The NFL Draft is 5 days away! Not only am I excited about the draft itself, but also it means we’re at the finale of the 7 round positional mock draft series. This week is all about the interior defensive line class. The Dallas Cowboys made some transactions this offseason to obtain some good run-stuffing defensive linemen, but considering how things unfolded last year, the team should also look to the draft to find interior guys with proficiency in run-stopping and pass-rushing.
The only issue, this is one of the worst interior defensive linemen classes in the past few decades.
The Cowboys defensive tackle depth chart has a weird infusion of talent. The headlining talent is 4th-year veteran Antwaun Woods, followed by second-round pick Trysten Hill, third-round pick Neville Gallimore, and free-agent signings Brent Urban and Carlos Watkins. As has been in the past, the projection of the defensive tackle group is largely dependent on the development of the younger talent. Based on precedent, once again, the Cowboys will likely struggle to generate pressure from the interior.
Now as we look to the 2021 interior draft class, this class has a healthy mix of run stoppers and pass rushers. Unfortunately, most of the pass rushers are incredibly raw and underdeveloped, which was the case for Hill and Gallimore coming out of college. Can the Cowboys afford to deal with another rookie who struggles to win consistently because they don’t have a clear image of their pass rush plans?
Today we’ll look at seven defensive tackles in seven rounds for the Dallas Cowboys
That will undoubtedly be the struggle of today’s 7-of-7. The Cowboys need good interior play; this draft class likely doesn’t present that opportunity immediately. The Cowboys have been adamant that their approach will be best player available; at some point, an interior defensive line prospect will be the best option on the board. When will that occur and how handcuffed to the prospect will the organization be considering all the other adequate depth on this roster.
The point of these, as always, is to gauge the value of the prospects in each round. It seems no matter where an interior defensive lineman is drafted, it generally takes a few years of consistent development in order for them to sniff their potential. Last season, the only defensive tackle drafted early that impressed was Derrick Brown. Last season, first-round pick Quinnen Williams and Dexter Lawrence had productive seasons, but both were first-round picks in 2019.
Much like tight end, there is a steeper learning curve going from college to the professional level.
This year we’re using Pro Football Networks draft simulator. No picks will be traded. This would largely defeat the purpose of this article. With the number of picks the team has, they can likely find their guy at any point in the draft. Think of this as a mock draft of interior defensive linemen.