2024 NFL Draft: Top 5 interior defensive linemen headlined by pair of Texas standouts

With the 2024 NFL Draft approaching, let's take a look at each individual position's rankings. Here are the top five interior defensive linemen.

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1. Byron Murphy II, Texas

Murphy is a classic gap-shooting defensive tackle who can disrupt a play before it starts. His ability to create explosive plays with quickness and violent hands (he loves a good ol’ club-rip move) will provide a spark for any defense that might be filled with more plugger types. His lack of ideal size and length will knock him with some teams and fits, but Murphy can stop drives with his play and is better at holding up against the run than he gets credit for. His strong testing at the combine also helped his case.

2. Jer’Zhan Newton, Illinois

Another quick-trigger defensive tackle, Newton wins with violent hands and get-off at the snap of the ball. He isn’t a bendy athlete and lacks the bulk to hold the point consistently against double-teams, but he can jolt linemen in singled-up situations and provide instant-win explosive plays when he times up the snap. Newton won’t be for everyone but he can make an impact for a defense; pairing him with a larger nose tackle would be the best situation.

3. Michael Hall Jr., Ohio State

Hall is another gap-shooting prospect, and one I am bullish on at the next level because of his explosiveness and youth. He didn’t have the best box score numbers (six career sacks), but Hall is constantly disrupting offenses. He has a quick first step that often puts guards in a bad position and has plenty of length and balance to maintain his leverage. It’s a bit of a risk because of his low snap count in college, but Hall has serious upside as a disruptive interior defender who can play every down.

4. T’Vondre Sweat, Texas

Sweat is a jumbo-jumbo-sized defensive tackle who actually has flashes of finesse in his game. Sweat’s college career had been maddeningly inconsistent before putting together a strong final season at Texas. With Sweat, you bet on the intriguing combo of his giant size and quick hands and feet that he showed his last year, or the stretches of him being a non-factor like in previous years. (And that’s before even getting into his 360-plus-pound frame that will likely have to be monitored throughout his career.)

I thought I would be lower on Sweat but came away liking his game. There aren't many giant defensive tackles who can sideswipe interior linemen like Sweat did. It will all be about how consistent he can do it at the next level — and if he can avoid off-field incidents like his DWI arrest over the weekend.

5. Brandon Dorlus, Oregon

Dorlus is a tweener and that can be to his benefit if he ends up on the right team. He has length and can win with strength or burst right after the ball is snapped. Dorlus is a contributor against the run and pass. He is versatile and can move along the defensive front depending on the down and play call, which will intrigue certain defensive coaches.