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NFL Draft: Top 5 DTs heading into combine

Derrick Brown
Derrick Brown (AP Images)

The NFL Scouting Combine is right around the corner and so it’s time to take a look at our list of top defensive tackles entering the event, along with two others to watch heading into Indianapolis.

MORE COMBINE: Top 5 QBs | Top 5 RBs | Top 5 WRs | Top 5 TEs | Top 5 OL | Top 5 DEs

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

TOP FIVE

1. Derrick Brown, Auburn

Recruiting: On National Signing Day, Brown committed to Auburn over Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and others. He also took an official visit to Mississippi State.

Stats: In four seasons with the Tigers, Brown totaled 170 tackles including 33 stops for loss and 12.5 sacks. He also had five forced fumbles.

Farrell’s take: Brown moved inside full-time and developed into a dominant defensive tackle a few seasons ago. He took his performance to another level this past season. Brown always had the power, the quickness and ability to crush the pocket to get the job done. In high school evaluations, he was a bit up and down. He was inconsistent, but his ceiling was too high to keep him from that fifth star and now we are looking smart. Now Brown is the best defensive tackle in the country and it’s not that close. Brown should be the No. 1 defensive tackle off the board.

2. Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina

Recruiting: Kinlaw committed to South Carolina out of high school but then went to junior college and eventually backed off his Gamecocks’ pledge. Alabama, USC and South Carolina emerged as the favorites and after taking some visits he picked the Gamecocks again.

Stats: In three seasons, Kinlaw had 82 tackles (seven for loss) along with 10 sacks. The former three-star had three forced fumbles in his college career but none this past season.

Farrell’s take: Kinlaw was a big, raw defensive end prospect out of high school who has developed and emerged as an elite defensive tackle with those end attributes. He was so raw we even said he might be better suited as an offensive tackle because he was so long. Kinlaw has played well above his ranking and he’s a surefire first-rounder.

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3. Marlon Davidson, Auburn

Recruiting: Considered the favorite for a while, Auburn beat Alabama for Davidson, who played his junior season at Montgomery (Ala.) G.W. Carver before transferring back to Greenville, Ala., after the death of his mother. His brother, Kenneth Carter, played for the Tigers.

Stats: Over four seasons and 50 games, Davidson finished with 174 tackles (28 for loss) including 14.5 sacks. This past season, Davidson had a career-high 11.5 tackles for loss.

Farrell’s take: Davidson is an awesome talent and played like a five-star late in his Auburn career. He takes up a lot of attention and works through double teams and chipping blockers well. Davidson had great size out of high school but also the athleticism to track down the quarterback, and that has translated well to college. He could be a huge end or a 3-technique defensive tackle in the NFL. His stock will continue to rise.

4. Jordan Elliott

Recruiting: Elliott had a wild recruitment that included commitments to Baylor, Houston and Michigan. He finally decommitted from the Wolverines about a week before National Signing Day and then flipped his pledge to the Longhorns. He later transferred to Missouri.

Stats: In 22 games at Missouri, Elliott has totaled 68 tackles (16.5 for loss) and 5.5 sacks. He forced one fumble during his college career.

Farrell’s take: Elliott was a tall and raw defensive tackle with good athleticism coming out of high school. However, he played a bit high and had trouble with balance. Ellitott has corrected those issues for the most part and has show flashes of elite talent. He’s a polarizing prospect and could fall anywhere from the second round to the middle of the draft.

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5. Neville Gallimore, Oklahoma

Recruiting: Gallimore committed to Oklahoma over Ohio State, Florida State and many others during the Army All-American Bowl. He had 28 offers and was a four-star prospect coming out of Canada Prep Football Academy.

Stats: Over a five-year career in Norman, Gallimore finished with 147 tackles (17 for loss) and 8.5 sacks. He also forced five fumbles including two in each of the last two seasons.

Farrell’s take: Gallimore was the rare Canadian Rivals100 prospect, but that’s how much potential he had. He was obviously raw, but his size and athleticism were excellent and he had a great motor. The first Canadian player to be invited to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, Gallimore held his own against top competition at camps we scouted but he missed the action in San Antonio due to a knee injury. We expected a transition period and it has occurred, but he got better each season and will likely be a second-rounder.

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TWO TO WATCH

Recruiting: Texas A&M, TCU, Houston and Alabama were the four frontrunners for Blacklock, who announced his commitment to the Horned Frogs at the Army All-American Bowl.

Stats: Blacklock missed the 2018 season with an Achilles injury so he only played in two seasons for the Horned Frogs. In those 24 games, Blacklock finished with 67 tackles (15.5 for loss) and 5.5 sacks.

Farrell’s take: Blacklock was a huge defensive tackle who could stuff the run but struggled in pursuit a bit and wasn’t an elite pass rusher. He has added some pass rushing ability to his game and it has shown on tape. Injuries are a question mark, but when he’s healthy he’s productive.

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Recruiting: Early in his senior season, Madubuike committed to Texas A&M over Alabama, Ohio State, Texas and many others. The four-star prospect listed 23 total offers.

Stats: In three seasons, Madubuike collected 105 tackles (24.5 for loss) along with 11 sacks and five forced fumbles.

Farrell’s take: Madubuike was a highly-ranked defensive end prospect who has grown into a defensive tackle target for the NFL. However, he could also be a big end because he’s a natural pass rusher. Madubuike is very active and makes plays in the backfield although he’s been inconsistent against the run.

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