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SNS 2024 IDL Tiers: An In-Depth Look at the 2024 IDL Class



Most draft analysts seem to be sleeping on the quality of the 2024 interior defensive line class. SNS begs to differ. This class has little elite talent but there is great overall depth with more than a dozen potential starters, a good selection of 5Ts (3-4 DEs), and a group of talented but underdeveloped interior pass rushers and run stoppers who could become starters if they go to the right situation.

 

Tier One – Elite Prospects

Mekhi Wingo / LSU

Kris Jenkins / Michigan

Johnny Newton / Ilinois

Byron Murphy / Texas


There will most likely only be one or two IDL taken in the first round later this month. SNS’ #1 ranked IDL prospect, Wingo, will almost certainly be passed on in the first round. And the second round, too. But SNS believes that the majority of draft analysts are missing the boat on the talented Tiger (he played at Missouri before transferring to LSU). Although undersized, Wingo possesses very good length, a very quick first step, and the best closing burst on the QB of any IDL in this draft (and that includes Byron Murphy, most draft analyst’s #1 ranked IDL). Wingo is a first-round talent who will fall into the second day of the draft later this month but reward his team with fantastic upside. Jenkins, a second-generation NFL IDL, has a great combination of run stuffing chops and pass rushing skill due to playing with outstanding leverage and having a huge wingspan and great hand use. Newton has the versatility to line up anywhere on the defensive line but his quickness, agility, and strength are best utilized on the inside. Murphy has a great first step and a very good closing burst on the QB but is limited to 3T duties and can be neutralized by power when ran at.

 

Tier Two – Potential Starters

Braden Fiske / Florida State

T’Vondre Sweat / Texas

Ruke Orhorhoro / Clemson

Tyler Davis / Clemson

DeWayne Carter / Duke

Michael Hall / Ohio State

Keith Randolph / Illinois

Leonard Taylor / Miami, Fl

Marcus Harris / Auburn

Jaden Crumedy / Mississippi State

Tuli Letuligasenoa / Washington

McKinnley Jackson / Texas A&M


This is where the quality and depth of the 2024 IDL class shows up. There is more than a dozen legitimate starting caliber IDL available in the draft. These players have a well-rounded skill sets for run stopping and rushing the passer. Fiske, a transfer from Western Michigan, lacks some desired length but is very quick, has strong hands, and plays with excellent leverage. Sweat, recently arrested for DUI, and battling weight issues, is likely to fall down draft boards. But he is the best run stuffer in this draft and possesses an extremely powerful bull rush. Orhorhoro offers an excellent frame with good size (with room to add more weight) and length. He is very quick and has an excellent closing burst on the ball. Orhorhoro needs continued development in hand fighting but has great upside. Davis was a highly recruited 5-star who has multiple years of starting experience in the ACC. He is quick and sturdy against the run with decent pass rushing ability. He’s sturdy and reliable. Carter has a good combination of pass rushing and run stopping skill. He plays with a wide base and can beat the IOL with either speed or power. Hall, although undersized, is extremely quick. He can be neutralized in the run game and needs continued strength development but he plays with great leverage and has a great closing burst on the QB. Randolph teases stretches of domination and is an excellent hands fighter. He has a great combination of strength and quickness but disappears and doesn’t impact the game consistently. Taylor, much like Randolph, flashes moments of dominance but disappears for long stretches, especially when tired. But he can be absolutely dominate against both the run and pass. Harris, like Hall, is very quick. Unlike Hall, Harris isn’t limited to 3T work as he has experience playing 5T while at Auburn. Crumedy may fall to the late rounds even though he is a complete IDL with production and frame to project as an NFL starter. Letuligasenoa has the desired size and frame that NFL teams covet. He’s strong and surprisingly quick but stamina has been an issue throughout his college career. Jackson is a massive 3-4 NT who is nearly impossible to move off the ball. He displays a powerful bull rush but is otherwise limited as a pass rusher.

