The 2020 NFL Draft is over and teams are getting comfortable with their new draft picks. The next class of players is getting prepared now for another year of college football. Each position will be analyzed in the coming days. Here are the best 2021 NFL Draft prospects: interior defensive linemen
Note: Players will not be ranked in the article. This is best used as a watch list for the 2020 season.
Mustafa Johnson, Colorado Buffaloes
After Johnson had a good 2018 season, he has been looked at as a viable 2021 NFL Draft prospect. He is 6-foot-2 and 290 pounds, which is solid for an interior lineman. He will have to recapture his 2018 form, but Johnson looks like he will be right in the thick of the talk for defensive linemen this season.
He started off his career at junior college, but he had 15.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks as a sophomore in his first year at Colorado. The Buffaloes went 5-7 even with Johnson playing well. Last season, Johnson had 4.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks in eight games. Colorado won five games again in 2019. If Johnson can put up numbers like he did in 2018 he will be selected early on in the draft.
LaBryan Ray, Alabama Crimson Tide
He was injured last season, but Ray has played well through his time at Alabama. The 6-foot-5 and 292-pound player will have to show he can bounce back from his broken foot. If he is able to do this, Ray will see his draft stock go up.
As a reserve in 2017, Ray had 2.5 tackles for loss and one sack. He improved to have six tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks in 2018 as Alabama made the College Football Playoff. In his three games in 2018, Ray had 1.5 tackles for loss and one sack. At Alabama, players like Ray typically take on a lot of blockers and don’t put up a lot of numbers. He is still going to get looks early in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Jay Tufele, USC Trojans
Tufele doesn’t have eye-popping numbers, but he has great measurables. He is 6-foot-3 and 305 pounds, making him the perfect fit for the middle of the defensive line. If his numbers improve or he takes up more blockers in 2020, Tufele can help establish himself as one of the best defensive tackles in the class.
He was a freshman in 2018 when he registered 4.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. USC won five games that season. Both he and the team improved in 2019, as he posted 5.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. The Trojans won eight games. Tufele will have a chance to be disruptive in 2020 and doing so will only help him in the eyes of the NFL.
Jaylen Twyman, Pittsburgh Panthers
Twyman had a big 2019 season to help put him on the NFL’s radar. He stands at 6-foot-2 and 290 pounds, which allows him to have some strength, but also some mobility. Twyman is a twitchy athlete who can capitalize on his skills after this season.
In eight games as a freshman, Twyman had 1.5 tackles for loss and half a sack. He was one of the most improved players in the country in 2019 with 12 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. Pittsburgh won eight games last season. Twyman has a chance to have a big 2020 season, which will help him be picked in the first few rounds in 2021.
Marvin Wilson, Florida State Seminoles
Wilson could’ve gone pro after last season, but decided to return to school for one more year. He is huge at 6-foot-5 and 311 pounds, which is beneficial for his NFL dreams. Wilson looks to be the best interior lineman in the 2021 class heading into the season.
He had half a tackle for loss in 2017, but that was about it. Wilson steadily improved in 2018, as he had four tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks while the Seminoles won five games. As a junior, Wilson totaled 8.5 tackles for loss and five sacks. Florida State went 6-7, which is another reason why it was surprising Wilson returned. Either way, if he plays well, Wilson will be the first interior defensive lineman selected in the 2021 NFL Draft.
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