Defensive Tackle Rankings
Defensive Tackles: These are primary 4-3 Defensive tackles or 3-4 nose tackles:
1. Ndamukong Suh- Suh is the best defensive tackle in this draft class and rivals Eric Berry as being the best overall player. Suh is equally capable of disrupting both the passing and running game. His strength is stopping the run, but he can get after after the passer as well. Suh should consistently be double teamed and is the type of defensive tackle that needs to be schemed around. A lot of draft pundits believe McCoy is the top tackle in this draft because his strength is rushing the passer. While I agree McCoy is better at getting after the QB, Suh isn’t far behind and he is superior against the run. For me it is enough of a difference to put him above McCoy.
2. Gerald McCoy-Suh-McCoy, McCoy-Suh, it really could go either way, and in all honesty should be based on what your bigger need is. If you already have good pass rushers then Suh will be the best fit, if you need a bigger jolt to getting after the quarterback then McCoy is your man. Really you can’t go wrong with either player, and that is why I believe that neither player lasts past the 3rd pick in the draft.
3. Dan Williams- Williams has been moving up draft boards, because of his versatility and upside. He didn’t ‘wow’ you in college the way McCoy or Suh did, but he offers the unique ability of being a nose tackle, as well as a 4-3 tackle. That versatility allows him to fit into any system and makes him a prized commodity among 3-4 teams. While I like Williams, I think he is a bit a product of hype and will probably be drafted 5-10 picks higher than he should (late teen’s/early 20’s). Maybe in any other year he would have been worth a top 10 or 15 pick, but I feel the depth of this draft places him a bit further down. Overall Williams does fit in well as a nose tackle and should be a solid addition, I just don’t think he will be the next Wilfork/Rogers/Hampton.
4. Jared Odrick- Odrick is moving up draft boards almost as fast as Williams. He too possesses excellent versatility, while he can’t handle the NT role he can play anywhere else on a defensive line. He isn’t excellent in any one area, but he works hard and never gives up on plays. He should find success at the next level fairly quickly, and should develop into a good starter.
5. Brian Price- Price I feel gets overlooked some, but he is a very good first round quality tackle (he could probably kick outside in a 3-4). Price is a high motor guy, who works best when he is allowed to attack the ball. His strength is as a pass rusher and he is more than capable of starting from day one for whomever drafts him.
6. Lamar Houston– Houston is a player I really like, he is smart and plays with a good motor. He will fit well in read and react systems or even as a 3-4 end. He lacks an explosive burst, but he makes the most out of his talent.
7. Tyson Alualu- Alualu I feel hasn’t fully scratched his potential yet. I think he will make a very good starting defensive tackle at the next level, though could get snapped up by a 3-4 team early in round 2. Alualu is strong at the point of the attack and is a tough run defender. His pass rush skills need work, but if he can work one-on-one he can beat his man.
8. Terrence Cody- ‘Mount’ Cody has been a bit over-hyped given his stellar career at Alabama. He lacks quickness and an ability to play within control, and really ends up being a space eater. Cody will get drafted early in the 2nd round since he does project as a good nose tackle, but right now he is far from the dominate one people believe he is. I will give credit for Cody in working hard this offseason to get in shape and be a better prospect, but he still hasn’t gotten there yet.
9. D’Anthony Smith- Smith could be a bit of a project and it is tough to know exactly where to peg him in this draft, but I really believe in him. He has such tremendous quickness for a defensive tackle that I think he will become a full-time starter by year 2. The most impressive thing is Smith isn’t even in great shape, he’s not exceptionally strong, and could even add some a little speed if he works at it. While a project, Smith already has the basic tools to succeed in the NFL.
10. Linval Joseph- Joseph is an intriguing nose tackle prospect, who could find his way into the 3rd round range given his positional value. He is a little raw, and wasn’t challenged much at East Carolina. But he gets good leverage and has shown the ability to handle double teams.
11. Arthur Jones- Jones has fallen a bit, since at one point he was considered a 1st-2nd round prospect. While he has fallen to the 3rd-4th round range Jones still has the ability to be a starting tackle, and should immediately help against the ground game.
12. Geno Atkins– Atkins isn’t the biggest tackle in the draft, but he has a high motor and is impressively strong. Atkins will be limited as a 4-3 tackle, but has plenty of upside for 4-3 teams, he offers a quick first step and gets good leverage under blockers.
13. Cam Thomas- Thomas is another promising nose tackle prospect, who can devastate the run game. Unlike some of the other nose tackle prospects Thomas probably isn’t an every down player. He does offer some upside and could develop into an every down starter, but right now he should be used in a rotation.
14. Torrell Troup- Troup is another primary nose tackle prospect who is moving up draft boards into the mid-rounds. He offers good size and strength and is a strong bull rusher. He is consistently a great run stuffer and occupies blockers with the best of them. Troup isn’t much of a pass rushing threat and has had issues with conditioning so I don’t see him going off the board until the 4th round.
15. Al Woods- Woods can play either nose tackle or DT in a 4-3 alignment. He never showed consistently that he was a top prospect, but has always had the potential. He has had a strong off-season, including a very good combine, which should move him up into the mid-rounds.