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2021 NFL Draft: Top defensive linemen projected to be on the board when the Rams pick

Various experts, whether through mock drafts or other projections, have identified offensive line (both interior and tackles), linebacker, edge rusher, defensive line, and cornerback as positions of needs for the Rams heading into this year's draft.

As part of our coverage leading into it, will be compiling lists of the top prospects available at each position, focusing primarily on the ones that will likely be on the board when Los Angeles is on the clock throughout the NFL Draft.

Having already covered interior offensive line, edge, and linebacker, we continue the series with a look at the best defensive line options, based on experts' rankings.

Ohio State DT Tommy Togiai (6-foot-2, 296 pounds)

Togiai has surfaced as a projected Rams selection with their compensatory third-round choice in a Pro Football Focus mock draft. The 2020 Second Team All-Big Ten selection produced 23 total tackles (4.5 for loss), three sacks and two pass breakups while starting eight of Ohio State's nine games as a junior last year (ninth game – national championship – missed due to COVID-19 protocols).

Pittsburgh DL Jaylen Twyman (6-2, 301)

  • The Draft Network's No. 13 interior defensive lineman
  • Brugler's No. 10 defensive tackle
  • Not ranked by Renner

A redshirt junior, Twyman opted out of the 2020 season, but in 2019, his 10.5 sacks made him the first interior defensive lineman to lead Pitt in sacks since Aaron Donald. Coincidentally, Twyman has shown flashes of Donald when Donald was coming out of Pittsburgh, according to Brugler. Meanwhile, Zierlein pegs him as a third or fourth round pick.

West Virginia DT Darius Stills (6-1, 278)

  • The Draft Network's No. 21 interior defensive lineman
  • Not ranked by Brugler
  • Not ranked by Renner

An Associated Press First Team All-American and the Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year, Stills produced 25 total tackles (7.5 for loss) and 3.5 sacks in 10 starts as senior in 2020. He could be a Day 3 option for the Rams, as Zierlein projects him as a seventh-round pick or priority free agent.

Iowa DT Daviyon Nixon (6-3, 313)

  • analyst Bucky Brooks' No. 3 defensive tackle
  • Brugler's No. 4 defensive tackle
  • Renner's No. 9 interior defensive lineman

The redshirt junior collected first-team Associated Press All-American, Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors after leading Iowa with 13.5 tackles for loss and tying for the lead with 5.5 sacks while starting all eight games at defensive tackle last year.

LSU DL Tyler Shelvin (6-2, 350)

  • The Draft Network's No. 6 interior defensive lineman
  • Brugler's No. 11 defensive tackle
  • Renner's No. 7 interior defensive lineman

NFL Draft Bible on Sports Illustrated lists Shelvin as a potential selection for the Rams at No. 88 overall in the third round in an April 5 mock draft. Although Shelvin opted out of the 2020 season, he still made 39 tackles (including 3.0 for loss) while starting in 14 of the national-champion Tigers' 15 games in 2019.

Other prospects

  • Texas A&M DT Bobby Brown III (6-4, 321): The Draft Network's No. 14 interior defensive lineman, Brugler's No. 12 defensive tackle, not ranked by Renner.
  • Florida State DT Marvin Wilson (6-4, 303): The Draft Network's No. 11 interior defensive lineman, not ranked by Brugler, Renner's No. 3 interior defensive lineman.
  • USC's Jay Tufele (6-2, 305): Brooks' No. 5 defensive tackle, Brugler's No. 5 defensive tackle, Renner's No. 10 interior defensive lineman.

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