5 best defensive players in the NFL Draft
The 2020 NFL Draft is stocked with top defensive talent. There is an excellent crop of elite defensive linemen, plus one athlete who’s so versatile that he can do anything from pass rush to playing as a safety. There’s likely to be a run on top defensive players in the top five to ten picks in the draft, and you’ll want to familiarize yourself with those names before it happens.
Here are the five best defensive players in the 2020 NFL Draft.
5. Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
At 324 pounds, Kinlaw is certainly an impressive physical specimen. He’s also quick, talented, has high upside, and impressed with six sacks last season playing in the SEC. This is a good draft for top interior linemen, and Kinlaw has all the potential in the world. He may not be a top ten selection, but he’s unlikely to disappoint whichever team snags him in the first round with his huge upside and athleticism.
4. Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Cornerbacks can be tough to evaluate when they’re at the top of their game, because teams generally avoid throwing their way. That’s what happened to Okudah in 2019. He has shutdown corner potential, picked off three passes last season, and has all the attributes teams look for at the position. He’s quick, good at neutralizing deep threats, and he’s skilled in all types of coverages. Okudah looks like a very safe pick for teams in need of secondary help.
3. Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
Another hulking defensive lineman, Brown had four sacks and 11.5 tackles for a loss for Auburn in 2019. He has the highest ceiling of any defensive lineman in the draft, save for Chase Young, and is a complete all-around player who can hold his own against both the pass and run game. He’ll want to get his sack numbers up, but there’s little stopping him physically from being able to contribute in that department once he gets comfortable in the NFL.
2. Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
Simmons is a breathtaking athlete who looks like a linebacker but plays like an elite safety. That combination is enough to make NFL teams salivate. This is a player who can adapt to any gameplan, whether he’s needed more as a pass rusher or as a gifted player in coverage (check his ridiculous 40 time). Frequently linked to the Giants at No. 4, Simmons has the potential to be a dominant hybrid player with few peers at the NFL level. He may be the most exciting defensive player in the draft.
1. Chase Young, DE, Ohio State
Young is the best player in the draft, even if he won’t go No. 1. With explosive speed off the line and a natural ability to get to the quarterback, he’s up there with some of the best pass rushers to come out of college in the last decade or more. His 16.5 sacks for Ohio State last season — despite playing in only 12 games — demonstrates just what he’s capable of. Washington is likely to select him second overall, and they’ll be very happy with a player who should be ready to make an impact on day one.