Jarran Reed, NT, Alabama
Height: 6-3. Weight: 311. Arm: 32. Hand 10.76. 40 Time: 5.21. Projected Round (2016): 1. 4/27/16: Teams picking in the middle of Round 1 have told me that Reed is in the running for their first-round pick. He is a good run stuffer, but doesn't offer a lot in the pass rush. Reed does have the speed and athleticism to develop more pass-rushing skills as a professional though.
Reed had a solid combine workout. His 40 time wasn't special, but he did well in the field drills. In 2015, Reed totaled 53 tackles with 4.5 for a loss, one sack and two passes batted. At the Senior Bowl, he flashed some of his pass-rush potential. Sources said that Reed might end up as a top-25 pick.
8/22/15: Reed was an All-SEC honorable mention in 2014. He was a quality run defender for Alabama with 55 tackles, 6.5 for a loss, one sack, and five passes broken up. Reed needs to improve his pass rush to rise as a senior.
A'Shawn Robinson*, NT, Alabama
Height: 6-3. Weight: 307. Arm: 34.5. 40 Time: 5.20. Projected Round (2016): 1. 4/27/16: At the combine, Robinson had a fine workout, but wasn't as impressive as expected. Sources say that if Robinson had been consistent for Alabama, he would be in contention for the No. 1-overall pick. They say he is a tremendous athlete with rare size, strength, speed and movement skills. They like Robinson as a person off the field, but question his love and dedication to football.
In 2015, Robinson recorded 46 tackles with 7.5 for a loss and 3.5 sacks. He came on really strong for the Crimson Tide in the middle portion of the year and showed a combination of power and speed to make plays in the backfield or stuff his gap at the point of attack. Robinson has a versatile skill set to play 3-4 defensive end, nose tackle, or any interior position in a 4-3 defense.
All of Alabama's front seven played well against LSU, but Robinson was the most impressive defender to lead a great team effort. He stuffed a number of runs from Leonard Fournette and also was getting after the quarterback. Robinson followed that up with 2.5 sacks against Mississippi State. He finished the year with strong games against Florida, Michigan State and Clemson.
8/22/15: Robinson recorded 49 tackles with 7.5 tackles for a loss, one forced fumble and two passes batted in 2014. In 2013 as a freshman, he was too good to keep on the sideline. Robinson was an impact defender for the Crimson Tide with 38 tackles, eight tackles for a loss and 5.5 sacks. He's quick for his size and very strong. Robinson could be the best defensive lineman Alabama has had since Marcel Dareus.
Vernon Butler, NT, Louisiana Tech
Height: 6-3. Weight: 323. Arm: 34.13. Hand: 9.75. 40 Time: 5.33. Projected Round (2016): 1-2. 4/27/16: Sources say that Butler has graded out as a high second-rounder. Some teams say he's in the running to go in the 20s. They like his skill set and think he has a ton of upside, but he needs development with a lot to learn. There aren't 32 players graded as first-round picks, so Butler has a great shot at going late in the first round and some playoff teams have told me they're considering him for their pick.
Butler had a solid workout at the combine. His 40 time didn't impress, but he had a respectable showing in the field work. Butler has risen up the pre-draft rankings and used the Senior Bowl to solidify his early round status. Butler has a burst at the point of attack, and his speed rush was very hard for offensive linemen to contain in Mobile. Butler also has the strength and base to generate power into the pocket. He can get in trouble when he stands up too high, but when he plays with good leverage, he can be overwhelming.
In 2015, Butler totaled 50 tackles with 10 tackles for a loss and three sacks. As a junior, he totaled 55 tackles with 13 for a loss and one sack. Butler has versatile size for 4-3 scheme and could fit as a nose tackle or three-technique.
Kenny Clark*, NT, UCLA
Height: 6-2. Weight: 314. Arm: 32.13. 40 Time: 5.06. Projected Round (2016): 1-2. 4/27/16: While other players got more attention, Clark had an excellent combine workout. He ran faster than expected in the 40 and was superb in the field drills. Clark showed quick feet, good balance, agility, and an ability to bend. He definitely helped his first-round hopes at the combine. Given this crowded defensive line draft, Clark is on the Day 1 and Day 2 bubble.
