‘06 Big Ten Preview: Ranking the Conference's DT's

Josh Turel applies his NFL Draft knowledge to ranking the Big Ten's top performers at each position. Next up: The Defensive Tackles.

1-Gabriel Watson-Michigan-Senior
2-Quinn Pitcock-Ohio State-Junior
3-Anthony Montgomery-Minnesota-Senior
4-Brandon Villarreal-Purdue-Senior
5-Barry Cofield-Northwestern-Senior
6-Patrick Massey-Michigan-Senior
7-Marcus Green-Ohio State-Senior
8-Jay Alford-Penn State-Junior
9-Brent Grover-Purdue-Senior
10-Brandon McKinney-Michigan State-Senior
11-Justin Ostrowski-Wisconsin-Sophomore
12-Chris Norwell-Illinois-Sophomore
13-Alan Branch-Michigan-Sophomore
14-Sian Cotton-Ohio State-Sophomore
15-Mark Losli-Minnesota-Senior

There's no question if you look at pure talent, Gabe Watson is the best interior player in the Big Ten, if not the country. The key for Watson to maintain his elite level of play is constant motivation and to play more consistently, especially in the second half. Behind him is Quinn Pitcock, who has no problem with motivation because his motor never stops. Pitcock is a pitbull in the middle for Ohio State and draws plenty of one on one's with space eater Marcus Green next to him.

I put Anthony Montgomery at number three largely on potential. I think next to Watson, no one is more physically gifted at tackle than him. Like Watson however, he needs to consistently dominate and push himself, but watch for this kid, he could become special in a hurry. Brandon Villarreal is blue-collar type player who helps make Purdue's defense one of the best in the conference. Barry Cofield is in the mold of departed Luis Castillo; a big space eater who is hard to move against the run.

Pat Massey could finally shine this year playing next to Gabe Watson. Watson will draw plenty of double teams, giving Massey many one on one situations where he could flourish. Massey has a large 6-8, leverage type frame combined with excellent athleticism that will be hard to stop. Marcus Green is the anchor of the Ohio State line, and while he may not make much noise behind the line of scrimmage, he's very strong at the point of attack.

Jay Alford is a bit undersized but he's one of the conference's better run stoppers inside. Next is Brent Grover who is often overlooked but is one of the key components to Purdue's excellent defensive line. Brandon McKinney was supposed to be a top flight NFL prospect but injuries and consistency issues have plagued him after getting off to a hot start in 2002. He's still one of the most talented kids in the conference but he needs to step up this year.

Justin Ostrowski is a new starter for the Badgers this year but he's physically gifted and has been very impressive thus far in his career as a reserve and in spring practices. Chris Norwell is one of the few bright spots on the Fighting Illini defense and he's the team's best run defender.

Michigan's Alan Branch would start on a good amount of team's in the conference. The same could be said for Ohio State's Sian Cotton who could make a big impact this season rotating inside with Pitcock and Green. Minnesota's Mark Losli improved significantly last season and should combine with Anthony Montgomery to form a solid duo inside for the Gophers.

For Turel's other position rankings so far, click below:

Ranking the Conference's DE's

Ranking the Conference's OL's

Ranking the Conference's WR's and TE's

Ranking the Conference's QB's, RB's

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