Top 10 2025 NFL Draft DT Rankings: Deone Walker, Walter Nolen Lead the Pack

Who are the top DT prospects in the 2025 NFL Draft cycle? With talents like Deone Walker and Kenneth Grant, the class could be truly special.

As we transition to the 2025 NFL Draft cycle, who are the preliminary top 10 defensive tackle prospects in the upcoming class? The 2025 group could bring us the first blue-chip talent since Jalen Carter and several early-round nose tackle candidates.

Way-Too-Early Top 10 DT Prospects in the 2025 NFL Draft

It’s fair to say that, in terms of pure blue-chip talent, the 2024 NFL Draft defensive tackle class was a bit underwhelming. Only two defensive tackle prospects went in Round 1, and one was more of a hybrid. Nine went in the Day 2 window — but there was something lacking at the top.

Johnny Newton and Byron Murphy II were highly regarded in the scouting community, but the 2025 NFL Draft DT class could go on to have the volume, variety, and blue-chip talent that the 2024 group fell short of having.

10) Joey Slackman, Florida

Our first DT listed in our preliminary top 10 list is Joey Slackman — a former FCS standout who logged 99 tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss, and 8.5 sacks in his final two seasons at Penn. He’s now transferred to Florida where he’ll look to prove himself against SEC talent.

At 6’4″, 300 pounds, Slackman is an energized mover off the snap who matches that electric motion with relentless urgency and an unyielding motor. He doesn’t have elite arm length for his size, but he’s a natural-born disruptor who could rise with a good year.

9) Joshua Farmer, Florida State

The Florida State Seminoles had two defensive linemen — Jared Verse and Braden Fiske — go in the first two rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft. Another lineman — Fabien Lovett — was highly regarded and landed with Kansas City as an undrafted free agent.

In 2025, FSU could have another draftable talent in Joshua Farmer. Farmer, who stands at 6’3″, 311 pounds with levers for arms, could have declared in 2024. But with another year of refinement and improved leverage, his burst and power can shine even more.

8) Yahya Black, Iowa

Iowa Hawkeyes defensive lineman Logan Lee went to the Pittsburgh Steelers late on Day 3 of the 2024 NFL Draft. If all goes well in the 2024 regular season, Yahya Black could go off the board much earlier than that in 2025.

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At 6’5″, 306 pounds, Black is an absolute power plant. He has the explosiveness and length to violently form creases in the line, but he also has the lower body mass and strength to hold the fort at 0- and 1-tech. His versatility on the interior will bode well for him.

7) Dontay Corleone, Cincinnati

There are several nose tackle candidates in the early 2025 NFL Draft group, and of that subsection, Dontay Corleone has some of the most alluring tools. He’s a documented Feldman Freak who’s reached 18 MPH on the GPS, and his power can be overwhelming.

At 6’1″, 320 pounds, Corleone is dense and well-leveraged but also has the arm length and loading capacity to blast blockers back off the snap. He logged three sacks and 6.5 TFLs in 2023 and could be due for even more as he eyes an ascent toward the NFL Draft.

6) Tyler Onyedim, Iowa State

The Iowa State defense is quietly stacked with defensive talent in the 2025 NFL Draft. Jeremiah Cooper, Myles Purchase, and Malik Verdon could all eventually fight for capital, and Tyler Onyedim has early-round potential with his natural tools.

At 6’4″, 290 pounds, with high-end proportional length and explosive capacity, Onyedim is tailor-made to be a disruptor. He excels as a one-gapping 3-tech but also has the power profile and point-of-attack strength to take situational reps from 5-tech.

5) Tyleik Williams, Ohio State

I’m of the mind that, had he declared for the 2024 NFL Draft, Tyleik Williams could have gone off the board higher than his teammate Michael Hall Jr., who went to the Cleveland Browns at 54th overall. Williams is a DT prospect unique among his peers because of his versatility.

At around 6’3″, 320 pounds, Williams has the size and stout frame of a 0-tech or 1-tech. But on film, he plays anywhere from 1-tech to 5-tech. His power can slab blocks, he has the burst and flexibility to stunt across gaps, and his motor runs hot — as evidenced by his 10 TFLs.

4) Kenneth Grant, Michigan

As we rise into the top-five range, we’re now in the midst of potential blue-chip prospects for the 2025 NFL Draft cycle. Kenneth Grant may be fourth on the preliminary list, but there’s a good chance he could eventually fight for the DT1 spot.

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Grant is a freak of nature at 6’3″, 339 pounds, who reportedly ran below five seconds in the 40-yard dash. His strength allows him to control gaps with ease, his grueling power washes over blockers like a tsunami wave, and he has the burst and bend to stunt and rush gaps.

3) Mason Graham, Michigan

The second of two Michigan DTs on our preliminary 2025 NFL Draft top 10 DTs list, Mason Graham could also contend for first-round capital down the road. Graham logged three sacks and 7.5 TFLs in 2023, and there’s a sense he can do even more in 2024.

At 6’3″, 317 pounds, Graham almost has the size and frame density to be a nose tackle. Yet, he moves with inhuman quickness for his size, and his heavy hands can jar opponents at the contact point. He’s a run-scheme destroyer and has a visible pass-rush upside.

2) Walter Nolen, Ole Miss

Graham and Grant are hot on Walter Nolen’s heels, but the latter’s raw talent accounts for a great deal heading into the 2025 NFL Draft cycle. Nolen was a five-star recruit before signing with Texas A&M, and he logged four sacks and 8.5 TFLs in 2023.

Nolen is still largely winning off talent alone, which only makes his production that much more impressive. He brings great energy — which he’s still learning how to channel — and his combination of burst and power is superlative at 6’4″, 290 pounds.

1) Deone Walker, Kentucky

When Graham, Grant, and Nolen aren’t the preliminary DT1 in a given class, you know you’re dealing with a potentially special talent at the top. That’s what Deone Walker profiles as. He’s 6’6″, 348 pounds, and logged 7.5 sacks and 12.5 TFLs in 2023 — outproducing some edge rushers.

Walker has the potential to be a true force of nature and transcendent pass-rush threat at 0- and 1-tech, in a similar manner to Dexter Lawrence — and he also has the quickness and explosive freedom to take reps at 3-tech and obliterate reach and duo blocks.

Honorable Mentions

  • Thor Griffith, Louisville
  • Paris Shand, LSU
  • Alfred Collins, Texas
  • Aeneas Peebles, Virginia Tech
  • Davin Vann, NC State
  • Ty Hamilton, Ohio State
  • Jamaree Caldwell, Oregon
  • Elijah Roberts, SMU
  • Tim Smith, Alabama
  • Sean Martin, West Virginia

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Other 2025 NFL Draft Position Rankings

Check out our other way-too-early position rankings for the 2025 NFL Draft:

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