NFL Draft Defensive Tackle Rankings 2022: From The College Perspective

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Draft Defensive Tackle Rankings 2022: From The College Perspective

College Football Features

NFL Draft Defensive Tackle Rankings 2022: From The College Perspective


Who are the defensive tackles who’ll matter in the 2022 NFL Draft, and what’s the college perspective on all of the top prospects?

2022 NFL Draft Defensive Tackle Rankings

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Defensive tackle isn’t as strong as defensive end this season, but it’s a deep group with plenty of options just after the top 20. There aren’t a ton of sure-things late, but there should be great value with players who can gum up the works.

There aren’t a ton of great interior pass rushers – and the value of the massive-bodied run stoppers isn’t what it should be in an Aaron Donald world – but you can’t have enough huge men on your defense front.

From the college perspective, here are the best defensive tackle prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft.

2022 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings, Analysis
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NFL Draft by college over last 5 years: 1-130 rankings

Haskell Garrett, Ohio State

Size: 6-2, 300

The Good: Undersized but tough, he’s a quick tackle who can be used as an end depending on the scheme. He’s got no problem being the one everyone works around with his motor and toughness. A factor at a high level over his five-year career, he was a key part of the rotation, but …

The Not-So-Good: The measurables aren’t there and his production was just okay. He only made 62 career tackles with 7.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss, but it wasn’t really his job to do more than occupy space in the middle. The raw bulk isn’t there and the quickness isn’t in place to make up for it.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: Yeah, you want him for his experience, quickness in small spaces, and in the way he conducts himself as a possible leader up front, but he’s too small and just not athletic enough to make a massive impact as more than a good part of a deep line.

NFL Draft Projection: Sixth Round

John Ridgeway, Arkansas

Size: 6-6, 320

The Good: Very big and very strong, there’s nothing splashy about what he does. As long as you’re not asking for him to get into the backfield, he’s going to be just fine as a great-value rock in the middle. He can gum up the works, but he’s more than that – the tools are there to develop into a steady starter.

The Not-So-Good: He only did it for one year. A former FCS star at Illinois State, he transferred to Arkansas and put up a solid season on the inside of the line. He’s not going to do anything in the backfield – he made two sacks and just four tackles for loss – and he’s going to need plenty of refinement.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: Value, value, value. You can’t have enough 6-6, 320-pound run stoppers. It shouldn’t take too much for him to go from a decent prospect to a steady factor in a rotation as a big bodied power guy.

NFL Draft Projection: Fifth Round

Kalia Davis, UCF

Size: 6-2, 310

The Good: The upside is enormous. You know what you’re getting – he’s an athletic interior pass rusher in a short, squatty defender. There’s good enough strength and leverage to be an anchor, but his game is about his quickness and athleticism with a great burst off the line and the versatility to work in any scheme. However …

The Not-So-Good: He’s coming off a torn ACL and still could use a little while to get fully back to form. The body type isn’t quite what you might want, and he’d probably be a little better and more effective at around 285 pounds like he did a few years ago. His game is going to be about his quickness instead of power.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: He’s a true projection with the hope that he could be a gem in the later rounds. He didn’t play in 2020 and got hurt last year, so it’s mostly about seeing what he did in 2019 with 27 tackles, three sacks, and eight tackles for loss. You’ll have to be patient until he’s right, but he’s a good enough pass rushing prospect to develop.

NFL Draft Projection: Sixth Round

Thomas Booker, Stanford

Size: 6-4, 309

The Good: Very versatile and very athletic, he was able to play end in college but projects to be an ultra-quick tackle who can fit in a variety of roles. Tall, well-framed, and fast, he ran a sub-5.0 at the combine and he can bring that to the field as an interior pass rusher who holds up just enough against the run.

