Trench players: Offensive tackles, interior offensive linemen, interior defensive linemen and edge defenders.
Some of the players included in this list aren’t best fits as trench players, but they have a chance to be one at the next level. Most of them are players who are off the ball linebackers. They are graded as edge defenders for the purpose of this list.
50: Jason Fanaika, EDGE/DL, Utah
Very similar to Mario Edwards Jr. from last class, who was taken in the second round. He’s not talented enough to play base end right now, but his ideal role at the next level is as a base 4-3 pass-rusher who kicks inside to 3-technique. Sloppy body for the position, but he’s a decent power rusher.
49: Adolphus Washington, DL, Ohio State
A pass-rushing 3-technique with a 4-3 defensive end background. He had a surprisingly horrible combine. Was also arrested for the solicitation of a prostitute. Didn’t really impress at the Senior Bowl, either. Was his production due to the surrounding players on Ohio State’s defense?
48: Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
Worth a flier as a right tackle, but is limited with his kick-slide and was replaced, effectively, during his injury by a 6’1″ center prospect. The current state of offensive tackles in the NFL means he’s going to get drafted higher than he should, but he’s not nearly as safe of a prospect as some would like you to believe.
47: Dean Lowry, DL, Northwestern
This year’s Henry Anderson. At 6’6″, his 32″ arms are virtually unheard of. Scheme fit is going to be a big question for him. He displays enough on film to consider him a factor as a pass-rusher, but can he stick as a 5-technique defensive on three downs when he’s asked to two-gap with those arms?
46: D.J. Reader, DL, Clemson
Missed the first half of the season due to the death of his father, but was a team captain. Has the potential to be a three-down player at 330-pounds, which is rare. He’s no Dontari Poe, but he’s a pretty good athlete for his size. Nose tackle in either a 4-3 or 3-4 defense.
45: Jihad Ward, DL, Illinois
The Senior Bowl riser of this bunch. Rod Marinelli and Ward made a spectacle of practices. Was horrible as a 3-technique for Illinois, as he can’t take on double-teams. Can hang as a 6’5″, 290-pound 5-technique defensive end, though.
44: Landon Turner, IOL, North Carolina
Very consistent, quality guard. Best suited for a zone scheme. He’s the type of player you can just plug and play on the interior and know he won’t embarrass you. Instant hole filled. He also got the @SullyFootball nod of approval.
43: Bronson Kaufusi, DL, BYU
Son of a coach. He has amazing technique, but just doesn’t have the feet to close in on explosive plays. He’s going to be more than fine as a 5-technique defensive end, but don’t expect him to get five or more sacks in a season as a professional.
42: Joshua Perry, EDGE, Ohio St
Best suited as a linebacker, Perry has the build of a potential pass-rusher. In a 3-4 scheme, he could be a solid net neutral left outside linebacker. Think of him as an Erik Walden type of player as an edge defender.
41: Reggie Ragland, EDGE, Alabama
There were times that Alabama lined up Ragland as a defensive end. I don’t think it was so much that he was talented in the role, but that the Tide knew that Ragland was a liability in coverage. Like Perry, I think Ragland is more of a linebacker than pass-rusher. If he for some reason did play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense, he’s a six sack a year player at his peak.
40: Curt Maggitt, EDGE, Tennessee
I really enjoyed watching Maggitt play football in 2014 and early 2015. A hip injury ended his final season too soon, but the Sam linebacker/3-4 outside linebacker prospect flashed potential with heavy hands. He’s also involved in a pretty stark lawsuit. I have no clue if he’s going to be drafted, between his health and off-field concerns.
39: Christian Westerman, IOL, Arizona State
A former blue chip recruit, Westerman transferred to Arizona State from Auburn early in his career. He’s fluid and quick, making him a good zone fit. There’s an outside shot he can play center or in a power scheme.
38: Kamalei Correa, EDGE, Boise State
I’m going to steal @BeauxJaxson‘s comparison for Correa: Kyle Van Noy. Like KVN, Correa is primarily being talked about as an edge defender when his best fit is as a Sam linebacker in a 4-3 defense. He can stick around as a 3-4 outside linebacker, but the lack of diversity in his pass-rushing attempts makes it hard to imagine him as a 4-3 defensive end.
37: Kyler Fackrell, EDGE, Utah State
I’m worried about Fackrell’s comment at the combine where he said that he’s more comfortable dropping in coverage than rushing the passer, but the high school safety moves better than most edge defenders. He’s a 3-4 outside linebacker who could have declared as a sophomore, but injury has held him back the last two years. If he can ever go back to his 2013 performance against USC, he could be a steal for a team.
36: Emmanuel Ogbah, EDGE, Oklahoma State
35: Willie Henry, DL, Michigan
Odd that an underclassmen from a major school can be overlooked, but here we are. Henry is a run-first 3-technique defensive tackle, but he isn’t a liability in the passing game. He has incredibly strong hands. If this defensive line class wasn’t so deep, there’s no way Henry would be glossed over.
34: Maliek Collins, DL, Nebraska
Collins isn’t all the way there yet, but he’s a talented player. He moves like a linebacker in a defensive tackle’s body. He’s a project 3-technique with a high upside as a pass-rusher. There’s a lot of boom-bust potential with him.
33: Germain Ifedi, OT, Texas A&M
Warning: He’s not allowed to play in 2016. With that being said, if you can “fix” Ifedi, you might have found yourself a left tackle. When right tackles are getting paid $7 million a year, being able to find a guy who can even fill a starting bookend role, especially in the current state of college football offensive lines, is a great opportunity.
32: Shilique Calhoun, EDGE, Michigan State
Very thin. Calhoun has been a known commodity for three years now. He’s an above average but not great pass-rusher. He’s very long, which makes him an odd fit in a 3-4 defense, since he plays in a gangly way. As of now, he’s a pass-rushing specialist as a 4-3 defensive end, but has the upside to be an every down end, should he grow into his frame.
31: Nick Martin, IOL, Notre Dame
Martin is talent, but he isn’t his brother Zach, who is a Pro Bowler with the Dallas Cowboys. He’s a really good zone fit. Can play either center or guard at the next level. Like the defensive tackle class, the center position is so deep in 2016 that some of these interior offensive linemen are being overlooked.