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Top 10 IDLs in the 2022 NFL Draft

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NFL Draft week is top-10 week at Game On Wisconsin. Let’s check out our favorite interior defenders.

Initially, I thought the 2022 class was going to lack interior defensive line talent, but as the 2021 season wore on, I started to change my tune. I have 3 prospects that graded out as potential first-round picks. Depending on who you talk to, that number could be as high as 5.

Day two depth at the position does drop off a bit but the prospects only get more interesting the deeper we dive into it.

1. Jordan Davis – Georgia

Davis is a mammoth human that has been compared to a small bear, The Big Show, and a number of other interesting characters both real and fictional. His athletic profile is absolutely unbelievable. But with Davis, you’re not just hoping to unearth some potential. He’s already proven himself to be one of the best run stoppers we’ve seen in years.

However, we’re hoping for some development as a pass rusher. Davis doesn’t have any moves and his experience in PR opportunities is fairly limited. But a guy can learn.

Prospects like this simply do NOT come around every year.

2. Travis Jones – UConn

Much like Davis, Travis Jones has an insane athletic profile. The term ‘dancing bear’ has run its course but the former UConn IDL certainly meets the criteria. He’s learned to take advantage of his god-given traits and seems to get better everyday.

Jones lacks nuance as a pass rusher but it’s fair to question the level of coaching that he’s received. He can step in and play any role from the 6 to the 0. Jones is a day-one starter that could wind up as the top interior defender from the 2022 NFL Draft class.

3. Devonte Wyatt – Georgia

Off-field concerns are growing for Devonte Wyatt and he’s one of the older prospects in this draft class. Still, it’s hard to ignore his skillset. He’s a plug-and-play at the 3-tech and could be a Pro Bowler as a rookie. Wyatt is the most explosive interior defender in this class. He showed it on almost every snap with the Bulldogs.

4. Logan Hall – Houston

Hall continues to climb draft boards and is now entrenched in the first-round discussion. He’s put on almost 20-lbs of good weight over the last year and has an impressive blend of power and athleticism. We’re not sure yet what his best fit will be at the next level but you draft him now and figure out the role later.

5. DeMarvin Leal – Texas A&M

DeMarvin Leal has fallen off the face of the earth. A preseason top-5 hopeful, Leal has only hurt his draft stock since. After a lackluster 2021 season and a disappointing pre-draft process, it’s fair to question how much Leal actually cares. That’s not a web that NFL FOs want to tangle with.

Still, Leal has a history of doing this.

Leal’s landing spot is one of the great unknowns as we approach the 2022 NFL Draft.

6. Perrion Winfrey – Oklahoma

Winfrey is a bit enigmatic. His production has been very up and down and he was out of position with the Sooners. They thought he would be more disruptive from the nose – that wasn’t the case. Winfrey ate doubles all day, exposing his biggest weakness – anchor.

That will be less of a concern at the next level as we expect Winfrey to ease into a 3-tech role. He’ll be able to shine in one-on-ones and dictate QB movement from a number of angles.

7. Phidarian Mathis – Alabama

We’re gonna keep this one short and sweet. Mathis is solid in every aspect of the game but he’s rather boring to talk about. He’ll install right away and impress during camp, likely earning a starting role. There isn’t much of a difference between the floor and the ceiling. Mathis is a very safe pick.

8. Matthew Butler – Tennessee

Another talented 3-tech for this draft class. It feels like the mid-2000s all over again. Butler has the movement ability and PR production that we’re all looking for. He should work his way into day-two of the 2022 NFL Draft.

9. Neil Farrell – LSU

Farrell will be a nose tackle at the next level but he has the potential to be more than that. He’s an explosive big man that offers pass-rush ability. Farrell could be a good one at the next level, and it might not take him long.

10. Zach Carter – Florida

He’s not an interior defender on everybody’s board but Zach Carter profiles better to that role than the edge. He bends well but doesn’t have much closing athleticism. He can bang inside in a 3 or 5 and that’s probably where he’s best suited at the next level.

 

This IDL class got a lot of flack early on but it’s established itself as something potentially special. With Davis, Jones, Wyatt, and possibly Hall, there could be 4 first-round picks from this group. Players like Leal and Winfrey look like solid bets to produce as pass rushers. The RAS marks for these guys are high and we see it on the field.

The depth that follows is only okay. I’d be cautious investing outside my top-6. But there’s so much potential to lean on at the back-end of the last day of the draft. A top 15 or 20 would have properly represented the talent that this IDL class offers.

Expect to see a consistent drip of IDL talent as the last day of the 2022 NFL Draft drags on.

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