Take Five: 2019 Interior Defensive Linemen

The “Take Five” series aims to preview prospects for the 2019 NFL Draft.

These names will appear in a one-through-five order and “ranked”, but given the publish date, thoughts and opinions are far from finalized. Rather, it is best to use this list as a starting point of sorts, in order to get familiar with some of the top names in the class and how they might satisfy a need and fit on the Raiders’ roster.

Currently, the Raiders’ depth chart reads as follows:

Jonathan Hankins — Surprisingly, only 26-years old. Got the bag from Indianapolis to only be released one year into a three-year deal.

PJ Hall — Rookie, and perhaps one who was over-drafted by a round or two? Dealt with an ankle injury early.

Maurice Hurst — Single-handedly saved the 2018 draft class; top ten talent who fell due to heart concerns.

Clinton McDonald — 32 in January, has spent time in Cincinnati, Seattle, and Tampa Bay previously.

Justin Ellis (IR) — Foot injury.

Eddie Vanderdoes (PUP) — Former standout high school player who made an early-impact at the college level, Vanderdoes came off the board in the third-round despite all his inconsistencies. Working his way back from a torn ACL.

Looking ahead:

Mo Hurst turned plenty of frowns upside down on draft day when Jon Gruden swooped in and snagged the talented Wolverine in the fifth-round. Now, while Hurst is certainly apart of the solution (and could obviously be one of the steals of the ’18 class), the Raiders’ “issues” along the defensive front will require more than one player to fix. As of this writing, Gruden the general manager holds three (3) first-round selections. I hit on Oakland’s anemic pass-rush in the edge defender preview, and given the state of this roster, I wouldn’t fault Chucky for using all three 1’s on a defensive linemen; it’s clearly the strength of the 2019 class.

Early “top 5” prospects: 

Ed Oliver, Houston, Junior — He’s been a stud ever since he stepped on the field at Houston. His production aside (5 sacks in each of his two seasons, over 130 tackles, and 38 tackles for loss), it’s the athleticism that will keep the ceiling sky-high. I’ll never get over this dude running footwork drills, as if he was a back, flawlessly:

Quinnen Williams. Alabama, Redshirt Sophomore — Other than Kentucky’s Josh Allen, Williams’ rise this season has been astronomical. It wouldn’t surprise if he was edging Oliver out for top IDL honors by the time spring rolls around. He’s that talented. Power, quick’s, he checks all the boxes; there are early Gerald McCoy comparisons.

Rashan Gary, Michigan, JuniorOnce the nation’s number one overall recruit, Gary landed at Michigan and all the expectations followed. Shoulder injuries have slowed down his 2018 campaign, and Gary’s become somewhat of an afterthought in a loaded class up front. That would be a mistake. He’s not a perfect prospect, but his #traits and athleticism keep him a high-ceiling player at an ever-important position. You can feasibly line him up across the defensive line. Don’t overthink it.

Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State, Junior — A dominant run defender, Simmons has totaled 13 quarterback pressures through eight weeks according to PFF.

Raekwon Davis, Alabama, Junior — Davis is a monster at 6-6, 316 (per NFL Draft Scout), and his violent hands are what stands out to me the most. He’s a bully. As a true sophomore, he logged 8.5 sacks and another 10 tackles for loss. “You can’t teach his size”, which will keep him in the first-round discussion throughout barring anything unforeseen.

Catch me on Twitter: @StillRyanFive


3 thoughts on “Take Five: 2019 Interior Defensive Linemen

  1. DE Bosa has been atop of my need list but today if Bosa isn’t there Oakland might be better off drafting Oliver or Q. Williams of Alabama. DT must continue to improve and the line of scrimmage must be controlled for our defense to have any success. Stopping the run might even be a bigger need that getting to the QB.
    First round picks
    1st pick-Oliver/Williams if Bosa isn’t there
    2nd pick-Ferrell/Burns/Polite at DE
    3rd pick-CB/S

  2. Keep in mind, spending all 3 first round picks on any 3 players means potentially starting 3 rookies , which may not mean instant results. They’ll take time to develop. Oakland will control the draft in 2019 and may want to use one of those picks as trade bait for an impact player whose on someone else’s roster already. They need a running back (2nd or 3rd round?), a couple of edge rushers and a number 1 receiver. It will be impossible for them to address all their needs through one draft but I think they have to use one of those 3 first round picks to grab an established player from somewhere else. We’ll see what happens. I just hope they don’t use one of those picks on a fullback or a tight end. Gruden loves both of those positions.

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