In 2015, Clark notched 75 tackles with 11 tackles for a loss, six sacks and five passes batted. He was an impactful defender at the point of attack and was very good at stuffing runs. In terms of pass rush, Clark is decent, but many teams will probably pull him in passing situations. He created a nice buzz with his play during the 2015 season.
8/22/15: Clark had 58 tackles with 5.5 for a loss and zero sacks as a sophomore. He also had 31 tackles as mostly a backup during his freshman season. Clark has size and athleticism. He needs to produce more pass rush to move up higher.
Austin Johnson*, NT, Penn State
Height: 6-4. Weight: 314. Arm: 32.38. Hand: 9.5. 40 Time: 5.32. Projected Round (2016): 1-2. 4/27/16: In speaking to sources at multiple teams, there are a lot of fans of Johnson. A number of teams are talking about taking him in Round 2, but he may go quickly in the second round and possibly even late in Round 1. Teams love Johnson's skill set and versatility.
Johnson produced a quality season for Penn State in 2015. He was a tough defender at the point of attack with 78 tackles, 15 tackles for a loss and 6.5 sacks. He had one sack as a sophomore and freshman. The jump was in part due to quarterbacks stepping up to avoid Carl Nassib. Johnson projects as a nose tackle for a 3-4 or 4-3 defense in the NFL. Johnson had a mildly disappointing Senior Bowl as he didn't look as good as some of the other defensive linemen in Mobile. That was the same outcome from his combine performance.
Andrew Billings*, NT, Baylor
Height: 6-0. Weight: 311. Arm: 33. 40 Time: 5.06. Projected Round (2016): 1-2. 4/27/16: In speaking to teams, some feel that Billings is only a two-down player in the NFL while others think that Billings has been underrated. By the sounds of it, he looks likely to go in the second round.
While he's known as a star weight-lifter, Billings had a quality, but not eye-popping, total on the bench press at the combine of 31 reps. He did better than expected in the field drills though, including a nice 40. His weigh-in had him two inches shorter than his previously listed numbers however.
In 2015, Billings totaled 39 tackles, 14 for a loss and 5.5 sacks. He is a rare interior defensive lineman with a special combination of massive power at the point of attack and a burst to get after the quarterback. Many big tackles like Billings are stationary, but he has displayed the speed to close and make tackles outside of his gap.
8/22/15: Billings has a lot of athletic potential and could produce more as an upperclassman. As a sophomore, he totaled 37 tackles with 11.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks and one forced fumble. With Shawn Oakman next to him, Billings could see some one-on-one opportunities in 2015.
Hassan Ridgeway*, NT, Texas
Height: 6-3. Weight: 303. Arm: 33. 40 Time: 5.02. Projected Round (2016): 2-3. 4/27/16: Sources with some teams say that they think Ridgeway could be a nice value pick. They are giving him strong consideration for the second day of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Ridgeway had a fine combine performance in terms of the field work, but sources said that he interviewed poorly. Ridgeway can be overwhelming for the interior of an offensive line with his size and strength. He put together some excellent games in 2015 where he beat offensive tackles and guards to make plays in the backfield. The junior showed the ability to be a stout run defender and collapse the pocket in the pass rush. For the season, Ridgeway recorded 36 tackles with 6.5 for a loss and 3.5 sacks. He is a well-balanced defender who beat some double-teams during his career.
In 2014, Ridgeway stood out while playing next to Malcom Brown. Ridgeway totaled 48 tackles with 9.5 for a loss and six sacks that season.
Willie Henry*, NT, Michigan
Height: 6-2. Weight: 303. Arm: 32.38. Hand: 9.5. 40 Time: 5.00. Projected Round (2016): 3-4. 4/27/16: Scouts told me during the fall that they liked Henry, but they weren't expecting him to enter the 2016 NFL Draft. Henry did declare early after a solid season for Michigan. In 2015, he totaled 34 tackles with 10 for a loss and 6.5 sacks. As a sophomore (20 tackles) and freshman (32 tackles), Henry played, but didn't have big seasons. Teams view him as a nose tackle for a 4-3 or 3-4 defense.
