The 2023 NFL Draft is already shaping up a bit, and one area that’s likely to be strong again is the defensive line.
The 2022 NFL Draft featured a dominant edge rusher/defensive end group. It featured three guys drafted in the top five selections, and another two at the end of the first. Day two was dominated by that position, as 11 more (depending on where you believe the prospects should align in the NFL) came off the board.
It wasn’t the strongest group, but defensive tackle had some studs get drafted early. Both Georgia defensive tackles, Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt, were drafted in the first round. Travis Jones, a strong pre-draft riser, was drafted in the third round.
As we shift and peek towards the 2023 NFL Draft, it looks to be another strong year for the defensive front, including a bit of a bump for the defensive tackle group, one that has had a couple of down years in terms of depth.
The Top Picks
Will Anderson is obviously the leader in the clubhouse here, and he’s moving towards becoming one of the best prospects in recent memory. His 2021 season was one of legend, somehow flying a bit under the radar. His 31 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks are absurd numbers, and his ability to win in a variety of ways give him a great profile to be a number one overall pick (and top five at the worst).
Jalen Carter should get plenty of attention this summer as well. Imagine the run-stuffing, lower body strength of Davis combined with the wicked twitch and pass rush juice of Wyatt. That’s the player Carter is. He was the best defender on that championship defense for Georgia, and he should be in for another big year.
Clemson has a pair of defenders that could be drafted very early. Myles Murphy may not be the type who threatens the outside track with the speed and bend, but he’s plenty quick off the ball and wins with power and lateral quickness. Bryan Bresee has dealt with injuries, but his power, length, and athleticism will make for a very good move player around the defensive line.
Others To Watch For
There are plenty of edge rushers who will get first round buzz by the ball. Nolan Smith was a top recruit in his class, and his combination of speed, flexibility, and power for a smaller rusher is extremely impressive. Isaiah Foskey has incredible athleticism and closing speed, and has moved around Notre Dame’s defense. Derick Hall is another premier pass rusher in the SEC with good production and a great pressure rate.
The SEC is going to be loaded as it always is, and the defensive tackle group is incredible this year. Both Jaquelin Roy and Gervon Dexter are two guys who will be featured plenty this fall. Roy is a great pass rusher on the interior and Dexter has three-down potential already. Colby Wooden had 41 pressures at Auburn last year, and he could take a step up as well.
The high-end defensive talent will continue to highlight college football, and the 2023 NFL Draft should be no different than it was last year. Expect many of these guys to be first-round selections next spring.