Defensive Tackles

Notable not in this preview: Darnell Dockett, Florida State. I was impressed with Dockett as a junior and I was a bit surprised to see him return to school for his senior year. He has good quickness and pass rushing ability, and at that time he only weighed about 275 pounds. I saw him as a potential end, but now I think he has the size and quickness to hold up in the middle. He's a pure one-gap tackle that could play some end in a two-gap scheme. Dockett definitely has late first round ability and upside, but his biggest issues are off-field concerns. He's too inconsistent in his behavior, so you can't really get an accurate gauge on his character. Sometimes he shows the drive and commitment to keep his nose clean, but then he'll go right out again and do something stupid so it leaves you scratching your head. Because of this risk, it drops him into the late second round in my mind.

First Round


Tommie Harris

(6'2" 292 4.79) Oklahoma Junior

Pros: Has great quickness and first step. A pure pass rusher that knows how to get to the quarterback. Has good strength and quickness. Can make plays in pursuit and has a good motor.
Cons: Plays a little high and gets poor leverage against the run. Can be overwhelmed and engulfed at the point of attack. Has been accused of playing down to the level of his opponents and having a questionable work ethic.
NFL Forecast: May have to move to end for some teams. Could be a very good end in the 3-4. He's a bit of a tweener, since he doesn't have as good edge speed as you want in an end, but he can't hold up in the middle. If he plays beside a big widebody in the one-gap scheme, he could do alright. But he's not yet an every down tackle. He has been playing better his junior year than in past years, and seems to be working harder. I've never been under the impression that work ethic is a real problem, just that he doesn't always get it done on the field. Will work best on a team that will allow him a year or two to be a backup and be a situational pass rusher and then not push him too far too fast, like being a starter in his rookie year. At the least I see Harris as a situational guy capable of playing 20-30 snaps per game, but he definitely has the potential to be the most disruptive and dangerous defensive tackle in the league.
NFL Comparison: John Randle.
Value: Lack of overall production hurts him, but his potential pushes him into the Top 15.

Vince Wilfork

(6'1" 323 5.08) Miami Junior

Pros: Has great first step and ability to penetrate on the snap. Has good strength and power and gets good push on the pocket. Uses bulk and strength well to get leverage in run support. Has a good motor.
Cons: Conditioning and ability to play a full game is questionable. Doesn't do a good job getting off blockers. Doesn't always show good balance at the point of attack, and can be put to the ground when teams run at him.
NFL Forecast: He's a disruptor trapped in a run stuffer's body. He plays more like he's a 285 pounder than a guy his size. His weight is a big concern to me however, since it's been rumored to have fluctuated. He played at 345, but dropped down to 325 for the Combine, but reportedly he added 10 or so more pounds between then and April. Even at 325, he's really not in great shape and probably could do to drop another 10-15 pounds, but it's doubtful he will. Just to make it clear, the weight has not be a problem yet, but it potentially could be. Despite his massive size, he's not really a space eater. He has the potential to grow in that area as a guy that can just anchor, but he's really not good at it. That's why I question if he can play the nose spot in a two-gap scheme. Will have to rely on quick penetration rather than taking on double teams. Also any disciplined and strong guard can neutralize him as a run blocker. At this point, the sky is the limit with Wilfork, but because he's not a great run stopper and has weight concerns probably mean he won't be ready to start being a top interior guy until his third or fourth year in the league.
NFL Comparison: Grady Jackson, Packers.
Value: Has the upside of a Top 10 selection, but he's not ready yet. Which drops him a bit, but he's still a Top 20 guy.

Marcus Tubbs

(6'4" 318 5.03) Texas Senior

Pros: Has good strength and power, and gets good base and leverage in run support. Can make plays in pursuit. Has quick burst upfield and does a good job using spins and swims to get at quarterback. Plays best when lined up over nose tackle. Does a good job getting off blocks and can handle double teams.
Cons: Doesn't play great against the run at the point of attack. Can wear down over the course of a game due to conditioning.
NFL Forecast: I really like Tubbs' range, since he should be effective as both a two-gap nose tackle and one-gap undertackle. I think he was a bit overused at Texas, since he tended to wear down in games, and his conditioning needs to improve a bit. Although he's not a dominant run stopper, I think he can play the nose in the NFL since he had his greatest success when lined up over center. He is not a dominant pass rusher, but consistently puts pressure on the quarterback and can be relied upon to contribute 5-8 sacks per season at the next level.
Value: Has good range and still has not reached his peak. Definitely worth a late first round pick.

