B/R CFB 250: Top 18 Interior Defensive Linemen in College Football

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B/R CFB 250: Top 18 Interior Defensive Linemen in College Football
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Editor's note: This is the 13th installment in Bleacher Report's CFB 250 for the 2013 season. This signature series runs through December, with National College Football Lead Writer Michael Felder ranking the best players at every position. You can read more about the series in this introductory article. See the CFB 250 page for more rankings.

Much like offensive linemen are the most unheralded players on offense, so too are the big defensive tackles. In today’s game, these mammoth players are extremely critical to the success of an entire defense, yet they often go unnoticed by the casual fan who is worried about sacks and interceptions.

These players allow linebackers to make tackles and give the defensive ends and hybrid linebackers a chance to make a play. Without good defensive tackle play, a defense struggles.

In order to rank these players, we graded them on their ability to rush the passer and defend against the run. Pass rush is not merely about sacks; it is about players getting push and working to help their team pressure quarterbacks. In the run game, there is as much value in occupying two blockers as there is to shooting a gap and making a play.

Defensive tackles have to do the dirty work, and sometimes that work doesn’t show up on a neat little stat sheet. If there were any ties, the edge went to the player we would rather have.

Keep in mind, these defensive tackles are being rated on their performance in college, not NFL potential. But to see where these players may go in the NFL draft (whether they are eligible in 2014 or later), check out Bleacher Report draft expert Matt Miller's projections at the end of each player slide.

 

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