DE Joseph Ossai, Texas (6’4”, 253)

Background:

Rotated into the defense over twenty games as a freshman, going 20-1.0-1.0, before taking over a starting role the following year. Put together a 90-13.5-5.0 line, adding two interceptions. Followed that up with 55-15.5-5.5 as a junior over nine games before declaring for the draft. Also has five career forced fumbles, three of which came last year.

Positives:

Comes with two years of solid production for a major program. Big, thickly-built weakside rush linebacker in the Longhorns’ odd defensive front, giving him experience operating out of a two-point stance. Had a very impressive pro day, showing off his explosiveness with an incredible 41.5” vertical and 10’11” broad jump. That carries over into his play on the field; is capable of using his speed to blow past opposing tackles as a speed rusher, or to convert speed to power and generate pressure with his bull-rush. Closing speed is very impressive when he finds a lane; could be very effective on a team that schemed him paths to the passer on twists, etc. Shows a nice straight-arm/swim on occasion. High-motor guy who shows impressive speed and effort when working in backside pursuit. Flashes the ability to lock out defenders in the run game, locate, and shed in time to make a tackle, racking up a ton of stops over the past two seasons.

Negatives:

Production was inflated by getting a lot of clean releases into the backfield, and still didn’t post amazing sack totals in either season. Reaction times to the ball being snapped seem slightly slow. Contact balance leaves something to be desired. Still something of a one-trick pony; a speed-rusher/speed-to-power guy who still needs to polish his technique and diversify his approach before he’s ready to produce at the pro level. Can struggle to maintain balance on the edge in run defense, or when turning the corner as a pass-rusher. Doesn’t bend the tightest arc back to the passer and can end up running himself out of position, getting too deep into the backfield. Emphasis on speed rushing from wide alignments created some big holes for opposing backs to run through. Wasn’t really asked to drop into coverage during the games reviewed.

Summary:

A fast, explosive, and well-built edge defender who gives consistent effort in both the run game and on passing downs, but who is still raw at this point, being overly-reliant on speed rushes and speed-to-power approaches. Looks like a second-day project with considerable upside for a team which is willing to give him time to develop additional rush moves/counters. Will also have to show better balance on contact and when pursuing in the run game to avoid being a situational pass-rusher type. Consequently, draft stock will probably depend on how coachable teams think he is.

DE Patrick Jones II, Pittsburgh (6’5”, 260)

Background:

Played sparingly as a freshman, then rotated into the defense the following year and went 22-7.0-3.5. Became a major contributor starting in 2019, posting 41-11.5-8.5, then posted a nearly identical line as a senior: 42-12.5-9.0.

Positives:

Very well-built defensive end with excellent musculature. Had very consistent, high level output over the past two seasons. Takes snaps on both ends of the line, out of three- and four-point stances. Plays like his hair is on fire, with an excellent motor and plenty of violence to his game. Really explodes out of his stance, allowing him to collapse the pocket by converting speed to power on the edge. Overall functional strength is very good. Keeps his shoulders low and shows good quickness to make inside moves and weave through traffic. Showcases a very strong spin move, although he doesn’t use it particularly often. Has enough explosiveness in his hands to discard blockers. Flashes the ability to dip his shoulder around the edge. Has an excellent closing burst to finish his rushes when he’s in position. Effort, speed, and range in pursuit in the run game are all very good; capable of chasing backs out to the sidelines.

Negatives:

Can get too much depth in his initial rush, creating rushing lanes for opposing backs. Can be too reliant on his bull-rush despite having other viable approaches; would like to see more variety in his rushes. More explosive than he is fluid. Occasional balance issues crop up as he tries to bend around the corner; looks more comfortable the more direct the approach is, often getting stuck on blocks when opposing tackles can get enough depth in their kickslide to take away the initial speed move. Didn’t see him working out of a two-point stance or dropping into coverage much, although his size is in line with what teams look for as a stand-up ‘backer in an odd front. Not as much of a factor in the run game. Some teams may favor players with a more disciplined approach which maintains gap integrity in the run game.

