The 2016 draft series continues with a deep DT class. This may be one of the best DT classes in the history of the draft. Let’s take a look at the prospects.
Sheldon Rankins: Louisville
Rankins is 6’1 and 299 pounds DT with a high motor in the mold of Aaron Donald. He is powerful, explosive with a strong base. Rankins had 9 sacks and 6 sacks the last two seasons for the Cardinals. Rankins had a great Senior Bowl despite being undersized. Rankins should be a mid-first round pick.
A’Shawn Robinson: Alabama
Robinson is 6’3 and 307 pounds from the Crimson Tide. Robinson is powerful, explosive and a good tackler. He can generate a strong pocket push and finish plays. He must work on his pad level and balance but should be a good run defender in the league with solid pass rush. Robinson is a 1st round pick candidate.
Jarraun Reed: Alabama
Reed is another Alabama DT that played next to Robinson. Reed is 6’2 and 305 pounds that is very stout in the run game. Reed only had 1 sack each of the last two seasons but stays in his gaps well. He has good instincts and vision and is rarely beaten at the point of attack. Reed isn’t much of a pass rusher and lacks quickness but should be able to be a good run stopping DT in the NFL. Reed is a mid to late first round pick prospect.
Robert Nkemidche: Ole Miss
Nkemidche has off field marijuana issues after a hotel incident in 2015. However, Nkemidche may be the best DT athlete in the draft. He is explosive with a good DT body. He has long arms and developed as a pass rusher at Ole Miss. He has some pass rush moves but not much agility. Nkemidche should be a first round pick despite his off field issue that caused him to miss the Sugar Bowl.
Andrew Billings: Baylor
Billings is 6’0 and 310 pounds from Baylor. He is a run stuffing nose tackle prospect. Billings is powerful and can beat double teams. The former Baylor Bear is raw as a pass rusher but has a good bull rush. Billings should be a late first round pick.
Austin Johnson: Penn State
Johnson was very productive at Penn State. Johnson had 6.5 sacks his senior year with the Nittany Lions. Johnson can bull rush and has decent speed for his size. He is solid against double team and has a good motor. Johnson must work on his hands and balance at the next level. Johnson should be a late first round or early day 2 pick.
Vernon Butler: Louisiana Tech
Butler is 6’4 and 328 pounds. Butler is athletic with strong hands. Vernon can take on double teams and can play the twist scheme well. He must work on his pad level and winning more consistently. Butler is a late first round or early Round 2 pick.
Other DTs that should be drafted on day 2 of the draft are Kenny Clark (UCLA), Chris Jones (Mississippi State), Adolphus Washington (Ohio State), Sheldon Day (Notre Dame), Jihad Ward (Illinois) and Javon Hargrave (South Carolina State).
This DT class is very deep with plenty of run stoppers. DT needy teams could wait until day 2 and get a good player.