Valuing The Defensive Line Prospects

April 14th, 2020

South Carolina DT Javon Kinlaw.

Joe can’t wait for the NFL Draft to end because that means training camp is only three months away!

This time last year Joe screamed daily for the Bucs to draft a defensive end at No. 5 overall.

The Bucs picked a linebacker, and Joe is still screaming for a young stud on the defensive line, though not as loudly as Tampa Bay sits with the No. 14 overall pick next week.

When 31-year-old Jason Pierre-Paul last played a full season, he declined in December and battled knee issues. Ndamukong Suh is 34 years old. Bucs fans pray loudly that Shaq Barrett is not a one-year wonder. Productive Carl Nassib has left the building. Will Gholston is Will Gholston.

The Bucs could use an infusion of youth, talent and production on the defensive line, something a first-round pick should provide.

Hall of Fame GM Bill Polian shared his deep love of film study on SiriusXM NFL Radio last night and also shared his top-5 defensive linemen entering this year’s draft.

Here’s Joe’s quick summary of Polian’s top-5, using Polian’s words: (Know in advance that Polian firmly believes an inside pass rusher is more valuable than an edge rusher most of the time).

Chase Young, Ohio State – Elite pass rush ability with “refined moves.”

Derrick Brown, Auburn – “The bottom line is forget about it. He’s on the film in every play, in every way.” … “He can play in any system. He’s an impact run defender. He’s a really good power pass rusher. He can walk people back to the passer. He’s got some ability to slip and slide off people, which is rare in a big man. He’s a prize.”

Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina — “All kinds of potential, 6-5, 315 pounds, he can run and play multiple positions. Left defensive end in a 3-4, complete system versatility. He can get off the ball. He was the star the Senior Bowl. He can get off the ball. He can move around. He has the ability to rush the passer. He needs a lot more technique work, but that will come.” …”An inside player who can rush the passer is probably the most valuable guy on the defense.”

Marlon Davidson, Auburn — “I think he fits both as a right defensive end in a 3-4, three-down value as an inside rusher, disruptive, quick, fast.” … Likes instincts, shows up on film all the time.

Justin Madubuike, Texas A&M – Kind of a one-gap Tweener guy with great quickness for a defensive tackle. Suited as a 3-technique in a 4-3 defense.

With veterans in place like Shaq, JPP, Suh and Vita Vea, plus a big coaching staff, the Bucs have an incredible incubator established for a young D-line talent. It would be a shame to let that go to waste.

Kinlaw likely will be there for the Bucs at No. 14 overall. Davidson could slip to Round 2. Brown and Young will be off the board early. Edge rushers K’lavon Chaisson (LSU) and Yetur Gross-Matos (Penn State) are exciting options.

Joe knows most Bucs fans are yearning to draft a right tackle at No. 14, but Joe would pound many Big Storm beers in celebration if the Bucs went all-in on a pass rusher.

55 Responses to “Valuing The Defensive Line Prospects”

  1. ncbucsfan Says:

    Agreed! If Kinlaw is there at #14 and we pick him I’ll be ecstatic.

  2. Bruce Blahak Says:

    Slam dunk on Kinlaw at 14 if he’s there and Bucs defense becomes elite!

  3. Tampabuscsbro Says:

    Joe we drafted a young Stud on the D line in Vita Vea.

    Also come on Joe it’s not like Devin White played like a bust. he battled through a moderately serious Knee injury then started playing like an outright Stud all the way through to the end.

  4. Casual Observer Says:

    He is intriguing. Maybe a “good enough” RT is in round 2.

  5. Steve Munoz Says:

    Finally agree on something Joe’s

  6. LordCornelius Says:

    top 4 OT or top 2 DT or trade back

  7. 813bucboi Says:

    i would go kinlaw even if thomas or the iowa kid were there….DE/OLB round 2…isaiah wilson-RT round3….

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  8. Jeebs the Honey Bear Says:

    Top 5 OT, include Josh Jones

  9. Allbuccedup Says:

    Kinlaw a I would agree with that but an edge rusher with a number one pick when you got 30 mil dollars invested in Shaq and JPP please!

  10. John Sinclear Says:

    It’s a Bucs tradition – draft a corner !! Or maybe a kicker !!

  11. bucsfaninoregon Says:

    I have been posting multiple times about how there will be no NFL season this year largely to derision or avoidance. Now here is confirmation from that holy rag, Sports Illustrated. Read and weep. Also, remember, we are drafting for 2021.

