Highest-graded defensive linemen by alignment: Dexter Lawrence, Myles Garrett and more

2WB025A New York Giants defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence II (97) leads the defense onto the field before playing against the Philadelphia Eagles in an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

• Dexter Lawrence was far and away the best 0-technique: He earned a 94.7 PFF grade when lined up directly over the center, more than 12 points ahead of second place.

• Jalen Carter more than impressed in his rookie campaign: Carter finished his first NFL season with 21 quarterback pressures from 211 pass-rushing snaps as a 2-technique, 2i-technique or 3-technique.

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Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

PFF's vast database allows us to break down a football player in great detail, including how they perform in different alignments.

Here, we'll look at the defensive linemen who earned the highest grades at certain positions in 2023. Below is an image showing where each of the various techniques lines up.

We’re grouping players into five buckets for this exercise. These are the top-graded players at each alignment.


There is no better nose tackle in football right now than Lawrence, regardless of whether he lines up directly over or shades the center. His 94.7 PFF grade on 178 snaps directly over the center was far ahead of Vea's 81.6 second-place mark.


Lawrence also paced the field when shading the center, with his 88.4 PFF grade still significantly higher than Slaton's mark in second place (82.5). At either 0- or 1-technique, Lawrence racked up 41 quarterback pressures in 2023, 30 more than any other player.

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2-Technique, 2i-Technique or 3-Technique

Our next grouping covers players lined up on either side of or directly over a guard, and those shading a guard. It was rookie Jalen Carter who led the way here with a 90.1 PFF grade on 323 snaps. Carter finished his first NFL season with 21 quarterback pressures from 211 pass-rushing snaps at this alignment.

4-Technique, 4i-Technique or 5-Technique

Moving close to the end of the defensive line allows us to highlight Aaron Donald’s final season, with the Los Angeles Rams legend finishing the year with a 90.8 PFF grade when lined up here. His 55 quarterback pressures as a 4-technique, 4i-technique or 5-technique were seven more than Ed Oliver in second place.

6-Technique, 7-Technique (6i) or 9-Technique

It's no surprise to see Myles Garrett lead the way when looking at true edge defenders. However, what really stands is just how many good players there are at this spot in the NFL right now. Eleven players earned 90.0-plus PFF grades when lined up at 6-technique, 7-technique (6i) or 9-technique for 100 or more snaps in 2023.


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