 

Tier Three –Potential Starting 5Ts

Gabe Hall / Baylor

Logan Lee / Iowa

Maason Smith / LSU

Zion Logue / Georgia

Anthony Goodlow / Oklahoma State

Justin Eboigbe / Alabama


One of the more difficult positions to fill in professional football is the 5T or 3-4 DE. A combination of a two gap DT with the agility and mobility to seal the edge and keep the OT occupied so the OLB can pressure the QB. It takes a combination of length, girth, strength, and mobility that enables a three-man front to work effectively and those type of athletes are difficult to find. Hall certainly looks the part with great overall length, long arms, and a solid frame. He possesses the athleticism and quickness to reduce down and rush from the inside or hold the edge and force the ball back inside. Unfortunately, Hall has not been nearly as productive as desired but may be a better pro than college player. Lee is the latest in line of physical and dominate Iowa defensive players to enter the NFL the last few years. Lee has enough size and quickness to play 3T and enough agility and bend to line up at Edge in a four-man front. Lee is solid, if not spectacular, in all responsibilities and has the physical profile to be starting 5T. Smith was a mega-recruit with a rare combination of size and athleticism who has battled injuries and inconsistencies throughout his career in Baton Rouge. But when Smith is on, his playing style is similar to perennial Pro Bowler Chris Jones and his huge wingspan and natural power are enticing qualities that may have him selected within the first 100 picks in Detroit later this month. Logue may have the perfect physical dimensions for 5T with excellent length and outstanding mass. He is very strong and deceptively quick although he lacks great finishing ability and doesn’t make a lot of splash plays. But he is uber-reliable and dependable. Goodlow, similar to Lee, is a tweener Edge / 5T with great length. Goodlow is a power rusher who holds the edge well in the run game but has limited bend or burst for closing on the QB quickly. Eboigbe has excellent size for these duties and is very effective in run support. He possesses only average acceleration and agility and he needs to improve his hand use to shed blocks better.

 

Tier Four – Developmental Upside

Jordan Jefferson / LSU

Myles Murphy / North Carolina

Fabien Lovett / Florida State

Khristian Boyd / Northern Iowa

Justin Rogers / Auburn

Nathan Pickering / Mississippi State

Jordan Miller / SMU

Deshaun Mallory / Arizona State


Jefferson, the third of three draftable LSU IDL, is being somewhat overlooked but is a solid, all-around player with outstanding measureables (6026 / 313 / 33.1” Arms / 79.2” Wingspan) and good, not great, production. Murphy is experienced, big, strong, and an excellent run defender. The Tar Heel offers limited upside as a pass rusher but could be a productive part of a rotation in the NFL. Lovett is huge with extremely long arms (35.4” Arms) and a huge reach (83.1” Wingspan). The transfer from Mississippi State is very good against the run and flashes moments of domination in the passing game. Boyd got noticed after several quality years of production at the FCS level and then had a great week at the East-West Shrine Game. He lacks some desired length and size but is quick, active, and has a high motor. Rogers, a 5-star recruit at Mississippi State who later transferred to Auburn, never reached his potential, at least partially due to injuries, but clearly underperformed at both schools. Rogers has excellent size and power, and maybe an NFL DL coach can get him properly motivated. Pickering is well-rounded who just lacks some desired strength and quickness but is assignment sound and competes to the echo of the whistle. Miller, a transfer from Miami, Fl, was a surprise non-invitee to the Combine despite a solid senior season. He offers an intriguing blend of power and athleticism and will be difficult to cut once he enters a training camp. Mallory, a transfer from Michigan State, is very quick and experienced with enough size and athleticism to compete for a roster spot this fall.

 

SNS will be posting new articles every day through the NFL Draft with SNS Final Top 300 Prospect Rankings, a complete set of Final 2024 Position Rankings, SNS’ Annual Deep Dive look at some deep sleepers in the 2024 class, an analysis of Michigan’s 18 invitees to the NFL Scouting Combine, a positional in-depth analysis of the QBs, WRs, and IDL available in the draft, and a complete 7 Round Mock Draft! 



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