Caleb Brantley*, NT, Florida
Height: 6-3. Weight: 307. Arm: 32. 40 Time: 5.14. Projected Round (2017): 1-3. 4/26/17: Brantley totaled 31 tackles with 9.5 for a loss, 2.5 sacks and one forced fumble in 2016. He was very disruptive with serious quickness at the point of attack. Brantley has the functional strength to shed blocks and a burst to close in a hurry. He is an effective interior pass-rusher who helps create sacks for his teammates. Sources say that Brantley is a first-round talent, but likely to go later because of concerns about his maturity, consistency, and being more of a disruptor than a producer.
In the NFL, Brantley's best fit would come as a three-technique, gap-shooting defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense. Sources from 3-4 teams say there isn't a natural fit for Brantley in their schemes and he would have to be moved around. They agree that Brantley is a really good player and first-round talent. However, Brantley didn't interview well at the combine, and that could cause him to slide to Round 2. He has maturity issues, and many team sources say they won't consider him until the second day of the 2017 NFL Draft.
8/13/16: Brantley flashes a lot of potential, but just needs to get more consistent. He can be a fast, disruptive defender at the point of attack. In 2015, Brantley had 29 tackle with 6.5 tackles for a loss and three sacks. If he can get more consistent, he could easily rise with his skill set to be a three-technique who causes havoc.
Montravius Adams, NT, Auburn
Height: 6-3. Weight: 308. Arm: 31.88. Hand: 9.25. 40 Time: 4.87. Projected Round (2017): 2-3. 4/26/17: At the combine, Adams ran fast and looked good in the field drills. He also had an excellent Senior Bowl where he showed impressive interior pass-rushing skills. Adams was superb in the one-on-ones.
Adams would be a good second-day pick given his flexibility for a 4-3 or 3-4. In a 3-4, he could play five-technique defensive end. His best position though would be as a three-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3, where he could use his speed to shoot gaps. Adams struggled against the run as a two-gap defender.
In 2016, Adams had 39 tackles with 8.5 for a loss, 4.5 sacks, one forced fumble, one interception and two passes batted. He turned in some solid play in the season opener against Clemson and continued that throughout the year. At times, Adams looked like a first-round talent with speed and size at the point of attack, but his consistency was lacking. Adams would be a beast on some plays and a ghost for other stretches.
8/13/16: Adams had a tremendous opening to the 2015 season, but didn't maintain that level of play. Auburn also gave him too many snaps. He cooled down significantly after his hot start to the season. Adams totaled 44 tackles, 2.5 for a loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles and one pass broken up during 2015.
Adams has demonstrated the ability to be a speedy disruptor at the point of attack with pass rush to go along with run defense. He has a ton of physical talent, but has to maintain good conditioning and not get lazy with his motor.
Carlos Watkins, NT, Clemson
Height: 6-3. Weight: 312. Arm: 33.5. Hand: 10.38. Projected 40 Time: 5.15. Projected Round (2017): 3-4. 4/26/17: Watkins had 50 tackles with 13.5 for a loss, 10.5 sacks and four passes broken up in 2016. He was superb against Auburn in the season opener and was a very steady disruptive presence for Clemson to close out the season. Watkins dominated Ohio State in the first round of the playoffs and also played well against Alabama in the National Championship. After the season, Watkins continued his strong play with a good week at the Senior Bowl.
8/13/16: Watkins was a tough interior defender for Clemson in 2015 and was part of the program's forceful defensive line. The junior totaled 34 tackles, 7.5 tackle for a loss, 3.5 sacks, one interception and three passes batted. Clemson has lost the other three defensive line starters to the NFL since 2015, so Watkins could see a lot more blocking attention this year. Prior to last season, he was a backup.
Dalvin Tomlinson, NT, Alabama
Height: 6-3. Weight: 312. Arm: 33. Hand: 10. 40 Time: 5.19. Projected Round (2017): 3-4. 4/26/17: Tomlinson was a good run stuffer for Alabama and really improved late in the 2016 season with more plays in the backfield. He had 62 tackles with three sacks, four passes broken up and one forced fumble on the year. Tomlinson put together a good week of practice at the Senior Bowl and wowed teams in the interview sessions.
8/13/16: Tomlinson rotated into the game and totaled 34 tackles with six passes batted in 2015. With Jarran Reed and A'Shawn Robinson in the NFL, Tomlinson should take on a bigger role in 2016.
Jaleel Johnson, NT, Iowa
Height: 6-2. Weight: 309. Arm: 32.75. Hand: 9.5. 40 Time: 5.38. Projected Round (2017): 3-5. 4/26/17: Johnson has the skill set to be a difference-maker at the point of attack. He is strong enough to shed blocks, yet has the speed to close on the quarterback. He ran slower than expected at the combine.
Johnson needs to get more consistent and increase the tempo of his motor, but he had 7.5 sacks in 2016. The senior also recorded 55 tackles with 10 tackles for a loss and two passes broken up. As a junior, he had 45 tackles with 5.5 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks and one pass batted.
