2016 NFL Draft Prospects: Defensive Tackles

By Charlie Campbell.
Send Charlie an e-mail here: [email protected]
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The top 2016 defensive tackle prospects available for the 2016 NFL Draft. * – denotes 2017 prospect. ** – denotes 2018 prospect.

This page was last updated April 27, 2016. Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.
2023 NFL Draft Position Rankings:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | NT | 3-4 OLB | 3-4 DE | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K | P

2024 NFL Draft Position Rankings:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | NT | 3-4 OLB | 3-4 DE | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K | P

2025 NFL Draft Position Rankings:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | NT | 3-4 OLB | 3-4 DE | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K | P

  1. DeForest Buckner, DT/DE, Oregon
    Height: 6-7. Weight: 290. Arm: 34.38.
    40 Time: 5.05.
    Projected Round (2015): Top-10 Pick.

    4/27/16: Sources at teams picking late in the top 10 believe that Buckner will go earlier and won’t slide in the top 10. At the combine, Buckner had a solid workout, but didn’t blow it out of the water. Sources say that Buckner is good kid and they have given him high marks for character.

    Buckner has a serious skill set with size and speed. He can beat blockers with power and has the speed to close on the quarterback. With his flexible size, Buckner can be moved around the line from end to tackle. He would fit as an end/tackle in a 4-3 and a five-technique defensive end in a 3-4. Buckner is in the running to be the first defensive player selected in the 2016 NFL Draft.

    In 2015, Buckner had 76 tackles with 16 for a loss, 9.5 sacks and five passes batted. He played really well for the Ducks as a run defender and showed more pass-rush potential, which hasn’t been easy to display for many Oregon products. The Ducks’ scheme suppressed the pass-rush potential of other edge rushers like Arik Armstead and Dion Jordan.

    8/22/15: Buckner has a similar skill set to former teammate Arik Armstead. Buckner recorded 81 tackles with 13 tackles for a loss, four sacks and four passes broken up in 2014. He looks capable of a big senior year, but Oregon’s scheme doesn’t lend itself to big sack totals as evidenced by Armstead and Dion Jordan.

  2. Sheldon Rankins, 3-4DE, Louisville
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 304. Arm: 32.34. Hand: 9.38.
    40 Time: 5.03.
    Projected Round (2016): Top-25 Pick.

    4/27/16: In speaking with sources, they don’t see Rankins as a top-10 talent but they believe that he probably will be selected in the teens. There are a number of teams picking in that range that could consider Rankins.

    At the combine, Rankins had a fast 40 time and did well in the field drills. It served to confirm his first-round projections. All week at the Senior Bowl, the attention was focused on Ohio State wide receiver Braxton Miller and North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz, but many other players had great weeks to improve their respective draft stocks, and Rankins was among them. He flashed as a good interior pass-rusher in college, and he showed off that ability by excelling the in one-on-ones.

    Rankins has natural pad level with a burst to fire his gap before offensive linemen are ready. With his body type, he can be tough to get a hold of for blockers. After his big week in Mobile, began projecting Rankins to go in the middle of the first round. He definitely accomplished his mission of making the most out of the Senior Bowl.

    However, sources say that Rankins didn’t play as dominant in his game tape. Still, Rankins was an impressive defender for Louisville in 2015, totaling 58 tackles with 13 for a loss and six sacks. In 2014, he was even better when he had Lorenzo Mauldin on the edge drawing attention. As a junior, Rankins totaled nine sacks, 54 tackles and 14.5 tackles for a loss. Rankins could be a speedy three-technique for the NFL.

  3. Jarran Reed, 3-4DE, 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.

  4. A’Shawn Robinson*, 3-4DE, 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.

  5. Chris Jones*, 3-4DE, Mississippi State
    Height: 6-5. Weight: 310. Arm: 34.5.
    40 Time: 5.03.
    Projected Round (2016): 1-2.

    4/27/16: I was too low on my rating of Jones because he was an underachiever in college. He has a great skill set, but didn’t produce anything close to what he was capable of. Still, sources at a variety of teams told me Jones graded out as a late first- or early second-round pick. He is a rare prospect with his combination of size, speed and athleticism. Jones could play a variety of techniques, and is a good fit in a 4-3 or 3-4 defense. Teams do say they are concerned about Jones lacking love and dedication to football.

    Jones was a solid defender for the Bulldogs in 2015 with 44 tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks and four passes broken up. His run defense was improved compared to previous seasons, and he looked stronger at the point of attack. It would have made more sense for Jones to return for his senior year, but he decided to enter the 2016 NFL Draft. At the combine, Jones was decent.

    8/22/15: In 2014, Jones had 26 tackles with three sacks and two passes batted. He commanded a lot of blocking attention, and that helped free up teammates Preston Smith and Caleb Eulls to have breakout seasons. Jones showed some serious potential as a true freshman and flashed as an interior pass-rusher. In 2013, he totaled 32 tackles with seven tackles for a loss, three sacks and three passes broken up.

