State Isn't Defensive Line U ... At Least, Not Yet

Brett Friedlander

Over the past week, Sports Illustrated has been running a series in which it attempts to determine "which college programs have the right to brand themselves the modern 'U."

On Sunday, it revealed its picks for the Modern Defensive Line U.

NC State was not among the top 10 programs on the list of those sending the most players at those positions to the NFL over the past 10 years, based on a scoring system that awards points for draft position, career starts and individual awards.

But there's a good chance that if SI.com revisits the subject in another year or two, the Wolfpack will likely be included in the updated rankings.

That's because four of the six defensive linemen that earned points for State this time around -- Bradley Chubb, B.J. Hill, Justin Jones and Kentavius Street -- came into the NFL since 2018. And with Larrell Murchison and James Smith-Williams both projected to be selected in this year's draft later this month, that number will only increase.

While that still won't put the Wolfpack into the top spot, it would at least put it into the Defensive Line U conversation.

Consider that the four linemen that came into the league since 2018 are one fewer than Alabama and Clemson, which rank 1-2 on the current 10-year list, during that same period. And it's two more than Georgia, which checks in at No. 3.

Overall, State's six NFL defensive linemen over the past 10 seasons accumulated 24 points in SI.com's rankings, well behind Pittsburgh and Mississippi State, which tied for 10th on the list with 42 points.

You can see the entire SI.com story by clicking here.

Here's a look at the six defensive linemen that earned points for State under the SI.com point system:

Bradley Chubb (7 points)

The All-American defensive end was the fifth overall pick in the 2018 draft by the Denver Broncos, earning him four points. He has started all 20 games in which he's played in his short NFL career, which was sidetracked by an injury last season, earning another three points.

B.J. Hill (5 points).

A space-eating tackle, Hill was selected by the New York Giants in the third round (69th overall) in 2018, earning two points. He has started 17 games in his two seasons with the team to earn another three points.

Justin Jones (4 points)

Like Hill, Jones was taken in the third round of the 2018 draft (84th overall), earning two points in the SI.com system. After getting off to a slow start as a rookie for the Los Angeles Chargers, Jones started 12 games for the team in 2019, earning two points. 

Kentavius Street (1 point)

Street was taken in the fourth round (128th overall) by the San Francisco 49ers, even though he suffered a knee injury that required surgery while preparing for the 2018 draft. That earned him one point. After spending most of his first two pro seasons rehabbing, the young defensive end eventually got into three games for the 49ers this season, but didn't have a start.

Markus Kuhn (3 points)

Kuhn earned one point for being a seventh-round draft pick (239th overall) of the New York Giants in 2012. He played four seasons for the team. He earned two points for making 11 career starts, nine of which came in his final year, 2015.

Willie Young  (4 points)

The Detroit Lions took Young in the seventh round in 2010 with the 213th overall pick, earning him one point for the DL U standings. The defensive end earned another three points for making 45 starts during an eight-year career with the Lions and Chicago Bears in which he amassed 32 sacks.

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