Summary:

An explosive, violent defensive end whose game is reminiscent of other highly-regarded prospects such as Melvin Ingram, Dante Fowler, and Takkarist McKinley; perhaps no prospect in this year’s class is as good at putting opposing tackles on their back heels and using the bull rush to collapse the pocket and create pressure. Combined with the violent spin move he flashes, he could really be a force to be reckoned with at the pro level, although it would be nice to see him work in additional rush moves and bend the edge more comfortably. Looks like a pretty good bet to come off the board on the second  day.

DE Rashad Weaver, Pittsburgh (6’5”, 270)

Background:

Played tight end in high school. Has been producing since his redshirt freshman season, a 28-6.0-3.0 campaign. Followed that up with 47-14.0-6.5 as a sophomore, then missed the 2019 season with a torn ACL before coming back and posting a massive 34-14.0-7.5 over just nine games as a senior.

Positives:

Comes with three years of solid, escalating production, so the developmental trajectory looks good. Very well-built defensive end with long arms; should meet any team’s size requirements for a seven-technique. Takes snaps on both sides of the line, often out of a four-point stance. Smart and physical defender who should appeal to teams looking for two-gap defensive ends. Extends his arms to lock out opponents and shows heavy hands to shed blockers at the appropriate time. Good discipline on the edge to funnel runners inside or to maintain positioning on the backside. Good ability to locate the ball and make tackles while engaged. Impressive radius. Smooth mover off the edge who can bend a reasonable arc. Does a good job of converting speed to power to collapse the pocket. Easily dominates backs working in blitz pickup. Gets his hands on a lot of passes; good job of playing the lanes in the screen/swing game. Forced five fumbles over his last two seasons.

Negatives:

Overall explosiveness and closing burst are just adequate; probably not a major threat to win with speed around the corner. Has some balance issues when he tries to work in the speed rush or his spin move. Can come in a little bit too fast and struggle to break down when rushing the passer; ability to redirect is just average. Range is limited in the run game. May not have much of a role in a 3-4 defense unless teams are looking for a two-gap elephant linebacker; didn’t see him dropping into coverage and may not have the athleticism to handle many responsibilities in zone. Torn ACL in 2019 will require further medical evaluation.

Summary:

A tough, smart, and productive player who doesn’t have the most explosive game but who sets a hard edge with discipline when two-gapping in the run game, showing the ability to stack and shed. Won’t win too many snaps with speed around the edge, but is capable of firing out low and converting speed to power to collapse the pocket, using his length to strip the football and bat down throws in the screen/swing game. Looks like he could sneak into the second day if his medicals check out.

DL Levi Onwuzurike, Washington (6’3”, 290)

Background:

Redshirted, then appeared in nine games and finished the year with a line of 16-2.0-3.5. Started four of thirteen games played the following year, posting 34-6.5-3.0. Followed that up with 45-6.0-2.0 as a junior before opting out of his senior season.

Positives:

Has two seasons of solid production under his belt. Has pretty solid size for an interior lineman, and was generally asked to play the zero-technique (nose tackle) on three-man lines, sliding out to a three-technique left defensive tackle on four man lines. Effective two-gap defender in the run game who can dig in at the line of scrimmage. Locks out opponents with his arms, locates the football, and sheds in time. Has the ability to dig in and use his big mitts and impressive functional strength to discard blockers. Range in pursuit is above-average, both because of his work rate and because of his athletic ability. High-motor rusher who is a handful to deal with because of his combination of power an quickness. Possesses impressive natural power, with the ability to come out of his stance low and walk opposing centers back in one-on-one matchups; looks like he’s on a blocking sled at times. Consequently,drew extra attention from opposing offensive lines, often proving a handful for both the center and the guard. More disruptive than his statistics would indicate. Also has impressive quickness out of his stance, showing good flexibility and lateral quickness to find lanes; could be a potential option for teams which use stunts to get after the passer. Has additional value blocking kicks on special teams.

