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2019 NFL Draft: BTD’s Favorites - Defensive Linemen

The pass rushers and run stoppers that will cause chaos at the next level.

NCAA Football: Citrus Bowl-Kentucky vs Penn State Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2019 NFL Draft inching closer by the day, we decided to take a look at some of our favorite prospects in the upcoming selection process from each different position group. Starting with defensive backs and ending with quarterbacks on next Wednesday (the day before the NFL Draft begins), we’ll highlight some new players each day that we think you should keep an eye on.

The_Coach: Montez Sweat (Mississippi State)

Standing in at 6’ 6” and 260 pounds, Montez Sweat is a physical freak that has the potential to anchor a defensive scheme for many years to come. Sweat shattered expectations at the NFL Combine, running a 4.41 forty-yard dash time, which broke the all-time record for defensive linemen. As a senior in 2018, Sweat tallied 8.5 sacks and finished with 24 solo tackles (50 combined), including a dominant performance against an always-imposing LSU offensive front. If he can prove that his great upper-body strength translates to the next level, Sweat can become a household name for years to come.

TaxSlayer Bowl - Mississippi State v Louisville
Mississippi State’s Montez Sweat is rated out as the 3rd best edge rusher in the draft class by CBS Sports.
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Ross Parker: Josh Allen (Kentucky)

So, Allen can be considered an OLB, but for the sake of this article, and where he fits best, I’m putting him on the D-line. Outside of Nick Bosa, Allen is probably the best edge rusher of this draft class; which is saying something in a stacked class such as this. Allen had a chance to be a second day pick in last year’s class, but elected to come back and saw his draft stock skyrocket after a great senior season. Allen is a versatile edge defender that can put his hand in the dirt, stand up in rush and even drop in coverage.

He possesses great burst and speed off the edge in addition to good flexibility which allows him to bend around tackles and get after the QB. Combine those with an improving bull rush and these all will serve him well in the next level. Allen still needs to improve his hand usage in shedding blocks, but those are coachable tips. With good coaching, Allen has all the tools necessary to develop into one of the better pass rushers in the entire league in a few short years.

Central Michigan v Kentucky Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Marcus Russell: Nick Bosa (Ohio State)

Ohio State’s Nick Bosa is widely considered the top-talent headed into the draft. The pass-rusher might not go #1, but many think he is a can’t miss prospect with his pass-rushing abilities. After playing the first three games in 2018, Bosa made the controversial decision to sit out the rest of the season to nurse a core injury and prepare for the NFL draft.

I for one, love Nick Bosa’s decision to prepare for the draft. He’s got football blood-lines in his veins (younger brother of Joey Bosa and son of John Bosa, who were both 1st round NFL draft picks). As one of the top young players in the country it was always apparent he could play at the highest level if he stayed healthy. Get that money Nick Bosa!

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Texas Christian
Bosa is ready for the NFL
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Provencher: Brian Burns (Florida State)

Brian Burns is a great combination of traits and refinement, and he’s being underrated by many who cover the draft. He is a ridiculous athlete off of the edge, displaying the elite speed (4.53 40 yard dash), power, and short area quickness that is necessary to win as an edge rusher in the NFL. On top of that, he has a variety of pass-rushing moves and impressive counters to pair with them. The one knock on him, and it’s a valid one, is his weight. At 250, he’s a little on the light side to be a dominant all-around edge player in the NFL. Despite that, he will be a disruptive player in the NFL for a long time.

Brian Burns bends the edge on his way to the quarterback Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

John Severs: Ed Oliver (Houston)

NCAA Football: Tulane at Houston Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

First, you’ve got to respect the guts to skip going to a Power Conference school when you’re a 5 Star recruit. Oliver delivered results quickly, and was a consensus All American his Freshman and Sophomore seasons. He’s fast, explosive and relentless. The knock against him in the run up to the draft is that he doesn’t have the frame to find similar success in the NFL. He also didn’t register a lot of sacks, but that can be put down to Houston using him as a Nose Tackle a good chunk of the time. He was effective there, but it wasn’t a great use of his talents. In an NFL scheme, with NFL calibur talent lining up next time, I wouldn’t bet against him finding his way into the backfield.

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