Good Golly There Are a Bunch of Awesome Defensive Line Prospects in This Draft

Social Navigation

Good Golly There Are a Bunch of Awesome Defensive Line Prospects in This Draft

Chicago Bears

There are a handful of offseason moments that have the potential to alter how I look at the NFL Draft.

One such event occurs when free agency arrives. The new league year opening its doors and sending free agents here, there, and everywhere begins putting draft things into perspective. When the smoke clears after teams sign (and lose) players in free agency, it gives us a better idea of team needs and helps us find potential draft targets. At this point, we crank up our endeavors on the mock draft simulators.

But another occasion happened today with Dane Brugler’s unveiling of The Beast:

“The Beast” is one of the best draft guides you’ll get your hands on every year. And this year is no different. Brugler ranks 1,871 prospects and shares 401 scouting reports. It strikes a balance of being thorough and informative while also entertaining. Threading that needle isn’t easy, so props to Brugler for doing that once again.

I came away from my first browsing through “The Beast” with the following thought: Holy cow! Look at all these stud defensive line prospects!

These D-linemen are the best of the bunch in Brugler’s book:

Defensive tackles

  • Jalen Carter, Georgia (1st)
  • Bryan Bresee, Clemson (1st)
  • Calijah Kancey, Pitt (1st-2nd)
  • Mazi Smith, Michigan (1st-2nd)
  • Gervon Dexter Sr., Florida (2nd)
  • Keeanu Benton, Wisconsin (2nd)
  • Adetomiwa Adebawore, Northwestern (2nd-3rd)
  • Siaki Ika, Baylor (2nd-3rd)
  • Zach Pickens, South Carolina (3rd)

Defensive ends

  • Will Anderson Jr., Alabama (1st)
  • Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech (1st)
  • Lukas Van Ness, Iowa (1st)
  • Nolan Smith, Georgia (1st)
  • Myles Murphy, Clemson (1st-2nd)
  • BJ Ojulari, LSU (1st-2nd)
  • Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Kansas State (2nd)
  • Will McDonald IV, Iowa State (2nd)
  • Keion White, Georgia Tech (2nd)
  • Derick Hall, Auburn (2nd-3rd)
  • Isaiah Foskey, Notre Dame (2nd-3rd)
  • Yaya Diaby, Louisville (3rd)
  • Zach Harrison, Ohio State (3rd)
  • Tuli Tuipulotu, USC (3rd)

Look how many have first- or second-round grades. Considering the Bears’ needs along the line, the volume of defensive line options has stolen my attention.

Seriously, there are a ton of intriguing defensive line prospects. If you’re keeping count at home, there are 23 prospects listed above. Here’s hoping GM Ryan Poles and his staff are digging into each of them ahead of draft day. Each of these players should be on the Bears’ radar for one reason or another. Obviously, there are needs to fill at the defensive end and tackle positions. Going through Brugler’s evaluations has me thinking there are multiple spots for Poles to attack those particular positions.

The edge class is so deep that I think there can still be value on Day 3. OK, so the defensive tackle situation is more top-heavy than I would’ve liked. Even still … the Bears could conceivably add a starting caliber DT in Rounds 2 or 3. That could be a place of value. And it makes me wish the Bears had more picks to play with in that sweet middle between the second and third rounds.

All things considered, I’d probably consider it a win from jump street if the Bears can come away with at least two of these top prospects after the draft closes its doors. Imagine Chicago starting its draft with a DE like Texas Tech’s Tyree Wilson (who’s met with the Bears 3 times), Georgia’s Nolan Smith (who was reportedly visiting over the weekend) or Iowa’s Lukas Van Ness. And then think about how you’d react if the team went on to tack on that DL with a DT such as Gervon Dexter Sr. (Florida), Keeanu Benton (Wisconsin), or Adetomiwa Adebawore (whose prospect stock vacillates) in Round 2. It can go the other way, too. Imagine the Bears landing Georgia’s Jalen Carter (his name is hot right now) in Round 1, then seeing them take someone like LSU’s BJ Ojulari or Notre Dame’s Isaiah Foskey in Round 2.

This is like a choose-your-own-adventure coloring book. Except all paths lead to a menacing defensive lineman you hope shreds opposing quarterbacks, blockers, and ball-carriers on a weekly basis.

Latest from Bleacher Nation:

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.