2024 NFL Draft defensive tackle class preview
Top Player: Nazir Stackhouse, Georgia
Despite not putting up big numbers one of the best defensive tackles in the 2024 NFL Draft is Nazir Stackhouse. The biggest strength of his game is how well he plays the run. He consistently faces double teams in Georgia’s defense yet it is almost impossible to move the 320-pound nose tackle off the ball. In addition to his size he also shows impressive strength consistently jolting his blocker back on initial contact.
Unfortunately, he is not much of a pass rusher with only one career sack, and has limited range as a defender. Despite this though look for teams to consider him late in the first round due to his ability to instantly upgrade a team’s rush defense.
Guy I Would Stand on the Table for: Gabe Hall, Baylor
A player who carries a first-round grade on my board yet is viewed as a day-three pick by most draftniks is Baylor’s Gabe Hall. One of the reasons I am so high on him is his measurables. He is listed at 6-foot-6 by Baylor which gives him the length to keep offensive linemen from getting into his body. He also possesses good strength and was named Bruce Feldman’s seventeenth biggest Freak Athlete last year. Some of his impressive weight numbers include a 465-pound power clean and a 750-pound deadlift. On the field, Hall has yet to be a dominant defender but he shows the flashes to make you believe he can develop into one.
Overrated: Maason Smith, LSU
LSU’s Maason Smith has the raw talent to be a high first-round pick, but he has yet to show he is worth that high of a draft pick on the field.
The main reason for this is his lack of time on the field only having five career stats, and missing all but the opening quarter of the 2022 season due to a torn ACL. His 2021 statistics can also be a bit misleading since three of his four sacks on the year came against FCS opponent McNeese State. As a prospect, he shows good explosion off the ball, impressive athletic ability, and the long arms and strength to consistently disengage from blockers.
Sleeper: Thor Griffith, Harvard
The top NFL Draft prospect in the Ivy League, and one of the best in the entire FCS is Harvard defensive tackle Thor Griffith. What makes Griffith such a special prospect is his impressive strength. He uses this power to consistently fight off double teams to be one of the best run defenders in college football.
Last season, Griffith was given a 92.5 grade against the run which was the top in the FCS by Pro Football Focus. His strength also makes him a threat in the passing game having recorded five sacks last year. In addition to this trait, a couple of other things that NFL scouts will like about him are his work ethic, high intelligence, and short-area quickness.
Biggest Risk: Tyler Davis, Clemson
The reason Clemson’s Tyler Davis is a risk in the 2024 NFL Draft is his long history of injuries. He has missed at least two games each of the past three years and even when he is in the lineup these injuries slow him down. Despite not playing at 100% though he has still produced at a high level. Last season, he was named second-team All-American after making 9.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. If he can stay healthy he should be able to be a starter in the NFL, but right now that is a big if.
Breakout Player: Ty Hamilton, Ohio State
One of the more underrated Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2024 NFL Draft is Ty Hamilton who carries an undrafted free agent grade according to NFL Mock Draft Database. Look for that to change this season though as Hamilton displayed the potential to be a high day three pick in the 2024 NFL, in the last five games of the season last season. During that time he proved that he is a strong run defender who consistently plays with good pad level.
Overall Defensive Tackle Rankings
Please note in parentheses is the draft grade I give them
1. Nazir Stackhouse, Georgia (first round)
2. Leonard Taylor, Miami (first round)
3. Gabe Hall, Baylor (first round)
4. Brandon Dorlus, Oregon (first round)
5. Maason Smith, LSU (second round)
6. Jer’Zhan Newton, Illinois (second round)
7. McKinnley Jackson, Texas A&M (second round)
8. Michael Hall Jr., Ohio State (second round)
9. Kris Jenkins, Michigan (second round)
10. Tyler Davis, Clemson (second round)
11. Ruke Orhorhoro, Clemson (third round)
12. T’Vondre Sweat, Texas (third round)
13. Tonka Hemingway, South Carolina (fourth round)
14. Darian Varner, Wisconsin (fourth round)
15. Tyleik Williams, Ohio State (fourth round)
16. Akheem Mesidor, Miami (fifth round)
17. Mekhi Wingo, LSU (fifth round)
18. Thor Griffith, Harvard (fifth round)
19. Ty Hamilton, Ohio State (fifth round)
20. Dontay Corleone, Cincinnati (fifth round)
21. DeWayne Carter, Duke (sixth round)
22. Logan Lee, Iowa (sixth round)
23. Keith Randolph Jr., Illinois (sixth round)
24. Warren Brinson, Georgia (seventh round)
25. Fabien Lovett, Florida State (seventh round)
26. Tim Smith, Alabama (seventh round)
27. Justin Eboigbe, Alabama (seventh round)