As your New Orleans Saints prepare for the 2023 NFL Draft, we take a look at the top 10 ranked players at various positions. The 2023 NFL Draft big board rankings are reflective of Bucky Brooks' top five 2023 NFL Draft prospects by position 1.0 and ESPN's NFL Draft "Best Available" list.
Here are the top ten ranked draft prospects at defensive line:
2023 NFL Draft prospects - Defensive line | No. 1 Will Anderson Jr. | Alabama
Will Anderson Jr. is a Pro Bowl level defensive lineman who is listed as the best available in his position on both NFL.com and ESPN.com, although he is listed as an outside linebacker on the latter. Anderson has a wide variety of moves and trick that can keep offensive linemen guessing, and he has the build to be a menace on on the defensive side. An executive for an NFL team had this to say about the Alabama prospect: "Power Five players with traits who get sacks in college are going to get sacks in the pros. Anderson is way more likely to succeed than any of these quarterbacks (in the draft). It's not even close." Anderson is slightly better in pass rush than he is in run defense, but he is likely to be a Day 1 selection regardless.
Height: 6 feet 3 1/2
Weight: 253 pounds
NFL.com Draft Grade: 7.02
NFL.com overview: "Three-year starter for vaunted Alabama program with eye-popping production that encapsulates his potential impact. Anderson is well-built with long arms. He has the rush get-off and skill level to consistently shave edges or pry open rush paths with inside moves. Even when he's blocked around the arc or on the diagonal, Anderson's footwork, cornering and closing speed help him dive into the pocket...Anderson is suited to a 3-4 front, where he can play wider to better allow his length to overcome size deficiencies at the point of attack. His traits, athleticism and production against high-level competition are indicators of a Pro Bowl future."
2023 NFL Draft prospects - Defensive line | No. 2 Tyree Wilson | Texas Tech
Tyree Wilson already has the ability to be a starter in year 1, but can become an even better player if he continues to work on his game and build out his frame. Wilson is the second-best defensive end on NFL.com and the best edge defender on ESPN.com. He is a long defender that wrecks run games and powers through tight ends. He has a little more work to do with his hands and technique, but the right coach should be able to bring the best out of him, making him even more of a threat. A likely Day 1 pick, look for Wilson to be on a starting defensive line before the season is over.
Height: 6 feet 6
Weight: 271 pounds
NFL.com Draft Grade: 6.77
NFL.com Overview: "Long-limbed defender who figures to turn into a full-blown nightmare for opponents if he continues to grow into both his frame and his game. Wilson's combination of traits and athleticism should yield flashes of dominant play in both phases as he continues to get bigger and stronger. His length and lateral quickness are ingredients for chaos as a back-side run game disruptor. He's capable of ranging and tackling from distance if the run flows wide. On the flip side, he's not very instinctive as a run defender and his play demeanor could stand to be a little thornier when attacking blocks. Wilson has the physical tools to create pocket push as a power rusher early on, but the hand usage and rush plan will need tutoring for him to become a well-rounded, two-way rusher. He might not set the world on fire in Year 1, but the talent and vaulted ceiling will be easy to see soon enough."
2023 NFL Draft prospects - Defensive line | No. 3 Lukas Van Ness | Iowa
Lukas Van Ness is the third best defensive end on NFL.com and the second best available edge on ESPN's Best Remaining Players list. Van Ness is coming off a productive year with the Hawkeyes and will be looking to use his speed and agility to get past offensive lines in the pros. He has the potential to be a starter within the next couple of years, but he can be plugged into a starting role for needy teams this season. He does need some coaching on hand usage, but that can be tightened up with the right coach. He could be a sneaky round 1 option, but could fall to Day 2 with a stacked defensive line class.
Height: 6 feet 5
Weight: 272 pounds
NFL.com Draft Grade: 6.40
NFL.com Overview: "Nicknamed "Hercules" by teammates, Van Ness is a well-developed defensive end with excellent lean mass and additional growth still to come. He's a power-centric prospect with force as his modus operandi as both a run defender and pass rusher. Van Ness needs to work on hand attacks for quicker block shedding and to diversify his rush beyond bull-rush challenges. He's taken snaps inside at Iowa but might need to keep filling out his frame before he's ready to succeed as a run stuffer and pass rusher as a 4i in a 3-4 front. Van Ness is more of a splash player than consistent force on tape, but he possesses projectable traits that should allow for continued ascension as a pro."
