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2022 NFL Draft: Falcons top targets at DT

The 2022 NFL Draft is nearly here, and we’re wrapping up our coverage with our final positional rankings. Today’s focus is DT, where the Falcons have solid depth but still need an impact player next to Grady Jarrett.

2022 CFP National Championship - Georgia v Alabama Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images

The 2022 NFL Draft is almost here, and it’s finally time to wrap up all of our draft coverage with my final positional rankings. I’m proud to say I watched more than 100 players this offseason, far more than ever before. On the site, our team has compiled more than 20 full scouting reports on some of the top prospects in the class—with more to come over the next week! While you may not always agree with our rankings or analysis, we hope you’ve at least enjoyed the discussion and additional viewpoints.

For the positional rankings, these will be based on my personal rankings, not necessarily the rankings of our other writers. I watch players through the lens of the Atlanta Falcons: I prioritize and rank based on the perceived fit in Atlanta’s offense and defense. So keep that in mind, as these rankings may not line up with a generic big board.

I’d also like to note that while I watched a lot of players, I didn’t watch anywhere close to the nearly 300 who will be drafted. As a result, I’m only going to rank the players that I’ve seen at least 2-3 games of. There are tons of other prospects who I’ve seen limited tape of and discussed with other scouts, but I don’t feel comfortable ranking them without at least a few full games watched.

I hope you enjoy these rankings, and if you miss any position groups, you can find them all below:

DEFENSE: EDGE, DT

1: Jordan Davis, Georgia

RAS: 10.0 | Projection: 1st Round | Scouting Report

The consensus top defensive tackle in the class, Georgia’s Jordan Davis is an absolute monster in the middle of the defense. At 6’6, 340, Davis possesses truly rare size and pairs it with one-of-a-kind athleticism. There is no better 0T/1T nose in the class, and he is unstoppable as a run defender. As a pass rusher, his strength and size can overwhelm opponents on the interior, but he didn’t create pressure with consistency. There’s projection here for a 3-down role, but given Davis’ incredibly unique athletic profile and his elite play against the run, I’m confident in his ability to become an impact player early in his NFL career.

2: Devonte Wyatt, Georgia

RAS: 9.59 | Projection: 1st Round

On an absolutely stacked Georgia defense, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle, but Devonte Wyatt was one of the best players on the team in 2021. At 6’3, 304, Wyatt has ideal size and length for the position and he pairs it with outstanding burst, exceptional hand usage, and very good lateral mobility. Wyatt also had a good Senior Bowl—he won his matchups consistently and generally looked the part of a high-level interior defender. His versatility and ability to line up just about anywhere adds to his value.

3: Perrion Winfrey, Oklahoma

RAS: N/A | Projection: 1st-2nd Round

A big riser this offseason, Oklahoma’s Perrion Winfrey was arguably the most impressive interior defensive lineman at the Senior Bowl. He showed off his ability to rush the passer and dominate in one-on-one situations after being forced into a nose tackle role for much of his college career. Winfrey dropped weight heading into Mobile and looked unstoppable as a penetrating 3T, but has experience all over the defensive line. He didn’t complete his athletic testing for a full RAS, but the tests he did showcased his athletic ability: Winfrey ran an elite 4.89 40-yard dash at nearly 6’4, 290, with a 1.71 10-yard split.

4: Travis Jones, UConn

RAS: 9.40 | Projection: 1st-2nd Round

UConn’s Travis Jones is a big-bodied, super athletic nose tackle who can do more than just clog up run lanes in the middle. He’s been overshadowed by the truly “one-of-a-kind” Jordan Davis, but don’t let that fool you: Jones is a potential Pro Bowl-caliber interior defender at a traditionally devalued position. Jones was also absolutely un-blockable one-on-one at the Senior Bowl. A true space eater at over 6’4, 326, Jones overwhelmed opponents with power and showed off elite athletic traits for his size.

5: DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M

RAS: 7.44 | Projection: 2nd Round

Leal is not your typical DT or EDGE. At 6’4, 283, he’s firmly in the middle—and Texas A&M used him that way. In any given game, you’ll see Leal lined up at 3T, 1T, 5T, EDGE, you name it. Leal is a good athlete with plus strength and speed for his size. On base downs, he can overwhelm tackles as a run-stuffing 5T and still provide better pass rush juice than run specialists. In passing situations, he should be used as an explosive, penetrating 3T that can push the pocket and win with both speed and power. There are limitations to his game, and Leal didn’t test out quite as well as expected. He’ll need a versatile, inside/outside role at the NFL level, but I think Leal can be an impact player if deployed properly.

6: Logan Hall, Houston

RAS: 9.40 | Projection: 2nd Round | Scouting Report

Houston defensive lineman Logan Hall is a big-bodied, versatile prospect with experience playing all over the defensive line. At his listed height/weight of 6’6, 283, Hall spent the majority of his breakout 2021 campaign playing 3T, where he dominated the vast majority of interior offensive linemen he faced. Originally a rotational 5T edge rusher to start the season, Houston carved out a multiple role for Hall as the year went on and he rewarded them with standout production. He’ll likely need a versatile inside/outside role to have the most success in the NFL.

7: Zachary Carter, Florida

RAS: 8.10 | Projection: 3rd Round

Another versatile defensive line prospect, Florida’s Zachary Carter tested out better than expected at the NFL Combine and had a quality week of practice at the Senior Bowl. At 6’4, 282, Carter could be an ideal candidate for a 3-4 DE role, as he’s strong against the run and possesses good hand usage and block-shedding ability. He’s got upside as a pass rusher, as Carter is effective at using his length, quickness, and power at the point of attack to create disruption on the interior.

8: Phidarian Mathis, Alabama

RAS: N/A | Projection: 3rd Round

One of the most productive defensive tackles in the class, Alabama’s Phidarian Mathis had a breakout senior season in 2021 with 10.5 TFL and 9.0 sacks. At 6’4, 310 with over 34 inch arms, Mathis is exceptionally long for the position and pairs that length with power at the point of attack. Mathis is technically advanced, uses his hands well, and offers a lot of versatility: he spent a lot of time at 3T DT and as a 5T 3-4 DE. Mathis didn’t complete his athletic testing, but the numbers he put up were concerning: his 23.5 inch vertical jump (6th percentile) and 4.91s short shuttle (15th percentile) place limits on his ceiling. However, Mathis has a very high floor and a history of quality production that should make him a solid NFL starter.

9: John Ridgeway, Arkansas

RAS: 4.73 | Projection: Early Day 3

Measuring in at nearly 6’5, 327 and with an over 81 inch wingspan, Ridgeway has the size and length to play any position on the interior defensive line. He’s best served as a 0T/1T nose tackle who can shut down the run with his incredible strength and long arms. Ridgeway also offers some ability to push the pocket with power and solid burst off the line of scrimmage. He’s a fairly average athlete overall and lacks the pass rushing upside of Jordan Davis and Travis Jones, but looks the part of a high-level run stuffer at NT who can be had much later in the draft.

10: Matthew Butler, Tennessee

RAS: 7.33 | Projection: Early Day 3

Tennessee’s Matthew Butler is an experienced, versatile interior defensive lineman who offers a technically-advanced skillset. At nearly 6’4, 300, he’s got solid size for the position and has found success all over the defensive line. Butler plays with good leverage and power against the run and has shown off some impressive burst and penetration ability as a pass rusher. I’m a little concerned about his length and where his best fit is in the NFL, but he does potentially offer some inside/outside flexibility.