Randy Starks

(6'3" 313 5.17) Maryland Junior

Pros: Decent quickness. Can anchor and gets good leverage versus the run. Uses power to get push on pocket. Solid at the point of attack because of his ability to anchor at the line of scrimmage.
Cons: Lacks quick first step. Not an athletic pass rusher, more of a finesse and effort guy. Has difficulty rolling off blocks.
NFL Forecast: Starks is definitely a much better run stopper than pass rusher. He's not going to do much in that area except help collapse a pocket. He plays hard, but is not close to being the athlete the rest of the top class is. It shows on the field. He'll never be a star at the next level, but unlike many of the other more athletic tackles, he plays much harder and coaches will probably like him much more. Won't make a lot of plays, so he's really a complementary type tackle, but he's a solid guy. A team should target him if they want to beef up their run defense. He has played both the nose and end spots in the two-gap system, so that maybe the best fit for him.
NFL Comparison:
Value: His potential to play in both a one and two gap scheme make him worth a shot as a late first rounder.

Second Round


Dwan Edwards

(6'3" 319 5.12) Oregon State Senior

Pros: He has good strength and speed combination which makes him a good run stopper and pass rusher. Has a good motor and doesn't quit. Will make plays laterally down the line of scrimmage vs. the run.
Cons: Struggles to get off double teams and doesn't get great leverage at the point of attack.
NFL Forecast: He's a complete defensive tackle, his only problem is that he's not a great pass rusher nor is he a great run stopper. But shows definitely the foundation to excel in the NFL due to his strength, athleticism, and motor. He's a pure one-gap guy that may not be an elite tackle, but should be in the upper echelon of the league.
NFL Comparison:
Value: An overachiever that is a good enough one-gap guy to get looks in the early second round.

Matthias Askew

(6'5" 301 5.23) Michigan State Junior

Pros: Has quick first step and good burst upfield to get penetration. Has good speed and range and can make plays in pursuit. Has good strength and power.
Cons: Plays too high and doesn't do a good job getting off blocks. Ends up on the ground too much. Lacking at the point of attack.
NFL Forecast: He is a top pass rusher with a lot of upside, but needs to improve as a run stopper. Has played across front four and fits best as a one-gap undertackle. He has the potential to develop into a capable run stopper, but doesn't look like he'll ever be a top one. But should eventually be a good enough player in that area to play every down. He should develop into a top interior pass rusher capable of racking up double-digit sack totals.
Value: A bit raw, but has great upside and should be an early second round pick. Probably could have been a late first rounder if he stayed another year in school.

Third Round


Chad Lavalais

(6'2" 302 5.05) LSU Senior

Pros: Has good first step and good explosion off the line to get penetration. Does a good job shedding blockers using his arms and his good upper body strength. Can make plays in pursuit.
Cons: Doesn't get great leverage at the point of attack versus the run and can be engulfed by blockers. He's a bit stiff and doesn't have a lot of quickness or agility.
NFL Forecast: He's only an adequate run stopper now, but should get better due to his strength. He's a one gap guy, but could possibly play end in a two-gap system. He'll be a good overachieving complementary tackle, but probably won't be a top guy on the next level. As a one-gap tackle he should be able to be a capable pass rushing threat capable of 5-8 sacks per year. He's more a disruptor than a pure pass rusher however.
NFL Comparison:
Value: Third round. Quality player that has potential to be a capable run stopper coupled with good pass-rushing skills.

Igor Olshansky

(6'5" 318 4.97) Oregon Junior

Pros: Has great strength and gets good leverage against the run. Shows the ability to anchor at the point of attack. Has a good motor.
Cons: Lacks quickness and has little impact as a pass rusher. Looks a little stiff and lacks range make many plays in pursuit. Doesn't do a good job at getting off double teams.
NFL Forecast: Despite playing some end at Oregon, Olshansky should not be considered much of a pass rush threat. He could fit into a two-gap system at end, or could be a two-down guy in a one-gap scheme. But he's basically a run stopper and a good one at that. He won't have much impact on the passing game unless he is playing beside some solid players which would free him up. For a team looking to beef up their run defense, Olshansky is a good option.
NFL Comparison:
Value: He's only a one-dimensional player, but his raw strength makes him worth a late third round pick.