    Jones has the ability to play defensive end and tackle. According to Mississippi State, he played at 315 pounds as a freshman and has dropped weight.

  6. Robert Nkemdiche, DT/DE, Ole Miss
    Height: 6-3. Weight: 294. Arm: 33.88.
    40 Time: 4.87.
    Projected Round (2016): 1-2.

    4/27/16: At the combine, Nkemdiche interview poorly with teams, and it served to confirm the major off-the-field concerns with him. On the field, Nkemdiche had a good workout as expected. That was reinforced at his pro day.

    Late last year, Nkemdiche added to the off-the-field questions he will face from NFL teams when he fell from the fourth floor of an Atlanta hotel room in December. Marijuana was found in his hotel room and he was arrested. That caused Nkemdiche to be suspended for his bowl game.

    Nkemdiche recorded 29 tackles, seven for a loss and three sacks in 2015. His best performance of the year was against Alabama with six tackles, one sack and another 1.5 of his tackles were for a loss. Nkemdiche left the game against Memphis with a concussion and missed another contest.

    Nkemdiche has a tremendous skill set with the speed and agility of a linebacker. For the NFL, there is no doubt that he has the skill set to be a disruptive presence at the point of attack. However, Nkemdiche struggles to finish plays after breaking into the backfield. He lacks pass-rushing moves and has poor awareness. Thus, Nkemdiche underachieved in production.

    Sources say that Nkemdiche isn’t a natural pass-rusher, and his lack of sacks in his career illustrates that. They also have a lot of off-the-field concerns with Nkemdiche as one source said that Nkemdiche loves the limelight and wants to be a movie star. Another source said that Nkemdiche’s brother Denzel brings a lot of off-the-field concerns with him and Denzel is expected to move with Robert wherever he lands in the NFL.

    8/22/15: Laquan Treadwell and Laremy Tunsil weren’t the only star recruits to choose Ole Miss in an amazing 2013 class. Nkemdiche was considered to be the No. 1 player in the nation. He certainly flashed more than once in 2013. The freshman totaled 34 tackles with two sacks and eight tackles for a loss that year.

    Nkemdiche has tons of physical talent with speed and athleticism. He could grow into a defensive tackle. In 2014, Nkemdiche recorded 35 tackles with two sacks. Thus far, he has not looked like a natural pass-rusher. Nkemdiche flashes serious size and speed talent, but lacks consistency. Perhaps that will come as a junior.

  7. Vernon Butler, 3-4DE, 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.

  8. Kenny Clark*, 3-4DE, 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.

  9. Austin Johnson*, 3-4DE, 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.

  10. Andrew Billings*, 3-4DE, 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.

  11. Jonathan Bullard, DT/DE, Florida
    Height: 6-3. Weight: 285. Arm: 33.63.
    40 Time: 4.93.
    Projected Round (2016): 1-2.

    4/27/16: If Bullard were bigger, he could be a pick in the top half of the first round. However, he is a tweener tackle/end, and that hurts his draft stock. Bullard had a strong workout at the combine where he showed his good speed and athleticism.

    Bullard played really well for Florida in 2015, making 66 tackles with 17.5 for a loss, 6.5 sacks and two passes batted. He was one of the SEC’s best run defenders on the defensive line and demonstrated the ability to rush well from the inside. For the NFL, Bullard would be best in a 4-3 defense as a defensive end in running situations who moves inside in the sub package.

    8/22/15: Bullard totaled 52 tackles with 8.5 tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks, and two passes batted in 2014, coming on strong late in the season. He is a quick defender at the point of attack, but needs to add weight for the NFL.

    Injuries forced Bullard to play out of position at defensive tackle in 2013, but he had 33 tackles with 2.5 tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks there. Bullard recorded 27 tackles with five tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks and one pass batted in 2012.

  12. Adolphus Washington, 3-4DE, Ohio State
    Height: 6-3. Weight: 301. Arm: 34. Hand: 9.5.
    40 Time: 5.17.
    Projected Round (2016): 2-3.

    4/27/16: Washington turned in an excellent regular season and looked like an early round talent with his combination of size and quickness on the defensive line. However following his impressive season, he landed an arrest for solicitation. Sources say that by the time of the 2016 NFL Draft they don’t think it will be a big factor, and to reinforce that view, the charges against him were dropped. In speaking with teams, Washington is being projected to Day 2.

    Washington had an impressive week at the Senior Bowl. He used his speed and power to dominate the first practice. In the following days he was good, but not as great. Still, Washington looked like a late first-round talent in Mobile.

