Official Grades and Scouting Reports: 2019 Defensive Tackles

Welcome, to the sixth of my official draft reports for the 2019 NFL draft. I will be going position by position giving a full report and grade on every player that I have scouted this season. Obviously, I can’t scout every single prospect in the entire country since I am a one man army and a full-time college student. I’ve tried to get at least 20 done at each position, so I think I’ve covered a pretty good chunk of the players who will be drafted. Each article will start with the worst and get to the best, so if you want to skip down to some of the better prospects you can do that.

 

Each profile will have some biographic data including name, school, year, height, weight, and “Red Flags”. It will also include a numerical value between 1 and 10 that will dictate there placement in the rankings. The number is calculated based on my own personal grading formula for draft prospects. The profile will have a “round grade” that is based on a scale that I will put at the end of this introduction. Round grades are not a prediction of where a player will get drafted, but where I think they should be drafted.  Last but not least, the profiles will include a small paragraph on my overall thoughts on the prospect and some explanation on their NFL outlook. I’ll try to explain some of each players strengths and weaknesses as well.  

 

As always you can hit me up on twitter (@DanteCollinelli) if you want to discuss my rankings further. I love talking ball with people so please let me know what you think.

 

Grading Scale

 

First-round: 8.75-10

Second-round: 8.74-7.45

Third-round: 7.44-6.15

Fourth round: 6.14-4.85

Fifth round: 4.84-3.55

Sixth round: 3.54- 2.25

Seventh round: 2.24- .095

UDFA: 0.94-0.0  

 

Number 24: Greg Gaines, Washington

Image result for greg gaines washington

Class: RS Senior

Height/Weight: 6’1 and 322

Round Grade: 7

Number Grade: 1.28

Red Flags: None

 

Greg Gaines shares some similarities with the dinosaurs in that players like him are going extinct. Gaines is a huge run defender in the middle of the defense whose sole purpose is to eat up blocks. The problem is, the NFL is moving away from these types of defenders unless they bring some kind of pass rush ability to the table. Gaines doesn’t have any notable pass rush moves which limits his usage and upside. Gaines’s only chance in the NFL is to find a team who likes a hole-plugging nose tackle who can only play on two downs. To be fair to Gaines he is pretty good at plugging those gaps and making the life of running backs a little bit harder.

 

Number 23: Terry Beckner Jr., Missouri

Image result for terry beckner jr

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6’3 and 305

Round Grade: 7

Number Grade: 2.17

 

Beckner has great size and a great frame to be a defensive tackle at the next level. He comes with some natural power that he uses to stack defenders at the line of scrimmage. He has some good hand usage allowing him to shed off of blocks and make some plays in the backfield. Beckner can really struggle to tackle at times which is a huge concern for me. Against Georgia, in 2018, he missed about three tackles in the first half. I was about ready to throw my computer at the wall at that point. He doesn’t play with leverage either and at times will be way too upright in the trenches. Beckner’s first step leaves something to be desired on most snaps he’s the last off the line. Beckner has some nice skills at the point of attack, but he has way too many technical problems to be anything more than a backup.

 

Number 22: Demarcus Christmas, Florida State

Image result for demarcus christmas fsu

Class: RS Senior

Height/Weight: 6’4 and 308

Round Grade: 6

Number Grade: 2.88

Red Flags: None

 

Christmas is another one-dimensional player who only really adds value in the running game. He does a good job keeping his anchor and not getting pushed off the line of scrimmage. He has a decent first step which allows him to work off of the outside hip of his blocker. Christmas does a good job tackling runners on the inside as he just kinda works like a black hole in there. Christmas lacks length which leads to him struggling to get off of blocks and making plays in the backfield. Like I said, he doesn’t have any pass rush counters or good hand usage so his impact on the game is limited. Christmas will have to work his way in as a run stuffing back up for a team in need of depth.

 

Number 21: Dontavius Russell, Auburn

Image result for dontavius russell

Class: RS Senior

Height/Weight: 6’2 and 310

Round Grade: 6

Number Grade: 3.33

Red Flags: None

 

Russell is an interesting player to project to the next level because he was super solid at Auburn but lacks upside. Russell does a nice job playing with leverage giving him a natural advantage in the run game. He did a good job using his natural power to reset the line of scrimmage in the running game fairly often. I loved seeing him run down the field and try to make plays across the line that he has no shot at. The problem with Russell is that he lacks the physical upside that a lot of players have in this class. He doesn’t have good burst off the line or any notable pass rush moves. He has some limited range behind the line of scrimmage. That means even if he does come barreling through that players will get away from him. Russell should stick as a backup for team selecting him on day three.

