10 Best NFL Free Agent Defensive Linemen in 2023

Larry Rupp
The 10 best NFL free agent defensive linemen for 2023, including Javon Hargrave and Daron Payne.
The 10 best NFL free agent defensive linemen for 2023, including Javon Hargrave and Daron Payne. / AP Photos/Eric Christian Smith
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Offensive skill players seem to be entering the league with more speed and talent than ever before, which makes rostering athletic defensive lienmen a must. Players that are capable of forcing their way into the backfield on both rushing and passing plays help create a daunting defensive scheme.

Front offices have become aware of that and have started to pay up for the top talent at the position, both in free agency and the NFL Draft. Whether your team is looking for that next star or a rotational option, here's a look at the 10 best free agent defensive linemen available in the 2023 NFL offseason.

10 Best Free Agent Defensive Linemen 2023

1. Javon Hargrave, Philadelphia Eagles

Javon Hargrave has blossomed into one of the best interior defensive linemen right in front of the eyes of Philadelphia fans. Since joining the Eagles in 2020, the 29-year-old ranks third among defensive tackles in both pass-rush grade and pass-rush win rate, according to Pro Football Focus. Hargrave tallied a career-high 11.0 sacks in 2022 and is ready to cash in with a big deal.

2. Daron Payne, Washington Commanders

It's been all about improvement for Daron Payne ever since he was drafted by Washington in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He immediately thrived as a run-blocker, but has since tapped into his pass-rushing skills, too. Payne has logged a whopping 91 quarterback pressures in the last two seasons and crushed his previous high of 5.0 sacks with 11.5 this past season. It's clear he is in the prime of his career.

3. Yannick Ngakoue, Indianapolis Colts

Yannick Ngakoue did what he had to do in his lone season with the Indianapolis Colts to line up as one of the top free agents this offseason. The 27-year-old posted 29 tackles (8.0 for loss), 16 quarterback hits and 9.5 sacks while lining up at defensive end as well as outside linebacker at times. Ngakoue's 21 forced fumbles in seven seasons is an insane mark.

4. Dalvin Tomlinson, Minnesota Vikings

The best offenses in the NFL possess a potent rushing attack, which makes Dalvin Tomlinson an intriguing free agent target for teams that have been gashed on the ground. Tomlinson has racked up 55 tackles for loss or no gain during the last six seasons, which ranks as the third-highest mark among interior pass-rushers. He has the ability to fill in running gaps with ease.

5. Zach Allen, Arizona Cardinals

Signing Zach Allen may not qualify as a "splash" addition, but it would be a move that transforms a team's defensive line. Allen has come to life over the last two seasons by racking up 95 tackles (15.0 for loss), 9.5 sacks and 12 pass breakups. He has generated 35 quarterback pressures during that span as well and is still growing into his talents.

6. Brandon Graham, Philadelphia Eagles

It would be surprising to see Brandon Graham play anywhere but Philadelphia considering he has spent the first 13 seasons of his NFL career there. Nevertheless, he should gather a ton of interest as a free agent. The Eagles standout tallied double-digit sacks (11.0) for the first time ever in 2022 and posted the sixth-best pass-rush win rate among edge defenders (22.9%).

7. Sheldon Rankins, New York Jets

Sheldon Rankins played a key role on what was an elite Jets defense this past season. The Louisville product totaled a career-high 43 tackles (4.0 for loss) and finished with the second best Pro Football Focus overall grade of his career (73.1). There's a chance Rankins ends up as a sneaky good addition for a contender.

8. Fletcher Cox, Philadelphia Eagles

It shouldn't be a shock to see three Philadelphia pass-rushers on this list after the team posted a ridiculous 70.0 sacks in 2022. While Fletcher Cox's best days are likely behind him, he remains a player that can bull-rush offensive lineman into their own quarterback with ease. The six-time Pro Bowler racked up 14 QB hits and 7.0 sacks this past season.

9. Justin Houston, Baltimore Ravens

Talk about making the most out an okay situation. Justin Houston signed a one-year deal with the Baltimore Ravens last offseason after failing to secure a multi-year offer. He then went on to log 9.5 sacks, 17 quarterback hits and 1 interceptions at the age of 33. The four-time Pro Bowler isn't done making life tough on opposing QBs just yet.

10. Jadeveon Clowney, Cleveland Browns

Jadeveon Clowney has voiced his criticism for the Browns organization, meaning it is all but certain he won't re-sign with the team for the 2023 season. The former No. 1 overall pick has struggled to stay healthy, but still possesses unique pass-rushing skills that can enhaced under the right coaching staff. It'll be interesting to see where he ends up.

The Duel also ranked the 10 best NFL free agents for each position group:
-10 Best NFL Free Agent Quarterbacks in 2023
-10 Best NFL Free Agent Running Backs in 2023
-10 Best NFL Free Agent Wide Receivers in 2023
-10 Best NFL Free Agent Tight Ends in 2023
-10 Best NFL Free Agent Offensive Linemen in 2023
-10 Best NFL Free Agent Defensive Linemen in 2023
-10 Best NFL Free Agent Edge Rushers in 2023
-10 Best NFL Free Agent Linebackers in 2023
-10 Best NFL Free Agent Safeties in 2023
-10 Best NFL Free Agent Punters in 2023
-10 Best NFL Free Agent Kickers in 2023

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Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel. 

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

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