Negatives:

Sort of a ‘tweener who is not quite the pass-rushing threat teams look for in an under tackle, but is not quite as big as they’d like in a nose tackle, either. Length also appears to be on the shorter side. Relies a lot on his power, quickness, and motor, and doesn’t tend to win snaps with his technique; rush repertoire looks somewhat limited, flashing rip and swim moves but tending to go with a more straightforward approach. Can occasionally get high or off-balance when using his rush moves. Didn’t finish too many of his rushes with sacks; would have liked to see him play this past year. Didn’t look very disruptive from the five-technique position.

Summary:

A very powerful defensive lineman who played different techniques in college, using his explosiveness, leg drive, and functional strength to overwhelm centers in one-on-one matchups, controlling blockers and two-gapping in the run game and drawing extra attention in the passing game. Might be best-suited to playing a two-gap nose tackle role on a team with an even front, but could potentially play as a three-technique or somewhere along an odd front as well. Should come off the board within the first couple rounds, and would be a solid choice near the end of the first round.

DL Osa Odighizuwa, UCLA (6’2”, 279)

Background:

Brother is former pro lineman Owa Odighizuwa. Redshirted, then appeared in seven games as a freshman before stepping into a bigger role the following year, finishing with a line of 29-6.0-3.0. Followed that up with a 46-10.0-3.5 line as a junior, then went 30-6.0-4.0 over seven games as a senior to conclude his college career.

Positives:

Experienced player with pro bloodlines. Played some different techniques for the Bruins, with the team often using just two down linemen; typically on the left side of the field, but would play anything from the zero-technique to the seven-technique. Has a pretty quick get-off at the line of scrimmage, getting good extension with his arms to create room to work with. Not just a one-gap penetrator; anchors pretty well at the line of scrimmage and can wrap up ballcarriers while engaged. Functional strength is better than anticipated for a player with his size. Lateral quickness is good; predominantly a gap-shooter who can shuffle to find room. Active with his hands and works in an effective swim move. Flashes the ability to skinny through gaps and disrupt plays. Burst to close when chasing down fleeing passers is solid. Has experience making limited drops into short coverage, which could be attractive to teams with fire zone blitzes. Didn’t have a ton of production but was able to draw extra attention from opposing lines on a handful of snaps per game.

Negatives:

Sort of a ‘tweener who’s smaller than you’d like your interior linemen to be, but who might not have the explosiveness and bend to play on the outside in most schemes; could potentially work as a five-technique end on a four-man line, but otherwise may be asked to either slim down or bulk up. Would like to see him fire out of his stance lower to facilitate knifing between interior linemen and into the backfield. Has some balance issues which crop up from time to time, both when attacking and when transitioning into coverage in the screen game; will occasionally get penetration but struggle to adjust and stay upright. Can be late to shed when two-gapping in the run game and looks more comfortable trying to get penetration. Still needs to develop a more creative and varied approach to rushing.

Summary:

Something of a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none type prospect who has played seemingly every major technique in college and who shows the functional strength, extension, lateral quickness, and motor to contribute at the pro level if a team is able to carve out a role for him within their scheme. Would be best as a supporting member on a creative, multiple defense.

DT Alim McNeill, North Carolina St.* (6’2”, 320)

Background:

Played inside linebacker in high school. Has been a major contributor since his first season in school, posting a 24-5.5-3.5 line as a freshman, then following that up with campaigns of 28-7.5-5.5 and 25-4.5-1.0 as a sophomore and junior before declaring for the draft.

Positives:

Productive in each of his three seasons at school, adding bulk and strength each year. Has a very thick, powerful build which is perfect for a pro nose tackle. Often lined up as the zero technique, particularly when the team went with an odd front. Flashes the ability to fire out low and use his quickness and a swim move to threaten gaps; didn’t really produce as a pass-rusher this past year but was harder to deal with than his sack total indicates. Active with his hands to keep defenders from locking on. Gets extension and shows heavy hands to control and discard blockers in time. Able to dig in at the line and make tackles while engaged. Rangier when flowing horizontally than you’d think based on his size; surprisingly fast and will chase opposing backs out toward the sidelines.

