ESPN NFL draft experts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay dive into the loaded pass-rusher draft class, picking prospects who might challenge Ohio State’s Nick Bosa and Houston’s Ed Oliver at the top of the group.
They also choose 2019 prospects rising up draft boards and give their picks for under-the-radar prospects to keep an eye on, the College Football Playoff and CFB MVP.
Best defensive linemen in the 2019 class
Kiper: Everyone knows about Bosa and Oliver in this class. They’re at the top of both of our boards. Bosa is the best edge rusher in this class, and Oliver, who is getting comps to Aaron Donald, is the best interior rusher. Do you agree, Todd?
McShay: Yes, but Oliver is not an elite pass-rusher like Donald was coming out of Pitt. Remember that Donald put up 11-sack seasons twice at Pitt — Oliver hasn’t done that. He has only 13.5 sacks in his career and is more of a menace as a penetrator against the run. Great player, and he’s a nightmare to block one-on-one — extremely disruptive and explosive — but I think the No. 2 defensive line spot is wide open with a talented class.
Kiper: I agree with that. He’s going to be compared to Donald until April, and it’s really not fair. Oliver can be an impactful player even if he’s not producing double-digit sacks every season. So who are the next-best defensive tackles in this class?