The Not-So-Good: The raw bulk is missing, and he’s not going to add a whole lot more weight. While he was a good producer over his four years, his pass rushing production didn’t improve over the last two years and didn’t turn into the dominant force he should have.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: He’s Stanford. He’s a fantastic leader who was the key locker room guy as his four years went on, and he can be a good part of an NFL defensive line rotation defending on the scheme. No, he won’t be a massive run stopper, and he needs to fire up more as a pass rusher than he did over the last two years, but he’ll be a good part of a rotation.

NFL Draft Projection: Sixth Round

Jayden Peevy, Texas A&M

Size: 6-6, 315

The Good: The NFL size is there along with enough athleticism to move well for a guy with his bulk. He might not be a massive space-eater or a next-level anchor, but he’ll be a wall in the middle of a line with the ability to move into the backfield. There’s enough in place to be a good interior pass rusher.

The Not-So-Good: Not a dominant force, he was a good part of the Texas A&M puzzle, but he wasn’t the main man. He’s more of a good interior presence who can do a little of everything right than sure-thing NFL starter who’ll overwhelm linemen. He added about 20 pounds and wasn’t quite as active last year, but …

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: A five-year guy at Texas A&M, he had his best statistical season in his last year with 43 tackles with two sacks and six tackles for loss. No, he’s not going to be the star of your line, but guys with his frame, experience, and all-around talent can be a great-value part of the rotation for a long, long time.

NFL Draft Projection: Fifth Round

Otito Ogbonnia, UCLA

Size: 6-4, 320

The Good: A UCLA track athlete with the body, bulk, and frame to hold up on the interior, he’s a block of granite who doesn’t get moved off his base. While he played for four years for the Bruins, he’s really just getting started with a whole lot of upside to an already good game. The potential is there to be better as an interior pass rusher.

The Not-So-Good: The production wasn’t anything amazing. He generated 76 tackles in four years and just 4.5 sacks with 8.5 tackles for loss. Used more as a guy who occupied blockers, he still has to prove he can do more to get into the backfield and be a bigger all-around factor.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: Great through the offseason scouting and workout process, he’s got an intriguing set of tools with his size and athleticism to project to be a find after the third round. He’ll be used as an anchor on the nose with the potential to be a huge value get.

NFL Draft Projection: Fifth Round

Matthew Butler, Tennessee

Size: 6-4, 295

The Good: Very, very productive over his last three seasons with 135 tackles and close to ten sacks and 15 tackles for loss, he’s a veteran leader who was great on the field and in the classroom. He might not be quite as big or athletic as needed, but he knows how to produce with what he’s got.

The Not-So-Good: The size and the athleticism – it’s not quite there. He’s not a big space-eater, and he’s not an NFL interior pass rusher. Bigger offensive linemen are going to run him over, and the quicker ones aren’t going to let him do anything in the backfield, but …

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: The guy was great in the SEC against high-end line after high-end line. No, he’s not going to be the tackle you build a line around, but he’s a no-worry high-effort fighter who’ll make himself a pro.

NFL Draft Projection: Fourth Round

Eyioma Uwazurike, Iowa State

Size: 6-6, 320

The Good: Massive, productive, and with stunning movement for his size, he’s got NFL tools to go along with the right personality to keep on improving. A five-year player for Iowa State, he was a part of the defense from the start and grew into an all-star anchor who came up with 20 tackles for loss and 12 sacks over his last two years.

The Not-So-Good: He’s not that athletic. He can move well and he turned into an all-around force last year for the Cyclones, but he’s not going to beat anyone in the NFL with his first move and he’s likely going to have to be more of a phone booth guy than he’s used to. Basically, the stuff he was able to do in the Big 12 might not translate, but …

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: You want your late round value get for a defensive front? Here you go. There’s not enough WOW to make him a must-have – he’ll get lost a bit in the shuffle – but he’s got the tools and the want-to to make him a surprising get who should stick in a rotation.