Negatives:

Length may be a little bit on the lower end. Rotates out of the defense often, at times even when the team goes with three down linemen in short-yardage situations. Would like to see him play with a little bit more discipline against stretch runs; tends to flow too far down the line and take himself out of the play. Pad level is inconsistent; will get too high out of the snap at times and end up idling around the line of scrimmage. Could do a better job of keeping his shoulders square when flowing. Lacks positional versatility; looks like a pure nose tackle, although perhaps teams could give him a try in a one-gap scheme too.

Summary:

A player who has excellent bulk for a two-gap nose tackle, but whose game is actually a little bit more explosive, with some ability to use quickness at the line to penetrate and disrupt rushing attempts in the backfield, along with surprising range. However, still needs to improve his discipline and technique in order to be as effective against the run as his build and functional strength can make him.

DT Darius Stills, West Virginia (6’1”, 285)

Background:

Appeared in nine games as a freshman, then followed that up with 12-3.5-1.0 as a rotational reserve in 2018. Stepped into the starting nose tackle role and went 43-12.0-6.0 as a junior, then posted 25-7.5-3.5 as a senior.

Positives:

Productive defensive lineman who plays everything from the zero-technique to five-technique. Was on the field for a significant number of snaps during the games reviewed, being more of a regular player than many of his peers. Functional strength is better than anticipated. Does a good job of locating and flowing to the ball; seems to be around the ball more often than his statistics suggest. Scrapes down the line pretty well while keeping his shoulders square. Has some suddenness to his game and is capable of working his swim and rip moves to make his way through traffic. Possesses good lateral quickness to slip by blockers in the passing game; also capable of executing twists/stunts. A pretty good athlete in a short area who has the change-of-direction and quickness to finish ballcarriers when he’s able to get penetration. Has some bend when pursuing passers from behind, with above-average closing burst. Gives very good effort in pursuit.

Negatives:

On the smaller side for a pro interior lineman, especially for a nose tackle, which may limit the range of techniques teams consider him for relative to what he was asked to do in college. Tends to get upright out of his stance instead of firing out, which leads him to idle around the line of scrimmage instead of knifing his way into the backfield. Can get stuck on blocks and walled off when his initial move is unsuccessful.

Summary:

Won’t meet every team’s size requirements on the defensive line, but put together some impressive tape in school, showing impressive quickness and stamina to generate pressure and disrupt plays by shooting gaps, with functional strength which is also above-average for his size. Looks like a solid bet to be able to work his way into the defensive line rotation on an even front with one-gap principles, potentially as either an under tackle or a nose tackle.

DT Jaylen Twyman, Pittsburgh* (6’2”, 290)

Background:

Redshirted, then rotated into the defense the following year before stepping into a starting role and posting an impressive 41-12.0-10.5 line in what turned out to be his final season, deciding to forego the 2020 season and declare for the draft.

Positives:

Was very productive in his one year as a starter. Plays on both sides of the line as a three-technique defensive tackle. Appears to have pretty good length for his size. Fires out with some explosiveness and begins snaps with a low pad level. Overall functional strength is good, especially for his size. Despite his lack of ideal size and bulk, is a capable two-gapper who can lock out opposing linemen and anchor at the line of scrimmage. Does a good job of keeping his shoulders square when defending the run. Able to scrape down the line without getting pushed off of it. Shows a good motor and can be a handful on passing downs because of his overall effort alone, drawing additional attention from opposing lines. Flashes the ability to generate push with his bull rush and uses it as the basis of his pass-rush approach.

Negatives:

Overall size is on the low end and may limit his positional versatility. Pad level rises too early. Anchors at the line well for his size but misses out on chances to make stops by failing to disengage in time. Has a lot of sack production but rush approach isn’t the most technically advanced. Needs to work counters into his game more frequently to limit the amount of snaps where he’s idling around the line of scrimmage; approach is too reliant on bull-rushes and can get stuck when that doesn’t work.

Summary:

A physical under tackle who fires out with explosiveness and has impressive functional strength for his size, something which allows him to two-gap pretty effectively in the run game and collapse the pocket a little bit as a pass-rusher. Will need to diversify his rushing approach and shed blocks more quickly at the next level, but looks like he could develop into a surprisingly stout under tackle or possibly even nose tackle for a team with an even front. May not appeal as much to teams running odd fronts because of his lack of ideal size for a five-technique end.

