Defensive lineman Arik Armstead of Oregon ranks among the top five defensive tackles in this year’s NFL draft. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Photo: Joe Robbins
Photo: Joe Robbins

Top five defensive linemen in the NFL draft

Here are the top five defensive tackle prospects (with projected round):

Leonard Williams, 6-foot-5, 302 pounds, USC (first round): Some consider Williams the top player in the draft because of his flexibility and strength. Williams made an instant impact and was the Pac-12’s defensive freshmen of the year. He has played tackle and defensive end.

Danny Shelton, 6-2, 339, Washington (first): He had a breakout senior season with 89 tackles, including 16.5 for losses and 9.5 sacks. He was named to the Associated Press’ All-American team. He’s considered a run-stuffing nose tackle in a 3-4 NFL scheme.

Arik Armstead, 6-7, 292, Oregon (first): He also played basketball for the Ducks before quitting the team to focus on football. He helped the Ducks with the Pac-12 and reach the national championship games last season. He finished with 46 tackles, including 5.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks while facing a lot of double-team blocks.

Malcolm Brown, 6-2, 319, Texas (first/second): He was an consensus All-American and was named a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Award (top defender) and Outland Trophy (top interior lineman) last season after finishing with 64 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks during the regular season.

Eddie Goldman, 6-4, 336, Florida State (first/second): He was a much heralded recruit, who picked the Seminoles over Alabama and Auburn. He played some defensive end before moving to tackle last season. His production wasn’t spectacular, as he had just 35 tackles, eight tackles for loss and four sacks in 13 regular-season starts. But he’s massive and NFL scouts loves his size.

Teams in need: New England, Jacksonville, Buffalo, Miami, Cleveland and Tennessee.

Need area for Falcons? No. The Falcons signed defensive tackle Paul Soliai and defensive end Tyson Jackson last season in free agency. They also have defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux, who is scheduled to return to his under tackle position and has the flexibility to play some at end.

Top 5 seniors for 2016 draft: 1. Adolphus Washington, 6-4, 288, Ohio State. 2. Sheldon Day, 6-2, 290, Notre Dame. 3. Antwaun Woods, 6-1, 325, USC. 4. Darren Lake, 6-2, 325, Alabama. 5 Adam Gotsis, 6-4, 289, Georgia Tech.

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