Did your favorite NFL team pass on a defensive lineman this year? Don’t worry. Next year could be much different.
With the 2018 NFL draft in the books, the scouting eyes have already begun turning to the prospects filling out the 2019 big board. This time next year could be a big year for defensive linemen, meaning that will be a key position to watch this college football season.
The depth on the defensive line this fall should be loaded with players that could be called in the top 10 picks next spring when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announces the latest draft picks. Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver, Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa, Michigan defensive end Rashaan Gary, Alabama defensive end Raekwon Davis, and the Clemson trio of defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, and defensive end Clelin Ferrell all could go in the top 10.
Odds are all of those players will not be chosen in the top 10 as it depends on the positions of need for the teams landing a top 10 pick, but the point is the defensive line could be a strong position for NFL franchises scouting players over the next year. There is plenty of talent to be acquired.
The 2018 NFL draft saw five defensive linemen chosen in the first round; Bradley Chubb of NC State (Denver), Vita Vea of Washington (Tampa Bay), Da’Ron Payne of Alabama (Washington), Marcus Davenport of UTSA (New Orleans), and Taven Bryan of Florida (Jacksonville). In 2017, a total of six defensive linemen were drafted in the first round.
The most defensive linemen taken in any NFL draft since 2000 is 11 in 2011 and 2003. Could 2019 continue this eight-year cycle of defensive linemen filling the first round of the NFL draft? Given the talent likely to be available next year, it could easily be on pace to do just that.