Draft Grade Index:

90+ All-Pro Projection

85-89: Pro Bowl Projection

81-84: 1st Round – Year 1 starter

77-80: 2nd/3rd Round – Year 1 contributor, year 2-3 starter

74-76: Early Day 3: Core special teamer and rotational player

71-74: Mid Day 3: Core special teamer and backup

68-70: Late Day 3: Developmental and special teamer


1) Ruke Orhorhoro – Clemson – 6’4 / 294

Grade: 83

Fifth year senior, three-year starter. Lagos, Nigeria. Orhorhoro played just two years of high school football after arriving to America as a nine-year old. He was actually a better basketball player early on. Clemson took a chance on the raw 265 pounder and after barely seeing the field in both 2019 and 2020, he stepped up in a big way when Bryan Bresee got injured in 2021. He turned himself into a consistent, steady interior player capable of taking on the dirty work. His ability to play wide and low with immense staying power and surprising quickness can put him into multiple roles within multiple schemes. Orhorhoro has some of the best hand strength you will find, as he constantly wins the lockout battle over and over. The stutter step quickness and ability to adjust late to a blocker will get him into the backfield occasionally and he has a knack for finishing (8 tackles for loss each of the last three years). This is an every down, starting caliber lineman that will be dependable play to play with some more upside to chew off since he is still relatively new to the game. Orhorhoro is a the kind of prospect a team can feel both safe about and intrigued by when it comes to the floor-ceiling ratio.

*If you asked me in the fall who would end up as the top DT grade in the class, I would have all but guaranteed it to be one of the two guys below. Orhorhoro has a Dalvin Tomlinson-type feel to his game in that he is going to be NFL-ready week one. His play strength is immense. I had the opportunity to speak with multiple ACC offensive linemen over the past three years and I always ask who the top guy is they’ve ever played against. Ruke’s name came up more often than anyone. They said he was the strongest guy that had to match up against. The difference between him and Tomlinson is two-fold. Ruke is still new to the game. He is very inexperienced compared to most prospects despite starting 30 games in college. Second, Ruke is one of the best athletes to ever test at the combine. He absolutely dominated the position drills and testing. There is something about this kid I am drawn to. I will get into the DT group in relation to NYG at the end, but this is someone I am looking at hard in round two if he is still there. He makes sense from every angle.

2) Jer’Zhan Newton – Illinois – 6’3 / 296

Grade: 82

Three-year starter. Three-time All-Big Ten, first team in 2023 and 2022, and two-time All-American, first team in 2023. Newton was a high school running back and basketball star. That kind of athletic ability shows up along the interior, a spot he is usually matched up against bigger, slower offensive linemen. His style of play fits into the prototypical three-technique role that has him shoot a single gap and create havoc in the backfield. His ability to play low and quick can be a headache for blockers to deal with. While Newton rarely left the field in college, his lack of stoutness and ability to hold the point may prevent him from being a true every down player. He is best suited for a defensive line that goes overkill in rotations. He proved he can stay on the field as much as any prospect that plays up front in the class but if a defense can take away the negative plays he has against the gap-controlled running plays, his contributions can rival what the stars of the NFL produce. Newton will need the right situation to reach his ceiling and even though there is some “home run or strikeout” in his game, he will at least make impact plays for the defense weekly.

*Newton played more than any FBS DT since the start if 2022. He was on the field for 749 snaps in 2023 alone! For reference, DeWayne Carter played 588. Brandon Dorlus 587. Maason Smith 582. Byron Murphy 438. Orhorhoro. 409. You get the picture. This guy does not come off the field. He is more than a pass rusher. He penetrates with the best of them and has the mobility in his lower body to adjust on the fly and disrupt a running game. He can crush a wide-zone rushing attack. Why don’t I have him higher? As a stay-at-home guy, he struggles mightily. He gets turned, he gets moved, and he struggles to maintain lockout with a blocker. It doesn’t always matter, but it matters enough. Still a first-round grade, though.