2023 NFL Draft prospects - Defensive line | No. 4 Keion White | Georgia Tech
Keion White is entering the draft as the fourth best edge defender according to Bucky Brooks and the third best outside linebacker on ESPN.com. White is the type of prospect that a lot of teams really show interest in. He has the size and athleticism that you can't teach, and he can become a massive force with some coaching. He is a little bit away from being ready for a starting role, but a good mentor and solid coaching can take his talents to a new level. A personnel executive for an AFC team said, "You have to see him in person to get a feel for how he moves around for how big he is. Really athletic with a high floor. He'll be a riser." He is the type of player that teams would be willing to take a chance on.
Height: 6 feet 5
Weight: 285 pounds
NFL.com Draft Grade: 6.43
NFL.com Overview: "Athletic big man offering scheme versatility and projectable upside. White has good short-area quickness as well as speed in space. He lacks consistent early phase technique to control the rep, but his recovery talent, hustle and athletic traits put him in position to get in on the action. His pass rush is predictable and lacks focus, but he's bendy and could take a big leap forward in this department provided the coaching catches up with the physical gifts. He's still in the developmental phase, but his physical/athletic profile gives him a chance to become a plus starter as a 4-3 or 3-4 defensive end."
2023 NFL Draft prospects - Defensive line | No. 5 Myles Murphy | Clemson
Myles Murphy is the fifth best edge defender on NFL.com and the third best DE on ESPN's Best Available players list. Murphy has the potential to be a starter within the next few years. He has good abilities on the end of the line, but can become predictable once teams have tape on him. He could benefit from learning some new techniques, especially on the interior linemen that may be covering him on run plays. If he can add some more moves to his already impressive athleticism, he may find his way onto the field sooner than anticipated.
Height: 6 feet 5
Weight: 268 pounds
NFL.com Draft Grade: 6.42
NFL.com Overview: "Murphy has excellent size/traits and has been consistently productive in impact categories for three straight years. He plays with a plus motor and good first-step quickness, but his game isn't really twitchy or explosive. He has finishing talent when he's inside the pocket, but he needs to vary his rush angles and find an effective inside counter, as NFL tackles will be expecting his long-arm bull-rush technique. Murphy's length and post-up strength could provide the scheme and positional versatility that puts him on every draft board. The traits and upside are there, but his skill level needs a boost to push the ceiling higher."
2023 NFL Draft prospects - Defensive line | No. 6 Jalen Carter | Georgia
Jalen Carter is the best available defensive tackle according to both NFL.com and ESPN.com. The former Bulldog is likely a lock for Day 1, but some off-the-field issues may cause him to slip a little bit. His on-the-field traits speak for themselves. Active footwork, variety in hand movements, explosiveness off the line and power in blocks are all skills Carter brings to the table. Add NFL growth to that and he may become a Pro Bowl caliber player. Teams will likely bolster the defensive presence of any team that drafts him, and he will be looking to improve in a few areas wherever he lands.
Height: 6 feet 3
Weight: 314 pounds
NFL.com Draft Grade: 7.05
NFL.com Overview: "When assessing a player's draft grade, we take into consideration areas like traits, toughness, explosiveness, skill level, potential for growth and positional projections. Across the board, Carter checks out in a big way...The tape shows a defender with odd- or even-front versatility and a rare blend of first-step quickness and leverage through contact. He's capable of finding quick wins against sloppy guard play and finishes the play once he's in the backfield. His hand usage can be violent or subtle, but the feet are always active and searching for an opening. Based upon talent, traits and projection, Carter appears ready to step into the NFL and become a productive three-down talent with Pro Bowl potential."
2023 NFL Draft prospects - Defensive line | No. 7 Bryan Bresee | Clemson
Bryan Bresee is the second best tackle available on both NFL.com and ESPN.com. He's had some injury issues the past few seasons, including an ACL tear in September 2021 and shoulder surgery in January 2022. When on the field, he has been proven to be productive and effective for the Tigers. Bresee has great football instincts and the motivation to get past the man in front of him. He will, more than likely, become a plus starter for the team that takes a chance on him. His biggest roadblock will be his health. If he stays on the field, then he can be effective.