D.J. Reader, NT, Clemson
Height: 6-3. Weight: 340. Arm: 32.63. Hand: 9. 40 Time: 5.33. Projected Round (2016): 3-5. 4/27/16: Reader is very tough to move at the point of attack. The heavy nose tackle is a good run-lane plugger who would fit as a nose tackle in a 3-4 or 4-3 defense. He never made a lot of plays, but still filled his gap and ate up blockers. He had a respectable performance at the combine.
In 2015, Reader totaled 13 tackles with .5 sacks. He had 17, 20 and 23 tackles, respectively, the previous three years. Reader notched three sacks as a sophomore. He had a quality week at the Senior Bowl.
Darius Latham, NT, Indiana
Height: 6-4. Weight: 311. Arm: 34.75. 40 Time: 5.32. Projected Round (2016): 4-6. 4/27/16: Latham was suspended for two games in 2015 and totaled 33 tackles with four sacks for his year. He had 1.5 sacks as a sophomore and two as a freshman. Latham should have returned for his senior year to help offset the character concerns he has, but he has some talent. Some teams really love Latham's skill set and think he could be a steal. Other sources also say that Latham is a lazy worker to go with his character concerns. He's an early round talent who could slide into the mid-rounds.
Vincent Valentine*, NT, Nebraska
Height: 6-3. Weight: 329. Arm: 33.13. 40 Time: 5.19. Projected Round (2016): 5-7. 4/27/16: Valentine had 10 tackles, 3.5 for a loss and three sacks in 2015. He should have returned to school given the strength of this defensive tackle class, but he entered the 2016 NFL Draft. Valentine didn't impress at the combine.
8/22/15: Valentine had a decent sophomore season with 45 tackles, seven tackles for a loss, one forced fumble and three sacks. He was Big Ten Honorable Mention All-Freshman selection in 2013 off of 21 tackles, five for a loss, and a sack. Valentine has upside to develop.
Antwaun Woods, NT, USC
Height: 6-1. Weight: 318. Arm: 31. Projected 40 Time: 5.19. Projected Round (2016): 6-FA. 4/27/16: Woods had 41 tackles with seven for a loss and three sacks for the Trojans in 2015. He went to the combine, but an injury kept him from working out.
8/22/15: Woods didn't take the next step that many expected in 2014, even with teams devoting more attention to Leonard Williams. Woods had 37 tackles, one pass batted, and one sack on the year, and missed the final game with a torn chest muscle. In 2013, Woods totaled 19 tackles with two tackles for a loss and one sack. He started four games in 2012 and was part of a defensive line rotation. The redshirt freshman flashed at times while recording three sacks, 4.5 tackles for a loss and 16 tackles.
Darren Lake, NT, Alabama
Height: 6-3. Weight: 324. Projected 40 Time: 5.35. Projected Round (2016): FA. 4/27/16: In 2015, Lake recorded three tackles and a pass batted. He was buried on the depth chart behind A'Shawn Robinson and Jarran Reed. Lake didn't participate in the combine.
8/22/15: Lake only played in seven games during 2014, recording five tackles. He should have a bigger role as a senior.
Melvin Lewis, NT, Kentucky
Height: 6-4. Weight: 320. Projected 40 Time: 5.44. Projected Round (2015): FA. 4/27/16: Lewis recorded 20 tackles, two for a loss and a sack in 2015. He's worth signing as an undrafted free agent to compete at nose tackle. Lewis didn't participate in the combine.
8/22/15: Lewis displayed some impressive play at times in the 2014 season. While Bud Dupree and Za'Darius Smith received more attention, Lewis caused some disruption at the point of attack. In 2014, Lewis recorded 37 tackles with 2.5 tackles for a loss, one forced fumble and .5 sacks. It was his first season of playing time after starting out his career in the junior college ranks and redshirting at Kentucky.
Josh Tupou, NT, Colorado
Height: 6-3. Weight: 325. Projected 40 Time: 5.00. Projected Round (2016): FA. 4/27/16: Tupou didn't play in 2015 after getting kicked off the team. He had a fight in the spring and was slapped with a number of charges for assault, criminal mischief, trespassing and reckless endangerment. Tupou didn't participate in the combine.
8/22/15: In 2014, Tupou put together 29 tackles with four for a loss and three sacks. He turned in modest production as a sophomore and freshman, too. Tupou looks like a heavy nose tackle for a 4-3 or 3-4 defense in the NFL.