In a number of ways, Johnson is a similar prospect to former teammate Carl Davis, who had first-round potential but slid to the third round in large part because of inconsistent effort. Johnson looks like he has a better motor and more consistent effort.
Jarron Jones, NT, Notre Dame
Height: 6-5. Weight: 315. Arm: 35.5. 40 Time: 5.33. Projected Round (2017): 3-5. 4/26/17: Jones recorded 45 tackles with 11 for a loss, two sacks, three passes batted and one forced fumble in 2016, but was more active for Notre Dame than the numbers illustrate. Jones is a disruptive defender who makes plays in the backfield in the ground game as well as puts heat on the quarterback. He has versatile size for a 3-4 or 4-3 defense. Jones has a lot of potential with good size, but lacks consistency.
8/13/16: Early on in 2015, Jones tore his MCL and went out for the season. He was having a quality 2014 season before a foot injury caused him to miss the final two contests. Jones tied Sheldon Day for the most tackles on the line with 40. Jones also had 7.5 tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks with two passes batted. He could be even better as a junior and should form a tough tandem with Day.
Elijah Qualls*, NT, Washington
Height: 6-1. Weight: 313. Arm: 30.63. 40 Time: 5.13. Projected Round (2017): 4-6. 4/26/17: Qualls had 38 tackles with five tackles for a loss and three sacks in 2016. For the NFL, he is a nose tackle prospect who is a solid defender at the point of attack. Qualls may not stay on the field in passing situations in the NFL, and that could hurt where he gets drafted. As a sophomore, Qualls recorded 26 tackles with 4.5 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks.
Vincent Taylor*, NT, Oklahoma State
Height: 6-3. Weight: 310. Arm: 34.38. 40 Time: 5.07. Projected Round (2017): 4-6. 4/26/17: Taylor is a sleeper prospect who could end up being a nice value pick in the mid-rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft. He has disruptive speed at the point of attack with the strength to fight off blockers. Taylor played well as a junior and decided to skip his senior year. In 2016, Taylor had 51 tackles with 13 for a loss, seven sacks, two forced fumbles and one pass broken up.
8/13/16: Taylor had 48 tackles with 8.5 for a loss, five sacks and a pass broken up in 2015. He has quality size and athleticism with good upside to develop.
Eddie Vanderdoes, NT, UCLA
Height: 6-3. Weight: 305. Arm: 31.63. Hand: 10.63. 40 Time: 4.99. Projected Round (2017): 4-6. 4/26/17: Vanderdoes was a stout run defender at the point of attack, but didn't show much in the pass rush. He recorded 29 tackles with 1.5 sacks in 2016. Vanderdoes had a quality week at the Senior Bowl and worked out pretty well at the combine.
8/13/16: At the beginning of the 2015 season, Vanderdoes tore a knee ligament and went out for the year. UCLA said that his knee locked up on him earlier in the contest in which he was injured, but the final moment for him on the field came when he lifted up defensive tackle Kenny Clark (6-3, 310) while celebrating a touchdown catch that Clark made. Both were in on the goal-line offense.
Vanderdoes was a tough defender in 2014 for the Bruins, notching 50 tackles with 5.5 tackles for a loss. He came on late in that season and clearly has a lot of upside to develop.
Josh Augusta, NT, Missouri
Height: 6-4. Weight: 360. Projected 40 Time: 5.10. Projected Round (2017): 6-FA. 4/26/17: Augusta had his weight balloon and has now brought it down some. He notched 23 tackles with four for a loss and one sack in 2016. After a slow start, Augusta finished the year playing well. He had a good showing at the East-West Shrine, but his weight continues to be a problem. Augusta did not work out at the combine.
8/13/16: Augusta recorded 27 tackles, 8.5 for a loss and one pass batted in 2015. He was more disruptive and effective than the numbers illustrate, but he was smart to return for his senior year. Augusta totaled 23 tackles with 4.5 tackles for a loss, one sack, one interception and two forced fumbles in 2014. He was disruptive at the point of attack. Augusta notched two sacks as a freshman backup in 2013. He has upside with size and speed.
Tyrique Jarrett, NT, Pittsburgh
Height: 6-3. Weight: 335. Projected 40 Time: 5.31. Projected Round (2017): 6-FA. 4/26/17: Jarrett had 30 tackles with one sack on the year. He didn't participate in the combine.
8/13/16: Jarrett had 19 tackles with seven tackles for a loss and two sacks in 2015. He could be a nose tackle candidate.
Justin Shanks, NT, Florida State
Height: 6-2. Weight: 344. Projected 40 Time: 5.44. Projected Round (2017): FA. 4/26/17: Shanks only played in three games during 2016, making three tackles.
8/13/16: Shanks is a massive defensive tackle who could be a nose tackle candidate for a DTfense. He missed the 2015 season with injuries. In 2014 and 2013, Shanks was a backup.