3) Byron Murphy II – Texas – 6’0 / 297

Grade: 81

Junior entry. One-year starter from DeSoto, TX. Played in a heavy rotational role for his first two years before moving into more of an every down-type spot in 2023. He did play a lot all three years and will enter the league with over 1,000 snaps of experience. Murphy II is slightly undersized for the interior when it comes to his length and height, but he plays with tremendous power and quickness. His pure strength and speed metrics are rare for both his position and weight class, and it shows up on tape. He clearly has a plan for his pass rush snaps, setting blockers up and adjusting based on their initial footwork. There is a strong sense of “know-how” with his techniques and because he plays with such a low base and high hands, the likelihood of a lone blocker staying on him for more than a couple seconds is low. Murphy II even splits double teams at a highly successful rate. His best fit would be in a three-tech role but he can be moved around a bit and will support the run (averaged 10 snaps a game from the A gap). After never missing a game in his career, Murphy II will be viewed as a starting-caliber inside defender capable of boosting a pass rush right away with top-ten (at the position) potential.

*Pre-grading process my gut was leaning toward Murphy being DT1 and a top 15 pick. Between the deep dive on film and his official measurements, he took a slight hit. There is a very small list of DTs that played at his size (height/length/wingspan). In the same breath, there is a very small list of DTs that are as athletic as him. Murphy II can play every down. I do not question that. Will he hold up? Some will bring up Grady Jarrett, a guy I overlooked in 2015 because of size. I think this is a better projection for a player like this, someone that could end up getting drafted late round one because of the positional value boost.

4) Braden Fiske – Florida State – 6’4 /292

Grade: 79

Sixth-year senior, four-year starter. Spent five years at Western Michigan before entering the transfer portal in 2023 where he was one of the most highly sought after transfer recruits in the country. Fiske was one of two All-Americans on the Florida State defensive line, and he showed flashes, especially late in the year, of the being the most disruptive. His get-off and ability to adjust on the move creates havoc in the backfield. The functional athleticism he plays with has had teams consider him as a situational fullback at the next level. Beyond the movement traits, Fiske brings power, but he lacks stout presence. He can get displaced by the double team and the lack of length arises when he is a stay-at-home defender. He needs to be in three or five-technique role and an every down role may not be in the cards for him. However, the ability to penetrate and impact the backfield is enough to warrant a day-two slot and his rotational impact along with the mentality he plays with will be attractive to all schemes.

*Now this is a name to keep an eye on for the Giants pick at #47. One of my favorite guys to watch in the entire class. Fiske broke out in a big way down the stretch, but don’t mistake this for a one-shot wonder. He was a pro prospect coming into 2023 and everyone wanted a piece of him in the transfer portal. This might be one of the best five athletes we have ever seen at DT in combine history. His energy is contagious and whoever drafts him will have a new coach/fan favorite. There is some hot/cold to his game and it may keep him in a rotational role. But he will make an impact player. Ideal fit for NYG.

5) Fabien Lovett Sr. – Florida State – 6’4 / 314

Grade: 79

Sixth-year senior. Four-year starter split between two seasons at Mississippi State and Florida State. Transferred to the Seminoles in 2020 and earned Honorable Mention All-ACC honors in 2021 and 2022. While he played just under 550 snaps over the last two years, Lovett had a hard time staying healthy with nagging lower body injuries, two of which were to his foot/toe. This is a guy that actually received and accepted a Senior Bowl invite in 2023, but returned to school. He has the ideal pro body for an interior run stuffer. His length, strength, and post-snap feel have been NFL ready for years. His floor is that of a solid situational run defender. What he tried to enhance, but never quite got there, was the pass rush skill set. While he did show the occasional flash (especially in 2021, his final healthy season), Lovett is going to remain an unknown there. I like the upside he has in that area and if he does reach it, he can be a complete starting interior lineman that can wreak havoc. He will turn 25 toward the end of his rookie season and his medicals need some extra screening, but this is a sneaky high-ceiling, unique prospect.

*I am pretty sure I will be the only one with a grade this high on Lovett. I was here on him last year and I saw enough in 2023 to keep him there. 35.5” arms with his this foot quickness and lower body power? He screams starting DT. A foot injury history for a guy this big will need screening. I was told he got the green check there, thus I did not downgrade him. This is also a DT that makes sense for NYG without the size handicap. While he does not bring anything near the athletic ability of Fiske, he does bring more every-down ability and still has a pass rush upside that we got a glimpse of in 2021.

