With Mike Purcell coming back from a major injury and Shelby Harris on a short-term deal, the Denver Broncos cannot afford to overlook the defensive tackle position in this upcoming NFL Draft.
This particular draft class has a number of extremely talented players that will contribute across the NFL and there are bound to be some hidden gems in the bunch as well.
If a Day 1 selection is not in the cards, here are a few Day 2 selections that could benefit Denver long-term.
Alim McNeill, DT, NC State
Alim McNeill might be one of my favorite film studies of the entire draft process and there is no question that he would be an ideal fit in Denver’s 3-4 base defense as a nose tackle.
— sandersonpics (@Sandersonpics) October 8, 2018
McNeill’s raw power is the first thing that stands out and it allows him to push the pocket, shed blockers, and anchor as well as any defensive tackle in this draft class.
The next thing that is evident is his quickness and explosiveness off the line. His ability to burst off of the line of scrimmage gives him an immediate advantage over blockers and enhances his ability to fill gaps and create chaos.
McNeill might be the best run-stuffer in this class of extremely talented defensive linemen and having that guy in rotation with Shelby Harris and Mike Purcell could be a huge boon for the depth of this team.
Levi Onwuzurike, DT Washington
As far as vision goes, Levi Onwuzurike seems to always know where the ball is; subsequently, he is almost always around it. His ability to track the play and to be in exactly the right position is fantastic, and his pure athleticism enables him to make plays all over the field.
Explosion through gaps into the backfield is what Onwuzurike does best, allowing him to be a threat in the passing game at all times.
He will also be able to contribute immediately with his ability to play special teams reps on the punt or kick-blocking unit.
Another prospect here that maintains nice gap control and anchors well making him very effective against the run.
With a high ceiling, Denver would do well by adding him to a lineup of very talented linemen and allowing him to compete for rotational time.
Osa Odighizuwa, DT, UCLA
Being included on Bruce Feldman’s freaks list is always a good indicator that a prospect has some exciting traits. In the article, Feldman claims that Odighizuwa “has squatted more than 700 pounds, benches more than 420 pounds, has a 32-inch vertical, 15% body fat and eclipsed 20 mph on his GPS.”
If that does not get you excited about defensive tackle, I don’t know what will.
On top of that, in the state of Oregon, he was a three-time state wrestling champion.
Odighizuwa makes plays on all levels of the field and has a motor that never quits. He needs a little polish but his pass-rushing potential is enormous. His ability to change direction and take great angles allows him to be in on every play.
Osa mentions having one of best get-offs/1st steps in the class & getting 'vertical' – especially when they pull the OL in front him… Bunch of examples below!https://t.co/eBOY4Uch1Z pic.twitter.com/G5hyxp4vi9
— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) April 12, 2021
The biggest question mark has to do with his size. Listed at 6-foot-2, 279 pounds makes him a little light to be a true defensive tackle at the NFL level and there is some concern that he does not have a lot of growth potential left which has dropped him to being a likely Day 2 selection.
If the price is right the Broncos should highly consider selecting Odighizuwa for the upside potential alone.