2015 NFL Draft: Lance Zierlein's top 10 defensive linemen

With the first wave of free agency over, NFL teams are turning more attention to setting their boards in anticipation of the 2015 NFL Draft. With that in mind, College Football 24/7 is releasing Lance Zierlein's top-10 lists at each position -- today it is defensive linemen. To view Zierlein's full scouting report on each prospect in NFL.com's Draft Tracker, click on the player's name.

Positions: QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | OLs | DLs | Edge rushers | CBs | Safeties

1. DE Leonard Williams, USC

Zierlein's bottom line: Enormously powerful defensive lineman. Has the look and feel of the biggest, strongest kid on the playground but hasn't figured out how to unlock his natural gifts and consistently dominate the rest of the kids on the playground just yet. Williams can play in an odd or even front, and is able to hold the point as a two-gapper or disrupt upfield. With coaching and more experience, Williams should be able to match the athleticism with the power and become a consistent Pro Bowler with a ceiling that goes even higher than that.

2. DE Arik Armstead, Oregon

Zierlein's bottom line: Projection-based prospect with elite size and the traits to become a dominant run-stuffing defensive end in an odd front. Armstead has the explosiveness off the snap and in his jarring punch to gain early advantages and control offensive linemen. Armstead is a fast riser but is still very raw. He will need patience and coaching and must become a more effective pass rusher at some point.

3. DT Danny Shelton, Washington

Zierlein's bottom line: With his thick frame and powerful upper body, Shelton has moments where he can dominate at the point of attack. He was forced to chase sideline to sideline due to the nature of Pac-12 offenses, but when he faced downhill competition like Stanford, he stepped up. Shelton is an above-average interior pass rusher for a man his size, thanks to his surprising athleticism. He is a fit in a two-gap scheme and could benefit from playing fewer snaps than he was forced to play at Washington. He has an All-Pro ceiling, but must show a greater consistency of effort.

4. DT Malcom Brown, Texas

Zierlein's bottom line: Penetrating big man who took a huge step forward as an NFL prospect in 2014. Brown has hand quickness and uses hands like an NFL starter. His instincts and feel off the snap help him to get into the backfield quickly. Some personnel men believe Brown can play multiple spots along the line in a 4-3 or 3-4 defense, which could put him in play for a high number of teams.

5. DT Eddie Goldman, Florida State

Zierlein's bottom line: His power at the point of attack and ability to discard blockers and actually make plays rather than just eating space will have 3-4 teams very excited about their potential nose guard of the future. However, his lack of pass-rushing prowess could limit just how high he rises on draft boards.

6. DT Jordan Phillips, Oklahoma

Zierlein's bottom line: Nose tackle with desired height, weight and speed. Flashes talent necessary to project a ceiling as a dominant run stuffer best suited for a 3-4 defense. Phillips' ability to eat up blocks should help him earn a high grade, but it's his potential as a big athlete with above-average range for the position that could turn him into a Pro Bowl nose.

7. DT Michael Bennett, Ohio State

Zierlein's bottom line: Bennett is a disciplined, intelligent player who is a fit for teams looking for an upfield disruptor. He relies on his initial burst, hand usage and technique to win at the point of attack. Bennett has the potential to dominate sluggish or weak guards, but might have issues with true power guards in the NFL.

8. DT Carl Davis, Iowa

Zierlein's bottom line: Davis has the height, weight and length of a first-rounder, but his draft value will be hindered by his lack of productivity as a pass rusher. If Davis can get his overall production to match his talent and traits, he'll have a long NFL career.

9. DT Grady Jarrett, Clemson

Zierlein's bottom line: Jarrett is built like a refrigerator, but he's hardly a stationary player. He lacks the overall size to be considered as a nose by most base 3-4 teams, but he's a perfect shade-nose fit for teams looking for a disruptor in a one-gap, penetrating front.

10. DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa, UCLA

Zierlein's bottom line: Odighizuwa has some scheme versatility, but he's not necessarily a versatile player. Some scouts believe that he could open some eyes with his straight-line speed in his workout, but his marginal pass-rush skills and average athleticism could stunt his draft stock.

Follow Lance Zierlen on Twitter *@LanceZierlein.*

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