2021 NFL Draft: Breaking down the top three defensive tackles

Defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon #54 of the Iowa Hawkeyes. (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)
Defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon #54 of the Iowa Hawkeyes. (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images) /
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The 2021 NFL draft will have some interesting defensive ends coming onto the scene when the big event starts.

The top three for this list of draft prospects will be for 3-4 defensive ends as there will be a separate countdown for edge rushers. If you feel like some defensive ends are missing they may be coming soon in another top three list.

Now with that out of the way, this group is a talented bunch that can really cause disruptions along the front line. It is more of a top-heavy prospect pool as many have different grades on them but the top guys are great players. They can be instant contributors that cause havoc. Many of them will have very high grades as the draft gets closer, especially the player at number one who will be a top 20 pick when it is all said and done. The other two on this list are more likely day two selections as they have talent that teams are looking for but are not highly regarded as the number one player on this list.

Jay Tufele, USC

Jay Tufele has a great frame to work with and his youth (22 in July) will have NFL teams calling when the draft begins. He has played nicely over the past two seasons at USC, totaling 7.5 sacks and 65 tackles during that stretch.

Tufele will need to continue his growth at the next level but that is not a concern for most NFL teams as he has great size and the ability to just get better as time goes on. Drafting him early will be based on what this prospect’s ceiling is and not entirely where he is currently at his playing ability. He is better off not being a day one starter but a second-round selection will likely throw him into the deep end to see if he will sink or swim. He will have to learn as he plays and that will have to work for growing his game.