6) Michael Hall Jr. / Ohio State – 6’3 / 290

Grade: 78

Third-year sophomore entry, two-year starter from Streetsboro, OH. Hall Jr. has a unique game that is fully built on disruptive quickness. While he is undersized for every down duty inside, he knows how to get by blockers in a hurry. He fits the mold of the classic three-technique (where he spent 75% of his snaps) with developed rush moves and a nose for the ball. The comfort in which he moves with, both in space and in a phone booth, will make a difference. The ups and downs are real with a player like this. He gets moved and spun in the running game and the bull rush capabilities are low. The lack of consistent durability and overall workload could be sign of what he is truly capable week to week in the NFL. He will need a specific front and role to be effective and it will likely not be an every down role. Pass rushers have value, however, and his upside in that area is good enough to warrant a slight boost to his grade.

*My grade on Northwestern DT Adebawore last year was probably a bit rich. I had a first-round grade on him, and he ended up going in the fourth. Hall Jr.’s grade is probably closer to where I should have put him. That said, Hall Jr. fits in with this scheme and is one of my favorite second-tier options for the interior pass rusher role next to Lawrence. His get off is some of the best I have seen, and his length can offset some of the size concerns. 33.5” arms are long enough to make a real difference. He has rush moves, he has excellent closing burst, and he has some killer instinct to his game. He was the most disruptive interior pass rusher at the Senior Bowl. Because of the pass rush value, I could see him sneaking into round two.

7) Kris Jenkins – Michigan – 6’3 / 299

Grade: 78

Three-year starter. All-Big Ten in 2023 and 2022, Second Team All-American in 2023. Jenkins is the son of former Pro Bowler Kris Jenkins (Panthers, Jets). He is undersized for every down duty as an inside-gap defender, but he has a level of versatility that multi-fronts will be attracted to. Jenkins’ burst and quickness post-snap can get him to shoot the gap and track down runs away from him. He works down the line exceptionally well, as his sheer athleticism is elite for the position. He shows no wasted steps, constantly wins the leverage battle, and chooses violence with his hands. There are a lot of attractive and versatile traits to his game. Jenkins is best suited for a three or five-technique type role with the occasional shift further inside. However, for him to maximize the physical gifts he has, there needs to be more variety with his pass rush. He never got over the hump there. If that remains the case, he is more of a rotational guy than a pure starter. He will be a solid player, though, and the physical ability is there to be much more.

*For the second straight year, a Michigan DT was in the top 10 of the Bruce Feldman “Freak List” – reserved for the best athletes in college football. For the second straight year, I was underwhelmed by that player on tape, and he did not test even close to what the school was stating he did in their private workouts. It was Mazi Smith a year ago (DAL first rounder), another guy I had a 78 grade on. While he deserves more time to prove what he can be, things are not off to a good start. Jenkins does have impressive talent, but there were too many losses in between his flashes to give him anything more than this. I do see a good fit here in this scheme and situation; however I fear he will be off the board before I would think the value is right.

8) DeWayne Carter – Duke – 6’2 / 302

Grade: 76

Fifth year senior, three-year starter. Three-time All-ACC, first team in 2023. One of the top students in the country, was a finalist for the “Academic Heisman” (William V. Campbell Trophy). First three-time team captain in program history. Carter is a densely built, powerful, low-to-ground defender that plays the game with immense power and quickness. He gets off the snap with a plan and shows the ability to adjust if he initially loses. A lot of his production came from second-effort plays and it makes sense considering how hard he plays. Carter will pursue the ball all over the field and chase down the action from behind. His best role will likely be at three-technique where his get off and powerful twitch can create a lot of wins. The lack of reach and lockout capabilities will make it tough for him to win as a run defender down to down, but the penetration skills and intelligence factor will create plays in flashes.

*Carter is essentially a scaled back version of the Newton/Murphy/Fiske trio. For teams in on those guys but don’t get their hands on them, Carter is a nice Plan B. His 2023 did not go as planned. They moved him to defensive end a lot and it seemed to throw off his rhythm. Some guys are not meant to be moved around and Carter is one of them. This can be a nice mid-round fit for NYG if they want to beef up the inside pass rush, something I strongly feel they need to do. He is more explosive than quick, more pass rusher than complete defender. Let him shoot the gap, get someone else to do the other stuff.

