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2020 NFL Draft Preview: Defensive tackles who can start day one

(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

The NFL Draft is slated for April 23-25, providing seven rounds for the Broncos and other teams to find their stars of the future. At this point, Denver is slated to have 11 total picks, five of which will fall within the first 95 selections. In other words, John Elway will have plenty of assets to work with throughout the weekend.

What will he do with those picks? That’s anyone’s guess. But in the coming weeks, 1043TheFan.com will provide an overview of the best prospects.

Today, we continue by looking at a position where the Broncos will most likely be looking to add some depth – defensive tackle. Mike Purcell is projected to start in the middle of Denver’s defensive line, coming off of a surprising season in 2019. But the former AAF player can’t man the post alone; he’ll need some help. Jurrell Casey and Shelby Harris can play inside if needed, but both will be more effective at defensive end in Vic Fangio’s system. So if the Broncos want to add depth via the draft, here are the players to consider for the job:

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Top Five on the Board

1. Derrick Brown – In many games at Auburn, Brown appeared to be a man amongst boys. He’s a physically dominant player who seems to toss aside offensive linemen with ease. He’s also versatile, as he can line up in various spots in the trenches, allowing him to excel in a 3-4 or 4-3 defense. Brown is almost assured of going in the top 10, as he’s a day one starter at the NFL level.

2. Javon Kinlaw – Kinlaw is a disruptive force, as he was constantly in the opposing team’s backfield during his time at South Carolina. Whether against the run or rushing the passer, his combination of strength and quickness allows him to split blockers and create havoc. Like Brown, he’s a player who can line up all along the defensive line, something that will allow defensive coordinators to get creative and cause offensive coordinators nightmares.

3. Marlon Davidson – At Auburn, Davidson mostly played on the outside, which seemed to fit his 280-pound frame. But in the NFL, he’s projected to be an interior defensive lineman. As a result, he showed up at the Senior Bowl tipping the scales at nearly 300 pounds and lining up at a new position. He showed well, which has scouts believing he can make the transition. That said, it’ll take some time for him to develop.

4. Ross Blacklock – Blacklock has all of the tools needed to succeed in the NFL. He possesses strength, length, size, power, technique and athleticism, which is the perfect combination of skills. That said, he’s not as highly ranked as some of the other defensive linemen in the draft because he played at TCU. There’s a bit of a Big 12 stigma, as well as the fact that the Horned Frogs stunt-heavy defense makes linemen tougher to evaluate.

5. Jordan Elliott – Reviews are mixed on Elliott. Some see him as a player with huge upside at the NFL level, while others fear he was a one-year wonder at Missouri. As a result, he could go in the first round or tumble into day two. He’s a physically gifted player, but there are times when he doesn’t seem to be giving 100 percent. In addition, there are worries about his pass-rushing techniques. That’s a lot of red flags.