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Let’s say the Bucs enter the 2020 NFL Draft needing an offensive tackle, but by the time the team is on the clock with the 14th overall pick, four or five of the top tackles are off the board. The Bucs are not a team with many true needs in the upcoming draft, but there are relative concerns at defensive tackle, running back, safety and wide receiver.

On Monday on PewterReport.com, I’ll talk about what options make the most sense for the team if the worst-case scenario unfolds in front of them in Round 1, but for today let’s focus on the top two defensive tackles in the class, South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw and Auburn’s Derrick Brown.

Alabama WR Jerry Jeudy and QB Tua Tagovailoa

Alabama WR Jerry Jeudy and QB Tua Tagovailoa – Photo by: Getty Images

Picking at No. 14, the Bucs are looking at a strong chance that the first 13 picks contain some part of the following list: four quarterbacks, four offensive tackles, Ohio State defensive end Chase Young, Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah, Clemson linebacker-safety Isaiah Simmons, Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson, Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, and Alabama wide receiver Henry Ruggs and/or Crimson Tide teammate Jerry Jeudy. That’s 15 players outside of the top two defensive tackles in the class who nobody would be surprised to go top 13.

That will leave some good options for the Bucs at No. 14, and potentially both defensive tackles for them to choose from. With the run on offensive tackles expected to start early, Tampa Bay is going to have to decide A) how they feel about Kinlaw and Brown, and B) which one adds more value to the team. Lucky for them, I already know the answer.

Both Brown and Kinlaw are good football players, but only one of them should move the needle for the Bucs. If Kinlaw is there in this scenario, I would select him without hesitation. If Brown is there, I’d pass on him for a more impactful player, or trade back in the first round.

Good defensive tackles do grow on trees, as the position is arguably the deepest in the NFL. But there are only a handful of defensive tackles who approach the “elite” tier at the position, and even fewer that are consistently in that tier year after year. Simply put, if you can’t consistently make plays behind the line of scrimmage in the run and (especially) the pass game, you’re not going to have much value as an interior defensive linemen in the NFL.

Per Pro Football Focus, the Top 10 interior defensive linemen in the NFL last season in pressures (combined hurries, quarterback hits and sacks) included L.A.’s Aaron Donald, Green Bay’s Kenny Clark, San Francisco’s DeForest Buckner, Pittsburgh’s Cam Heyward, Kansas City’s Chris Jones, Atlanta’s Grady Jarrett, Philadelphia’s Fletcher Cox and Cincinnati’s Geno Atkins. The year before? All but Clark were again in the Top 10.

That’s a pretty good indication that those who create consistent pressure are the most valuable at their position on the interior defensive line.

Now, “making plays” is a broad term that goes beyond the box score. An interior defensive lineman can ruin run plays with backfield penetration and pass plays with pressures just as effectively as they can with tackles-for-loss and sacks. The stat lines themselves can be deceiving, which is why it is important to watch the tape to see how a player wins.

Brown is a good player who stuffs the run at a high level and handles guards and centers in one-on-one situations. He has enough quickness to win through gaps at times too, but that isn’t really his calling card. Brown is a hold-the-point-of-attack run defender who stacks and sheds and makes life easy for the linebackers behind him.

The problem is, players like that are a lot easier to find than dynamic pass rushers or explosive backfield penetrators. Brown’s poor athletic testing at the NFL Scouting Combine (8.11 three-cone, 4.79 short shuttle) revealed what his tape had really already shown us: he has just average-to-above-average burst off the ball, and he lacks the flexibility and lateral quickness to work to the edge of blockers and rush around them to the pocket.

South Carolina DT Javon Kinlaw

South Carolina DT Javon Kinlaw – Photo courtesy of South Carolina

Even if the 6-foot-4, 326-pound Brown were more athletically impressive, his tape reveals a frustrating lack of an attack plan on far too many rushes. He opts for a straight bull rush on the vast majority of his reps, which worked on occasion, but won’t be enough for quick wins against NFL passing attacks. He also is sorely in need of a counter move, which is a smaller issue, but still troubling for a guy who rarely wins with a primary maneuver after three years as a starter.

Kinlaw’s concerns are much more easily remedied. He took a huge step forward during his senior season, his third as a starter at South Carolina, showing legit rush moves and technique to go with his absurd combination of power and athleticism. Both Brown and Kinlaw possess unbelievable frames, but only Kinlaw moves in a way that suggests the athletic ability to win one-on-one in pass rush situations, and only Kinlaw consistently shows pass rush ability to pressure the pocket.

As a junior, you could see Kinlaw had a chance to be special. As a senior, he was special. The 6-foot-5, 324-pound Kinlaw constantly re-set the line of scrimmage, ran blockers into the backfield, found the football through traffic, made plays way out of his gap and harassed quarterbacks in the pocket, forcing a couple interceptions and patting down a few passes.

Yes, Kinlaw needs to develop a counter move and keep his pad level lower (an issue for both defensive tackles at times), but players with his combination of size, length, athleticism and power just don’t miss in the NFL. Especially when they have already surpassed the baseline technique and mental processing for the position.

Jones and Stephon Tuitt are the two players Kinlaw compares most closely to, and both of those guys are high-end, every-down-impact defensive linemen in the NFL – not because they are the most technical or even the most consistent, but because they are dominant specimens with enough polish to maximize their natural gifts. Both can take over games and prove to be totally unblockable until a team adapts their game plan.