NFL Draft Projection: Fifth Round

Neil Farrell, LSU

Size: 6-4, 325

The Good: A five-year player for LSU, turned into a steady producer over his last three seasons with a career-high 9.5 tackles for loss last year with 45 tackles. No, he’s not going to be a factor in opposing backfields at the next level, but he’s a huge-bodied run stopper who’s used to gumming up the works. He’s a tough guy for the defensive front, but …

The Not-So-Good: Are the tools really there? He’s got good size, but he had a rough combine and doesn’t have the quickness to do much to get behind the line at the next level. He’ll work and he’ll come up with an occasional big play, but you’re getting him for just one thing …

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: Nah, he’s hardly the perfect prospect, and he’s not going to win any races or do anything athletically to take over games, but he’ll sit in the middle of the line and keep a blocker from getting a push. That’s it – and that’s good enough if you have pass rushers and athletes around him.

NFL Draft Projection: Fourth Round

DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M

Size: 6-4, 290

The Good: Versatile at the next level, he can work somewhere in just about any scheme as a big end or a too-quick tackle. He might not be massive, but he’s strong enough to hold up just fine against the run and he improved as a pass rusher.

After a strong first two years, he cranked up a career-high 58 tackles with 8.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss, spreading out his pass rushing production throughout the season with more consistency than any sort of a wow-factor. Creative, skilled, and with a whole lot of moves in his game, he should be a nice fit, but …

The Not-So-Good: As good as he was last year, you’re still wanting more. He’s got all the tools in the box to be a dominant force, and he didn’t quite take over games like some might want. For all the things he can do right, he’s not so amazing athletically that the lack of pure bulk can be blown off. The technique is more than NFL ready – now he needs to keep the car in high gear.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: There’s a chance some aren’t going to like him because he’s sort of a tweener. The production will be fine, but does he have that otherworldly burst to be a pass rusher considering he’s not going to be an anchor against the run? Don’t get too caught up in what’s missing – he’s a very, very good football player who’s a must-get outside of the top 50.

NFL Draft Projection: Second Round

Phidarian Mathis, Alabama

Size: 6-4, 312

The Good: The guy went through The Process and emerged as a star of a senior on the Alabama line. He’s what you want for your NFL line – he’s a true leader, an anchor, and he’s going to do all of the dirty work needed to occupy a space and make a stop at whatever comes his way.

Improved as a veteran, he went from good to amazing with 53 tackles, nine sacks, and 12 tackles for loss as he grew into more of a factor in the backfield. But …

The Not-So-Good: He’s not going to be much of a pass rusher at the next level. He was consistent – his nine sacks came in nine games – but you’re not getting him to get to the quarterback. He’s likely only going to be used on running downs and he’s going to struggle a bit against the faster tempo attacks.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: There might be a bit of an Alabama bump when it comes to Mathis, but he’s got the basics to be a sound pick somewhere just after the top 50. He’s a tough, sound defender who’ll stop the run and hold up just fine through the wars – and yeah, he will get into the backfield here and there.

NFL Draft Projection: Second Round

Devonte Wyatt, Georgia

Size: 6-3, 307

The Good: A large part of a national championship defensive front, he’s got good size and crazy quickness – he ran a 4.77 in Indianapolis and was great through the short drills – with the toughness to hold up just fine against the run.

Steady, he put together a good four-year stretch and took his pass rush up a bit last year. No tackle in the draft works quite as well as he does from side to side – he’s built for the faster-tempo offenses that want to try stretching the field horizontally. He’s the guy who’ll get to the gap and keep the play stretched out.

The Not-So-Good: Here’s where this gets a little tough. He was surrounded by NFL talent up front, he didn’t have to be the anchor, and he was allowed to roam as free as a defensive tackle could – the pass rush wasn’t there.

For all of his quickness, burst, and ability, he only generated five sacks and 12 tackles for loss in four seasons. Considering he’s not a huge anchor against power running games, he’s not the 100% sure thing to be worth the price tag considering where he’s probably going to be drafted.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: Love him after the top 50, a bit iffy on him in a first round loaded with good linemen on both sides of the ball. If you’re taking him in the top 25 – which is where he’s probably going to go – you want him to be THE GUY for your defensive front, and he’s not that.