    In 2015, Washington recorded 49 tackles with seven tackles for a loss, four sacks, a forced fumble and a pick-six. He dominated Penn State’s offensive line with two sacks and tons of disruption in the backfield. On a weekly basis, Washington was very disruptive with the speed to fire his gap and get into the backfield. He also was strong to shed blocks and play the run.

    8/22/15: Washington made a nice impact in 2014 as part of an excellent defensive line. He teamed with Michael Bennett and Joey Bosa to produce a consistent pass rush and a ton of plays behind the line of scrimmage. Washington had 48 tackles with 10.5 for a loss, 4.5 sacks, three passes batted and one forced fumble on the season. He totaled five sacks over his a sophomore and freshman years.

  13. Sheldon Day*, 3-4DE, Notre Dame
    Height: 6-0. Weight: 293. Arm: 32.88. Hand: 9.38.
    40 Time: 5.07.
    Projected Round (2015): 2-3.

    4/27/16: Day had 45 tackles, 15.5 for a loss, four sacks, two forced fumbles and four passes batted in 2015. He was a difference-maker and very disruptive at the point of attack. The senior has good quickness of the snap with natural pad level. He is a bit undersized though, which knocks him down some. Day could end up being a second-day steal.

    At the Senior Bowl, Day was impressive with his speed to jet by blockers and cause disruption in the backfield. His combine performance was also impressive as he looked extremely good in the bag drills. If Day were bigger, he could be a high first-rounder.

    8/22/15: Day was a disruptive presence for Notre Dame in 2014 and played better than the numbers suggest. He totaled 40 tackles with 7.5 for a loss, one sack, two forced fumbles and two passes batted. Day has some natural strength and athleticism. He had a solid sophomore season, but the first-year starter didn’t have the breakout 2013 that many expected. He recorded 33 tackles with 5.5 tackles for a loss and only .5 sacks that year.

  14. Hassan Ridgeway*, 3-4DE, 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.

  15. Jihad Ward, 3-4DE, Illinois
    Height: 6-5. Weight: 296. Arm: 33.63. Hand 9.38.
    40 Time: 5.11.
    Projected Round (2016): 2-3.

    4/27/16: Some sources say they are grading Ward in the third round, while others have him in the second. Thus, Ward is a safe bet to be a second-day pick. Teams really like his raw athletic potential. They like Ward’s size, strength and athleticism. They feel he is a starting-caliber left defensive end for a 4-3 defense. Ward flashed at the Senior Bowl with versatile size and speed at the point of attack. He confirmed his special skill set with an impressive performance at the combine.

    The junior college product Ward had 53 tackles with 3.5 for a loss and three sacks for his debut season as an Illini in 2014. As a senior, he totaled 53 tackles with 3.5 for a loss and 1.5 sacks.

  16. Maliek Collins*, 3-4DE, Nebraska
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 311. Arm: 33.13.
    40 Time: 5.03.
    Projected Round (2016): 2-3.

    4/27/16: Collins had 29 tackles, six for a loss, 2.5 sacks and a pass broken up in 2015. He was disruptive with pressure on the quarterback. Sources say that Collins is a solid player, but they weren’t as impressed compared to his 2014 season. Collins showed well at the combine with good speed and athleticism for his size. If he had a returned for his senior year and improved, he would have had a better shot at being a first- or second-round pick. In this loaded draft class, Collins could slip and end up being a steal.

    8/22/15: Sources say that Randy Gregory wasn’t the only first-round athlete on Nebraska’s defensive line in 2014. Collins turned in an impressive season with 45 tackles, 17 for a loss, 4.5 sacks, and 13 quarterback hurries. Evaluators say they were impressed with Collins and couldn’t help but notice him when they were watching tape of Gregory. It was a breakout sophomore season for Collins after being a backup as a freshman. He was a Second-Team All-Big Ten selection.

  17. Willie Henry*, 3-4DE, 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.

  18. Javon Hargrave, 3-4DE, South Carolina State
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 295. Arm: 32.
    40 Time: 4.93.
    Projected Round (2016): 3-4.

    4/27/16: At the combine, Hargrave had an excellent 40 time and did well in the field drills. He has continued his superb postseason to help his draft stock. Hargrave was a star of the East-West Shrine, and he used that week to earn a late invitation to the Senior Bowl. In St. Petersburg, Hargrave was one of the few defensive tackles who gave Michigan center Graham Glasgow some problems. Hargrave got the better of interior linemen with a quick burst and also had a powerful bull rush to crash the pocket.

    Hargrave totaled 59 tackles with 22 for a loss, two forced fumbles and 13.5 sacks in 2015. In 2014, he had 55 tackles, 24 for a loss, 16 sacks and three forced fumbles. The senior totaled 37 sacks in his collegiate career.

    Hargrave is an undersized speed rushing defensive tackle who could use more strength for the NFL, but he has natural pad level to go along with speed. His time at the East-West Shrine gave teams something to think about, and he could be a late-rounder with potential.