Brown is still a good player and probably a Top 32 prospect in the class, but his presence would be redundant alongside Vita Vea and Ndamukong Suh on Tampa’s defensive line. Vea is a solid power rusher, who is still developing a repertoire of moves, while Suh’s best days are behind him. Brown would give Tampa another physical run-stuffer, but the Bucs need an interior defensive lineman who can create losses for the opposition at a higher level than any of the current cast.

South Carolina DT Javon Kinlaw

South Carolina DT Javon Kinlaw – Photo courtesy of South Carolina

Kinlaw’s ability to move all over the defensive line without losing effectiveness would be a highly useful skill in Todd Bowles’ stunt-heavy defense. It would also help make life easier for outside linebackers Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul (provided both return), as opposing offenses would have a harder time scheming help against either player.

Brown is a good player, but the value just isn’t there for Tampa Bay at No. 14. If he’s the best player available, the team would be wise to trade down and acquire more picks. But if Kinlaw is there at No. 14, descending the board would be a big mistake. The South Carolina senior can make the type of impact that the NFL covets from the defensive tackle position, and he’s ready to do it right away.

Kinlaw should be the choice over Brown for any team, but definitely for the Bucs, who could enter the conversation for the best defensive line in the NFL with Kinlaw added to their current group. So if the offensive tackle run starts early, don’t fret. Just pray Tampa Bay recognizes their need for athleticism on the defensive interior and opts for a Top 10-caliber player in the 2020 NFL Draft in Kinlaw.

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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1 year ago

I’m warming OT the idea but this O line has been issue so long for this team and big part of why can’t run the ball well. It’s not all the RB’s for sure. Him and Vea could potentially be best interior D line for years to come.

1 year ago

To the idea…stupid phones lol

1 year ago

A WAR EAGLE here: My heart is saying Brown, but my eyes see kinlaw.

1 year ago

If we can get him at 14, and the best OTs are gone, tthis would be a great pick. There is still the question of getting RB Taylor, but Kinlaw would be the BPA. If you watched the SC upset over Georgia last season, he was a big factor on the gamee. And he did the same thng against the Gators for three quarters. He and Vea would solidify the DL interior. Learn for a year playig with Suh would be another plus.

1 year ago

I’d be very happy if the Bucs drafted Kinlaw. He has the potential to be dynamic and would bring a skill set that is currently missing from the Bucs d-line. If the top 3-4 Tackles are off the board by 14, Kinlaw should easily be the pick.

1 year ago

I like brown,the game vs Alabama he was a monster.

Dy-nasty D
Dy-nasty D(@dy-nasty-d)
1 year ago

Sign me up! I love drafting guys over 300 lbs.

As much as I would love to see a great RB on Sundays, it would be foolish.

Build the trenches!

1 year ago

Watch Brown against LSU – dominated. ‘Bama – dominated. A&M – dominated. And not just this past season. Not going to knock Kinlaw, but Brown has been playing at a first round level for two years against the best comp in the country. Pair him with Vea and that’s the making of a dominate line for the next 10 years.

Ware Damn Eagle!!!

1 year ago

I would rather get Suh back. We know his floor and know his celling and both are pretty impressive.

Jon, you seem to be a little more of a combine statistic guy then a college production guy.

Sometimes those combine guys work out – Sometimes not – I think analyzing where they played and how they succeeded in college needs to be looked at.

1 year ago

Brown is a similar player to Vea. If we go DT it should be for Suh’s replacement. We need a 3 tech in our 4 man front.

1 year ago

4 or 5 OTs in the top 13 picks?? Come on man.

Once in the history of the NFL draft have 4 OTs gone in the top 14 picks and that was when the top 2 picks were OTs and zero QBs were drafted in the top 14.

3 QBs minimum, Young, Okudah, Simmons, Brown are locks. That leaves 6 picks before the Bucs. I’d say another QB may sneak in, a WR or 2, and a surprise or 2.

If 4 OTs go before 14, then Kinlaw may be the pick.

1 year ago

I think this is a good option if the top 4 Tackles are gone. I am hoping there is still one there but historically Bucs do not like to draft OL high.

1 year ago

My problem with brown is the lack of production. Now i didn’t get to watch him too much,but 4 sacks is not dominating to me. Hes never even reached 5 in any year. And his combine numbers were awful. Im not talking 40 but his 3 cone was terrible. Kinlaw possesses better stats and much more explosion. If the tackels are all gone as others have stated ,I would be happy with kinlaw.

1 year ago

Would have no issue with either and think Kinlaw was working with less in terms of complimentary teammates. Kinlaw is a stud. I do think we need to focus on OL however. Failure to do that is why this team hasn’t turned the corner.

1 year ago

I believe tha one of the top 2 O- linemen is a better idea. Dotson is about done. There are no decent backups.

1 year ago

Wirzt looks like a good bet.

1 year ago

This is the best article written on Pewter Report this year. The only thing not mentioned is work ethic. If Kinlaw has that, then he would be an excellent pick at 14.

Mb Nfl Double Your First Deposit Football Team Vs Bucs Pewter 728x90 Jpg