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2024 NFL Draft prospect rankings: DL

Julian Catalfo / theScore

theScore's prospect rankings series takes a position-by-position look at the top players in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Top 50
QB | RB | WR | TE | OL
ED | DL | LB | CB | SAF

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The latest defensive stud from Illinois, Newton has the makings of a superstar lineman. He's got everything you want to see from a high-end interior pass-rusher. Newton enters the league having demonstrated a wide array of rush moves and the advanced plan to put it all together. Matching his lateral quickness will be no easy task for guards, and he can convert speed to power for an effective bull rush when he gets opponents on their heels. Newton is also slippery in the run game, easily defeating blocks and making plays on the ball. He'll need to play with a more consistent pad level to ensure that his size doesn't become an issue, but he has elite traits across the board. Put him at the three-technique and let him eat.

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Murphy doesn't have the ideal frame or length for an interior defensive line prospect. Those limitations could impact his ability to anchor as a run defender, but that's about where the concerns end. Everything else about the Texas standout's game screams Pro Bowl potential. He's an impressive athlete, using an explosive first step to get up field and demonstrating the kind of lateral quickness that's tough for opposing linemen to match. Murphy is also much stronger than you might expect for a player of his size. Most importantly, he makes the jump to the NFL with a solid pass-rush arsenal and the counter moves to keep reps alive. A limitless motor helps in that department, too. Murphy should be a high-end pass-rusher from the three-technique spot.

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Hall is an interesting sleeper prospect in this defensive line class. His production was underwhelming while part of a crowded position group at Ohio State, and he might need to add some size to hold up as an every-down defender inside. But the flashes are captivating. Hall has the ability to swipe or swim past opposing linemen in a flash, and his athleticism was confirmed with an outstanding pro day performance. He also demonstrates impressive raw strength for his size. If he's afforded the time to add some weight and further develop his pass-rush arsenal, Hall could become one of the steals of this draft.

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Wingo is undersized by NFL standards for interior defensive linemen. If that proves to be an issue in the run game, he can kick out to the edge on early downs. That may not even be necessary with the power he brings to the table, though. Either way, this isn't the kind of player you want to rule out due to measurables. Wingo is explosive off the ball, can challenge opponents laterally, and is much stronger than you might expect for a player of his size. He's got a pro-ready pass-rush repertoire, and he should flourish in a system that lets him feast from the three-technique position.

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Dorlus is a bit of a tweener. He doesn't quite have the size for an every-down role on the inside, and his athletic profile isn't a match for high-volume work on the edge. That doesn't mean he can't be an impact player at the next level, though. Dorlus' greatest value will come as an interior pass-rusher. His athleticism plays up when working against guards as he shows lateral quickness to complement his natural power. He makes the most of those traits with a wide array of pass-rush moves to consistently beat blocks and get into the backfield. While a rotational pass-rush role alone would yield significant value in today's game, Dorlus can also contribute as a plus run defender on the edge on early downs. Assuming he's deployed in the right role, the Oregon product could significantly outplay his draft position.

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Fiske stole the show at the combine, putting together one of the more explosive athletic profiles you'll ever see from an interior defensive lineman. And he's not merely a workout warrior - those rare movement skills are all over his Florida State tape. His combination of explosiveness, lateral quickness, and active hands make it difficult for opponents to square him up. Fiske also offers plenty of raw power, and he's flashed the ability to stack, shed, and make a play on the ball against the run. It may be difficult for that aspect of his game to translate, though. He doesn't have the size to drop the anchor, and length will be a major issue against most NFL offensive linemen. That could limit Fiske to a rotational pass-rush role, but there's plenty of value in such a player in today's game, especially one with this much upside.

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Orhorhoro is a fascinating developmental prospect. The Clemson product is a freaky athlete who, despite his below-average size, makes a habit out of overpowering opposing linemen. That natural strength makes him a stout run defender at the point of attack, and it also shows up with his ability to push the pocket. He still has to develop a more well-rounded pass-rush arsenal, but he'll have every opportunity to do so given his physical gifts. Orhorhoro should be a versatile run defender from Day 1 with the potential for much more in time.

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Jenkins is the son of former Pro Bowl defensive lineman Kris Jenkins. He now heads to the NFL after contributing as a key piece of a defense that led Michigan to a national title. Jenkins is a smart, explosive prospect who plays with the power necessary for an every-down role up front. He'll need time to further develop his pass-rush arsenal, but he can make an immediate impact as a run defender. Jenkins' best fit may be as a five-technique defensive end who can kick inside on passing downs.

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Sweat isn't your typical space-eating nose tackle. He can handle those duties, to be sure, as his size and power understandably make him a nightmare to move off the ball. But he's also surprisingly nimble for a 366-pounder. Sweat can notch quick wins both as a pass-rusher and as a run defender by beating his opponent with lateral quickness and strong hand usage. While he may lack the explosive athleticism to become a high-end pass-rusher, the upside he's shown gives him the potential to be much more than a pocket-pusher, and perhaps a true three-down player at the next level.

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Carter may be getting overlooked after a one-sack senior season, but that would be a mistake. The Duke product wins with power both as a pass-rusher and as a run defender, showcasing a bull-rush move that can overwhelm opponents. That's only one part of his game, though. He also has an extensive repertoire of rush moves, including an inside spin, and a motor that never stops. Carter's lateral range is limited in the run game, and his athletic profile may hint at a lower ceiling, but he makes the jump to the NFL with a polished, pro-ready game.

Other notable prospects

Maason Smith, LSU
Leonard Taylor III, Miami (FL)
McKinnley Jackson, Texas A&M
Tyler Davis, Clemson
Jordan Jefferson, LSU

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