON’S: Play strength probably the biggest worry. Often got trapped on double teams when shifting inside. Much more effective as a pass rusher than a run defender. Lateral quickness could be better. Ability to get into the backfield surprising considering he often plays square to the block. Wants to show better pad level and bend as he rounds the corner - poor ‘turning circle’ has allowed ball carriers to escape him and his closing speed is not impressive.

SIMON CARROLL: “Despite being used as a true edge rusher on occasion, Murchison projects to be a 3-tech lineman in a 4-3 or a 5-tech in an odd front in the NFL. His non-stop effort and ability to bust gaps and be a marauder in the backfield will intrigue scouts, but the lack of desired strength and short-area quickness puts a ceiling on his game. Can be an instant contributor on obvious passing downs whilst he learns to develop his all-round skillset”.

PREDICTION: 4TH ROUND PICK

IDL #10: DAVON HAMILTON, OHIO STATE BUCKEYES

Height: 6’4”.   Weight: 327lbs

PRO’S: Productive run-stuffer who knows how to squeeze the line of scrimmage and get to the football. Strong at the point of contact and is a load for a blocker to deal with. Intelligent - able to read what the offense is up to prior to the snap and react well during it. Excellent core strength makes him stout against double teams. Stays low throughout the play which allows him to dictate when he leaves the block. Surprising quickness for his size comfortable in lateral movement and when he transfers from speed to power his bull rush is overwhelming. A finisher who can hunt down running backs in the backfield and bring them down.

CON’S: Little to no pass rush production from the interior - until last year he only had one sack in three seasons. Struggles to take advantage of his power and length to manipulate blockers aside and squeeze past them. Plays very square and allows offensive linemen to get their hands on his pads and ‘front’ him - remain in between him and the quarterback. Enjoys causing havoc at the line but rarely gets clean penetration, taking blockers with him instead.

SIMON CARROLL: “It might seem like Hamilton is a throwback defensive lineman whose sole objective is to stop the run in any way he can. His final year at Ohio State saw him get to the quarterback six times showing considerable growth as an interior pass rusher, but it’s better use of hands and pass rush moves at the point of contact that will improve his all round game and get him on the field more often”.

PREDICTION: 4TH ROUND PICK

IDL #11: JORDAN ELLIOTT, MISSOURI TIGERS

Height: 6’4”.   Weight: 315lbs

PRO’S: Exciting, versatile prospect with an all-round game. Perfect proportion and length to fill multiple spots on the line. Excellent play strength evident as he shows his stoutness, maintaining control of the rep before disengaging. Flashes potential in all aspects of the position; plays two gaps with confidence and good timing to stack and shed. Good hands on one gap responsibilities to work his way to the corner of the blocker and slip by. Shows good balance and is difficult for defenders to get a bead on him.

CON’S: Slow. Gets by with sneaky good technique and timing rather than quickness. Lack of production at Missouri and, considering the growth in his final year there, it was a surprise he declared for the draft. Mental aspects of his game need work - understanding what his opponent is trying to do with him and counter it. Processing the play development on the fly also a work in progress, and you can see him get confused and lose the ball on certain reps.

SIMON CARROLL: “Jordan Elliott’s tape shows flashes on occasion, but the traits aren’t there consistently enough for him to be considered anything other than a day three prospect. That being said, a lot of his deficiencies are correctable or will come with more reps, and the upside is quite high. His ability to two-gap and set the edge means I like him as a defensive end in a 3-4”.

PREDICTION: 4TH ROUND PICK

IDL #12: JAMES LYNCH, BAYLOR BEARS

Height: 6’4”.   Weight: 285lbs

PRO’S: Interior pass-rushing monster. Racks up quarterback take-downs like he’s an elite edge defender - 20 sacks in just 33 games for The Bears, with 13.5 in his final year in Waco. Smooth off the line of scrimmage with good timing, giving him a tick of an advantage early in the rep. Able to keep away from blockers as he shoots the gap, the evasion of hands landing on him his key weapon. Physical upper body strength belies his size, and his heavy hands and arms are utilised to protect him from unwanted engagement. An absolute baller who doesn’t take plays off and has battled through injury to help out his team.

CON’S: Severe lack of length - as in the 7th percentile for his position. Despite his play power these short arms betray him when trying to stack blockers and he’ll never be a two-gapper. Sometimes lets tackles slip through his fingers for the same reason. Change of direction fluidity lacking, and his bend when entering the backfield could be shortened. One-dimensional aggressive, pocket-pushing style of play that with his mass might struggle against bigger linemen in the NFL.

