By Michael Stewart/@golferbad
Introduction: The 2019 NFL draft is dominated with defensive tackles that feature not only size and strength, but exceptional speed as well. Four of my top 10 picks feature Alabama and Clemson players (two each). We all know that GM Dave Gettleman likes to build from the inside out (in the trenches), so it wouldn’t be a stretch that he looks to add a dynamic defensive tackle to the 2019 roster. Here are my top 10 defensive tackles available in the 2019 NFL draft.
- Ed Oliver (Houston) 6’2/290: Oliver is currently ranked 1st overall among defensive tackles in the 2019 NFL draft: Oliver is arguably the most athletic defensive linemen in the 2019 draft. Oliver has tremendous range and equally incredible first step off the ball. Oliver can beat you with speed or with power and the most impressive trait about him is his work ethic. Comparison NFL Player: Aaron Donald
- Quinnen Williams (Alabama) 6’4/290: Williams is currently ranked 2nd overall among defensive tackles in the 2019 NFL draft: Williams is extremely strong and usually over powers his opponent. Aside from his power, Williams is very athletic for his size and does possess and quick first step off the line of scrimmage. Williams is a duel threat with his run stopping prowess and his ability to rush the passer. Comparison NFL Player: Michael Brocker
- Christian Wilkins (Clemson) 6’4/315: Wilkins is currently ranked 3rd overall among defensive tackles in the 2019 NFL draft: Wilkins plays hard and hustles even harder on every play. Solid initial step; which often results in pushing his opponent back behind the line of scrimmage. Wilkins can play either the 4-3 or 3-4 schemes equally well and should be an outstanding player at the next level. Comparison NFL Player: Warren Sapp
- Raekwon Davis (Alabama) 6’7/316: Davis is currently ranked 4th overall among defensive tackles in the 2019 NFL draft: Davis has fantastic movement for a man his size and is equally strong at the point of attack. Davis has an endless motor and often makes plays sideline to sideline. Many scouts believe that Davis has one of the highest ceilings at the DT position in this draft. Comparison NFL Player: Calais Campbell
- Jeffery Simmons (Miss State) 6’4/300: Simmons is currently ranked 5th overall among defensive tackles in the 2019 NFL draft: Simmons combination of power and speed places him as of the best defensive tackles in this draft. Simmons has excellent hand and footwork; which enables him to pressure the quarterback like a defensive end. Comparison NFL Player: Fletcher Cox
- Dre’Mont Jones (Ohio State) 6’3/295: Jones is currently ranked 6th overall among defensive tackles in the 2019 NFL draft: Jones uses his strength and quickness to penetrate gaps and disrupt the play. Jones uses his hands well to fight off blocks and has natural athleticism to make plays either in the trenches or behind the line of scrimmage. Comparison NFL Player: Kawann Short
- Dexter Lawrence (Clemson) 6’4/340: Lawrence is currently ranked 7thoverall among defensive tackles in the 2019 NFL draft: Lawrence often shows signs of greatness and then could disappear on a few plays. The only thing stopping him from being a top notch DL in the NFL is him. Lawrence needs to shed a few pounds and develop a better work ethic and then sky’s the limit. All the intangibles are there to be a dominant player in the NFL. Comparison NFL Player: Vince Wilfork
- Gerald Willis (Miami) 6’2/285: Willis is currently ranked 8th overall among defensive tackles in the 2019 NFL draft. Willis blend of power and athletic ability is noticeable when you watch him play. Willis has had off the field issues during his college career; which is why he’s listed at #7. If Willis continues to remain focus in 2018, his immense upside could surface by season’s end. Comparison NFL Player: Kenny Clark
- Jerry Tillery (Notre Dame) 6’7/305: Tillery is currently ranked 9th overall among defensive tackles in the 2019 NFL draft: Tillery is not about stats when you watch him play. Tillery always seems to be in the right position and around the ball. Tillery plays until the whistle and has a rentless approach to make plays. Tillery has good size, strength and athletic ability to excel in the NFL. Comparison NFL Player: DeForest Buckner
- Demarcus Christmas (Florida State) 6’4/308: Christmas is currently ranked 10th overall among defensive tackles in the 2019 NFL draft: Christmas is hard to move and can neutralize the opposing running game up the middle. Christmas is not as gifted as a pass rusher like some of the defensive tackles are in this draft, however; Christmas does have value and can be an effective nose tackle in the NFL. Comparison NFL Player: Stephon Tuitt
Final Thoughts: The Giants are stock piling draft picks which is currently at 9; which could increase before the start of the draft in April. Gettleman has made a lot of changes to the roster before the start of the 2018 season and I anticipate more to come before the start of the 2019 season. Adding a productive defensive tackle for more depth would be a solid move, however; it’s unclear which day Gettleman will pull the trigger for one.