2021 NFL draft: 4 under-the-radar interior defensive linemen Chargers could target

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Gavino Borquez
·4 min read
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On paper, the Chargers possess a good-looking interior in head coach Brandon Staley’s 3-4 defense, with the starters being Linval Joseph, Justin Jones and Jerry Tillery.

However, the team lacks depth up front.

With that being said, here’s a look at four interior defenders that have gone under the radar that might interest Los Angeles when the draft comes around in a few weeks.

Jonathan Marshall, Arkansas

Only a one-year starter, Marshall put himself on the map after a strong senior season in which he amassed 35 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and nine quarterback hits en route to earning second-team All-SEC recognition.

Standing at a 6-foot-3 and 310 pounds, Marshall is a freak of an athlete, having posted a 40 yard dash of 4.9, vertical jump of 32 inches, broad jump of 114 inches, and a bench press of 225 pounds 36 times.

His athleticism shines on the field, as he is quick off the ball and is agile to slip through blockers. Combine that with disruptive hands and he is a nuisance to offensive linemen he faces.

Marshall does lack overall play strength and length, which shows up against the run. But he’s a guy that’s going to disrupt the passer on a consistent basis, which the Chargers need.

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Ta’Quon Graham, Texas

A consistent contributor for the Longhorns in all four seasons, Graham amassed 70 total tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, 46 quarterback pressures, seven quarterbacks hits, 41 runs stops and only eight missed tackles.

Capable of playing all along the defensive front, Graham is a lengthy interior defender with first-step quickness, leverage and high effort, making him extremely difficult to handle one-on-one, both in the run game and as a pass rusher.

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Mustafa Johnson, Colorado

Johnson put himself on the map with a strong sophomore season that saw him amass 7.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss. Viewed as a potential first rounder, injuries derailed him the following year. He performed well in his senior campaign, but not enough to warrant Round 1 status again.

At 6-foot and 280 pounds, Johnson is undersized but he is disruptive. He is a strong, squatty defensive lineman who wins with a quick first step off the line of scrimmage, power and hand strength on initial moves. His strong lower body allows him to anchor and play two-gap assignments.

Johnson would be an ideal two-gapping five-technique for the Bolts.

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Isaiahh Loudermilk, Wisconsin

Loudermilk played in 40 games with 26 starts. He posted 63 career tackles, 11.5 for loss, 7.5 sacks, nine pass breakups, and two forced fumbles. A three-year starter, Loudermilk was third-team All-Big Ten selection in 2020.

Loudermilk is going to be a guy who stands out in a crowd, as he possesses boasts immense length. He uses that to his advantage when pushing back blockers to shed at the point of attack. He also moves very well for his size, displaying great lateral movement.

Loudermilk is still raw, having only played eight-man football before joining the Badgers. However with his enticing athletic traits and polarizing frame, his best football could still be ahead of him. With a defensive-minded coach like Brandon Staley, he could unlock his full potential.

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