9) T’Vondre Sweat – Texas – 6’4 / 366

Grade: 76

Fifth year senior. Two-year starter. Two-time All-Big 12, first team in 2023. All-American and Outland Trophy Award winner in 2023. Sweat’s game is built on his rare size and power. He can overwhelm defenders at the point of attack with his mass and heavy hands. His game has developed into more versatile style with every down usage. The newfound pass rush and pursuit capabilities give him starter upside for both odd and even fronts with a high floor to build from. This is a kid that has been on a constant ascent both on and off the field since arriving in 2019. His maturity concerns did improve as time went on, but a DWI arrest in early April of this year puts a dark cloud over that fact. On the field, Sweat evolved into a true difference maker away from the point of attack. His ability to move like he does at 366 pounds does not come around often. Add in the dominant flashes he showed at the Senior Bowl in 1 on 1’s, there is optimism around what he can be. He will need to answer for his arrest, however.

*Sweat could not have gotten arrested at a worse time. His maturity concerns from earlier in his career centered around partying and lack of good decision making. And here we are watching him get a DUI in April. The fact this happened says a lot in my eyes. I downgraded him from a 79. The idea of NYG going after him (as a player) is more fun fantasy that intelligent reality. He would give the team a fourth oversized run defender without a true pass rush arsenal beyond anything other than a bull rush. It would be more luxury than necessity for a team that needs a lot of help. I don’t see this lining up, but I do think a team will use a third rounder on him. He is truly dominant in flashes.

10) Brandon Dorlus – Oregon – 6’3 / 283

Grade: 76

Fifth year senior, four-year starter. Three-time All-Pac 12, first team in 2023 and 2021. The highly experienced and versatile lineman gives a high floor, high ceiling outlook that can be used in multiple ways at a dependable level. If he can become more consistent with specific lower body techniques, he will be a quality starter with above average pass rush capabilities that can be moved all over the front. He has split his career between lining up as a an edge defender and interior lineman. The physical tools are there to project to both at the next level. The lockout game is strong and when he pairs it with proper bend, he consistently wins the initial fight with the blocker. From there, he shows an array of crafty moves with his hands to create space and opportunity. The athletic ability is good enough to get into the creases and when his forward lean is there, he finds daylight when pursuing the action. Dorlus is a finisher when he smells blood. His 160 career pressures and 27 tackles for loss that were compiled from all angles and positions prove his ability to impact the game. A versatile front will value him a lot, but he needs to improve his lower body power and strength. As he grows into his frame, his best fit will be inside but a front could use him as a five-technique occasionally because of the edge setting prowess he shows.

*At first glance, I was looking at round one for Dorlus. He is a true tweener that gave me some Justin Tuck vibes early on. After the deep dive on his film, I did not see enough sheer talent to be considered that high and his testing confirmed that. I can think of several schemes that would do him right and get the most out of him where you could make an argument for day two. If NYG wants a size-guy to rotate in behind Thibodeaux and Burns with capability of rushing from inside, I like the Dorlus fit. Similar vibe to what Jihad Ward offered in Martindale’s scheme but younger and faster.

11) Jordan Jefferson – LSU – 6’3 / 313

Grade: 76

Three-year starter. The former state champion wrestler spent four years at West Virginia where he contributed all four seasons, starting for two years, before transferring to LSU in 2023. There is a level of intrigue that comes from his combination of get off and upper body power. He has a lot of tape where he creates a new line of scrimmage with proper pad level. From there, he has the quickness to shed his man and reach the ball carrier in the tackle box. He had glimpses of high-level run defense. While he will struggle to man two gaps because of a slight deficit in his lower body (both strength and technique-based), Jefferson should be able to contribute right away if he is in the right role. He does not stay square, but some defenses will value that less than others. The heaviness to his punch and level of athleticism that landed him on the Bruce Feldman Freak List last summer in addition to the quality week at the Senior Bowl will credibly project him to a number three-defensive tackle spot at the next level. He was not used much as a pass rusher at LSU but there are traits worth trying to develop there. Interesting prospect.

