Breaking Down the Top 5 DTs of 2023
The NFL33 20223 NFL Draft Rankings will be updated through the evaluation cycle and up until Day 1 of the NFL Draft. Prospects evaluation reports will be linked below as they are updated.
In every draft class, evaluators always argue over the ’blue-chip’(an outstandingly worthwhile or valuable property or asset as defined by merriam-webster) prospects. How many there are, who should really be labeled as blue-chip, and then argue amongst themselves until week one of the following NFL season. In 2023, there is a clear-cut blue-chip defensive tackle and he leads off our top-5 defensive tackles. This group feels a lot like fog in the sense that when I turned on the tape I saw tons of talent and upside. It gets you excited to see a group with such raw potential, but when you try and go to find the tangible proof that they’ll hit? It seemingly slips through your fingers.
That’s not to say these guys are all potential without substance. Two through five offer a few different flavors to the interior defensive line rooms around the NFL, but I believe all of them are certifiable ass-kickers. The guy up top is just built different. His play likens itself to a current top-flight NFL defensive tackle that easily could have won defensive player of the year this past season.
Disclaimer: I’ve watched at least three total games of each prospect.
Defensive Tackle #1: Jalen Carter, Georgia
Don’t let the counting stats fool you, this man has been one of, if not, the best players in college football over the past few seasons. On a stacked Georgia defensive line, Carter shined and was continually drawing attention from offensive lines and onlookers alike. he’s got 15.5 tackles for loss over the last two seasons as well as 6 sacks. He’s been a consistent fixture at the top of draft boards and the body type he has at defensive tackle is incredible. I don’t even think Carter is close to his ceiling as a player either. He’s a freak coming in at 6’3” and 310 pounds.
-Double team anchor -Short-area quickness
Areas to Improve:
-Inconsistent pad level -Finish sacks/tackles
(The format you see above with Carter will be included with TONS of prospects for SUBSCRIBERS.)
Defensive Tackle #2: Siaki Ika(2A), Baylor
Carter is in a tier all by himself, but Ika leads the second tier of tackles for me, although not by much. There were mountains of expectations for Ika(6’4” and 350 pounds) after he took a big step in 2021 after finishing with six tackles for loss and three and a half sacks. Those expectations weren’t met last season, failing to impress on the stat sheet. The stats aren’t what Ika is all about, while it would have been nice to see that pass-rush potential realized, a lot of the functional tools to succeed were still on display this past year and I saw them all when I watched his tape.
Defensive Tackle #3: Brian Bresee(2B), Clemson
These two guys are by themselves, in my eyes, in this tier in large part because the tools they possess can take them a long way in the NFL. Bresee might be the biggest wildcard in this DT class. His 2022 was full of bumps in the road, after coming back from a torn ACL in 2021. Different missed games for sickness and health concerns and just ten days after the season started, he lost his sister to brain cancer. A tough ask, mentally, for any player to be their best with these things weighing on them. Bresee still put up five and a half tackles for loss including three and a half sacks. Tons of talent here and I’m excited to see him at the combine.
Defensive Tackle #4: Byron Young, Alabama
This could be a surprise for many. Young was not on my radar for a top-five defensive tackle before I started the film, but he announced himself in a big way. He had 48 total tackles, five and a half tackles for loss, and four sacks last season. The combination of a 6’3” nearly 300-pound defensive tackle(that looks like an edge), with the length he possesses, is enticing. He continually flashed while I was watching Will Anderson for the edges and he showed me more than enough to earn a spot among my top five.
Defensive Tackle #5: Gervon Dexter, Florida
We’ve got another tackle compiler with Dexter. It’s not easy to get a ton of tackles as a defensive tackle, but Dexter put up 55 total tackles, four tackles for loss, and two sacks in 2022. He was all over the field for Florida and it’s HARD to miss him. Standing 6’6” and 300+ pounds, he draws the eye and attention of the offensive line across from him. A physical specimen that has a ton of upside at the next level.
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