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  • Which defensive line prospects have the pass-rushing abilities that so many NFL teams look for? Who has a high ceiling, giving him room to be coached?
By Pro Football Focus
March 29, 2018

The MMQB is teaming up with Pro Football Focus for The MMQB Draft Preview Show With PFF, exclusively airing on SI TV (click here to subscribe). In the weeks leading up to the 2018 NFL draft in Dallas, these guys are going to be breaking down every position in this talented draft class.

On the third episode, Pro Football Focus’s Steve Palazzolo, Sam Monson and Mike Renner are ranking the interior defensive linemen—nose tackles, classic 4–3 defensive tackles and 3–4 defensive ends.

At No. 5 is Stanford’s Harrison Phillips. He’s an incredibly strong and technically sound player who excels against the run, but there are questions as to whether he can be an every-down candidate to truly make a difference in the NFL. Phillips overwhelms players with his physicality and does not get moved off the line of scrimmage, but he doesn’t quite have that quickness or explosion that NFL teams are looking for. His best option in the NFL might be to put on weight and play at nose center, squaring off against a center week in and week out. But his limitations when it comes to rushing the pass are eye-opening in this pass-first league.

Up next at No. 4 is Taven Bryan from Florida. Bryan boasts that burst that many NFL teams are looking for. His tape consistently shows him off the line first, often beating the defensive ends, and he has a strong rip-and-dip technique. His high ceiling could boost his draft stock.

Alabama’s Da’Ron Payne comes in at No. 3. Payne is a typical Alabama defensive linemen who’s really good against the run but has questions when it comes to the pass rush. His tape doesn’t show an explosive athlete who could shoot the gaps and rush the passer. Is there room for him to grow?

Who are the top two players in the position? What about under-the-radar players and hidden gems? Click here to watch the entire episode on Amazon.

Don’t miss the previous episodes, featuring running backs, offensive linemen and edge rushers. Which players have the versatility that NFL teams crave and who might require some coaching up in order to succeed at the next level? Learn all about that and more.

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