DT Jay Tufele, Southern California* (6’3”, 315)

Background:

Missed his senior season of high school with a torn ligament in his foot but was still considered a four- or five-star recruit, then redshirted his first season at USC. Was a major contributor in both seasons he played with the Trojans. Put up a line of 23-4.5-3.0 as a freshman, and saw his production expand the following season to 41-5.5-3.5. Opted out of the 2020 season, then declared for the draft.

Positives:

Comes with two seasons of solid production at a major program. Typically plays right defensive tackle for the Trojans, but will slide over to the other side as well. Has a very solidly-built frame with excellent bulk. Size translates into solid power on the field. Capable of holding his ground at the line of scrimmage and creating congestion in the middle of the line in the run game. Gets pretty good extension with his arms to lock out opponents and dig in. Shows some burst out of his stance and can be a handful with his bull rush. Also works in a pretty good swim move to work his way past blockers at times. Gives at least adequate effort in pursuit. Plays with the toughness and grit teams look for in interior defensive lineman and could potentially appeal to teams running both even and odd defensive fronts.

Negatives:

Movement skills are not very fluid; has issues with balance which frequently crop up on tape. Overall range is very limited; much more of a space clogger than someone who is regularly involved when the play goes horizontally. A little bit of a one-dimensional run-stuffer who doesn’t factor in very often in the passing game. Not as explosive as some of his peers currently projected in the same range. Even on plays when he’s able to use his swim effectively, lacks the burst to close and finish his rushes.

Summary:

A big, tough, strong interior lineman who can eat blocks as a two-gapping run stuffer, but whose range and athleticism are limited, likely relegating him to more of a reserve/rotational role at the next level. Would be best on a team that plays a two-gapping style of football.

DT Marvin Wilson, Florida St. (6’5”, 305)

Background:

Five-star recruit who rotated in lightly over twelve games as a freshman, then started five of twelve games the next year, finishing with a line of 41-4.0-3.5. Started nine games before sustaining a season-ending injury as a junior, and started five of six games as a senior before sustaining another injury, posting 44-8.5-5.0 as a junior and 17-2.0-1.0 as a senior.

Positives:

Tall, very thickly-built defensive lineman who should meet the size requirements for any team. Tended to line up as a five-technique end on one end of the Seminoles’ three-man lines, but would kick inside and play as the left defensive tackle when the team went with four down linemen. Comes out of his stance pretty low and with some explosiveness; looks pretty athletic in a straight line. Capable two-gapper. Has very good lower-body strength to anchor at the line of scrimmage; capable of eating double-teams. Active with his hands, showing a swim move that could be viable at the next level. Flashes the ability to get a hold of an opponent’s pads and sling them to the ground. Able to facilitate for teammates in the passing game by drawing double-teams. Overall motor/work rate looks good, playing with aggressiveness. Prolific kick-blocker at the college level, so he should have some special-teams value.

Negatives:

Wasn’t able to replicate his junior-season effectiveness last year. Plays a relatively limited number of snaps. Length looks like it might be on the lower end for a player of his size. Minimal value for a one-gap scheme. Issues with balance crop up a little bit too often. Needs to be more consistent about keeping his shoulders square. Doesn’t get quite as much drive with his bull rush as you’d think. Range is very limited; more of a space-eater/block-eater than someone who flows down the line effectively. Can create some pressure but will struggle to chase down quarterbacks who flee the pocket. Sustained two season-ending injuries in back-to-back seasons, so medical evaluations will be an important part of determining his draft stock. Reportedly didn’t perform well at the Combine.

Summary:

A little bit of a throwback player to the times when teams sought big, powerful run stuffers who could two-gap, eat blocks, and create for teammates. Appears to have some real value in that capacity, particularly because he’s more active with his hands and plays with more aggression than is typical for those types of guys. However, as the league shifts toward smaller, more athletic options, might seem like a little bit of a dinosaur to some teams. Has the talent to work himself into a two-gap defensive line rotation as a run-stuffing specialist.