This may very well be the weakest position group of the entire 2021 NFL Draft class.
While we have a first-round grade on only one defensive tackle, there’s a legitimate chance that not a single one of these guys is selected in the first round. If you want a pass-rusher from the interior, there’s only a handful of guys with that sort of skill set in this class.
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1. Christian Barmore, Alabama
PFF BIG BOARD RANK: 12
Barmore may have been inconsistent, but his dominant moments were as special as any defensive tackle prospect we’ve seen outside of Quinnen Williams. While he put up zero pressures against the likes of Tennessee and Florida this past season, he also logged 12 pressures in the College Football Playoff against two quality interior offensive lines.
2. Alim McNeill, N.C. State
PFF BIG BOARD RANK: 54
McNeil earned the highest run-defense grade among the country's defensive tackles this past season. He’s an immovable force on the nose at 320 pounds and has enough burst off the line to develop as a pass-rusher.
3. Milton Williams, Louisiana Tech
PFF BIG BOARD RANK: 73
Williams put together an all-time pro day with a 4.67-second 40-yard dash and 38.5-inch vertical at 284 pounds. He’s a pure three-technique who came on strong down the stretch this past season with a 90.8 overall grade.
4. Levi Onwuzurike, Washington
PFF BIG BOARD RANK: 78
We never got to see what the next step could be from Onwuzurike after earning an impressive 82.5 overall grade in his lone year as a starter in 2019. A 2020 opt-out, Onwuzurike still looked inconsistent in the week of practices at the Senior Bowl. He’s a three-technique at the next level with one of the best first steps in the class.
5. Tommy Togiai, Ohio State
PFF BIG BOARD RANK: 83
Togiai is a super disruptive three-technique, but we just simply haven’t seen a ton of him. He earned an 87.5 overall grade this past season in his first year as a starter, but he still only played 291 total defensive snaps.
6. Bobby Brown, Texas A&M
PFF BIG BOARD RANK: 86
Brown was a bit of a surprise to declare after his junior season, but we’ve seen multiple solid years as a run defender from him at this point. There’s reason to believe he can be a better pro than college defensive tackle with some high-level physical tools.
7. Osa Odighizuwa, UCLA
PFF BIG BOARD RANK: 93
Odighizuwa should be coveted by teams in need of a 3-4 defensive end with his combination of anchor and length. He’s earned run-defense grades of 83.2, 80.6 and 78.4 the past three seasons.
8. Marvin Wilson, Florida State
PFF BIG BOARD RANK: 94
Wilson came back to try and push his draft stock high into Round 1, but he may have incidentally torpedoed it in the process. He looked like a different player on tape this year and only earned a 67.7 overall grade after a 90.7 in 2019.
9. Daviyon Nixon, Iowa
PFF BIG BOARD RANK: 114
Your final evaluation of Nixon as a prospect is going to depend a lot on what tape you watch of him. If you catch the Northwestern game, where he had four sacks and six run stops, you might think he’s a first-rounder. If you catch his Minnesota game, where he had two hurries and no run stops, you might not even want to draft him on Day 2. He’s got a very solid all-around profile without a lot of weaknesses to his game. At the same time, there also wasn’t a lot of dominance outside of that game against an obviously overmatched Northwestern offensive line. That’s a little worrisome for a player with one year of starting experience.
10. Tyler Shelvin, LSU
PFF BIG BOARD RANK: 116
Shelvin is a sure thing in the run game as long as he can keep his weight under control. He earned an 88.3 run-defense grade as a redshirt sophomore for the national champs in 2019 before opting out this past year.