Rodney Leisle

(6'3" 300 5.22) UCLA Senior

Pros: Has good strength to anchor and to fight off blockers. Gets good push and penetration on passer and has good quickness and good explosion off the line.
Cons: Struggles against double teams and doesn't do much laterally or in pursuit. Can sometimes get engulfed at the point of attack.
NFL Forecast: He's more of a hard worker than a guy blessed with athleticism. Plays much bigger than his size and looks like he's going to be a good one-gap tackle. Not a dominating player, but works hard and can be very good if teamed with another solid player. He's a straight-line pass rusher. Plays the run and pass well, so he should develop into a solid starter, although he doesn't have that great athleticism that you see in the top players of the league.
NFL Comparison: Chris Hovan, Vikings.
Value: A complete and productive player, but doesn't overwhelm you enough to go higher than the latter part of round three.

Tim Anderson

(6'3" 307 5.03) Ohio State Senior

Pros: Gets good push up front and can help collapse the pocket. Has a good motor. Does a good job at the point of attack and getting leverage versus the run.
Cons: Can get blown off the ball sometimes, and is not much of a factor as a pass rusher.
NFL Forecast: Heís a solid interior player. Heís a better run stopper than pass rusher, but heís not a monster in the middle. He works hard and plays hard, and is productive. Although heís not a great pass rusher, heís capable enough that he can play in passing situations, but ideally heíll probably be replaced on third downs. He'll never be a foundation piece of a defense, but the type of player that should develop into a good starter and be the type of run stopper that can be the final piece to building a top defense.
Value: Late third round prospect because he's a good run stopper, but not great.

DeMarco McNeil

(6'1" 307 5.35) Auburn Senior

Pros: Can use power and surprising quickness to explode upfield. Does a decent job anchoring at the line of scrimmage.
Cons: Can get engulfed by blockers at the point of attack. Doesn't always play hard every down and seems more comfortable sitting at line of scrimmage and batting down passes. Won't make much effort if his first pass rush move is unsuccessful. Doesn't always get good leverage and base versus the run as you would expect for someone his size.
NFL Forecast: He will probably need to play in a two-gap system, not particularly because he fits well into that scheme, but more because he fits better there than in a one-gap system. Although he can put pressure on the quarterback, he lacks the quickness to be a impact disruptor in the one-gap system. If so, he needs to lose weight and probably get under 300 pounds. He's the type of player that could be a top defensive tackle in the NFL, but probably won't be because he's a bit out of shape. But he still should make an effective starter at the nose on a 3-4 team or as a two-down starter on a 4-3 team. He had a down senior year, since I projected him to be a late first round pick heading into the season, but he was unable to capitalize on a good year, and a lot of players passed him up.
Value: Third round. For a team that runs a 3-4 scheme, he's worth a third round pick, but for a 4-3 team, he should drop to the second day.

Fourth Round


Isaac Sopoaga

(6'2" 314 5.15) Hawaii Senior

Pros: Has great strength and good quickness to get upfield. Gets good leverage in the run game and works well laterally to make plays in pursuit.
Cons: Struggles to fight off double teams and doesn't anchor well at the point of attack.
NFL Forecast: Don't let his size, strength, and the words of others fool you, Sopoaga is not a pure run stopper. He's a disruptor with great strength, and uses it well along with his quicknesss to get push on the pocket. He has great upside to develop as a run stopper, but he's a one-gap tackle. He has great strength and it shows at times on the field, but he's not as dominating as you would want most of the time. He can move for his size and will be a good player in the one-gap system. He should develop into a quality starter, although he's not there yet.
Value: Worth a late third round pick, but really an early fourth round pick at this point since he needs polish and more consistency.