  12. Hodad Says:

    We shouldn’t settle for the fourth best RT in the draft at pick 14. If the guy the Bucs think is the best RT when we pick fine, but a DT is just a better value pick that high. Remember, we have to replace B.Allen with someone. Why not with one of the best DT’s in the draft?

  13. Jean Lafitte Says:

    Kinlaw would be a great pick at 14 but only if all the OT’s are gone and a QB doesn’t fall, and they don’t trade back I would definitely jump on Kinlaw.

  14. Bucsfan951 Says:

    I don’t watch much college football so I can’t really comment on a specific college player. With that said, i think it would be hard to pass up a damn fine dt/de for a rt. I would think a starting rt could be had in the 2nd rd and possibly trade up for a rb as well

  15. Swampbuc Says:

    I want a DL at that spot too, Joes.

  16. Joeypoppems Says:

    Kinlaw or Brown at 14 if they are there and the top OTs are not.

    I would be happy with OT at 14 and Madubuike at 45. That takes care of, imo, the 2 biggest needs the team has with premium picks. If this were to happen I would hope for WR in the 3rd and then RB and IOL with our two 4th round picks.

    I mentioned in another article that Jalen Reagor is my hope for what we do at 45. Him with Evans and Godwin is just so fun to think about

  17. Jean Lafitte Says:

    Starting RT’s aren’t found in the 2nd round or beyond

  18. Admiral Redbeard Says:

    We don’t need to draft a guy to start on the D-line this year. That would be a waste of a pick. We need a guy that has size, strength, and some speed, that needs a year or two grooming. Someone like Leki Fotu or Carlos Davis, that can be had in rounds 4,5,6. what we DO need right now, is a starting right tackle.

  19. Jimmy Says:

    I’m dead set on an OT, but Kinlaw is who I want if all the best OTs are gone by our pick.

  20. Duthsty Rhothdes Says:

    no chance brown there; brown will be a better chris jones & impact DT from first snap; kinlaw or davidson if we could get either one if no OL there it would be a win; unless they trade up for herbert or tua.

  21. El Buco Realisto Says:

    1st round draft WR and do not draft any rb in the whole draft!!!!!!!! That way, Brady can throw for 6000 yards, then all the sheep will be excited!!!!!! Because they apparently love yards above all else!!!!!!!! Draft a safety in the second, that way, if they play 3 backup qb’s in a row, the shhep can get all excited that the defense has “turned the corner”!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Then when they miss the playoffs, ole stale biscuit can blame licht for mismanaging the cap and overpaying free-agents!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    go bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. LordCornelius Says:


    I am seeing Isaih Wilison going R2 now a lot even above where we pick.

    In general I think we have to go OT R2 if we miss on it R1.

  23. JP09 Says:

    RD1 Kinlaw RD2 Jones or Niang


    RD1 one of the big four OL RD2 Raekwon Davis

    BUILD THE TRENCHES Just my opinion though

  24. Bucsfan951 Says:


    You’re joking, right?

  25. JimmyJack Says:

    In some ways Edge would be great. With our need at RT is we pass on one to get a Edge you know they really like that player.

    And maybe they really like a Day 2 RT which is a fine plan. Plus maybe they are comfortable is Haeg has to ay Tackle. Nobody even considers that. Either way we are going to need depth but we could also bring back Dotson possibly or maybe somebody else.

    I think our first round is a lot more open then many fans wanna give credit for.

    And don’t be so rigid with you thoughts people…….Just remember back last year when we were all scratching our heads. It turned out they knew exactually what they were doing and got some pretty danged good players.

  26. JimmyJack Says:

    El…..That is a pathetic comment. You don’t know anything about us sheep like you claim to.

  27. JimmyJack Says:

    Jean I just looked it up. 22 RTs were drafted beyond round 1.

  28. JimmyJack Says:

    Admiral……But you are neglecting the fact that we do need a OLB to rotate with JPP and Shaq(Nassibs job). Not to mention you can play all 3 at the same time on passing downs.

    We obvisously can’t expect JPP and Shaq to take 100% of defensive snaps so it is a very important role.

    Correct me if I’m wrong but we only have JPP Shaq and unproven Nelson who we expect to see the roster. Adding a developemental player to that isn’t gonna be enough.

    I’m not saying we must draft one but they are gonna need to find somebody else in free agency if they don’t draft one………Which I’m cool with since we brought in Shaq last year.

  29. Marine Buc Says:

    I would be fine with drafting DT Kinlaw in round 1 if all four top OTs are gone. We may want to move back and gather picks and draft Jones or Cleveland in the later first.

    Then we have plenty of picks for RB, WR, FS, SS, OG, Edge Rusher.