 

Number 20: Ricky Walker, Virginia Tech

IMG_2400
Ricky Walker

Class: RS Senior

Height/Weight: 6’2 and 302

Round Grade: 5

Number Grade: 3.88

Red Flags: None

 

Ricky Walker was someone I was super excited about coming into the season because he popped when I was watching Tim Settle’s tape from last year (I missed on Settle by the way). Walker took some steps back this season compared to 2017, so I was disappointed, to say the least. Two things that stand out when watching Walker is his first step and hang usage. He does a great job firing of the line and attacking the leverage of his matchup. He has a couple of good hand counters that he uses to disengage from blocks in the trenches. Here is the main issue with Walker: he is nowhere near consistent with any of these traits. Also, he’s very short. Walker never put his game together and at times looks like a mess on the field, despite having some good traits. Walker should stick as a backup with the small possibility to be a starter on the right team.

 

Number 19: Kingsley Keke, Texas A&M

Image result for kingsley keke

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6’3 and 305

Round Grade: 5

Number Grade: 4.28

Red Flags: None

 

Keke is another player, like Walker, with plenty of skills but not enough consistency with them. He has some solid pass rush counter on the inside with decent change of direction skills that serve him well on passing downs. He flashed some good hand usage in the running game allowing him to disengage from blocks. Keke has a good motor and I saw him chase guys to the outside despite knowing he wasn’t gonna catch them. Keke has some bend in his hips from playing on the outside at Texas A@M, but he’s limited in that area for an edge player so he’s better off inside. Again, all of these things are great but Keke doesn’t put it all together often enough to take him any higher than day three of the draft. Keke has some upside though, so I think that he will stick on some teams roster as a backup situational pass rusher.

 

Number 18: Isaiah Buggs, Alabama

Image result for isaiah buggs alabama

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6’4 and 292

Round Grade: 4

Number Grade: 4.95

Red Flags: None

 

Buggs is another player who played on the edge in college but projects much better on the inside of the line. Buggs does a good job holding his ground at the point of attack with a good anchor and inside hand placement. Buggs likes to rip his hands through the blocker to disengage from blocks and it’s fairly effective for him. His frame is pro ready to play on either the outside or inside at the next level. There were some comments from Nick Saban about Buggs, maybe, not having the best effort in the world. It is not a good sign when your coach doesn’t vouch for you. On the field, I think Buggs hustled around just fine so I’m gonna ignore Saban here. My issues with Buggs are about his burst, range, and bend. He doesn’t fire out of his stance with much urgency. His hips are super stiff, especially when playing on the edge, and people run around him way too easily. He will find a place as a versatile backup in the NFL.

 

Number 17: Michael Dogbe, Temple

Image result for michael dogbe

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6’2 and 280

Round Grade: 4

Number Grade: 5.04

Red Flags: None

 

If I could use one word to describe Dogbe it would be STRENGTH. I had the privilege of watching him all season at Temple and this man is yoked let me tell you. Doge is another player who can play on the edge and on the inside but I thought his reps on the inside were better. He was able to use his long arms to create separation and get blockers off his chest plate. He showed a nice “arm over” move that he often used to disengage and get into the backfield. Dogbe will struggle with consistency a lot of the time which can make his tape a struggle. He has good length but can sometimes struggle to use it well. I would like to see Dogbe develop some more pass rush moves as well because he’s lacking in that area right now. Dogbe is a good football player and had plenty of upside to help him stick onto a roster at the next level.

 

Number 16: Daylon Mack, Texas A&M

Image result for daylon mack

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6’0 and 320

Round Grade: 4

Number Grade: 5.49

Red Flags: None

 

Mack was a highly recruited player but never had the production people were expecting at Texas A@M. Mack has a great first step that can really pop off the screen when you watch his tape. He does a good job using his hands to reset the line of scrimmage in the running game and collapsing the pocket in the passing game. Mack flashed big time in the Shrine Game which reignited his stock. Mack doesn’t offer a whole lot as a pass rusher because all he does is use a bull rush. Sometimes he can be caught way too off guard when teams double team him and that needs to improve. Mack has some starter upside especially if he can figure out an effective pass rush plan.