Donnell Washington

(6'6" 323 5.00) Clemson Junior

Pros: Has great power and strength and potentially dominant play in the middle. Shows upside to anchor at the point of attack and be a space eater. Has nice first step as a pass rusher.
Cons: Doesnít have great quickness and is not much of a penetrator or disruptor as a pass rusher. Needs more work in the run game since he doesnít do a great job at plugging the run. Conditioning needs work. Struggles to get off blocks.
NFL Forecast: Due to his size, he could become a good two-gap nose tackle. Does a good job when lined up over the center. Although he has some ability to play in a one-gap scheme, he wonít offer much as a pass rusher. Has good athleticism, but doesnít use it a lot. He also needs to be in a steady rotation in order to be effective. Heís raw, and probably wonít be much more than an average starter, but his size, upside, and athleticism make him look better than he really is.
NFL Comparison: Al Haynesworth, Titans.
Value: His upside might allow teams to look at him late in the third, but he's really a fourth round prospect.

Brandon Kennedy

(5'9" 336 5.23) North Texas Senior

Pros: He is a force in the middle. His lack of height helps him as he plays low and can get leverage against the run. Can fight through double teams. Tough to stop when he's getting upfield and looks like he could be a capable pass rusher on the next level.
Cons: Wears down due to his size and conditioning. Is slow at times and lacks explosion off the line. Can take himself out of plays because he tries to get upfield and the play goes right by him. Also struggles to maintain gap assignments.
NFL Forecast: If Kennedy can lose some weight, he might have a chance to reach his full potential. At this point, he is a very disruptive player that plays with power and surprising quickness for a guy his size. But needs to get better conditioned if he wants to due the same on the next level. He's not a classic nose tackle, more like a shorter, fatter, and slower version of Warren Sapp. Has great potential, but his weight and lack of height will drop him.
Value: Has potential to be a second round pick, but a bit too raw to go higher than round four.

Junior Siavii

(6'4" 340 5.20) Oregon Senior

Pros: Has great size and good quickness and athleticism for his size. Can be a monster to block. Shows good ability at the point of attack.
Cons: Is not going to be much of a factor in pursuit. Questions of conditioning since he hasn't been able to play every down. Also has off-field concerns. Doesn't get good leverage and just rather uses bulk to eat up space.
NFL Forecast: Siavii has a lot of upside, but at the same time he's the type of defensive tackle that will give coaches headaches because he is not as big an impact player as you would hope. He needs a lot of polish but his potential is nearly through the roof. He probably would work best in a two-gap scheme in the nose, but he could also play in a one-gap scheme because of his great quickness for his size.
NFL Comparison:
Value: His upside and size are very intriguing, but he doesn't have the production and consistency yet to back up being selected on the first day.

Fifth Round


Spencer Johnson

(6'3" 291 5.00) Auburn Senior

Pros: Does a good job moving laterally along line of scrimmage to stop the run and will make plays in pursuit. He has a good motor and ability to shoot upfield after quarterback.
Cons: Will get engulfed at the point of attack.
NFL Forecast: Johnson's forte is his pass-rushing ability. He is not a liability versus the run, but is not particularly strong at the point of attack when teams run at him. He would make a very good situational pass rusher on the next level and would be a capable starter, but would likely wear down over the course of an NFL season if forced to start. If a team is looking for a disruptive interior player that they wouldn't want playing more than forty or so snaps per game, Johnson is their man.
Value: Questions if he can be a full-time starter drop him to the early part of the fifth.

Chad Pugh

(6'3" 321 5.43) Texas Christian Senior

Pros: A good run stopper that could be effective in both a one-gap and two-gap system. Is able to take on double teams and free up linebackers. At times, he shows good upfield burst and explosion and is able to get some push and penetration on the pocket. Uses size and bulk to get good leverage against the offensive line.
Cons: Basically a one-dimensional player that is not going to have much impact as a pass rusher. Conditioning could be questioned, since he doesn't go all out every play. Will wear down over the course of games and seasons because of it.
NFL Forecast: If a team is looking to beef itself up vs. the run, then Pugh is their man. Will be an effective two-down player in the 4-3, and can be a solid nose tackle in the 3-4. He's difficult to block one-on-one because of his size and power. Is not going ever going to be a dominating player, but provides a large presence in the middle of the field. He should make a capable starter or a top rotational player.
Value: A solid run stopper, but lacks conditioning and overall game to go before round five.

