2020 Senior Bowl Preview: Defensive Line

Photo: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most exciting parts about the Senior Bowl experience is getting to see the competitive drive and mannerisms from prospects. 

They aren't really areas you can decipher from reading articles or simply watching film. Watching the defensive line compete against the offensive line in one-on-one drills throughout the week of practice is always a spectacle. You get to see strength levels, natural instincts, bend and drive from the players. With power being one of the most common traits among the 2020 class, there's plenty of prospects who could improve their stock after a standout week.

Most Talented: Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina

A true story of perseverance and determination, there aren't too many prospects in this class that you can be more happy for than Javon Kinlaw. After homelessness and unfortunate academic circumstances, he was forced to attend Jones County Junior College. Kinlaw was promised a spot on South Carolina’s roster and eventually got it. 

In his two seasons with the program, he showed high levels of explosiveness, but the light didn't turn on for Kinlaw until this year. There were periods of stand-out play that were quickly followed with series of inconsistencies. Bundling all that together will key for any team that drafts Kinlaw. Easily the most talented defensive lineman in Mobile, Alabama, Kinlaw has a prime opportunity to build off of an impressive senior campaign. At 6-foot-6, 310 pounds, he has the athleticism and hand power you just don't see from similar prospects. With a solid week of practice, he could exit Mobile on track to eventually become a sure first-round selection.

Most Potential: Neville Gallimore, Oklahoma

After a star-studded defensive line class a year ago, the names aren't as notable in this year’s crop, but there's plenty of intrigue among the interior group. Neville Gallimore is a name you will hear frequently because he was one of the many bright spots on a defense that took a massive leap forward last season. A large reason is due to Gallimore’s consistent presence on Oklahoma’s defense.

He’s a true dual-threat who can effect on offenses as a run defender but has also proven to be plenty capable of being a pocket pusher as a pass rusher. He recorded career highs in tackles for loss (6.5) and sacks (four) last season and could remain on the upswing. But he will need the assistance of a demanding position coach in order to take his game to the next level.

Late-Round Steal: Davon Hamilton, Ohio State

While Chase Young and Jeffrey Okudah received a lot of national media attention, there’s a hidden gem in the interior that’s setting plays in order for them to be successful. Davon Hamilton is a true space-eater that also has plenty of nimbleness in order to generate vertical power. He’s an immovable force as a run defender and can easily eat up double teams which allow others to roam free. 

In his first season as a full-time starter, Hamilton’s production took an expected massive leap forward recording 28 tackles, 9 1/2 tackles for loss and six sacks. He's an underrated name teams may try to hide their true feelings toward because of how bright his future may be.

Most to Prove: Raekwon Davis, Alabama

Raekwon Davis’ size will certainly stand out, but after an impressive sophomore season — with 10 tackles for loss to go along with a career-high 8 1/2 sacks — he hasn't been able to return to that earlier form like many thought. After transitioning back inside following a year on the exterior, Davis was supposed to return to his old self in 2019. It just never happened. 

But some scouts that I have talked to mentioned it's simply the scheme he was included in. Davis was presented with a lot of opportunities as a sophomore, but in Alabama's scheme, rushers were forced to stand pat at the point of attack as opposed to getting up the field quickly, which could explain his downward spiral in production.

Written By:

Jordan Reid

Senior NFL Draft Analyst

Jordan Reid is a Senior NFL Draft Analyst for The Draft Network. Gaining experience from various lenses of the game, he has previously served as a college quarterback, position coach, and recruiting coordinator at North Carolina Central University. He now serves as a Color Commentator for FloSports, covering both high school and college football games around the country while also being the host of The Reid Option Podcast.