 

Number 15: Trysten Hill, UCF

Image result for trysten hill ucf

Class: Junior

Height/Weight: 6’1 and 330

Round Grade: 4

Number Grade: 5.75

Red Flags: None

 

I feel super bad for Trysten Hill because his coaching staff screwed him over this past season. Hill was a starter in 2017 and then for no reason was not a starter in 2018 under coach Josh Heupel. Hill was the best player on UCF and should have been a starter the entire year. Hill does a great job pressing gaps in the run game and slipping into the backfield to make TFLs. I liked Hill’s spin move that he used when pass rushing that got him into the backfield often. Hill is a twitchy defender upfront and has a great first step which will often give him an early advantage. Hill is another player, however, that just has not put it all together yet. He isn’t consistent at all and has some pretty sloppy reps at times. Hill has starting potential at the next level with some needed technical development.

 

Number 14: Armon Watts, Arkansas

Image result for armon watts

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6’4 and 309   

Round Grade: 4

Number Grade: 5.77

Red Flags: None

 

Not gonna lie, I didn’t even know that Watts existed until someone told me about him about three weeks ago. I wasn’t expecting much because of how bad Arkansas was this past season, but man was I wrong. Watts does a great job firing out from his stance low and using that leverage to uproot blockers in the running game. I saw plenty of reps where Watts would ragdoll blockers onto the ground and then reset the line of scrimmage into the backfield. Watts showed some good football IQ by identifying when a pulling guard was coming. When that happened Watts was able to avoid getting pinched down in a trap play. Watt’s biggest problem is that he doesn’t have a good first step. First step is very important to me when scouting lineman, so that’s why he isn’t higher up on the board. Watts doesn’t have a great tackle range because he lacks some lateral mobility. Watts could be a day one starter depending on which team drafts him.

 

Number 13: Gerald Willis, Miami 

Image result for gerald willis miami

Class: RS Senior

Height/Weight: 6’2 and 280

Round Grade: 4

Number Grade: 5.85

Red Flags: Dismissed for Florida his freshman year.

 

The first college football game that I watched this season was LSU vs Miami on Saturday night. Miami got killed but Gerald Willis balled out the entire game getting into the backfield. He has some really elite flashes of gap penetration skills where he makes himself skinny in order to slip through the cracks along the line. His first step looked pretty good when he was able to pin his ears back and just get after the quarterback. Willis had some personal issues at the University of Florida which forced him to transfer to Miami. He struggles a lot with his consistency, especially in the run game. He will get washed out way too easy by lesser talents. In the passing game, he needs to use his pass rush counters way more than he does right now. If Willis can put it all together he can be a productive starter at the next level.

 

Number 12: Daniel Wise, Kansas

Image result for daniel wise kansas

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6’3 and 290

Round Grade: 4

Number Grade: 5.94

Red Flags: None

 

Kansas had a dreadful season this past year but Wise flashed a lot of desirable traits for the NFL. Wise has really good length which he used to get blockers off of his chest plate and then shed them. Wise shot some gaps with his quick first step and he does a nice job using his hands to swipe away some hand traffic in the gaps. During Shrine Game practices Wise flashed some pass rush counters that looked more refined than they did during the regular season. Wise isn’t the best athlete in the world and that will limit his upside at the next level. He looks stiff in the hips at times which limits his ability to attack the outside hip of his blocker. Wise lacks some versatility, so I can only see him being used as a three-technique at the next level. With that said, he should be an effective starter given the right scheme is in place.

 

Number 11: Renell Wren, Arizona State

Image result for renell wren arizona state

Class: RS Senior

Height/Weight: 6’4 and 295

Round Grade: 3

Number Grade: 6.56

Red Flags: None

 

Wren has really good length that he uses to stack blockers at the line of scrimmage and then shed off to make the play. He has really good lower body strength and leg drive which he used to reset the line of scrimmage pretty consistently. Wren is one of the few players in this class that has enough lateral movement skills and length to control two different gaps in the run game. Wren flashed some quickness out of his stance and bend on the inside which leads to some flash sacks. Wren needs a lot of work when it comes to his hand work in the trenches. He has trouble landing his punches with timing and location. He has no pass rush counters so he relies only on lateral movement and bend to get to the quarterback. Wren has plenty of traits to be a potential starter at the next level.