  19. D.J. Reader, 3-4DE, 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.

  20. Matt Ioannidis, 3-4DE, Temple
    Height: 6-3. Weight: 299. Arm: 32.63. Hand: 9.88.
    40 Time: 5.03.
    Projected Round (2016): 4-6.

    4/27/16: Ioannidis was a steady defender for Temple over the past three seasons with 3.5 sacks as a sophomore and then 3.5 sacks per year as a junior and senior. He also had 40 tackles with 11.5 for a loss in 2015. In 2014, Ioannidis totaled 47 stops with 11 for a loss. His best fit could come as a five-technique in a 3-4 defense. He earned an invitation to the Senior Bowl and had a quality week. Ioannidis followed that up with a decent performance at the combine. WalterFootball.com knows some teams that are targeting him on Day 3. Some 3-4 teams like his projection to being a five-technique defensive end.

  21. Darius Latham, 3-4DE, 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.

  22. Ronald Blair, 3-4DE, Appalachian State
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 284. Arm: 34.
    40 Time: 5.15.
    Projected Round (2016): 4-6.

    4/27/16: Blair is another tweener lineman who projects to the inside in the NFL. At the combine, he had a respectable showing. Blair broke into the starting lineup as a defensive end in 2014. That season, he had 43 tackles with 13 tackles for a loss and six sacks. Blair missed almost all of the 2013 season with a thumb injury.

  23. Quinton Jefferson, 3-4DE, Maryland
    Height: 6-4. Weight: 289. Arm: 33. Hand: 8.25.
    40 Time: 4.95.
    Projected Round (2016): 4-6.

    4/27/16: Jefferson had a nice redshirt junior season for Maryland, but he’s undersized for the NFL. In 2015, he totaled 39 tackles with 12.5 for a loss, 6.5 sacks, one forced fumble and one interception. Jefferson played in only three games in 2014. The previous year as a true sophomore, he had 47 tackles with three sacks.

    Jefferson was decent at the Senior Bowl and flashed some speed and athleticism. He then ran well in the 40 at the combine. Sources say they have graded out Jefferson in the early rounds on Day 3.

  24. Anthony Zettel, DT/DE, Penn State
    Height: 6-4. Weight: 284. Arm: 31.13.
    40 Time: 4.81.
    Projected Round (2016): 4-6.

    4/27/16: Zettel was solid for Penn State with a lot of power at the point of attack. He totaled 47 tackles with 11 for a loss, four sacks, six passes batted and a forced fumble during 2015. Zettel put more pressure on the quarterback than his sack total indicates. He had a quality week at the East-West Shrine, but is top heavy. Zettel needs to build up his lower body to have a strong base for the NFL. He was faster than expected at the combine.

    8/22/15: Zettel is undersized for defensive tackle, but he is a quick interior rusher. For the NFL, he will have to move to 4-3 defensive end and could move inside for passing situations. Zettel has the frame to warrant consideration as a five-technique in a 3-4 defense.

    Zettel’s 2014 season showed that he has interior pass-rushing skills as he racked up eight sacks. He also had 42 tackles with 17 tackles for a loss. Zettel had four sacks per year as a sophomore and a freshman.

  25. Vincent Valentine*, 3-4DE, 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.

  26. Luther Maddy, 3-4DE, Virginia Tech
    Height: 6-0. Weight: 287. Arm: 32.25.
    Projected 40 Time: 5.25.
    Projected Round (2015): 5-7.

    4/27/16: In 2015, Maddy had 57 tackles with seven for a loss and 2.5 sacks. Sources say that Maddy is only a fit for 4-3 teams as a speedy three-technique. They view him as a third-day pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. He did not impress at the East-West Shrine. Maddy didn’t run at the combine.

    8/22/15: Maddy had nine tackles with .5 tackles for a loss in his four games of 2014. He put more pressure on the quarterback than the numbers indicate. Maddy missed eight games after having surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.

    Maddy was wise to return to school for his senior year since he needs to add more power for the NFL. Maddy tallied 55 tackles with 13.5 tackles for a loss and 6.5 sacks in 2013. He has been an excellent pass-rusher on the inside and puts a lot of heat on the quarterback. As a sophomore, Maddy got nine starts and recorded 35 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks.

  27. Antwaun Woods, 3-4DE, 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.

  28. Darren Lake, 3-4DE, 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.

  29. Melvin Lewis, 3-4DE, 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.

  30. Josh Tupou, 3-4DE, 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.

2023 NFL Draft Position Rankings:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | NT | 3-4 OLB | 3-4 DE | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K | P

2024 NFL Draft Position Rankings:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | NT | 3-4 OLB | 3-4 DE | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K | P

2025 NFL Draft Position Rankings:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | NT | 3-4 OLB | 3-4 DE | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K | P

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