NFL 2022 Draft Positional Rankings: Interior Defensive Line

#1: Jordan Davis – Georgia

Jordan Davis is just 22 years old, and he will immediately be one of the largest players in the NFL as soon as he gets drafted. At 6’6″, 342 lbs, power, and strength are obvious calling cards for him. Davis also ran a 4.78-second 40-yard dash at the combine, which is an incredibly rare result for a player of his size. Davis rarely played a heavy snap count at Georgia, but he was massively impactful when on the field and was an integral part of the best defense in the country.

Strengths:

  • One of the largest, most powerful prospects at any position in recent memory
  • Surprisingly good range for his size – 4.78-second 40-yard dash highlighted this
  • Faced plenty of double-teams at Georgia and consistently won anyways
  • Elite strength with a thick lower body to anchor and plenty of pop in his hands

Weaknesses:

  • Lacks pass-rushing versatility right now, needs to develop a more dynamic plan
  • Wore down throughout games when asked to play a larger workload
  • Lateral movement and agility isn’t as good as linear burst
  • Plays too high at times which can hurt his leverage

Summary: Jordan Davis has a rare combination of attributes with elite size, strength, and speed, and that alone is enough to make him a lock for the first round. Concerns over Davis’s struggles with a heavier workload will be squashed if he can continue to cut weight like he did at the combine. If Davis can improve his conditioning and develop more dynamic elements to his pass-rushing toolkit, he will have future All-Pro potential at the defensive tackle position.

Draft Range: 1st Round

#2: Devonte Wyatt – Georgia

Devonte Wyatt was often overshadowed (quite literally) by Jordan Davis on Georgia’s defensive line, but he is a high-end prospect in his own right. Wyatt also put together an elite combine that could see him boosted into the first round of the draft. Wyatt saw massive improvement across the board in his senior season and was a critical part of Georgia’s best defense in the country.

Strengths:

  • Elite first step off the line of scrimmage with play-to-play consistency
  • Flexibility to corner that is more common for an edge defender than a DT
  • Excellent lateral movement that helps boost his range
  • Balance, discipline, and movement skills help him overcome strength limitations

Weaknesses:

  • Pass-rush versatility still a work in progress, all finesse right now
  • Below-average anchor due to limited power element for the position
  • Inconsistent hand usage takes him out of plays at times
  • Below-average length limits his ability to win first contact

Summary: Devonte Wyatt finally put together his elite physical tools into consistent high-level production in his senior season. His excellent combine highlighted his greatest strengths in his elite quickness off the line of scrimmage and remarkable agility. Wyatt isn’t the big-bodied nose tackle who will swallow up double teams and provide an elite anchor, but he profiles as an across-the-board contributor from Day 1, and it’s hard to imagine him getting out of the first round.

Draft Range: 1st Round

#3: Travis Jones – Connecticut

Travis Jones doesn’t have an elite pedigree as just a three-star high school recruit who played at a mediocre football program at UConn. Still, he was consistently the team’s best player by a massive margin starting in his freshman season. Jones has an all-around skillset who tested with much better explosiveness and agility at the combine than most expected. He’s still a cut below Davis and Wyatt, but not by much.

Strengths:

  • Excellent length and physicality to occupy space in the middle of the line
  • Powerful lower body and balance boost his anchoring
  • Strong hands to push through opposing offensive linemen
  • Remarkable agility – three-cone nearly unprecedented at his position

Weaknesses:

  • Below-average first step and minimal explosion off the line of scrimmage
  • Pass-rush arsenal is underdeveloped, minimal finesse to his game
  • Hands and feet are sometimes lacking synchronization
  • Needs to learn how to stay low to boost his leverage

Summary: Travis Jones is one of the highest-impact nose tackles in this class. Power has always been a huge part of his evaluation, but his agility numbers at the combine show his ability to make plays in space as well. Jones isn’t the most refined pass-rusher, and he could use some refinement with pad level and hand/feet usage, but he’s set to be a high-impact player right away.

Draft Range: 2nd Round

#4: Logan Hall – Houston

Logan Hall has played all over the defensive line while at Houston. He started as a jumbo defensive end, but as he put on weight, he was kicked inside. Now at 6’6″, 283 lbs, his improved strength has allowed him to play on the inside full-time. Hall was highly productive the last two seasons as a starter, and his Senior Bowl performance and tremendous numbers at the combine have boosted his stock.

Strengths:

  • Elite length for a defensive tackle that few guards can match with room to add more muscle
  • Light on his feet with tremendous agility and fluidity to his game
  • Much better anchor than you’d expect for a 283-lb defensive tackle
  • Well-rounded pass rush toolkit with a nasty club/swim move and a consistent bull-rush

Weaknesses:

  • Height naturally causes issues with leverage and bend
  • Not a great gap shooter, doesn’t fly off the snap through the line of scrimmage
  • Hands were too often inactive after the first strike, could improve technique
  • Pass-rush could benefit from more counters off his bull-rush to keep O-linemen off balance

Summary: Hall is a tweener, and he’s a unique prospect at his height and weight – he ranked in the 97th percentile for height and just the 16th percentile for weight at the combine. His explosiveness and agility boost his pass-rush profile, and his technique is well-refined. Hall may not be a natural anchor with power, but his length and explosiveness make him a high-upside prospect.

