Top 10 defensive line prospects in 2016 NFL Draft
A'Shawn Robinson, Alabama
Robinson was one of Alabama's high-profile anchors along the defensive line; a force inside that made it difficult for all opposing ball carriers in his path. He projects has a run-stuffing tackle who can play in either a 4-3 or 3-4 front, and is expected to go pretty early.
Jarran Reed, Alabama
The Crimson Tide's defensive line was so stacked that it was difficult at times to tell who was its best player. Regardless, Reed flashed for much of the season vs. the run and took on double teams to make life easier for A'Shawn Robinson and others.
Kenny Clark, UCLA
The 6-2, 310 pound tackle racked up nine tackles for losses and five sacks in his junior season with the Bruins. After receiving a second round grade from evaluators, Clark opted to enter the draft.
Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State
The AP Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year recently declared for the draft, and has a good chance of seeing his stock rise considerably during the evaluation process. His final year with the Cowboys was simply stellar; he notched 12.5 sacks with 16.5 tackles for losses and 19 quarterback hurries. By the time we get to April, he might crack the top half of the first round.
Carl Nassib, Penn State
Nassib has come such a long way in his career with the Nittany Lions. Take, for instance, former Penn State and current Texans coach Bill O'Brien's recent comments about how when he first coached Nassib from 2012-2013, he didn't believe he would ever make it to the NFL. But the senior proved O'Brien and other critics wrong by posting monster numbers (15.5 sacks) in his final season to help catapult him into the discussion about the top D-line prospects in this year's class.
DeForest Buckner, Oregon
At 6-7, 290 pounds, Buckner has the prototypical frame to play a 3-4 defensive end at the next level. What makes him different from most three-down ends is his pass rush ability; he notched 18 sacks in his career with the Ducks.
Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech
Butler had such an outstanding season that he was one of the few Conference USA products to be invited to the Senior Bowl. It's there where he'll have his chance to show that his talent is right up there with competition from the power conferences.
Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
Nkemdiche is supremely talented, but missed the Sugar Bowl due to a marijuana possession charge. He then elected to forego his senior season for the NFL Draft, where scouts will undoubtedly grill him to see if there are any other red flags.
Adolphus Washington, Ohio State
Washington is another talented-but-troubled prospect in this year's defensive line class that will have to prove himself to scouts. Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer suspended the senior lineman for the Fiesta Bowl following a solicitation citation he received in mid-December. He made a public apology, but now he'll have to convince NFL evaluators that he'll stay squeaky clean from now on.
Jonathan Bullard, Florida
After a solid senior campaign that included five sacks and 17.5 tackles for losses, Bullard is generating some buzz that he could sneak into the first round.