 

Number 10: Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame

Image result for jerry tillery notre dame

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6’5 and 306

Round Grade: 3

Number Grade: 6.92

Red Flags: None

 

There are a lot of draft analyst who will have Tillery way higher on their boards than I do. Tillery is really effective on passing downs when he can use his length and lateral burst to get to the quarterback. Tillery does a great job using his leg drive to put blockers on their heels and collapsing the pocket. My issues with Tillery are mostly focused on his play against the run at Notre Dame. He gets washed through by lesser talented blockers way too much for me at times. I saw him get pushed way too far down the field by pulling blockers and will often get caught in traps at the line. Tillery has plenty of talent and traits that will make him an effective starter at the next level.

 

Number 9: Khalen Saunders, Northern Illinois

IMG_2636

Class: RS Senior

Height/Weight: 6’0 and 318

Round Grade: 3

Number Grade: 7.10

Red Flags: None

 

So, here is my personal favorite player in this position group: Khalen Saunders. Saunders is an athletic freak for his size. If you haven’t seen it yet go on youtube and look up the videos of Saunders doing backflips, it is crazy. Saunders is superhuman strong with plenty of reps of him throwing fools around the field. He does a great job tackling in and around the line of scrimmage. He sort of operates as a black hole in the middle just eating up any runner who tries to attack the middle. Saunders flashes a really nice club move as a pass rush counter that if he can get too quickly will be very effective at the next level. Something that bothers me about Saunders is the level of play he faced at Northern Illinois. He won with pure strength a lot of the time and that’s gonna be harder at the next level. Saunders could be a starter from day one with tremendous upside to be a real force on the line.

 

Number 8: Dre’Mont Jones, Ohio State

IMG_2148
Dre’Mont Jones

Class: RS junior

Height/Weight: 6’2 and 295

Round Grade: 3

Number Grade: 7.32

Red Flags: None

 

Dre’Mont Jones is a tough player to project to the next level because he is built more like an edge but plays way better on the inside. Jones is the best interior pass rusher in this draft class with a solid pass rush counter and just pure quickness. Jones does a good job making himself skinny to shoot through gaps during passing downs. While Jones is a great pass defender, he struggles majorly as a run defender. He will get pushed 10 yards of the line of scrimmage at times by guys who won’t even make the NFL. His hang usage in the run game is rough as well because he doesn’t keep his hands on the inside of the chest plate. Jones is a super high risk and high reward player who could make a dynamic impact at the next level.

 

Number 7: Dexter Lawrence, Clemson

IMG_2149
Dexter Lawrence

Class: Junior

Height/Weight: 6’4 and 340

Round Grade: 2

Number Grade: 7.5

Red Flags: PEDs suspension during College Football Playoff

 

Dexter Lawrence is a massive massive man in the middle of the defense. He does a great job clogging up lanes in the middle of the defense with good hand usage and pure strength. Lawrence moves super well for someone of his size which is where most of his value and upside is. NFL teams will like to bet on him getting some pass rush counters to go along with his elite run defending skills. While teams may bet on it, I just don’t see it being that easy for him. He didn’t show a lot of pass rush prowess at Clemson and just because someone moves well for their size doesn’t mean they will be a good pass rusher. Lawrence will probably go higher than people think but he reminds me too much of Vita Vea from last season.

 

Number 6: Charles Omenihu, Texas

Image result for charles omenihu texas

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6’6 and 275

Round Grade: 2

Number Grade: 7.9

Red Flags: None

 

Omenihu was named the best defensive lineman in the Big 12 this past season and it’s easy to see why. He has a myriad of pass rusher counters including a bull rush, rip/club, and rip/dip that show up plenty on tape. He does a good job using his elite natural length to stack blockers in the running game. His hands have some real power behind them when he’s able to land them with good timing. Omenihu has some versatility with experience on both the inside and outside at Texas. Omenihu needs to do a way better job of using his hands in the trenches. He will lose a lot of hand fights in the running game which forces him to get pushed back off the line at times. He doesn’t have a great first step either which is disappointing because he’s an effective pass rusher without it. Omenihu should be an effective starter with inside and outside versatility for teams who like power rushers with long arms.

 

Number 5: Rashan Gary, Michigan

IMG_2147
Rashan Gary

Class: Junior

Height/Weight: 6’4 and 281

Round Grade: 2

Number Grade: 8.59

Red Flags: Extensive injury history in all three years at Michigan.