Draft Range: 2nd Round

#5: DeMarvin Leal – Texas A&M

DeMarvin Leal has been a starter for Texas A&M since his freshman year in 2019, and he’s played all over the defensive line. Leal is a tweener who some people list at edge and some list at defensive tackle, but I see him as a 3-technique in a 4-3 system long-term. Leal is a former five-star recruit, and you can see why with his remarkable movement ability at his size.

Strengths:

  • Tremendous get-off explosiveness, rare for his size
  • Natural movement ability with great tackle range
  • Well-rounded pass-rush moves, great spins and counters
  • Versatility to play all over the defensive line

Weaknesses:

  • Lacks strength and power to be an anchor or beat double-teams inside
  • Lacks the bend/flexibility to consistently win on the edge
  • Inconsistent motor and effort throughout games
  • Took a major step back in 2021 as he was asked to play inside more often

Summary: Leal theoretically has tremendous athletic upside, but it showed up inconsistently on film and didn’t show up at the combine as a 5-second 40-yard dash ranked in just the seventh percentile – that’s not going to cut it on the edge long-term. He also lacks the raw power and strength to play inside long-term. His lack of experience as a three-technique further clouds his evaluation. Leal is still likely a Day 2 talent due to upside, but he’s one of the tougher players to define in this class.

Draft Range: 3rd Round

#6: Perrion Winfrey – Oklahoma

Perrion Winfrey was the 2022 Senior Bowl MVP, and his performance in Mobile, Alabama highlighted his massive upside in the NFL. Winfrey flashes elite athletic potential, and his 4.89-second 40-yard dash highlighted his ability to fly off the line of scrimmage. Winfrey is a former JUCO transfer who was misused as a zero-technique at Oklahoma, and the potential for improvement is immense once he plays his true position.

Strengths:

  • Gets in the backfield in a hurry – 41% of his tackles went for a loss
  • Elite length – 35.25″ arms tested in the 98th percentile
  • Strength and length boost his versatility along the defensive front
  • Excellent foot speed and short-area agility

Weaknesses:

  • Discipline in the run game is lacking, not a gap-control player
  • Lower body lacks strength which limits his ability to anchor
  • Hand placement, body control, and motor are inconsistent
  • Limited leg drive in pass-rush hurts his bull-rush presence

Summary: Perrion Winfrey is an unrefined prospect, but he has loads of potential once he fills the right role. Winfrey checked the necessary boxes at the combine, and some teams could see him as better-suited for a 4-3 defensive end role if he can cut a bit of excess weight. Winfrey’s elite length and explosiveness make him a high-upside Day 2 draft selection.

Draft Range: 3rd Round

#7: Phidarian Mathis – Alabama

Phidarian Mathis was named one of Alabama’s permanent team captains in 2021, and his leadership was a huge part of the Crimson Tide’s excellent defensive season. Mathis has been seeing the field since his redshirt freshman season in 2018, and he has consistently improved his technique across the board. Mathis’s combine was underwhelming, and he isn’t an elite athlete, but his technical proficiency makes him a solid mid-round pick.

Strengths:

  • Ideal length for the position but excellent pad level to maintain leverage
  • Strong, violent hands to shed blocks and great synchronization
  • Eye discipline and awareness allow him to win with technical proficiency
  • Great lower body strength and balance to boost his anchoring

Weaknesses:

  • Limited athleticism with below-average explosiveness off the line of scrimmage
  • Upper body strength wears down throughout the game
  • Lateral quickness is lacking, more of a linear athlete
  • Change-of-direction burst and agility limit his tackling range

Summary: Mathis is a fifth-year senior with limited room for further improvement, and he’s likely close to his ceiling of production with his limited athleticism. Mathis’s underwhelming combine wasn’t surprising, but it didn’t do him any favors to boost him to a potential Day 2 pick. He’ll be a solid starter wherever he lands, but the lack of upside hurts his draft evaluation.

Draft Range: 4th Round

#8: Matthew Butler – Tennessee

Matthew Butler was a late-career breakout as he didn’t produce consistently excellent results until his “super senior” season at Tennessee, but he showcased tremendous fundamentals. Butler’s tape against Alabama stood out in a big way, and his all-around skill set makes him an intriguing late-round pick.

Strengths:

  • Excellent leadership traits with a high volume of starting experience
  • Terrific fundamentals from low pads to active hands to gap awareness
  • High motor with first-step quickness
  • Solid flexibility to slip through gaps and around the edge

Weaknesses:

  • Mediocre length and a compact build limit his range
  • Balance is inconsistent due to narrow base
  • Limited upper body strength hurts his anchoring
  • Upfield burst is average overall

Summary: Butler isn’t a standout prospect in many athletic areas, but his consistent production this past season at Tennessee makes him worthy of an earlier Day 3 selection. Butler will bring a high work ethic, constant motor, and excellent leadership traits to his NFL team and should be a productive rotational defensive lineman.

Draft Range: 5th Round

I've been a huge sports fan for as long as I can remember and I've always loved writing. In 2020, I joined the Lineups team, and I've been producing written and video content on football and basketball ever since. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. My goal is to tell enthralling stories and provide meaningful insight on the sports I write about while helping you cash some bets along the way.

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