  30. chris L Says:

    given the state of training camp and no OTAs, the argument of o-linemen not being able to transition to the NFL gets worse. at least a d-lineman can hit the ground running much quicker. as much as this is about protecting brady we have to understand a tackle does not have as much of an impact i think than a d-lineman. bucs strength last year end of the year was defense and that unit has the most continuity with all players and we need to build that part of our focus next year given covid as well.

  31. Jean Lafitte Says:


    No I’m not is rare to find a day one starting NFL OT past the first round

  32. Jean Lafitte Says:

    day one starters JimmyJack?

  33. bucnole Says:

    Crazy place to be. . . but in my mind if one of the top 4 OT is there – you gotta take him
    I watched the 2019 Bucs highlights a little while ago – Winston had incredible movement in the pocket to extend plays and pick up 1st downs with his legs
    Old Man Brady will not have that with this OL

  34. Dewey Selmon Says:

    Lynch traded into the pick before us, everything points to him taking a WR. He loves to build the trenches and I can see him taking Kinlaw with the WR class being so deep.

  35. JimmyJack Says:

    Chris L Thats a really good point. Very well could be a big part of the decision .

  36. BritishBuc Says:

    We have Tom Brady. Prioritize keeping him upright otherwise he wont last the season and that means no play offs. For me, it has to be a tackle in R1

  37. Jason Mclaurin Says:

    I see great value in the NT from Utah. We could move Vea to DE so he would be able to utilize his athleticism more and our run defense would be a monster. No need to draft one early plus ion think the top two will be available anyway. We can use next season to draft high end defensive players. I do feel we need another d lineman to push Gohlston down the depth chart. Gohlston, Nacho, and another rookie DT or O’Connor would be fine reserves. One more edge rusher and a CB wouldn’t hurt either. I think they should sign one of the veteran safety in free agency. Eric Reid preferably if they are truly talking Superbowl.

  38. JimmyJack Says:

    Jean what the heck? It was a lot of work for a dumbass like me to look up all them Tackles. Now you adding new parameters? That’s rude ….very rude.

    How bout this? Why aren’t you do the research and you tell me.

    For what it’s worth I do know off the top of my head D.Smith was a Day one starter at Tackle and not a 1st rounder. I got a friend to that’s a Jag always telling me about Cam Robinison and I know he’s not a first rounder(I think he’s LT like Donovan too)…….Given that I think you’ll find out it’s not a that rare. Now go look it up!!!

  39. Admiral Redbeard Says:

    Jimmy Jack, Nelson who was drafted last year in the 4th had better combine results than AJ Epenesa. I’m assuming that’s why they felt they could let Carl Nassib (a player I really liked) go. Also, there are some guys they could get later in the draft with some tremendous upside, like Alton Robinson, Jabari Zuniga, Curtis Weaver, or Anfernee Jennings. 1st and 2nd rounders are expected to start, and we don’t need a starter at olb.

  40. Jean Lafitte Says:


    How about this? I don’t and stand by my original statement and you can go piss up a rope. How about that?

  41. JimmyJack Says:

    Admiral……I don’t think Nelson will or should be gifted Nassibs job. Based on what exactually? It’s gotta be production. Combine scores don’t cut it.

    And I personally like Nelson. Though he did flash a bit in his limited snaps last year. But I also thought he was absolutely stonewalled as well…..a lot. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more chunck runs against us whenever Nelson sees the field. Maybe he could be ready to step into Nassibs role but I think it’s playing with fire to count on it and have a 5th rounder(who may or may not make the team) as a backup plan.

    The main thing is that Nelson is unproven. And it’s a key position that’s gonna see a lot of playing time. We gotta have somebody we can count on…….That’s why I’m cool with drafting Edge Round 1. I’m not saying that’s the only way but we do need somebody at OLB we can genuinely count on. An experienced pro would fit the bill.

    I just don’t see how Nelson is a guy we should be counting on to play a key role. I’m gonna need better then a combine score bud. I can care less what he did in his umbros.

  42. Bucsfan951 Says:


    I’m sorry but you can’t be right. You can find day 2 starting rt’s. I wouldn’t wait until the 3rd or 4th rds but you can find a day 2 starter.

  43. Jean Lafitte Says:

    You can find offensive lineman in every single round but usually ones in the 2nd round on are normally developmental and are not used as day one starters. I didn’t say never but it is rare.

  44. JimmyJack Says:

    Jason Maclaurin………..What do you mean when you say our run defense “would be a monster”……..I don’t get it. We already are a monster if you ask me.

    I don’t know who this NT is you are talking about……..and please correct me if I’m wrong…….But Vea doesn’t really play a traditional NT position. If fact most of the time it looks like we are lined up in a traditional 4-3 set.