SIMON CARROLL: “Somewhat of a wrecking ball at the line of scrimmage, watching Lynch destroy offensive lines is quite thrilling. He needs to add some nuance and diversity to his pass-rushing, and he’s not currently a three-down player at the next level. But used as a situational interior rusher with the upside to improve the rest of his game could make him a value pick early on day three”.

PREDICTION: 5TH ROUND PICK

IDL #13: RASHARD LAWRENCE, LSU TIGERS

Height: 6’2”.   Weight: 308lbs

PRO’S: Broad despite lack of weight - able to anchor down and take on double teams comfortably. Able to swallow up inside blockers and allow his teammates free access to the backfield. Can make an absolute mess of the line of scrimmage if he needs to. Feasts on single gap responsibilities - impressive short area quickness gets him into contact quicker than convenient for his opponent. When there he shows good speed to power transfer and able to stun his man backwards. Tone setter and captain material - frequently played through injuries at LSU and was immensely respected by his teammates.

CON’S: Messy technique. Poor balance, a result of reaching due to lack of length that makes him play over his toes. Lack of bend and pad level (and leverage) is affected. Feet are quick but ungainly - some wasted steps and some short steps, again causing him to reach. More of a disruptor than a playmaker - pass rushing skills clumsy even if they are effective on occasion. Inconsistent as a two-gapper when having to remain stout for longer - lack of weight and play strength become more evident. Early play quickness doesn’t translate to speed through the line and after the ball carrier. Injury prone.

SIMON CARROLL: “There will be plenty of admiration from coaches for a high-character guy like Lawrence, but scouts will no doubt point to a multitude of areas to his game that need cleaning up before he can become an NFL starter. He’s a guy you want next to you in the trenches and won’t let his team down. Ideal as a 1 or 3-tech on an even front where he can cause chaos”.

PREDICTION: 5TH ROUND PICK

IDL #14: KHALIL DAVIS, NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS

Height: 6’2”.   Weight: 305lbs

PRO’S: Unnaturally quick for a 300lb+ dude - ran a 4.75 second 40 yard dash at the combine (83rd percentile). Looks like he’s fired out of a cannon off the snap. Attacks his gap with relentless tenacity, his quick hands always working to fend off linemen looking to latch on to him. Just knows how to get into the backfield - keeps low when rounding the edge with good bend and lateral movement. Gets quicker as the play goes on and will hunt down the ball carrier from the backside. An ascending talent with increased production each year at Nebraska - 8 sacks from the interior as a senior.

CON’S: Lacks height and length desired at the NFL level. Relies too much on his speed to keep away from blockers as if he gets too close he doesn’t have the arms to disengage. Impressed at the combine with 32 reps on the bench but doesn’t translate to the tape - lower body strength and anchor absent when he’s tasked with run defending. Struggles to stack and shed as a two-gapper as the ball carrier hits the hole. Completely unfit to handle double teams.

SIMON CARROLL: As fun it was to watch both Khalil and his twin brother Carlos for the Cornhuskers last year, Davis simply does not have the functional strength or size to be as dominant on Sundays as he was on Saturdays. The quickness mitigates that to some extent, but not enough. Pigeon-holed as a pass-rushing 3-tech, he’ll be a situational guy at best in the NFL”.

PREDICTION: 6TH ROUND PICK

IDL #15: MCTELVIN AGIM, ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS

Height: 6’3”.   Weight: 307lbs

PRO’S: History as an edge rusher helps him bring pass rushing traits to the interior. Impressive lower-body power helps him be stout upon engagement, and good pad level gives him the leverage and aids him manipulating his block out of the way. Hands are pretty feisty and he’s keen to keep loose and free by employing a multitude of rush moves. Has a nose for the backfield and was productive at Arkansas, getting better every year. Has had a good pre-draft process, competing well at the Shrine Bowl.

CON’S: Plenty of development to his game needed - unsurprising considering he’s played inside for only one season. Hand placement and timing need to be better - tends to reach and contact balance is affected as a result. Can get mired down by stronger blockers - his play strength off the snap isn’t evident after first contact. Motor slows when getting beat early in a contest. Play diagnosis and blocking recognition still in it’s early stages of development.

SIMON CARROLL: “McTelvin Agim brings some promise and production as an interior pass-rusher, but his reliability from down to down is underwhelming. I’m not sure if this is a result of his positional change or his inconsistent effort levels. Either way he has room to improve as a 3-tech in a four man front, and could provide day three draft value to a patient team”.

