Christian Wilkins closed the 2022 season with 59 solo tackles — the most by any defensive lineman in the NFL. Cam Heyward led the league with 53 solo tackles in 2021 as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. While Wilkins finished second with 49 solo tackles, he matched Heyward with a total of 89 combined tackles.
Wilkins was trending in the right direction in 2021 but made a strong case to be considered one of the league’s best defensive tackles during Miami’s playoff run last season. The former first-round pick earned 58 stops according to PFF — 11 more than anyone else in the NFL. Not only did Wilkins play in all 18 games last year, he only missed four tackles.
Wilkins was essential to Miami’s success but executives, coaches, and scouts around the league didn’t necessarily feel the same way. Jeremy Fowler, a senior NFL national reporter at ESPN, surveyed people around the league to rank the league’s top defensive tackles.
Aaron Donald (Los Angeles Rams) and Chris Jones (Kansas City Chiefs) earned the top two spots. Jeffrey Simmons (Tennessee Titans), Quinnen Williams (New York Jets), and Jevon Hargrave (San Francisco 49ers) rounded out the top five.
Meanwhile, Wilkins was held off the list despite leading the league in defensive stops (79) and stuffs (20) last season.
Let us know where you think Wilkins should be ranked! Are there any other players missing from this list? Maybe Zach Sieler?