    I don’t really see this defense hindering Veas athleticism. Almost every play against us that works different parts of the field Vea is usually seen moving towards the ball. I rarely see him getting clogged up like you would assume from a typical NT.

    Vea is more of a hybrid NT if ya ask me.

  45. JimmyJack Says:

    Hey but Jean that’s OK……..If we can get a game 4 starter we will be sitting pretty because we will have the players on staff to hold down the fort. In fact it might even be better that way as we can wash out some of the growing pains during practice rather then in game.

    Every hit we save on Brady is just like adding a bead to our rosary!!

    GO BUCS!!!!

  46. 813bucboi Says:


    R2 is great value….imo, wilson is a day1 starter at RT….

    he would be worth coughing up a 4th to move up in the 2nd to get him….

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  47. Hodad Says:

    Usually the higher you draft a player the better he is. So a first round player no matter what position is usually better then a 2nd rounder. That being said the league isn’t made up of only 1st, and 2nd rounders. Day one starters, or good players can be found in any round. The trick is to find them. Don’t get so hung up on where a player is drafted. We’re going to draft O,D linemen, RB, or two, QB, safety, it’s just a question of when, and where.

  48. Admiral Redbeard Says:

    JimmyJack, I’ll say it again, 1st rd is expected to be a starter. So who is this 1st rd OLB starting over? Shaq was in 78% of the time, and JPP doesn’t come off the field. Are you seriously expecting to draft a guy in the 1st to be a backup for the next 2-3 years? It just doesn’t happen that way. Right OT is a need NOW. The ONLY position that would be acceptable to draft in the 1st and have sit for 2 years would be QB.

  49. Daniel Says:

    Off topic, can someone explain how Todd Bowles likes to play his safeties. Is he in a predominantly single high? Do both safeties have the same skill set or does he prefer to use a SS and a FS? Thanks

  50. The Coroner Says:

    If Kinlaw is there I’ld take him. Tackle round 2. RB round 3 (Akers) 4.WR round 4.

  51. Anonymous Says:

    I realize this is a defense thread but think of this as a
    retirement portfolio and we need to rebalance. We are very underweighted on the OL. Especially within the Brady context. The first pick has to be an OLineman. You know how these drafts go, teams get stupid with QB choices and the OL will be there.

  52. Clw JB Says:

    LOVE Kinlaw and Derrick Brown – either would be a great pick at 14 if none of the T are there

    All in all, have to take combo of best player and priority need at our spot – we can go OT, DL, DE/OLB, S, RB – who is the best at their position available when we are on the clock, and how does it best fit our needs – to me that is the key

  53. geno711 Says:

    bucsfaninoregon Says:
    April 14th, 2020 at 11:10 am
    I have been posting multiple times about how there will be no NFL season this year largely to derision or avoidance. Now here is confirmation from that holy rag, Sports Illustrated. Read and weep. Also, remember, we are drafting for 2021.

    Bucsfaninoregon you may be right in your prognostication. Maybe you have a better sense of insight on this issue than others. However, the Sports Illustrated article that you referenced was by one author who quoted 3 experts of her choice (not all the experts in that field).

    It is kinda like an expert on the NFL evaluation of a player. One looked at Jameis Winston this past year and said that he was superior and any team should want him. Another so called expert looked at Jameis Winston and said no team should want him. Then there were a lot of experts somewhere in the middle.

    Statistically the middle happens a lot more than the outliers. I am betting on the middle for the recovery from COVID-19. Not the people who state the worst case scenario’s and not the people who support the best case scenario’s.

    The thing about this is that the experts quoted in the Sports Illustrated article made assumptions – Like everyone that is talking about numbers and time periods.

    Early assumptions about this virus had over 2.2 million people dying in the US alone. Another early assumption said that under 50,000 people would die in the US.

    I think most of us now feel we will be somewhere in the middle of that. What part of the middle right now we don’t know.

  54. Bucs Guy Says:

    I love Kinlaw and Brown, but I wouldn’t pick them in the 1st rd. This is a very deep DT draft with very high quality available in the 2nd or 3rd round at DT. Look at Blocklock, Gallimore, Hamilton and Elliott in addition to the others mentioned by Joe. If you don’t get one of the top 4 OTs, Jones, Cleveland or maybe Jackson in the 1st or early 2nd, there is a large drop off in talent.

  55. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    I would love to get Kinlaw (or of course, Brown) with pick 14. We could just as well get a decent OT prospect in round 2 or 3. Who really knows? Each pick is still 50-50 if you go by history.