He’s going to be good as a fine part of a puzzle and a long time starter – but is he your game-changing interior lineman who’ll take over games? Probably not. Is he the anchor to work your defense around? Not really. He’s a safe, reliable defensive tackle with athleticism.

NFL Draft Projection: First Round

Perrion Winfrey, Oklahoma

Size: 6-4, 292

The Good: If he’s not the best interior pass rusher in the draft, he’s right there in the mix. He might be undersized, but he’s extremely quick off the ball, fast – he ran a sub-4.9 40 – and he’s a one-track defender who gets in the backfield, and then does it again.

Good in the big games, he came up with strong performances against Texas, Baylor, and Oklahoma State last season, and …

The Not-So-Good: He didn’t make a whole lot of things happen when he wasn’t getting behind the line. He’s strong, but he’s not a big run stuffer with just 42 tackles in his two years. As good as he is as a pass rusher, there’s still technique work to do, but …

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: The guy brings the energy and the fight to every pass rush. When it comes to improvement, that will happen – the former JUCO star was good in his first year at OU, and cranked it up several notches last year. He’s not for everyone, and he’ll need to be surrounded by bulk, but he’s going to be a big-play factor behind the line.

NFL Draft Projection: Second Round

Travis Jones, UConn

Size: 6-5, 333

The Good: 6-5, 333 and can run a 4.9? Start with just that, and there’s a lot more to like.

He’s got the quickness to fit anywhere inside, but he’s a tough nose tackle who’ll bring the power and toughness to a double team. Steady throughout his three seasons – UConn didn’t play in 2020 – he got better as a pass rusher while still holding up just fine against the run.

Yeah, he beat up some mediocre offensive lines, but he held up just fine against Clemson, Vanderbilt, and Purdue types from the Power Five, too.

The Not-So-Good: If this can be a negative, he was quicker in drills than he seems to play. With his size you’re getting him to hold up against the run, but he doesn’t necessarily play all that lightning fast – that wasn’t exactly his job. He’s not going to be an interior pass rusher at the next level.

There’s also the concern of wear and tear. He held up, but he was beaten on by everyone’s blocking scheme.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: The guy produced for a miserable UConn defense that had NOTHING. Other top tackles in this bunch had the luxury of being surrounded by a slew of Johnny Five-Stars – not Jones.

He’s got the tools, the make-up, and the size to be your main man on a line, and there’s a chance he blows up to a whole other level once he works alongside guys who can take some of the load off.

NFL Draft Projection: Second Round

Jordan Davis, Georgia

Size: 6-6, 340

The Good: In a solid draft class full of good tackles who can do a variety of things well, you’re taking Jordan Davis to do one thing – anchor.

He’s not going to get into the backfield, and he’s not going to crank up the big tackle stats. What he will do is be the instant leader of your defense as the big guy, big personality, big leader who’ll require two multi-millionaire NFL offensive lineman to even think about pushing him off his base. Throw in his size, toughness, and bulk, and then throw in that he ran a sub-4.8 40 at the combine and vertical jumped like an NBA power forward.

All the basics are there to be a superstar NFL defensive tackle, but …

The Not-So-Good: If you care about stats and big plays behind the line, he’s not for you. He’s one of those players who coaches love, average fans won’t notice, and his peers will all respect, but he might get a sack here and there, and he might come up with a few tackles.

If he starts to get moved off his base, or if he starts to get beaten down by the end of a season, his value and worth will quickly diminish. You want him to eat up everything that comes inside – and that he can do at an All-Pro level.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: He’s the alpha-dog guy for your defense to set a tone from the very start.

He won’t be that lackluster as a tackler or pass rusher – especially if he’s on a line with bulk – but you can do SO much with the rest of the defense because you have this one guy who’ll occupy the middle of the field.

For some reason, guys like Davis aren’t valued as much as the splashy speed rushers or big number players, but if this all works out like it’s supposed to, he might just be the best player in the 2022 NFL Draft.

NFL Draft Projection: First Round

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