Colts 2021 NFL Draft Position Preview: Interior Defensive Line

Which interior linemen are available in next week's NFL Draft?

Who's available?

Twenty-one interior defensive linemen were invited to participate in the NFL's modified 2021 scouting combine, which officially took place at college pro days on various campuses:

  • Christian Barmore, Alabama
  • Quinton Bohanna, Kentucky
  • Bobby Brown III, Texas A&M
  • Austin Faoliu, Oregon
  • TQ Graham, Texas
  • Naquan Jones, Michigan State
  • Jonathan Marshall, Arkansas
  • Alim McNeill, N.C. State
  • Forrest Merrill, Arkansas State
  • Daviyon Nixon, Iowa
  • Osa Odighizuwa, UCLA
  • Levi Onwuzurike, Washington
  • Tyler Shelvin, LSU
  • TJ Slaton, Florida
  • Darius Stills, West Virginia
  • Tommy Togiai, Ohio State
  • Khyiris Tonga, BYU
  • Jay Tufele, USC
  • Marlon Tuipulotu, USC
  • Jaylen Twyman, Pittsburgh
  • Marvin Wilson, Florida State

What do experts think?

Only two defensive tackles cracked Daniel Jeremiah's most recent top-50 rankings: Levi Onwuzurike (No. 30) and Christian Barmore (No. 42). And NFL.com's Peter Schrager, in his mock draft, does not have an interior defensive lineman being drafted in the first round.

So this doesn't appear to be viewed as a particularly strong year for defensive tackles. As Pro Football Focus' Michael Renner wrote:

"This may very well be the weakest position group of the entire 2021 NFL Draft class. While we have a first-round grade on only one defensive tackle, there's a legitimate chance that not a single one of these guys is selected in the first round. If you want a pass-rusher from the interior, there's only a handful of guys with that sort of skill set in this class."

Who's on the Colts?

2021, then, seems like a good year to not have a major need at defensive tackle. The Colts have one of the NFL's best interior defensive linemen in 2020 All-Pro DeForest Buckner, and 16-game starter Grover Stewart is back, along with Kameron Cline, Taylor Stallworth, Chris Williams and Rob Windsor. The Colts claimed defensive tackle Andrew Brown off waivers in March; players like Tyquan Lewis and Isaac Rochell have the flexibility to kick inside as well.

Take a look at the top 10 ranked interior defensive linemen according to The Draft Network's 2021 prospect rankings ahead of this year's NFL draft.

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