2020 NFL Draft player rankings: Top 10 defensive tackles available

2020 NFL Draft player rankings: Top 10 defensive tackles available

Premier edge rushers like Chase Young are getting plenty of hype entering the 2020 NFL Draft, and rightfully so.

But don't sleep on the big boys.

Defensive tackle is a coveted position for NFL teams, which may explain why six interior defensive linemen went in the first round of last year's draft.

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The 2020 Draft brings another strong crop of defensive tackles highlighted by Auburn's Derrick Brown, a unanimous All-American and projected top-10 pick.

That crop may intrigue the Patriots: New England signed Beau Allen in free agency to complement Adam Butler and Byron Cowart but may look to add more muscle after Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry galloped for 182 rushing yards in the 2019 AFC Wild Card Round.

So, who could be on the board for the Patriots? Let's run through the top 10 defensive tackles in the 2020 NFL Draft.

1. Derrick Brown

College: Auburn
Class: Senior
2019 stats: 54 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, four passes defensed

Simply put, Brown is a monster. At 6-foot-5, 318 pounds, he routinely dominated elite SEC competition with a potent blend of power and athleticism and was named the conference's Defensive Player of the Year. Brown should be off the board within the top 10 picks.

Projected Round: First (Top 10 picks)

2. Javon Kinlaw

College: South Carolina
Class: Senior
2019 stats: 35 tackles, six tackles for loss, six sacks, two passes defensed

The other surefire first-round pick at defensive tackle, Kinlaw excels at defending both the run and pass and projects as an immediate NFL starter. The 6-foot-6, 310-pound South Carolina native impressed at the Senior Bowl after earning First-Team All-SEC honors and should be a top-15 pick.

Projected Round: First (Top 20 picks)

3. Ross Blacklock

College: TCU
Class: Junior
2019 stats: 40 tackles, nine tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, zero passes defensed

After missing his entire sophomore season due to an Achilles injury, Blacklock shed 25 pounds and returned with a vengeance in 2019 to earn All-Big 12 honors. While his run defense could use work, he brings elite quickness at 290 pounds that makes him one of the best pass rushers in this group. 

Projected Round: First or Second

4. Justin Madubuike

College: Texas A&M
Class: Junior
2019 stats: 45 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, two passes defensed

While a bit "undersized" for the position at 293 pounds, Madubuike has been a stud at every level. He was a five-star recruit out of high school, earned the Aggies' defensive MVP award as a sophomore in 2018 and wreaked havoc in 2019 with an interception and a blocked kick to go along with 5.5 sacks.

Projected Round: Second

5. Neville Gallimore

College: Oklahoma
Class: Senior
2019 stats: 29 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, one pass defensed

The 6-foot-2, 302-pound native of Canada has had five years at Oklahoma to hone his skills after redshirting in 2015. While his fundamentals could use some work, Gallimore has a strong motor and could shine at the NFL level with the right coaching.

Projected Round: Second or Third

6. Marlon Davidson

College: Auburn
Class: Senior
2019 stats: 48 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, one pass defensed

Brown gets all the hype, but Davidson actually led Auburn in sacks in 2019 and tied his fellow first-team All-SEC selection with 11.5 tackles for loss. The 6-foot-3, 278-pound Alabama native could be an intriguing target for the Patriots in the middle rounds.

Projected Round: Second or Third

7. Jordan Elliott

College: Missouri (via Texas)
Class: Junior
2019 stats: 44 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, three passes defensed

Elliott's upside is in his versatility, as he played in a variety of alignments during his one season at Texas and two years at Missouri. At 6-foot-4, 315 pounds, he boasts the size to be a solid run stuffer and strong pass rusher at the NFL level with more coaching.

Projected Round: Third or Fourth

8. Raekwon Davis

College: Alabama
Class: Senior
2019 stats: 47 tackles, three tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, zero passes defensed

Davis' best college season actually came in 2017, when he tallied 8.5 sacks as a sophomore for the Crimson Tide. Two consecutive dips in production have hampered his draft stock, but Davis still is a future NFL starter who competed in three National Championship Games during his four years at Alabama.

