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2023 NFL Draft: Scouting The Top Interior Defensive Line Prospects

Scouting the he top IDL prospects on the Football Scout 365 NFL Draft board.

Top 5 NFL Draft Grade

Jalen Carter IDL Georgia: At 6-3, 305lbs, Jalen Carter is a disruptive defensive lineman with an impressive blend of size, strength, and athleticism. He possesses a quick first step and excellent burst off the snap, allowing him to penetrate gaps and disrupt the backfield. Carter has a rare combination of power and agility, which makes him difficult to handle for blockers. He is versatile enough to play multiple positions along the defensive line and can be a force against both the run and the pass. Carter has active hands and good instincts, allowing him to quickly shed blocks and make tackles. However, he needs to work on pad level and technique to maximize his potential. Overall, Carter is an exciting prospect with a high ceiling and the potential to become a dominant player at the next level.

Top 10-15 NFL Draft Grade

Bryan Bresee IDL Clemson: Bresee possesses elite instant impact upside, and he is a player who has top ten NFL Draft potential even after missing 2/3 of the 2021 college football season. At 6-5, 300lbs, Bresee possesses elite length. On tape, he has an explosive first step combined with the elite positional strength needed to succeed at the NFL level. He also possesses elite lateral quickness and twitchiness for an interior defender. He can shoot through a gap in a hurry on one play to force a bad throw, and on the next play, he can shoot through a hole to close off a run lane. Bresee can play different techniques along the line, but he projects as a 3-tech in the NFL.

Late 1st, Mid 2nd Round Grade

Calijah Kancey IDL Pittsburgh: At 6-0 280lbs, Kancey possesses a powerful lower body and excellent leverage for a smaller interior player. He uses his strength to control blockers and collapse the pocket from the inside. Kancey is also quick off the snap and has an impressive first step that allows him to penetrate into the backfield and disrupt plays. While Kancey is a powerful and disruptive defender, he still has room for improvement in his technique and pass-rushing moves. He tends to rely on his strength and athleticism to win battles but will need to develop a more refined technique to beat NFL-caliber offensive linemen consistently.

Mazi Smith IDL Michigan: At 6'3" and around 320 pounds, Smith is a large and powerful defender who is a force against the run. Smith has a quick first step and uses his strength and size to disrupt the interior of the offensive line. He's able to hold his ground against double teams, allowing his teammates to make plays around him. Smith also has the agility to pursue ball carriers and make tackles outside the tackle box. While Smith is a strong and powerful defender, he still has room for improvement in his technique and pass-rushing moves. He must develop a more refined skill set to consistently generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks at the next level.

Siaki Ika IDL Baylor: Siaki Ika is a massive defensive tackle with excellent strength and power at the point of attack. He has good quickness and agility for his size, making him a disruptive force in the backfield. Ika has a strong base and is difficult to move off the line of scrimmage, making him a stout run defender. He also can collapse the pocket with his bull rush and has shown some ability to create pressure on the quarterback. However, Ika's lateral mobility and overall athleticism are limited, and he can struggle with quick-twitch offensive linemen who can beat him to a spot. Additionally, he can improve his hand usage and pad level consistency, which will help him become a more effective pass rusher. Overall, Ika has the potential to be a dominant run-stopper at the next level, but he will need to continue to develop his pass-rushing skills.

2nd-3rd Round NFL Draft Grade

Gervon Dexter IDL Florida: At 6-5 318lbs, Gervon Dexter is a versatile defensive lineman with a rare combination of size, athleticism, and strength. He is a fluid mover with excellent burst and explosiveness off the snap, allowing him to penetrate gaps and create pressure on the quarterback. He has a quick first step and excellent range, making him a disruptive force in the backfield. He is equally effective against the run and the pass, displaying good awareness and instincts. He uses his length and power to control blockers and create separation, allowing him to make plays in the backfield. Dexter can improve his consistency in his technique and hand usage to maximize his potential. Overall, he is an intriguing prospect with high upside and the ability to contribute immediately at the next level.

Keeanu Benton IDL Wisconsin: Benton is a former wrestler who understands how to use leverage to win at the point of attack, which is essential for a lengthy 6-4 315lb interior defender. His ability to control a blocker and hold his gap in the run game will be a tremendous asset in the NFL. Benton Projects as a 0/1 technique (NT) at the next level.


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