PREDICTION: 6TH ROUND PICK

IDL #16: AUZOYAH ALUFOHAI, WEST GEORGIA WOLVES

Height: 6’4”. Weight: 327lbs

Pros: Much of the D2 film of Alufohai is almost unfair in terms of the difference between he and his opposition. The Kennesaw State transfer is capable of dominating outmatched opponents. Alufohai has legitimate NFL size and core power to find a role at the pro level. In addition to flashing that dominance at both the FCS and D2 levels, he proved he can impose himself against better competition, impressing at the East-West Shrine event. All reports from Shrine Week indicate that Alufohai proved he belonged, displaying his outstanding strength. While there’s work to be done to refine his game, the small school standout has shown he can overcome challenging situations. Injuries and an unfortunate situation regarding his academics resulted in where he played and his need to transfer for his final season. All indications point towards having a high character and as a resilient person. Alufohai offers a monstrous frame with width and length in his arms (over 34”). He is able to disrupt with his bull rush, jolt linemen backward, breaking pocket integrity. He can bully his way into position to make run stops and draw double team attention. Though he could show it more often, Alufohai flashes nice hand use. More than just a power player, Alufohai shows he can disengage and execute some effective clubs and swipes, push-pull and swim moves. The powerful D-lineman moves well for his size, with solid reactions off the snap and shows some quickness and change of direction.

Cons: While he regularly dominated on film and showed out at Shrine practices, he remains relatively unproven against better opposition. Though the traits on offer matter much more, the statistical production has been good but not outstanding. In 2019, Alufohai has solid totals of 31 tackles, 4 TFLs, 2 sacks and 3 forced fumbles. The highlights are enticing, but there’s certainly some technical refinement required. That isn’t surprising given his late start to the sport and playing only 1 season in high school. There are some technical flaws and inconsistencies to clean up. He can get over his pads a little too much and lower his head to the turf as he engages. He doesn’t always make full use of his physical advantages in terms of playing with consistent pad level and extending his long arms.

Rebecca Rennie: “A late starter, Alufohai only played one year in high school before playing at a pair of smaller schools. The untapped developmental potential is therefore exciting for a prospect who clearly has NFL level size, length and power to offer. Able to dominate at the point of attack, Alufohai can destroy running lanes and be a disruptive force in the middle of the defensive line. There’s starting upside with this under-the-radar small school prospect.

NFL Comparison: Folorunso Fatukasi

Prediction: 6th Round

IDL #17: BENITO JONES, OLE MISS REBELS

Height: 6’1”.   Weight: 321lbs

PRO’S: Burly defensive tackle with phenomenal upper body strength. Excellent athleticism for his size - quick out of his stance and able to transfer from speed to power and into his blocker with aggression. Impressive lateral agility - he can scoot along that line and across the face of blockers to a different gap. Can find his gap quickly and has tree trunks of arms to defend himself from engagement. Phenomenal work rate and motor - just does not give his opponent a break.

CON’S: Distinct lack of anchor - all his play strength comes from his hips upwards. Really doesn’t impress as a two-gapper despite his broad frame. Length is the culprit for this - short arms makes it difficult for him to disengage. Double teams will overpower him as his base just can’t withstand the pressure. No nose tackle bonus as you might expect from a guy his size - just simply doesn’t possess the sand in his pants to be stout nose-up to the center.

SIMON CARROLL: Nobody out-works Benito Jones and at the very least he’s going to be a nuisance on each and every play. His acceleration off the snap gives him some definite penetrative ability as a 1-tech lineman in a 4-3, but that’s pretty much the only position he translates to at the NFL level. The upside, however, is there - if he can get stouter his run defending will get better and his pass rushing more diverse. A long-term project with little in the way of immediate production”.

PREDICTION: 7TH ROUND PICK

IDL #18: RAEQUAN WILLIAMS, MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS

Height: 6’4”.   Weight: 304lbs

PRO’S: Strong fundamentals. Good hand usage - great placement that jabs at the blocker and keeps him free. Keeps his hands quick and sharp, deflecting off his man. Decent first step of the line and attacks the edge of the offensive lineman early. Clever feet ‘set up’ his opponent before adjusting and attacking the hip. Has an uncanny ability to locate the gap and slide through it, using well-developed rush techniques to keep off the blocks.

CON’S: Doesn’t posses desired play strength or athleticism. Sluggish from the snap and noticeable lack of play speed at the point of contact. Sub-standard athleticism evident at the combine, where he finished in the 23rd percentile or worse in all the drills bar the forty yard dash. Lack of power restricts his options - if the blocker gets his hands inside the rep is over. Fails to stay low throughout the play and loses the leverage battle instantly.