*Jefferson actually caught my eyes in 2022 while scouting Dante Stills’ tape (2023 6th rounder by ARI). I did not even know he transferred to LSU until August. These linemen that test well athletically paired with the wrestling background are always intriguing. He has the Barry Cofield-type day three grade but capable of playing early as a stopgap type feel to his game. Jefferson has some hot and cold to his game and he was not a productive pass rusher. But he has get off with good hands and the right mentality for a guy that can offer a solid 5-10 snaps per game. Similar feel to what Nunez-Roches offers NYG right now.

12) Maason Smith – LSU – 6’5 / 306

Grade: 75

Junior entry. Two-year starter that missed almost all of 2022 after tearing his ACL week one. Smith was a top-shelf, five-star recruit out of high school that got on the field as a rotational piece right away in 2021. There were some flashes but the main draw was based purely on potential as a result of his rare combination of power height, weight, speed, and power. He was supposed to be the guy in 2022 but it was over after just eight snaps. The hype around him was still very real heading into 2023. Smith played all over the line over his career and the crowded defensive tackle room at LSU may have taken some of the production away from him. However, the fact is he never quite reached a consistent level of dominance. The flashes were there, but four of his six career sacks came against McNeese State and Georgia State and he still has several technique-based issues in his game. He plays high and lacks variety within his attacks. Smith still brings a level of sheer power that few can match and his youth will strengthen the level of intrigue. His best spot will likely be in a 3-4 front where could play on the outside. There is some Stephon Tuitt in his game.

*Even in a room full of some of the biggest people in the world, certain guys still stand out. That is Smith. This kid is just put together different. When he is standing around, you notice the absolute giant he is. You don’t always see it on film for good reason; this kid can really bend. Add in the 35” arms (second longest) and 84.5 wingspan (the widest) and you have a freak label. Smith did not look right in 2023, as he was a year off his ACL surgery. While recovery is quicker than it used to be, I still think it takes 18 months for a bigger guy to get their movement traits back to 100%. Smith’s tools and five-star status and impressive freshman campaign had some guys talking round one here at this time a year ago. If NYG wants to swing for a high-ceiling guy that can give NYG a Marcus Stroud + John Henderson (JAX) vibe to the DT room, they may have to go round three for Smith. I will say this…it would really excite me even though he could be a complete dud.

13) Mekhi Wingo – LSU – 6’0 / 284

Grade: 75

Junior entry. Spent one season at Missouri prior to transferring to LSU. Two-year starter. Earned second team All-SEC and All-American honors in 2022. Wingo’s 2023 season stood out in multiple ways, ways that sum up what teams will think about the person. First of all, he was given the prestigious #18 jersey – reserved for the number one leader on that team. That was even more notable than usual considering he had been with the program for just one year prior to getting that jersey. Second, he tore his adductor muscles off his pelvis in October which forced him into surgery, ending his season. Third, rather than sitting out the Bowl Game and prepping for the draft, he opted to come back. And lastly, he not only played, but he had his best game of the season with 2 sacks against a solid group of Wisconsin linemen. Wingo is small and gets washed out by the double team at times. He is a good, not great, athlete. But this is a productive gap shooter that will impact the game on passing downs. He is not a fit for every scheme or role inside, but he should have at least a rotational role with impact on third down. Coaches are going to love this kid’s attitude and he proved he can win against quality blockers multiple times over the last two seasons especially.

*Yet another undersized but credible threat for a three-tech spot. I cannot recall having this many in the same class, especially in the top 4-5 rounds. Wingo is probably the final option if you really want one to impact your defense in 2024. Remember what Kobie Turner did for the Rams in 2023? An end-of-third-round rookie that was not invited to the combine that led all rookies in sacks. Wingo plays the game with a lot of similarities. 284 pounds and a 77” wingspan is really, really small though even for this role. A team will get a guy they know will come in and work, though.

NFL Comparison: Kobie Turner / LAR

14) McKinnley Jackson – Texas A&M – 6’1 / 326

Grade: 72

Senior entry, three-year starter. Lucedale, MS. Jackson is a two-time team captain and has made a habit of winning team awards for toughness offseason strength work. He is a coach’s favorite type on and off the field. He is wide and thick everywhere. The length he can play with is rare considering his height and it opens doors for a variety of play styles and roles. His game is built on a quick first step that turns into power. His push and stoutness give him the ability to get the initial win spatially. There is a quick first step to penetrate if he aligns in a gap. McKinnley’s low-to-ground build and strength at 330+ pounds can create wins behind the line of scrimmage. His 15 career tackles for loss and the consistent plays on tape where he is found disrupting the action in the backfield prove he can be more than a space eater. His pass rush repertoire remains a work in progress, as he needs to get better with his hands when it comes to counter moves. At worst, Jackson will be a serviceable one/zero-technique that can muddy the waters against the inside running game. His intangibles and tools are unique to consider strong possibility he can be more than that.

