2020 NFL Draft Preview: Final Defensive Tackle Tiers
Ahead of the beginning of the 2020 NFL Draft on Thursday, we're putting together some final tiered rankings of players in each of the Vikings' major areas of need. These are not my rankings, but rather the consensus of over 60 big boards, as compiled by Arif Hasan of The Athletic.
Corner, receiver, and offensive line get much of the attention, but don't overlook defensive tackle as a major need for the Vikings. They desperately need to replace Shamar Stephen with an interior pressure-creator at the three-technique spot next to nose tackle Michael Pierce. Here are the best DTs in this year's draft, broken up into tiers.
Tier 1: The cream of the crop
1. Derrick Brown, Auburn
Three-year starter and absolutely dominant interior force with 31.5 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks since 2017. Easy top-ten pick.
2. Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
Kinlaw would be the best fit for the Vikings in this draft with his penetration ability at three-tech. Freaky first step, explosiveness, and power. Potential top-ten pick but has some injury question marks that could cause him to slide.
Tier 2: Second-round targets with upside
3. Ross Blacklock, TCU
Super quick, high-motor three tech. Great agility and pass-rush moves, but his overall athletic profile is nothing remarkable. Pro-ready player.
4. Justin Madubuike, Texas A&M
Great bend, leverage, and counter moves as interior rusher. 4.83 speed and 31 bench press reps at 293 pounds is a great combo. 12 sacks the last two years. Power and length are question marks.
5. Neville Gallimore, Oklahoma
Canada native with a relentless motor, active hands, and some really appealing penetration skills. 4.79 40 at 304 pounds is highly impressive. Needs to improve balance and leverage, but has an exciting ceiling at three tech.
6. Marlon Davidson, Auburn
More of a five-tech player who is a borderline EDGE, similar to the Vikings' Jalyn Holmes and even Iowa's AJ Epenesa. Probably projects best at 3T, though. Good pass-rush potential and competitive edge. Has received some first-round buzz.
Tier 3: Intriguing middle-round options
7. Jordan Elliott, Missouri
PFF loves Elliott, giving him an elite grade in 2019. He's got excellent hands and offers some explosiveness and gap-shooting ability. His get-off can be slower than desired at times.
8. Raekwon Davis, Alabama
6'6", 311 dude with massive hands and good athleticism. He broke out with 8.5 sacks as a sophomore but had just two over the last two years, partially due to increased double-teams. Powerful, bendy player. Some see a tweener NT/3T.
9. James Lynch, Baylor
Posted a ridiculous 13.5 sacks last year as an interior defender. Good initial power and drive, and has some pass-rush counters.
10. Davon Hamilton, Ohio State
Hamilton is more of a true nose tackle, so he might not be a fit for the Vikings, who already have Pierce and Armon Watts. Big, powerful dude with above-average athleticism.
11. Leki Fotu, Utah
Another big run-stuffing nose tackle who may not fill much of a need for Minnesota. Has a good motor and can eat up double teams, but doesn't offer much in the way of pass rush.
Tier 4: Late-round value picks
12. Jason Strowbridge, North Carolina
NFL-caliber size, quickness, and power. 8.5 sacks over the past two years. Not much agility and doesn't possess great counters as a rusher. Tweener 3T/5T.
13. Rashard Lawrence, LSU
Tough, competitive player with a lot of power. Can push the pocket with bull rush, but doesn't have much lateral movement ability.
14. Larrell Murchison, NC State
Athletic player with a great motor who recorded seven sacks last year. Good agility and leverage, but is lacking in power and plays too tight in his lower body.
15. McTelvin Agim, Arkansas
Four-year starter who posted 14.5 sacks in his college career and converted from defensive end to tackle as a senior. Good pad level, pass rush ability, and hand technique. Still learning to play on the interior and has a lot of upside. Has Vikings connections, having played with Watts at Arkansas, where both worked with Vikings assistant d-line coach Imarjaye Albury. This feels too low for Agim.
Tier 5: The best of the rest
16. Raequan Williams, Michigan State
17. Khalil Davis, Nebraska
18. Robert Windsor, Penn State
19. Benito Jones, Ole Miss
20. Bravvion Roy, Baylor
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