 

Rashan Gary is probably the most controversial player in the NFL draft this year. I’ve seen him ranked anywhere from the top 10 to the third round. Gary was a 5-star recruit coming out of high school but never lived up to the hype at Michigan. He battled injuries all three seasons he was there and struggled to play on the edge (not his natural position). Gary has some really exciting athletic traits like short area quickness, power in the trenches, and overall speed. He has some flash plays where he destroys his matchup but also has plays where he gets washed out too easily. If you’re drafting Gary then you’re betting on traits and his unworldly upside. That, of course, comes with the risk of him staying the injured mostly unproductive player he was at Michigan. Gary provides value as an inside-outside threat with tremendous athletic ability that will lead to some flash plays at the next level.

 

Number 4: Christian Wilkins, Clemson

Image result for christian wilkins

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6’4 and 300

Round Grade: 2

Number Grade: 8.64

Red Flags: None

 

If I could use one word to describe Wilkins it would be: solid. Wilkins does a great job shedding defenders in the run game with elite hand usage. Wilkins has a fantastic motor and will run down plays from the backside with consistency. Wilkins does a good job shooting gaps with his short area quickness and acceleration that catches lineman by surprise. Wilkins converts speed to power as good as anyone in this class which puts blockers on their heels right off the snap. Wilkins has been lauded for his leadership in the Clemson locker room which teams will love. My only gripe with Wilkins is that he lacks the natural length to control some blocks on the inside. His length does hurt his tackle radius a little bit but it was rarely an issue on tape. Wilkins should be a productive starter at the next level for 10-15 years.

 

Number 3: Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State

IMG_2585
Jeffery Simmons

Class: Junior

Height/Weight: 6’3 and 301

Round Grade: 1

Number Grade: 8.78

Red Flags: Torn ACL and off the field problems in high school.

 

Simmons is one of the best players in this class when you only look at his on the field traits. When you look off the field two red flags jump out pretty quickly that hurt his stock. Simmons is currently going through ACL rehab and was caught on video striking a young woman when he was in high school. Both of those things will scare teams but they can’t ignore the talent on the field for too long. Simmons has really good length which he used to toss blockers out of the way leading to some crazy splash plays in the backfield. Simmons has an extensive pass counter arsenal including swims, rips, and clubs. He does a good job playing with leverage at all times giving him a built-in advantage. Simmons has all the tools and traits to be an elite defensive lineman at the next level.

 

Number 2: Ed Oliver, Houston

NCAA Football: East Carolina at Houston
Ed Oliver

Class: Junior

Height/Weight: 6’2 and 290

Round Grade: 1

Number Grade: 9.03

Red Flags: None

 

So there is a saying that I think applies to scouting pretty well this time of year: “Time is a flat circle”. Basically, all it means is that eventually, you will end up where you started in life. I never wavered on my support for Ed Oliver but the rest of the community did and now all of a sudden everyone loves him again. Oliver sheds blocks like nobody’s business with aggressive hand techniques. He has a great bull rush as a pass rusher and he flashed a nice swim and rip move as well. He has insane acceleration skills for someone who plays on the inside which leads to him shooting gaps with consistency. Ed Oliver is a plug and play starter who will be an impact player right away while also having plenty of upside to tap into.

 

Number 1: Quinnen Williams, Alabama

IMG_2435
Quinnen Williams

Class: RS Sophomore

Height/Weight: 6’3 and 285

Round Grade: 1

Number Grade: 9.24

Red Flags: None

 

So, here is my second overall player in this years draft class: Quinnen Williams. He came out of nowhere this season and had one of the most dominant seasons from a defensive lineman since Ndamukong Suh at Nebraska. Williams has elite hand usage and has plenty of moves that allow him to shed blocks in the running game. In the passing game, Williams uses his elite first step to blow by potential blockers with ease. He even has some pass rush counter to go with his quickness. He showed the needed length to clog up running lanes in the middle and patrol multiple gaps. Williams uses his pure power to reset the line of scrimmage in both the running game and passing game. He will collapse the pocket despite being double-teamed at times. The scary about Williams is that he has a lot of potential upside because he is so young still. Williams is an instant pro-bowl caliber player and will upgrade any D-line that he gets drafted to in April.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s