My 2018 NFL Draft Interior Defensive Line Rankings

I  always have to mention this, these are not projections of where these players will go, rather where I personally think they should go. Unlike my prospect breakdowns, these round grades DO take into account positional importance, so you may notice Josh Allen is graded as 1st to 2nd round prospect rather than a 2nd to 3rd round grade.

#1 – Vita Vea, Washington

Standing at 6’4″ and weighing 247 pounds, Vea a day one plug and play starter at the NFL level. His 41 bench press reps was one of the best in the class, and he can beat double teams and still make noise in the run game. I would say he fits best as a nose tackle, but he could play as a three-tech as well.

Grade: Round 1

#2 – Maurice Hurst, Michigan

Of course you cannot talk about Maurice Hurst without mentioning his heart condition, which forced him to miss the combine, but from a purely on field point of view, he would be a lock to be a top-15 pick. He has solid hands to shed blocks, and has the perfect combination of power and quickness.

Grade: Round 1-2

#3 – Taven Bryan, Florida

Bryan has a lot of scheme versatility, as he could play as a three tech in a 4-3 or a five tech in a 3-4. Bryan is one of the most athletic in the class, he possesses great speed for an interior defensive lineman, and has shown that he can close on the ball carrier in a hurry.

Grade: Round 1-2

#4 – Da’Ron Payne, Alabama

Da’Ron Payne left an awesome taste in my mouth as the 2018 National Championship game was some of his best tape all year. Payne is versatile and could play practically anywhere on the defensive line, and his Saban coaching is a huge plus.

Grade: Round 1-2

#5 – Nathan Shepherd, Fort Hays State

Shepherd was barely on my radar before he burst onto the scene at the Senior Bowl, being my favorite defensive lineman there until an injury forced him to miss most of the week. Level of competition in college is of course a concern.

Grade: Round 2-3

#6 – Derrick Nnadi, Florida State

I’m a little higher on Nnadi than most, he is a little short at 6’1″, 317 pounds, but he plays bigger than that and despite his size I think he could play nose tackle at the next level because of his great bull rush.

Grade: Round 2-3

#7 – BJ Hill, NC State

Hill certainly benefited from defensive lines being focused on Bradley Chubb, but I see him as a high-motor player who still hasn’t hit his ceiling, and could be a sleeper developmental prospect in the mid-day two range.

Grade: Round 2-3

#8 – Foley Fatukasi, Connecticut

Fatukasi played all four years at Connecticut, and he has enough power to be a force in the run game. He has great work ethic, and consistently gets to the quarterback.

Grade: Round 2-4

#9 – Trenton Thompson, Georgia

Thompson is another one of my sleeper guys. He puts in a lot of effort, and causes a lot of negative plays in the run game, and has decent closing speed to get to the quarterback.

Grade: Round 3-4

#10 – Harrison Phillips, Stanford

I’m a lot lower on Phillips than most. He really did not impress me in the passing game, and his combine scores were a little disappointing speed wise, although he is one of the strongest in this class (42 reps).

Grade: Round 3-4

#11 – Andrew Brown, Virginia

Brown has a really high ceiling, he was a five star prospect coming out of college and never quite reached his potential at Virginia. He has a great first step and drive, but athleticism leaves a lot to be desired.

Grade: Round 3-5

#12 – Tim Settle, Virginia Tech

Another guy that I am a lot lower on than most. Settle is certainly a work in progress, and he only started one year in college, so I would think he would need a few more to develop before being NFL ready.

Grade: Round 3-5

#13 – Deadrin Senat, South Florida

Grade: Round 4-5

#14 – RJ McIntosh, Miami

Grade: Round 4-6

#15 – Kendrick Norton, Miami

Grade: Round 4-6

#16 – Justin Jones, NC State

Grade: Round 4-6

#17 – Bilal Nichols, Deleware

Grade: Round 4-6

#18 – James Looney, California

Grade: Round 5-6

#19 – Poona Ford, Texas

Grade: Round 5-7

#20 – Da’Shawn Hand, Alabama

Grade: Round 5-7

#21 – PJ Hall, Sam Houston State

Grade: Round 6-7

#22 – Lowell Lotulelei, Utah

Grade: Round 6-UDFA

#23 – Rasheem Green, USC

Grade: Round 6-UDFA

#24 – Khalil McKenzie, Tennessee

Grade: Round 6-UDFA

#25 – Breeland Speaks, Ole Miss

Grade: Round 6-UDFA

#26 – JoJo Wicker, Arizona State

Grade: Round 7-UDFA

#27 – Zaycoven Henderson, Texas A&M

Grade: Round 7-UDFA

#28 – Kentavius Street, NC State

Grade: Round 7-UDFA

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