Each summer, NFL teams turn to the latest draft to address the positions they need to fill the most. For some teams, that means a quality quarterback or running back. Others look to bolster their defense. Based on the 2019 defensive linemen class coming to the league, there’s potential for some serious talent to emerge. That could help teams boost their positions in the NFL power rankings.
The Walter Football website provides a look at a variety of scouting information on the college football talents that will ultimately join the NFL. The website also gives fans a few different mock drafts to look at. As the 2018 college football season is underway, they have noted that there are a number of talented defensive linemen ready to make the leap. In fact, they’re comparing the potential to that of the 2010 class. It included Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy, who are now NFL stars.
Seven different NCAA stars are viewed as having high talent. They include Raekwon Davis from Alabama, Derrick Brown from Auburn, Rashan Gary from Michigan, Nick Bosa from Ohio State, and Dexter Lawrence from Clemson. Houston’s Ed Oliver and Mississippi State’s Jeff Simmons are also mentioned as part of this stellar class of prospects. It’s believed that multiple players from this group could rate as high as the duo of Suh and McCoy, which is great news for NFL teams next season.
When one looks at the latest NFL power rankings via Walter Football, it’s clear that having a top-notch defense can really help teams. Examples include the Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 2), Philadelphia Eagles (No. 5), and Minnesota Vikings (No. 6). Each of these squads is known for their defensive abilities. Even the Atlanta Falcons are ranked at No. 4 and it’s noted they have “a lot of young talent on defense.”
Suh is a member of the Los Angeles Rams, another squad being praised for their defense. Right now, CBS Sports ranks the Rams ninth in their NFL power rankings list. Suh is just one component of that tough defense that Los Angeles has developed. Meanwhile, Gerald McCoy has shown that he’s also a defensive star with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, earning a Pro Bowl nod last season. His team isn’t ranked especially high heading into the season, but having McCoy on the roster is far from a bad thing.
That’s why NFL talent scouts will be keeping a close eye on how this 2019 defensive linemen class performs this college football season. Right now, Houston’s Ed Oliver has been an early standout based on his first week’s performance. Oliver’s Heisman stock rose based on an impressive game against Rice. His team made a comeback to win 45-27 and Oliver’s 13 tackles including 3-1/2 tackles for loss helped immensely. He also had two quarterback pressures during the win. It’s believed he’ll need more of these sorts of outings this season to get an invite to the Heisman ceremony, but it already goes to show what he’s capable of.
Still, NFL teams will have some further research ahead. The defensive lineman is considered to measure 6-foot-3 and weighs 290 pounds. He’s also been clocked at a 4.7-second time in the 40-yard dash. However, a scout said the Cougars “didn’t let him get measured this spring.” The scout believes that Houston has been “hiding” Oliver for some reason. Still, once Oliver begins the pre-draft process, the truth should emerge about his numbers.
While a high-scoring offense is great, some say that the defense is what wins championships. Plenty of teams would love to improve in the defensive rankings. Once NFL teams get a good look at prospects like Oliver, Davis, Brown, Bosa and the rest of the defensive linemen that 2018 has to offer, it could provide plenty of optimism for the future.