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2024 NFL Draft preview: 5 defensive tackles that could interest Lions

The interior of Detroit's defensive line got a big boost this offseason in free agency with the addition of veteran DJ Reader. He and Alim McNeill now form one of the best defensive tackle duos in the NFL right in the center of Detroit's defensive line.

The Lions are hoping Brodric Martin can take a big leap in development in Year 2 and be part of the rotation inside. They're also hoping a healthy Levi Onwuzurike can give them some production along the interior.

There is certainly room to add another player to the mix to compete for playing time and add competition to the room. We see Aidan Hutchinson, Josh Paschal and John Cominsky play inside in certain packages and we'll probably see some of that from Marcus Davenport as well.

Defensive tackle class draft strength: Depth. There isn't a sure-fire Top 10 pick like Jalen Carter last year, but overall it's not a bad class as teams are going to find impact starters well into Day 2.

Lions defensive tackle depth chart: Reader, McNeill, Martin, Onwuzurike and Chris Smith.

Lions defensive tackle draft priority: Moderate. After Reader and McNeill there are some lingering questions about the overall depth the Lions have at the position. Players like Paschal can play both inside and outside, but he's at his best on the edge.

Reader has suffered a couple significant quad injuries over the last few years. McNeill missed a month last year with a knee injury. The Lions could certainly stand to add depth and competition to that room.

View photos of the top defensive tackle prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Five defensive tackles who could fit the Lions:

1. Byron Murphy II, Texas

6-0, 297. 4.87 40-yard dash (1.69 10-yard split).

Big 12 Conference Defensive Lineman of the Year who recorded 8.5 tackles for loss with 5.0 sacks for the Longhorns last season. He's an explosive athlete with a terrific combination of power and a quick first step. How good of an athlete is Murphy? He scored two touchdowns on offense, one rushing and one receiving.

2. Jer'Zhan Newton, Illinois

6-2, 304. Did not run 40.

Newton is an athletic and powerful interior defender who made his living playing in the opponent's backfield the last few years at Illinois. Newton tied for the national lead in QB pressures among interior defenders last season with 44, according to Pro Football Focus. The Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and finalist for the Nagurski Trophy (nation's top defender), Newton led Illinois with 7.5 sacks. He also led all of FBS football with a school-record four blocked kicks. Newton finished his Illini career with 27.5 tackles for loss and 18.0 sacks.

3. Braden Fiske, Florida State

6-4, 292. 4.78 40-yard dash (1.68 10-yard split).

Fiske has good length with room to put more weight and muscle on his frame at the NFL level. He's got some position versatility and a history of production at both Western Michigan University and Florida State. He notched 43 tackles, nine tackles for loss and 6.0 sacks for the Seminoles this past season, which is great production from the interior. He has a motor that never quits.

4. T'Vondre Sweat, Texas

6-4, 366. 5.27 40-yard dash (1.8 10-yard split).

A massive human being with the ability to eat up blocks and open lanes for players around him to make plays. He has a chance to make an immediate impact because rarely will he be blocked by a single offensive lineman. Sweat won the Outland Trophy (given to the nation's top interior lineman-OL/DL) and the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year after racking up 45 tackles, eight tackles for loss, two sacks, four pass breakups and one blocked kick.

View photos of NFL prospect Jer'Zhan Newton.

5. Kris Jenkins, Michigan

6-3, 299. 4.91 40-yard dash (1.7 10-yard split).

Started all 15 games for the national champions and finished with 37 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and one interception. He was the team's Co-Defensive Player of the Year. He also comes from good bloodlines with his father, Kris, being a two-time All-Pro defensive tackle in the NFL. He was dominant on the biggest stage in the playoff games against Alabama and Washington.

Sleeper: Ruke Orhorhoro, Clemson

6-4, 294. 4.89 40-yard dash (1.67 10-yard split).

Orhorhoro had to wait his turn to become a starter but made the most of the opportunity in 2023, starting 12 games and finishing with 25 tackles, eight tackles for loss and 5.0 sacks. He's an explosive athlete with good size and uses leverage to his advantage. He's got a high ceiling with his athletic traits.

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