*If I am running strictly a 3-4 front and I need a boulder to line up at nose tackle, I am going to have a higher grade on Jackson. This is a big-time presence inside. His unique frame presents a big upside for that spot. He needs to change his style of play, however. He overshoots in pursuit and will lack the gap integrity. If he fixes that and stops trying to be something he isn’t this is a Casey Hampton (remember him?) that can stick around for a long time.

15) Justin Eboigbe – Alabama – 6’4 / 297

Grade: 70

Fifth year senior, one-year starter, Forest Park, GA. Eboigbe played all over the line with almost equal distribution between defensive end and tackle. His blend of size, power, and hand-strength will fit best into a five-tech role, but he can fit into any scheme. This is a credible inside-out threat that can be shifted based on situations and matchups. His impact on the defense was delayed after suffering a neck injury that limited him to just four games in 2022. He bounced back in his final year with a season that essentially doubled his career production across the board. The tools were always attractive but because of the injury and crowded defensive line room, they were never consistently on display until 2023. He will be a plus-run defender right away and will give the occasional pressure in the passing game. His country-strong hands and ability to produce power from his lower half will give him a high-floor outlook. He is high-cut and shows some tightness in his hips when adjusting his weight laterally, but he should be able to keep techniques clean if can be a rotational player at the next level. He will be good for 10-15 snaps per game at the start of his career with the potential to evolve into more.

*While there isn’t anything about his game that screams upside, I bet Eboigbe will be able to come into the league right away and create a role for himself that sees the field weekly. The run defending defensive lineman is not nearly as valuable as it was 10-20 years ago but be sure to remember the fact 2023 was his first full clean year in the rotation. And he was a key piece that brought it every week. He had a pressure in all but one game. He had a tackle in all but one game. He played multiple positions in every game. Sounds like a classic old-school Patriot to me that plays better than the sum of his parts would lead you to believe.

16 – 29:

16) Tyler Davis – Clemson – 6’2 / 301: 70
17) Kristian Boyd – Northern Iowa – 6’2 / 329: 70
18) Jaden Crumedy – Mississippi State – 6’4 / 301: 70
19) Logan Lee – Iowa – 6’5 / 281: 70
20) Leonard Taylor – Miami – 6’3 / 303: 70
21) Gabe Hall – Baylor – 6’6 / 291: 69
22) Tuli Letuligasenoa – Washington – 6’1 / 295: 68
23) Myles Murphy – North Carolina: 6’4 / 309: 68
24) Evan Anderson – Florida Atlantic: 6’1 / 320: 68
25) Taki Taimani – Oregon – 6’1 / 309: 68
26) Keith Randolph – Illinois – 6’3 / 296: 68
27) Marcus Harris – Auburn – 6’2 / 286: 68
28) Casey Rogers – Oregon – 6’4 / 294: 68
29) Jonah Laulu – Oklahoma – 6’5 / 292: 68


NYG has the numbers at DT to look past the position draft weekend. They have the big bodies behind Lawrence in Davidson, Phillips, and Riley. They have a serviceable starter in Nunez-Roches. They have guys that can compete for a roster spot in Horne and Anderson. But rewind to week one of 2023 and they also were employing Leonard Williams (traded to SEA) and A’Shawn Robinson (signed with CAR). Brian Burns was added to the edge to but if you’re leaving it up to me, they need another pass rush option inside. Some of this will depend on the young guys and their progression but even in a best-case scenario, a case can be made to get another tackle in here. I believe there is only room for one. So which direction do they go? A complete DT-type that can develop some presence as a pass rusher? Or a pure three-technique that is going to lack size for every down duty? I am pass rush biased so I am leaning toward the latter and because I am all-in on building an identity, I would do it as early as round two.

Header Image © USA TODAY Sports