Top 10 Defensive Tackles in NFL 2021 Rankings
Aaron Donald tops the list going into the 2021-2022 NFL Season for interior defensive lineman. Also ranking the best lineman which includes Vita Vea, Jonathan Allen, and more
By brandon walker | September 3, 2021
In interior lineman in the NFL today, we have our run-stuffing nose tackles, our three-technique pass-rushing specialist, and guys that can do both, but it is universally known that Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams is the best in the business, and barring injury he will continue to be. Here is my top 10 interior lineman for 2021.
Team: Washington Football Team
2020 Stats: 27 Solo, 3 Sacks, 3 FF, 1 INT
Payne is probably the least celebrated along Washington’s defensive front but he has been one of the best run defenders in the NFL the past couple of years and he could see his sacks numbers increase as he gets more seasoning. Payne recorded over 50 tackles the past two seasons.
Team: Pittsburgh Steelers
2020 Stats: 33 Solo, 11 Sacks, 2 FF
Tuitt’s 71 pressures last season were second-most in the NFL behind Donald and will continue to get opportunities as long as T.J. Watt and Cameron Heyward are in the lineup.
Team: Baltimore Ravens
2020 Stats: 18 Solo, 4 Sacks, 0 FF
The veteran missed some time in 2020 with a calf injury but the 35-year-old, when healthy, is still one of the most complete defensive linemen in the NFL. From 2016-2019 he graded over 90 or above according to Pro Football Focus. Campbell is trying to make one last push to get a gold jacket in the future.
Team: New York Jets
2020 Stats: 32 Solo, 7 Sacks, 2 FF
Although the Jets were a disaster in2020, the emergence of Williams as a dominant force on the interior was a bright spot. Williams jumped from 28 tackles to 55 and from 2.5 to 7 sacks. I see a lot of Pro Bowls in his future starting this season.
Top 10 Defensive Tackles
Team: Washington Football Team
2020 Stats: 36 Solo, 2 Sacks, 0 FF
Allen is just a classic, old-school defensive lineman. He is not flashy, but he is consistent, shows great technique and he will hold his assignments to a tee. Allen has had over 60 tackles the past three seasons.
— Justin Riley (@JustinRiley7) September 13, 2020
Team: Green Bay Packers
2020 Stats: 28 Solo, 2 Sacks, 0 FF
Clark is a nose tackle who recorded 62 combined tackles and sacks as a nose tackle last season. His 61 pressures lining up from the 0 or 1 technique since 2016 is the most in the NFL during that time.
Team: New York Giants
2020 Stats: 29 Solo, 11.5 Sacks, 0 FF
The Giant’s Williams has just been a solid and dependable lineman since he has been in the NFL. He no doubt had his best season in 2020 with 11.5 sacks and 58 combined tackles and 62 pressures.
Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2020 Stats: 6 Solo, 2 Sacks, 0 FF
Vea is the best nose tackle in the NFL and the main reason that the Buccaneers dominated the Chiefs in Super Bowl 55. The way he singlehandedly collapsed the pocket and allows fellow Tampa pass rushers to torture Patrick Mahomes all day night long.
Team: Philadelphia Eagles
2020 Stats: 28 Solo, 6.5 Sacks, 1 FF
If not for Aaron Donald, Cox might have been the best defensive tackle that NFL has had in the past 15 years. Cox has had 302 quarterback pressures since 2016. Fletcher may not have the sack totals as Donald, but he is the better run defender.
Team: Atlanta Falcons
2020 Stats: 27 Solo, 4 Sacks, 0 FF
Jarrett had a career-high 57 pressures last season playing on a poor Falcon’s defense. Pro Football Focus has graded him at an 80 or above every season since 2017. If Jarrett could find some help, he would get more recognition.
Team: Pittsburgh Steelers
2020 Stats: 30 Solo, 4 Sacks, 0 FF, 1 INT
Heyward is one of these players that gets better with age. According to PFF, Heyward has graded at over a 90 in run-stopping and pass-rushing and he has played the fourth-most defensive snaps among linemen since 2017.
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Team: Kansas City Chiefs
2020 Stats: 23 Solo, 7.5 Sacks, 2 FF
Jones has recorded32 sacks and 49 quarterback hits over the last three seasons. He has been the most consistent force on a defense that is inconsistent with an outside pass rush and liabilities in pass coverage.
Team: Indianapolis Colts
2020 Stats: 37 Solo, 9.5 Sacks, 2 FF
Buckner proved last season that he was not a product of the dominant San Francisco Defense that made Super Bowl 54. He proved that he is a cornerstone of an elite defense last season. Buckner had 58 tackles, 9.5 sacks, and an 89.8 overall grade according to PFF. Buckner was definitely worth the first-round pick the Colts gave up for him.
Team: Los Angeles Rams
2020 Stats: 27 Solo, 13.5 Sacks, 4 FF
Aaron Donald is the most dominant interior lineman that the league has seen since Reggie White. He leads the league in sacks, pressures, and pass rush wins without pressure. He can play on a four-man line, a three-man line, nose tackle it doesn’t matter. Donald is on his way to being one of the best defensive players of all time regardless of position.
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