Sixth Round


Craig Terrill

(6'2" 294 5.22) Purdue Senior

Pros: Has good strength and is a solid pass rusher. Has good swim move and does a pretty good job shedding blockers. Gets good leverage against the run and has a quick first step up the field.
Cons: Despite abilities, doesn't play well at the point of attack. Is not the type that is going to anchor at the line of scrimmage.
NFL Forecast: Should be a good one-gap defensive tackle. Has the potential to be a good run stopper on the next level, but will probably make most of his dollars putting pressure on the quarterback. Is not going to be a top pass rusher from the interior, but capable. Terrill has the potential to be a good all-around player, but he's not going to excel anywhere. The type of guy that will be able to consistently tally 3-5 sacks per season as a starter. I think at the least he makes a solid rotational player, but at this point doesn' have huge upside to be more than an above average starter.
Value: Sixth Round. A good prospect, but lacks great upside.

Ken Veal

(6'1" 310 5.31) Georgia Senior

Pros: Has good size and strength and does a good job anchoring at the line of scrimmage and can fight off double teams. Has good quickness for his size.
Cons: Struggles at times to get good leverage and base at the point of attack. A lackluster pass rusher.
NFL Forecast: He is a widebody that is going to help improve an NFL team's run defense. But that's about all he is. Could play the nose in the 3-4 scheme. In a one-gap scheme, he'd be a functional starter, but he'd have to be pulled on passing downs. Mostly I see him as a rotational body that can give a team 20-30 snaps per game and play well. He has some upside, but he is more of an overachiever than anything else.
NFL Comparison:
Value: Sixth Round. Rotational run stuffer that has potential to contribute as starter, but won't be anything special.

Seventh Round


Jared Clauss

(6'5" 287 4.98) Iowa Senior

Pros: Has some quickness to penetrate and get push on the pocket. Has good motor and toughness. Will slip blocks and make plays in pursuit.
Cons: Struggles to get leverage in the run game and is not strong when teams run right at him. Struggles to get penetration as a pass rusher unless he's using stunts.
NFL Forecast: He is talented, but he's limited. He's basically an effort guy like former Hawkeye Aaron Kampman. He'll work hard but lacks the physical tools to be more than a marginal starter. He won't stand out as a run stopper or pass rusher so it's hard to see him as a starter, but he should make a good rotational player that can come in for 20-30 snaps per game to spell the starters. He has good size, speed, and strength, but for whatever reason hasn't put it all together yet.
NFL Comparison:
Value: Seventh round. Has some upside, but not much more than a No. 3 tackle.

Grant Bowman

(6'1" 290 5.01) Michigan Senior

Pros: Gets good leverage against the run because he gets low. A good effort rusher that uses power to push and collapse the pocket. Uses bulk and can take up two blockers.
Cons: Lacks great quickness and plays too low at times since he tends to end up on the ground too much.
NFL Forecast: He's a plugger in the middle that will bolster run defense. Although he can get some push on the pocket, he's really a two-down tackle. Although his lack of height helps him get leverage in the run game, he looks too short on the field. He should be a good backup that can be plugged in on run downs to relieve the starters, but he won't be a starter himself. He has good upside as a run stopper, but is not a great one yet.
NFL Comparison:
Value: Seventh Round. A potential solid run stopper, but only a rotational type.

Undrafted


Eric Taylor

(6'3" 304 4.83) Memphis Senior

Pros: Shows that he can get upfield due to quickness. Has versatility and can possibly play both end and tackle on the next level.
Cons: Allows blockers to get their hands on him because he plays too high and gets poor leverage vs. the run. Can be a liability at the point of attack since he can be blown off the ball. A bit of a tweener that lacks great speed and upfield ability to play on the outside, and lacks the strength and power you want on the inside.
NFL Forecast: I believe Taylor played at about 285-290 during the season, but has put on quite a bit of bulk since. It seems pretty clear that he's aiming to play inside in the NFL. I still think he has the quickness to play end in a two-gap scheme. His increased size should help him better on the inside, but he's still not a top run stopper. Has good potential as he develops, but he's a disruptive one-gap player. He can potentially be a good rotational player, but he's not exactly starting material.
Value: Doing best to mold himself into a good interior player, but still not good enough to merit a selection.

