NFL GM Says DT Position Is 'Terrible, Just Awful' in 2021 Draft Class

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 19, 2021

Alabama defensive lineman Christian Barmore (58) celebrates a sack against Notre Dame during the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game in Arlington, Texas, Friday, Jan. 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

NFL teams in need of help at defensive tackle this offseason likely addressed the position prior to the NFL draft. They didn't have much of a choice.

According to Albert Breer of SI.com, this year's draft is incredibly thin at the position:

"There's the boom-or-bust guy in [Christian] Barmore. Then, there's Washington DT Levi Onwuzurike, who opted out in 2020 but has nice potential. And after that, there's a wasteland, to the point where teams scrambled some for defensive tackles in free agency in anticipation of this being a tough year to draft at that position. 'It's terrible,' said one GM, 'just awful.'"

Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network had just two defensive tackles ranked in his top 50 players on his latest big board: Onwuzurike at No. 30 and Barmore at No. 42. 

That gives a pretty good indication of the lack of quality options available for teams at the position, or at least the perception that defensive tackle offers slim pickings in the class of 2021. 

Jeremiah called Onwuzurike "a slightly undersized defensive tackle who was highly destructive in every Washington game I studied," adding that his "pass rush production isn't special, but all of the tools are there to improve the results at the next level."

As for Barmore, he called him a "a big, talented defensive tackle. I was disappointed in his play at the beginning of the 2020 season, but the lingering effects of a preseason knee injury might have been a factor. He turned it way up down the stretch."

He added that he's "young, raw and talented. There is a boom/bust aspect to his evaluation, but he has all the tools."

Matt Miller @nfldraftscout

Teams REALLY like Christian Barmore. If he's the second or third defender off the board, I won't be surprised.

And in the latest two-round mock draft from ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr., it's only Barmore (No. 32) who is projected to be a top-64 pick. 

Teams that need help in the interior at this point in the offseason, in other words, will likely have to wait a year to get it.