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NFL Draft 2023 – Defense: the top 5 in each position

NFL Draft 2023 – Defense: the top 5 in each position


Myles Murphy, where will he stop?

The second half of the NFL season is starting, and the first conclusions are obvious: should we prepare for the playoffs or next year? Six months away from the 2023 NFL Draft, Touchdown Actu offers you a squad review, with the five best prospects in each defensive position at the moment T.

(NB: * = junior; ** = sophomore)

EDGE RUSHERS

1. Will Anderson* (Alabama)
2. Myles Murphy* (Clemson)
3. BJ Ojulari* (LSU)
4. Felix Anudike-Uzomah* (Kansas State)
5. Will McDonald (Iowa State)
Other players mentioned: Andre Carter II (Army), Derick Hall (Auburn), Isaiah Foskey * (Notre Dame).

He experienced some air holes, like against Texas, with chronic indiscipline, but make no mistake about it! Will Anderson remains arguably the most successful athlete in this class today, still coveted in the top 5. With a huge first step and good moves, Anderson has the level to be a generational pass rusher. , although interesting profiles are climbing behind, with the recent good outings of Ojulari and Anudike-Ozumah. As a dilettante at the start of the season, Myles Murphy also turned a corner and his best performances (oddly?) coincided with the return to form of the Tigers’ overall rush pass.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

1. Jalen Carter* (Georgia)
2. Gervon Dexter** (Florida)
3. Tuli Tuipulotu* (USC)
4. Bryan Breese** (Clemson)
5. Siaki Ika* (Baylor)
Other players named: Calijah Kancey* (Pittsburgh), Colby Wooden* (Auburn).

Stars of the position at the start of the season, Jalen Carter and Bryan Breese had a difficult start to the exercise, the first for an extended stint in the infirmary, the second for a recent family drama. A situation that tends to redistribute the cards, especially for the Clemson sophomore. Because by their ability to wreak havoc on the pass rush, Gervon Dexter and Tuli Tuipulotu represent atypical templates highly sought after in the modern league, which could ultimately guarantee them a place in the first round of the next vintage. Used in the rotation at Baylor, Siaki Ika is THE dominant nose tackle on the board and will be a curiosity to follow.

LINEBACKERS

1. Trenton Simpson* (Clemson)
2. Drew Sanders* (Arkansas)
3. Jack Campbell (Iowa)
4. Ivan Pace Jr. (Cincinnati)
5. Noah Sewell** (Oregon)
Other players mentioned: Nolan Smith (Georgia), Henry To’oto’o (Alabama).

It’s a very confusing class of linebackers that we have to deal with. From an athletic point of view, Simpson and Sanders seem above the lot compared to the competition, but the inconstancy of the first and the waste in the tackle of the second still leave some doubts. A boon for Jack Campbell, defensive hub of the Hawkeyes, and Ivan Pace Jr., defector from Miami (Ohio) and now new terror of the defensive bulwark of the Cincinnati Bearcats. Very prominent during his first two university seasons, Noah Sewell is clearly in retreat in 2022 but remains a name to follow.

Chris Smith took over the sequel to the reputable safeties to come out of Georgia.

CORNERBACKS

1. Clark Phillips III** (Utah)
2. Cam Smith* (South Carolina)
3. Kelee Ringo ** (Georgia)
4. Joey Porter Jr.* (Penn State)
5. DJ Turner (Michigan)
Other players mentioned: Emmanuel Forbes * (Mississippi State), Garrett Williams ** (Syracuse).

Star of the last university final won by Georgia, with a Pick-6 at the end of the game, Kelee Ringo is a little more difficult at the start of the season, especially on the cover. More generally, this position lacks an external threat, Phillips and Smith having proved unplayable since the start of the season, but being rather expected in hybrid roles or mainly in the slot. Son of the former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker, Joey Porter Jr. is an exceptional athlete, whose concentration swings must be erased.

SAFETIES

1. Antonio Johnson* (Texas A&M)
2. Christopher Smith (Georgia)
3. Ji’Ayir Brown (Penn State)
4. Brandon Joseph* (Our Lady)
5. Demarcco Hellams (Alabama)
Other players mentioned: AJ Finley (Ole Miss), Jalen Catalon* (Arkansas), JL Skinner (Boise State).

Will there be a safety drafted in the first round next April? The question deserves to be asked, because only three real profiles today seem to have the capacity to do so. Antonio Johnson and Christopher Smith have shown steady progress in recent months in the free safety position (Johnson was even a nickelback before that). As for Brown, he is arguably the best in terms of tight end coverage, a commodity often highly valued by league front offices. Brandon Joseph is an undeniable talent, but he seems more withdrawn despite his recent arrival at Notre Dame. As a reminder, he had a stratospheric 2020 campaign at Northwestern, alongside cornerback Greg Newsome, now with the Cleveland Browns.

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