Mel Kiper is continuing to unveil his top players at each position for the 2015 NFL Draft and released his top five senior defensive tackles and top five juniors at the position we should keep a close eye on during the upcoming college football season.
The top senior on Kiper’s board and a potential first round pick is Michael Bennett from the Ohio State Buckeyes. He is coming off a season that saw him rack up 11.5 tackles for loss and should improve on that number this season. He is flanked by defensive ends Noah Spence and Joey Bosa which should give Bennett some chances to thrive when he’s not faced with constant double teams.
The best defensive tackle and perhaps the best defender in the nation is Leonard Williams from USC who is the top underclassmen at tackle and a potential top-five pick if he declares for the draft, which would appear likely. He had 12.5 tackles for loss last season and at 6-5, 290-pounds is athletic enough to play at end. He should line up all over the Trojans line next season and be the front-runner for Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.
You don’t have to go too far to find the second best underclassmen as UCLA’s Ellis McCarthy is poised to improve upon his strong season in 2014 as the 6-4, 330-pound former top recruit is getting better by the day as he picks up the nuances of the position.
Another former top recruit should continue the pipeline from Tallahassee to the NFL as Eddie Goldman from Florida State will try to fill the shoes of 2014 second rounder Timmy Jernigan this season with the Seminoles and could end up a better player than Jernigan if he can refine his technique and play with more consistency.
Who do you think will be the first defensive tackle taken in next year’s draft? Who is a player who could emerge this season that Kiper didn’t list?
Sound off with your thoughts in the comments section below.