Josh Beckham

(6'2" 268 5.11) California Senior

Pros: Gets good push on the line of scrimmage. Has good motor.
Cons: Doesn't get great base vs. the run. Lacks size.
NFL Forecast: He's an undersized defensive tackle prospect that needs to bulk up. If he does, he might be able to be a decent rotation player. He's basically a pass rusher, but is not particularly great in that area. He's a longshot to make an NFL roster, but has some talent.
Value: Undrafted. A decent player, but his lack of size hurts him the most.

DeJuan Polk

(6'1" 282 4.98) Clemson Senior

Pros: Has a nice first step and some quickness to get penetration in pass rush. Has some good strength.
Cons: Not much of a factor at the point of attack, and struggles to get off blocks. Doesnít have great quickness or pass rush moves.
NFL Forecast:
NFL Comparison: Heís a disruptor, but heís not going to rack up a bunch of sacks. Heís a complementary pass rusher that can help collapse a pocket. He needs more size to play tackle on the next level, but lacks the speed to be an end. Heís a bit of a tweener that could be an effective end in a two-gap system. But even there, heíll never be more than a rotation type that can steal a few snaps from the starters. Doubtful NFL career.
Value: Has some ability to develop as a reserve, but needs to hit the weight room.

Ryan Boschetti

(6'4" 306 5.13) UCLA Senior

Pros: Has decent strength to hold the point of attack and some ability to get upfield. Can provide some push on the pocket.
Cons: Doesn't have the quickness to get good penetration on the next level. Struggles against double teams and needs a lot of stunts to get free.
NFL Forecast: He's a decent prospect because he's a functional run stopper, but only marginal as a pass rusher. Could develop as a rotational player, but would do himself a great service if he added more strength.
Value: Undrafted. Has a good shot at sticking as a reserve, but really lacks anything that makes him stand out to project as a long-term fixture in the NFL.

Norm Heuer

(6'4" 295 5.13) Michigan Senior

Pros: Has some quickness to penetrate and can make plays versus the run in pursuit. He works hard and has a good motor.
Cons: Lacks top pass rush moves. Lacks strength at the point of attack and can get engulfed by blockers. Neutralized by double team and doesn't do a good job beating a single blocker.
NFL Forecast: He's got some quickness, but he doesn't do well as a pass rusher. He's an effort guy that is often physically overmatched. Worth bringing into camp to compete for a job, but lacks upside as an NFL player. He does possess a frame to get bigger and if he does, then it increases his shot at making an NFL roster, although he'd still be a longshot.
NFL Comparison:
Value: Undrafted. Lacks great upside and was only an average collegiate player.

Dane Oldham

(6'2" 265 5.23) Boise State Senior

Pros: Has a good motor and has good strength. Can get some push and penetration as a pass rusher. Comfortable anchoring vs. the run, and has the quickness to make plays laterally across the line of scrimmage.
Cons: Doesn't play with good base and struggles at the point of attack when teams run right at him. Lacks size you want in an interior player.
NFL Forecast: Oldham has the makings of a good run stopping defensive tackle, but is lacking in size and strength. If he gets bigger, he could develop into a rotational player. Probably has the frame to support weight up to around 285, but probably not much more. He's a developmental type that is not likely to stick in the NFL. One-dimensional player at this point that is not overwhelming at his single dimension.
Value: Worth a look in camp, but lacks upside to be anything more than a camp body.

Paul Allen

(6'1" 296 5.23) Boise State Senior

Pros: Shows good strength and potentially the ability to anchor vs. the run at the line of scrimmage. Can get some push on the pocket.
Cons: Lacks quickness and is not much of an upfield pass rusher. Is neutralized by double teams and doesn't get great base vs. the run at the point of attack.
NFL Forecast: He is another one-dimensional run stopper that is not very reliable in that area because he is overmatched in the strength, power, and leverage departments. He might be worth a look in a training camp, but has little NFL upside.
Value: Did just enough in college to be worth a look in training camp.

 

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