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2016 NFL Draft: Defensive Line Big Board

Who are some of the best defensive linemen in the country?

DeForest Buckner. Possible Tennessee Titan?
DeForest Buckner. Possible Tennessee Titan?
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

With the offseason draft circuit getting closer to the finish line, it's time to take a look at several positions and how they stack up. Second on the menu, the talented defensive line class. Who are some of the best DL on the infamous Noles big board?


1. Joey Bosa 6'5 269 Junior Ohio State

- Bosa didn't have that dominant year everyone expected on the stat sheet but he helped free up his teammates to make plays elsewhere when they felt like playing up to expectations. He has a pretty good arsenal of pass rushing moves and countermoves. A skilled end prospect and one of the better ones in recent memory. Fits the 4-3 more than 3-4. Considered by many as the top prospect regardless of position in the entire country. However, there are some allegations of off field problems involving drug use. Projected Range: Top 10

2. Shaq Lawson 6'3 269 RS Junior Clemson

- Vic Beasley who? Lawson has more than capably replaced Beasley as his replacement in 2015. Lawson possesses more of a brute strength game rather than a explosive athletic ability one. He has very solid fundamentals and is well schooled in tackling the right way. Has the strength to toss aside the blocker and a high motor. Footwork despite his athletic limitations is above average. Doesn't have that explosive first step like a Joey Bosa but will constantly outwork the blocker. Ball skills are good. Discipline and football IQ are very good. Doesn't abandon his gap assignment to go hunting for glory stats like sacks and tackles for losses. Projected Range: Top 20

3. DeForest Buckner 6'7 291 Senior Oregon

- Arik Armstead who? Buckner is just as good if not better than the 49ers first round pick in the 2015 Draft. He’s a physical marvel and has very little bad weight. More of a brute strength type of defensive end instead of the speed type we’ve seen from Oregon in years past. Has some ability to drop back into coverage but it’s not the best aspect of his game. He fits the 3-4 more than the 4-3 but is a capable player in both schemes. Buckner is third on my list as scheme fit variance knocks him down just a peg. Projected Range: Top 10

4.  Emmanuel Ogbah 6'4 273 RS Junior Oklahoma State

- Ogbah is the Big 12's most talented pass rusher and has the stats to back it up. Led OSU in tackles for loss, sacks, and forced fumbles. Lateral agility is a major plus to his game. Arm length is another positive. Arsenal of pass rush moves are above average although he leans on his strength rather than finesse at times. Won a share of the Big 12 DPOY award. Projected Range: 1

5. Shilique Calhoun 6'4 251 RS Senior Michigan State

- A dominant force for the Spartans for two years now. He's improved his fundamentals in 2015. Projected to be a first rounder in 2015, 2016 will feature a little drop due to the depth of the class. Pass rush arsenal has grown considerably. Very good usage of hands and arms to keep the blocker at bay. A sound tackler in the run game. Ball skills have progressed. Above average speed game. Third best pure 4-3 ends in the class. Projected Range: 2

6.  Johnathan Bullard 6'3 283  Senior Florida

- The Gators' best lineman and one man show due to significant injuries on the line. Strength is a big factor in his game. Power moves are very good. Holds up at the point of attack and doesn't get lost in the wash. Played through nagging shoulder and knee issues so toughness isn't an issue. Projects as a five tech in a 3-4. He's been a fast riser up the boards during the offseason process. Projected Range: 2-3


1. Jarran Reed 6'3 307 Senior Alabama

- The other guy on the Tide's monstrous defensive line. His game is based on brute strength and not so much on finesse. A surprisingly agile and quick guy for his size when he's asked to unleash that part of his game. Willing to do the dirty work inside. Profiles as a big five or 0 tech at the next level. A bigger Al Woods if you will. Projected Range: 1

2. Sheldon Rankins 6'1 299 Senior Louisville

- Rankins is one of the best tackles in the class thanks to his arsenal of moves and counters. It's his bread and butter. One of the more refined DL prospects. He absolutely lit it up at the Senior Bowl. He's been a fast riser up the boards even with a solid career that nearly everyone has slept on. Projected Range: 1

3. Andrew Billings 6'1 310 Junior Baylor

-  This year's Grady Jarrett but bigger. He isn't the most stat heavy lineman but occupies his assignment so his teammates can go make plays. Underrated in pass defense. Brute strength to simply push back the blockers and go about his business. Like Jarrett, he's boxed in as a tackle due to his lack of ideal lateral agility. Big 12 DPOY winner with Ogbah.

4. Kenny Clark 6'3 314 Junior UCLA

- Clark was the workhorse that carried the Bruins defense on his back at times after the loss of Eddie Vanderdoes and Myles Jack. He's played tackle, end, and some nose tackle for UCLA throughout his career. Position and scheme versatile. Possibly the most technically refined defensive lineman in the country. Knows when and how to use power/finesse in every move. Lateral agility is an issue, however. High running motor but that can be exploited against him when he's lost in the wash. Fires off the ball really well for a guy his size. Projected Range: 2

5. Vernon Butler 6'4 323 Senior Louisiana Tech

- Butler has had a monstrous offseason process. He blew up at the Senior Bowl and it has been a runaway train ever since. He has a bevy of moves and surprisingly amount of quickness for a guy his size. Agility is a plus as well. Very underrated as a prospect due to the guys above him. Scheme versatility is a plus. Projected Range: 2.

6. Robert Nkemdiche 6'3 294 Junior Ole Miss

- While arguably the best tackle prospect, Nkemdiche falls this far on the board due to his numerous off field red flags. He's not D'Angelo Russell toxic right now but throwing Laremy Tunsil under the bus for allegedly being in the same hotel room is cause for concern in the locker room. Simply put, in my estimation, his talents do not override any red flags off the field but scouts will fall in love with his talents anyway. Projected Range: 1