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2021 NFL Draft IDL Rankings Re-Evaluated

As we move through the pro days and hear the noise of outlandish forty times and verticals through the roof, I have personally gone through and done more research on every position.

The Football Scout 365 Big Board

Don't forget to check out the full Football Scout 365 NFL Draft Big Board.

After Further Review NFL Draft Edition On YouTube

You can check out our Football Scout 365 After Further Review NFL Draft Edition on Youtube. We have five shows so far, three covering the QB position where I break down and connect the dots between player skillset and what the player displays on film in relation to such buzzwords like arm talent, arm angle, pocket presence etc.

What I look for when evaluating an IDL.

The first thing you want to look for when scouting the IDL position is where they fit scheme-wise? Is he a two-gap 3-4 interior player or a one-gap 4-3 defender? In a 3-4 defensive scheme, my nose tackle will generally lineup over the center's head and is accountable for both A-gaps. I want my nose tackle to take up space in the middle so that my 2nd level guys can make plays without defenders getting to the second level. You also want them to possess the strength to get off of a block and make a play in the run game. My 3-4 ends are also two-gap responsible; I need them to hold down the B and C gap on each side.

In a one-gap 4-3 scheme, you have the two IDL; one is usually considered one tech who lines up half shade over the center in the B gap opposite the three-technique player who is in the B gap half shade over the guard. Both are responsible for stopping the run and rushing the passer when needed.

Some of the traits I look for, speed, power, and push. The players who have both speed and power are high-level players. How they use their hands to disengage with a blocker is essential. And the last but not least area is awareness and IQ. A guy who is a student of the game, who can recognize pre-snap movements or player positioning and make adjustments to their movement post-snap are the best defenders in the NFL. Once again, Aaron Donald possesses all of these traits.

2021 NFL Draft IDL Rankings

Okay, so let's dive into the IDL rankings;

1) Alabama IDL Christian Barmore 6-5 310 lbs Potential Upside Player

The 6-5 310 lbs Christian Barmore arrived at Alabama as a developmental player who has come into his own. He can play the 1, 3, or the 4i; Barmore uses his strength more than a toolbox of moves. Though he has improved his technique, he can use more development.

2) Iowa IDL Daviyon Nixon 6-3 305 lbs Potential Upside Player

Nixon is an impressive prospect projected to be a three tech in the NFL. He can shoot a gap because of his burst, using a strong lower profile to explode into an opponent's backfield to disrupt. At over 300 Lbs, he has deceptive speed. On film, Nixon shows the ability to track a ball carrier in the backfield and make a play in pursuit. He is not a wide defender; he could use some work as a power rusher; teams might take advantage of him with a downhill run game. He is a guy who has starting potential and needs some development at the NFL level.

3) NC State Alim McNeill 6-2 315 lbs Potential Upside Player

He plays with a solid base; he is hard to move. He has a knack for squeezing through gaps disrupting plays. He plays with good hand placement, does a great job of fighting off double teams.

4) Washington IDL Levi Onwuzurike 6-3 290 lbs Potential Upside Player

One of the better pass rushers in the 2021 class, he plays with good leverage and athleticism. He plays with good technique and is hard to single block. He can excel in a 4-3 scheme but can also play in an odd front.

5) Ohio State IDL Tommy Togiai 6-2 300 lbs Developmental

Big run-stopper, who can play both the 1, and 3 tech. Togiai projects as a nose player but can play 3-4 DE role in the NFL.


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