Lower down the Eagles’ list of needs is adding youth to their interior defensive line. With Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson, Javon Hargrave, Hassan Ridgeway, Albert Huggins and Anthony Rush in the fold; it’s hard not to see the Eagles having the deepest set of defensive tackles in the league. However, that shouldn’t stop Howie Roseman from looking for even more defensive line talent. Here are the 10 best interior defenders in this class.
10. Rashard Lawrence, LSU
Lawrence was set to have a big 2019 but nagging lower body injuries seemed to limit him all year. The slightly smaller tackle has great snap anticipation, plays with a nonstop motor and is extremely physical. Lawrence is a low upside player, but could make an impact with his motor and get-off.
Pro Comparison: Carlos Watkins
9. Leki Fotu, Utah
Leki Fotu was one of college football’s most dominant run defenders last year. At 6’5” and 330 pounds, Fotu has rare size and carries it very well. Fotu is not much of a pass rusher, but his dependability to block up running lanes and bully centers and guards will make him valuable in an NFL defense.
Pro Comparison: Paul Soliai
8. Raekwon Davis, Alabama
Davis was the toast of the town a few years ago after a sophomore campaign where he led the Crimson Tide in sacks. However, the following two seasons his production as a pass rusher dropped off. This may have dented his reputation, but Davis is still an impact defender. At 6’6”, 311 pounds; Davis may be better suited as a two gapping defender. He has great size, length and strength. However his lack of top end athletic ability affects his upside and is a good hint why he is not productive rushing the passer. However, teams looking for a space eating run defender will definitely see value in Davis.
Pro Comparison: Leonard Williams
7. Justin Madubuike, Texas A&M
Madubuike entered the draft after two seasons of high level play for the Aggies. As a sub-300 pound tackle, Madubuike faces questions about holding up as a three down defensive lineman. Where he wins is with a phenomenal blend of quickness, flexibility, snap anticipation and upper body strength. However if he loses offer the snap, he can be erased from a play. Can his quickness continue to work consistently in the NFL for him? That will decide his pro-trajectory.
Pro Comparison: Ziggy Hood
6. Marlon Davidson, Auburn
Marlon Davidson actually led Auburn in sacks and tied for the lead in tackles for a loss in 2019. You wouldn’t know with the (rightful) love given to one of his teammates in particular, but Davidson was very important for the Tigers. Davidson has played inside and out for Auburn and his 6’3”, 300 pound frame might be best suited inside at the next level. Davidson is quick, with a high motor and great technique as an interior rusher. He served as a clean up guy for the Tigers, however and will never be the number one threat on any line he plays for. Regardless, his versatility and viability inside makes him an interesting prospect.
Pro Comparison: Vinny Curry
5. Jordan Elliott, Missouri
Jordan Elliott is definitely an upside pick. His quickness and all-around athleticism makes him very intriguing as an interior defender. He has a way to go in terms of consistency and polish as a pass rusher, but his flashes are dominant enough to warrant high selection .
Pro Comparison: Kawann Short
4. Ross Blacklock, TCU
After an Achilles injury in 2018, Ross Blacklock came back to the Horned Frogs light, quick and extremely disruptive in 2019. Blacklock’s agility and jump off the snap made him very hard to block as a single-gapping defensive lineman. Blacklock is hovering around 290 pounds right now, so the big question will be about whether he can maintain his disruption while bulking up to play as a three down defender.
Pro Comparison: Dominique Easley
3. Neville Gallimore, Oklahoma
Gallimore was arguably the best defender on the Sooners defense last year. His explosiveness and lunch pail work ethic made him one of the Big 12’s most dominant forces. Gallimore is a slightly smaller, but stout defensive lineman who is keen as a gap shooter. He will need to improve anchoring against double teams as a run defender, but his upside is evident in the way he can get in the backfield.
Pro Comparison: Javon Hargrave
2. Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
Based purely on tools and highlights, Kinlaw could be the best defensive tackle in the class. The 6’5”, 325 pound defender is a Madden Create-A-Player with his blend of size and athleticism. In his best moments, Kinlaw was absolutely unblockable. His lack of consistency in terms of technique, motor and get-off leave a bit of pause. Kinlaw is still a top-15 player in the class and honestly no pick is too high for the team that thinks they can unlock his potential.
Pro Comparison: Cameron Heyward
1, Derrick Brown, Auburn
Derrick Brown was the defensive MVP for Auburn last year. His elite run defense, disruption as a pass rusher and non-stop motor make him as complete an interior defender you can ask from a 6’5”, 325 pounder. Brown is not flashy as a defender, which has led some to question how elite of a prospect he actually is. But considering not only his great, consistent play on the field, but his extremely high character off it; Brown will be going high in the draft this spring.
Pro Comparison: Akiem Hicks