SIMON CARROLL: “Williams isn’t quick and he isn’t strong, which puts an almighty ceiling on his draft stock. He’s been effective for Michigan State by way of cunning and knowing his limitations, and whilst that’s an admirable trait it’s likely not to be good enough at the next level. He’s a late round pick that will hopefully offer depth to a team’s defensive line unit”.

PREDICTION: 7TH ROUND PICK

IDL #19: CHRIS WILLIAMS, WAGNER SEAHAWKS

Height: 6’2”. Weight: 307lbs

Pros: Williams thrived as a senior under D-line coach and former pro Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton. After reportedly doing significant work in the weight room to get better weight on his frame and improve his conditioning, it paid off with by far his most impactful and productive college season. Williams was active in totalling 62 tackles, 11.5 TFLs, 4 sacks and 3 forced fumbles among his numbers in 2019. His listed size may not stand out but Williams has very good length (34.5” arms), big hands and plenty power at the point of attack. He does much of his best work versus the run. He plays with aggressive intent and delivers a rocking punch on initial contact. Working well against the flow of the offensive line, Williams tracks ball carriers, shedding blocks effectively with timing to position himself to make plays. At other times, his unselfish role as a space eater allows teammates to get home and take more of the glory. Williams shows good leverage, a sturdy wide base and coordination through his upper and lower body. He is consistent keeping blockers off his frame by getting maximum extension and good hand placement on contact.

Cons: His strength is good enough for the pros but at a higher level of athletic competition, he may not be able to stand out. The ceiling may be fairly modest as a depth player. It’s unlikely for Williams to offer a big impact in the backfield at the next level. In addition to not being explosive off the ball and his solid but modest size, Williams doesn’t show too much at this point in terms of sophisticated rush moves, though he doesn’t appear to be asked to rush from his interior position often. He looked dominant as a senior in the Northeast Conference of the FCS but hasn’t had much experience against higher competition.

Rebecca Rennie: “Overall, Williams is not a particularly flashy player, but does his job in the trenches with reliable technique and execution. He may have a fairly low ceiling but has a depth role to offer. Despite modest size for the position, he has length and shows the combination of technique and core strength to hold up at the pro level. A late pick in the draft is a possibility, but if not, ought to be a high priority free agent.

NFL Comparison: Justin Jones (LA Chargers)

Prediction: 7th Round - UDFA

IDL #20: TERSHAWN WHARTON, MISSOURI S&T MINERS

Height: 6’1”. Weight: 280lbs

Pros: Though he may not have ideal size, Wharton impressed at the East-West Shrine event with his explosion to regularly beat blockers. His performances there helped his cause over the understandable questions regarding the competition level he played at. The Division 2 standout has great film, even taking it into context. The aggressive play style features an off-the-charts motor; Wharton brings it snap to snap. The continued effort, hustle and pursuit often leads to making additional plays late. His hands fire into the body early and impactfully, taking the initiative as the early aggressor. A very good athlete, Wharton has exciting reactions and upfield burst off the snap. He’s impressively light on his feet, aiding him in stunts and counters. There’s notable quickness and ability in space, including examples of chasing down ball carriers halfway down the field. He’s smooth with no stiffness in his movements, redirecting well. Though he lacks length, he gets the most out of what extension his 31 1/4” arms give him. The school’s all-time sack leader impresses post-contact with good upper body technique to work off blocks, drive gaps and split double teams. There’s good use of his natural leverage and low center of gravity. That combines with excellent balance and footwork. Wharton is a physical finisher, forceful as he takes ball carriers and QBs to the ground.

Cons: Wharton likely faces an uphill battle, both as a potential draft pick or as a potential free agent in training camp. The combination of the level he competed at in Division 2, along with his short, squatty build could make him a long shot for the pros. The measurables are not ideal and may not meet the thresholds for many teams, taking him off some boards. Though he works off blocks well at the level he played, finding successful counters against pro offensive linemen at his size and length could be challenging, at least early on.

Rebecca Rennie: “There’s a lot to love about Wharton’s play style and energy, despite some physical limitations. He shows a high on-field character to maximize his abilities, work as hard as anyone on the field to give himself a chance. Though short, he has the explosiveness and quickness to potentially find a niche role on the roster.”

NFL Comparison: Ronald Blair

Prediction: UDFA

Feature Image Credit: Matthew Stockman (Getty Images)

Simon

Simon Carroll

CFB/NFL DRAFT EDITOR

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