Defensive tackles are some of the biggest and toughest guys on the field. They are not only big bodies who stuff the run, but they also pressure the quarterback. As Denver showed last season, defense wins championships. Here are the top interior defensive tackles in the NFL today.
Top Defensive Tackles in NFL
10 – Dontari Poe
At 346 pounds, Poe has to be one of the biggest defensive tackles in the game today. He is a huge presence on the Chiefs’ team. Poe didn’t play much this season, but his size let alone puts him on this list. He recorded three touchdowns, one rushing and one passing, becoming the heaviest player in NFL history to throw a TD pass. Poe has the combination of size, strength, and athletic ability.
9 – Derek Wolfe
Wolfe played a huge role in last season’s Super Bowl run in Denver. This past season he recorded 51 tackles and 5.5 sacks. He is a player who relies on instincts and reads the play well. He has some serious strength, long arms, and is a decent pass rusher.
8 – Gerald McCoy
McCoy fit perfectly into defensive coordinator Mike Smith’s scheme as he recorded seven sacks, a career high two forced fumbles, and a career best two fumble recoveries and five pass deflections. He now has 33.5 sacks over the past four seasons. McCoy has an outstanding blend of athleticism and power, he has excellent quickness and burst. He is very competitive and an instinctive player.
7 – Damon Harrison
In 2015, Harrison led all interior defensive linemen with 72 tackles. He was signed by the Giants to turn around a depleted run defense. He did just that as he recorded a career high 86 tackles and five run stuffs. “Snacks” single-handedly turned the Giants defense into one of the best run defenses in the league.
6 – Linval Joseph
Joseph is a big, strong, athletic tackle with huge potential. Playing on one of the best defenses in the league, Joseph recorded four sacks, 77 tackles, and forced three fumbles. He can pressure the quarterback and is a huge presence on the interior.
5 – Fletcher Cox
Cox played a vital role in one of the league’s most productive defensive units. He recorded 45 tackles and 6.5 sacks. Cox can close off running lanes with his quickness, is an impact hitter, and has the ability to pressure the quarterback.
4 – Kawann Short
On one of the best defenses in the league last fall, Short recorded 55 tackles and 11 sacks, good enough to be named to his first Pro Bowl. He followed it up with a 2016 campaign in which he recorded 55 tackles and six sacks. Short has good upper body strength which helps him deliver explosive jolts to blockers, sending them back.
3 – Ndamukong Suh
Suh has fought through double and even triple teams to record five sacks and 72 tackles. He recorded six pass deflections and eight run stuffs. Suh has an excellent blend of power and explosiveness. He has some great size and strength to attack in the running game. He has been a productive and versatile player throughout his career.
2 – Geno Atkins
Atkins was named to his fifth straight Pro Bowl after recording nine sacks. Out of Georgia, Atkins has some great intelligence and trusts his instincts. He has some serious quickness off the ball and shows some good lateral agility. Despite being undersized, Atkins has been a force on the interior of the Bengals’ line.
1 – Aaron Donald
Donald has been a force to be reckoned with since his first day in the league. He has recorded 10+ run stuffs in all three season thus far. He was named to the All-Pro first team for the second straight year. Donald led the league with 31 quarterback hits, five more than any other player. He is quick off the snap which makes him highly disruptive at the line.
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