Projected Round: Third or Fourth

9. DaVon Hamilton

College: Ohio State
Class: Senior
2019 stats: 28 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, zero passes defensed

Hamilton needed two seasons to become an everyday starter for a deep Ohio State squad, but he boasts solid run-stuffing potential at 6-foot-4, 310 pounds. He could be a solid rotational defensive tackle for an NFL team if he improves in the pass rush.

Projected Round: Fourth

10. Rashard Lawrence

College: LSU
Class: Senior
2019 stats: 28 tackles, six tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, three passes defensed

An ankle injury limited Lawrence's production in 2019 after a stronger 2018 campaign, but he still earned second-team All-SEC honors for the national champion Tigers. Lawrence's leadership and toughness may entice a team to snag him in the middle rounds.

Projected Round: Fourth or Fifth

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NFL rumors: Salary details of Cam Newton's Patriots contract revealed

NFL rumors: Salary details of Cam Newton's Patriots contract revealed

The New England Patriots aren't spending a whole lot of money to bring Cam Newton to Foxboro.

Reports surfaced Sunday night that the Patriots and the veteran quarterback had agreed to a one-year, incentive-laden contract worth up to $7.5 million. 

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Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported Wednesday the financial breakdown of Newton's contract with the Patriots, including the base salary, guaranteed money and incentive totals.

The Patriots didn't have much salary cap space before this move. In fact, they recently had the lowest amount of available cap space in the entire league. So, for them to be able to acquire Newton and not have to spend a ton of money or cap space is pretty extraordinary.

Perhaps the most interesting part of Newton's contract is that the Patriots could franchise tag the 31-year-old quarterback next offseason. It gives New England more options in the event Newton has a strong 2020 season.

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There's not a ton of risk with this move, and it could end up being one of the best roster additions of Bill Belichick's 20-year tenure in New England if Newton is able to stay healthy.

Newton is a former league MVP (2015) and has been one of the most exciting quarterbacks to watch throughout his nine-year career. The last time he played close to a full season was 2018, when the former No. 1 overall draft pick threw for 3,395 yards with 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Newton also ran for 488 yards and scored four rushing touchdowns in those 14 games.

If he produces similar or better statistics in 2020, the Patriots should have a strong chance to extend their playoff appearance streak to 12 seasons.

NFL rumors: Week 1 and Week 4 of 2020 preseason schedule to be eliminated

NFL rumors: Week 1 and Week 4 of 2020 preseason schedule to be eliminated

The NFL preseason could feature half as many games as we're accustomed to seeing.

ProFootballTalk reported Wednesday that Week 1 and Week 4 of the 2020 preseason will be eliminated.

Here's an explanation from PFT's Mike Florio:

The move was driven by two primary factors. First, teams who will be playing preseason games on the road won’t want to move that many people. Second, given that no teams had on-field practice sessions in the offseason, coaches would rather have the extra time to work with their teams, and that will happen if they don’t have to worry about two extra preseason games.

The NFLPA has yet to sign off on these moves, according to NFL Media's Mike Garafolo:

These cuts make a lot of sense as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the United States and the rest of the world. The pandemic has forced all offseason activities so far to be held virtually. Training camps are scheduled to begin July 28, and the league announced earlier this week that it's sticking to that date

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What would these preseason changes mean for the New England Patriots? It's not yet known if teams will just play their Week 2 and Week 3 preseason games, or if any opponents and/or dates will also be changed.

Here's the Patriots' original preseason schedule that was announced a few weeks ago:

  • Thursday, August 8 at Lions, 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, August 17 at Titans, 7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, August 22 vs. Panthers, 7:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, August 29 vs. Giants, 7:30 p.m.

The most intriguing matchup on the Patriots' preseason schedule is with the Panthers, especially after New England reportedly agreed to sign former Carolina quarterback Cam Newton

Newton spent nine seasons with the Panthers before being released in March. He was a free agent for several months before finally landing in New England. This preseason matchup would be Newton's first time playing against the team that drafted him No. 1 overall in 2011.

It sounds like both the league and NFLPA still have some things to work out regarding the preseason. In any event, playing the full four-game schedule doesn't make a ton of sense given the current COVID-19 situation.