Height: 6 feet 5 1/2
Weight: 298 pounds
NFL.com Draft Grade: 6.35
NFL.com Overview: "Burly but athletic interior tackle who plays with a strong desire to get past the man in front of him. Bresee rarely gets caught up in long block engagements and possesses a deep anchor to battle double teams. He operates with subtle hand fighting that helps puts pressure on blockers but currently lacks the rush sophistication and shed technique to make more plays in the backfield. If he can stay healthy and gain much-needed experience, Bresee should continue to progress at his position and become a good run defender with an ability to disrupt the pocket within his first few NFL seasons."
2023 NFL Draft prospects - Defensive line | No. 8 Siaki Ika | Baylor
Siaki Ika is the third best interior defensive lineman on NFL.com and the sixth best DT on ESPN.com. Ika is a powerful presence on the line, and he can be disruptive in a lot of run plays. Although he may not be an every-down lineman, he will be a plus in goal-to-go situations and short yardage downs. He notably struggled against Oklahoma last season, so tougher offensive lineman may pose a challenge. He has a few things to work on, but can be a force for some teams after some coaching.
Height: 6 feet 3
Weight: 335 pounds
NFL.com Draft Grade: 6.34
NFL.com Overview: "Girthy interior force with heavy hands and a combative nature at the point of attack. Ika is made for gap control with his wide frame and ready anchor. While he has the potential to become a highly effective block-eater as an odd or even front nose tackle, he's quick enough off the snap to penetrate and disrupt play design if teams try to block him one-on-one. While he's unlikely to see passing downs, Ika does have enough athleticism and hand work to challenge the pocket from time to time. If he's able to manage his weight, Ika could become an early starter and help improve a leaky run defense."
2023 NFL Draft prospects - Defensive line | No. 9 Keeanu Benton | Wisconsin
Keeanu Benton is listed as the fourth best interior defensive lineman on NFL.com and the third best on ESPN. The Badger prospect is coming off of an impressive 2022 where he finished with 20 solo tackles. He is more effective on run plays as he can be a little slow in the pocket once he's past the line. He has the brute force to power past interior linemen that line up across from him. He will eventually be a starter, but could use a bit of coaching/mentoring to get to that point.
Height: 6 feet 4
Weight: 309 pounds
NFL.com Draft Grade: 6.25
NFL.com Overview: "Benton is a powerful interior defensive lineman with size and persistence. However, he needs to play with consistent explosiveness early in the rep for decisive wins at the point of attack at the pro level. Block engagements become drawn-out brawls at times, but he does a nice job of defeating block sustains and often finds himself near the play. He lacks a wide base and sturdy anchor, so he'll need to improve his pad level to prevent double teams from moving him around too easily. He's solid and has flashed starting potential, but he needs to become a more consistently impactful force in the middle to make noise as an NFL starter."
2023 NFL Draft prospects - Defensive line | No. 10 Mazi Smith | Michigan
Mazi Smith rounds out the top five interior defensive linemen on NFL.com, and he is also the fifth best defensive tackle according to ESPN's Best Available list. He showed immense production in 2022, and will need to show that he can replicate that at a professional level. Consistency could allow him to blossom into an elite presence, but he has some work to do before he gets to that point. If he is capable of showing consistent improvement, then he may be considered a steal. He is projected to be a Day 2 selection, but he may be worth a Day 1 selection for a team willing to take a leap of faith.
Height: 6 feet 3
Weight: 323 pounds
NFL.com Draft Grade: 6.34
NFL.com Overview: "Dontari Poe might be the physical and athletic player comparison for Smith, but more consistency from Smith is needed before he finds the Pro Bowl, as Poe did twice in his career. Smith's blend of size and quickness is rare. He can punch and control a base block with relative ease. However, he struggles to match the initial movement of move blockers, which diminishes his effectiveness. He has space-eating potential but needs to become more consistent at taking on double teams and securing his gap. Smith's size and testing could give his draft slotting some juice but he's more of a Day 2 talent with exciting upside than a plug-and-play starter."