Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
Height: 6-3. Weight: 290. Projected 40 Time: 4.70. Projected Round (2020): 1. 8/22/18: Oliver is extremely fast at the point of attack. He explodes out of his stance and immediately gets penetration into the backfield. On top of his speed and tremendous pad level, Oliver has active hands with functional strength to slap away blockers' hands. Oliver has a quality motor and doesn't quit on plays that go downfield. While they have different body types, Oliver reminds me of Warren Sapp with his explosive speed off the ball and the way he lives in the backfield.
In 2017, Oliver had 73 tackles with 16.5 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks, three passes batted and two forced fumbles. He continued the strong play from his debut season despite seeing extra blocking attention all year. As a freshman, Oliver dominated at the point of attack, starting with his debut game against Oklahoma. From the beginning, Oliver overwhelmed offensive linemen with his quickness, athletic ability, and physicality. He totaled 66 tackles with 22.5 tackles for a loss, five sacks, three forced fumbles and nine passes batted that season.
Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama
Height: 6-6. Weight: 316. Projected 40 Time: 5.17. Projected Round (2020): 1. 8/22/18: Davis is another elite interior defensive lineman from Alabama. Like Da'Ron Payne, Davis has a freaky combination of size, quickness and athleticism. As a sophomore, Davis showed interior pass-rush skills with a fast first-step, active hands with functional strength to fight off blocks, and a burst to close. Davis can use powerful bull rushes to power through blockers as well.
Davis broke out in 2017 for the eventual National Champions, racking up 69 tackles with 10 tackles for a loss, 8.5 sacks and one interception. It was his first season of extended playing time, and he was very impressive. Davis definitely has early-round potential for his draft class.
Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
Height: 6-4. Weight: 322. Projected 40 Time: 4.95. Projected Round (2020): 1. 8/22/18: In many years, Brown would be the consensus-No. 1 interior defensive lineman; however, in this loaded draft class, Brown might go behind some other elite defensive line talents. Still, team sources love Brown with his quickness to push the pocket and the strength that he plays with. They see him as a three-technique in a 4-3, and he could play as a one-technique as well. Sources say they see Brown as a future first-round talent.
In 2017, Brown was a really solid interior lineman for Auburn. He was a tough run defender and contributed some in the pass rush. He totaled 56 tackles with nine tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles for the year. Brown has the upside to get better as he gains experience.
Rashan Gary, DT, Michigan
Height: 6-5. Weight: 287. Projected 40 Time: 5.00. Projected Round (2020): 1-2. 8/22/18: Gary notched 65 tackles with six sacks, one forced fumble and 12 tackles for a loss in 2017. Gary is a rare athlete who could turn into a dominant defender. Scouting sources say Gary has high first-round potential if he puts everything together. That could definitely happen during his junior season. One scouting sources who has done advance work on the 2020 class said that Gary is a rare physical talent similar to some former top of the draft prospects, but Michigan doesn't turn him loose as a pass-rusher as much as other prospects.
Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
Height: 6-4. Weight: 350. Projected 40 Time: 5.00. Projected Round (2020): 1-2. 8/22/18: Lawrence totaled 34 tackles with 2.5 sacks in 2017. While he wasn't as good as he was in 2016 and his production reflected that, he helped create a lot of sacks for those around him. Some team sources wonder if Lawrence was playing injured as a sophomore.
Lawrence was a tremendous freshman to help Clemson win the National Championship. NFL sources were raving about him then, as he was impossible to ignore in 2016. Lawrence was an All-Freshman selection all over the nation while being the ACC Rookie of the Year for that season. He totaled 63 tackles with 9.5 tackles for a loss, seven sacks and a pass batted as a freshman. One national scout for a NFC team told me that they thought Lawrence was among the two most disruptive defensive linemen in 2016, along with Alabama's Jonathan Allen. With other good talent around Lawrence and his experience, he could dominate as a junior.
Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
Height: 6-4. Weight: 301. Projected 40 Time: 4.95. Projected Round (2020): 1-2. 8/22/18: Simmons is extremely talented athletically and possesses a ton of upside. In 2017, he totaled 60 tackles with 12 tackles for a loss, five sacks, two forced fumbles and one pass batted. As a freshman, he had 40 tackles with two forced fumbles. While Simmons is a great athlete with a superb skill set, he has off-the-field concerns, including a video of him striking a woman with multiple punches in a street fight. Similar to Joe Mixon, that video could cause Simmons to slide in his draft class.
Isaiah Buggs, DT, Alabama
Height: 6-2. Weight: 294. Projected 40 Time: 4.99. Projected Round (2020): 2-3. 8/22/18: Alabama is not a program that hits the junior-college ranks hard, but Buggs was an exception, and he surprisingly won a starting spot right away at Alabama. In 2017, Buggs had 51 tackles with four tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks. He could be even better now that he has a year of experience in the SEC. Buggs should see a lot of good blocking looks with Raekwon Davis and Terrell Lewis rushing around him.