The 2023 NFL draft has no shortage of stud defensive linemen. Although everyone is talking about Georgia’s Jalen Carter and Alabama’s Will Anderson, there are other defensive linemen who can absolutely wreak havoc, particularly against quarterbacks. Here are a few big names to pay attention to.
Will McDonald IV- Iowa State
Let’s not get caught up in which school these top draft prospects played for. McDonald is one of the top pass rushers in this draft. A Head Coach can easily use him as a defensive end but he could also line up as a linebacker. He’s quick and twitchy, and his ability to relentlessly pursue quarterbacks looks outright legendary. Pass rushers are in increasing demand in the NFL. Should McDonald slip to the early second round, one NFL GM will look like an absolute genius. One McDonald has his eyes and hands on the quarterback, the play is over.
Isaiah Foskey- Notre Dame
Foskey is downright scary. He’s another burner on the defensive line and if he’s strong enough to consistently win against NFL blockers, he can be one of the all time leaders in sacks easily. He’s lean and fast. He can also stop the run effectively. Notre Dame rarely gets enough love for how they play defense but don’t look past Foskey. Letting him slide in the draft will be a catastrophic mistake.
Tuli Tuipulotu- University of Southern California
If a defensive coordinator wants the perfect balance and size and speed, Tuipulotu is a no-brainer! It’s rare that a 290-pound behemoth can move this fast but talk to enough Pac-12 quarterbacks. They have some scary stories to tell. It’s just not fair that a 290-pound defensive lineman can still move with such speed and quickness, that not even the best improviser can get away from him. He has the power to drive blockers back but with the speed and pursuit ability to pressure any quarterback. Tuipulotu could be a mid to late second-round steal.
Felix Anudike-Uzomah -Kansas State
The school record holder for most sacks in a game (four), Anudike-Uzomah is a frightening speed rusher. His swim technique against left tackles is second to none.
Gervon Dexter – Florida
If you want the next Deforest Buckner, look no further than Florida’s Dexter. This defensive tackle is lean and lightning-fast. He can get to any quarterback in a hurry. The only issue could be if offensive linemen double-team him. He’ll need a bit more strength at the NFL level.
Regardless of which of these prospects ranks number one on a team’s leaderboard, the general managers will have a field day with the scouts ranking these defensive linemen and trying to figure out how they fit into the team’s scheme. There is a myriad of possibilities and scenarios that could play out. The second round could be even more important and entertaining than the first round.
There are several others to scout but these are just a few big names to pay attention to.
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