Pressley has the Pedigree

DeMario Pressley loves playing nose tackle, and that's a rarity these days. He can play the three technique and he met with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday morning.

North Carolina State, of late, has turned into a defensive line factory.

There's Mario Williams, the No. 1 pick of the 2006 Draft. After an up-and-down rookie season Williams played up to his potential in 2007, registering double-digit sacks.

John McCargo was a first-round pick for the Buffalo Bills in 2006 and after playing just five games in 2006 he made 29 tackles and 2 ½ sacks in 2007.

Tank Tyler played in 15 games for the Kansas City Chiefs last season, making 11 tackles. Bigger things are expected of Tyler this season.

Now, there's DeMario Pressley. At 6-foot-3 (and some change, as he put it) and 301 pounds, he appears poised to pick up the mantle of those three rising stars.

And the trio has prepared Pressley for what lies in front of him.

"I think I took something small from each of those guys," Pressley said. "From Tank I took note of his power. From Johnny Mac it was his quickness and from Mario his speed and his technique. His technique as a defensive lineman was insane."

The 6-foot-3, 301-pound tackle is seen as a fourth-round pick entering the combine. He'll work out Monday for NFL scouts. Pressley was a honorable mention selection in the ACC last season and finished with 2.5 sacks and 11 quarterback pressures. He played the nose tackle in college, but many of the tackles in this draft class have professed that they want to play the three technique, a more glamorous position in today's NFL defenses.

Pressley said he can play the three technique, or even an outside end in a 3-4 defense if teams need it. But he has no qualms with staying at nose tackle.

"You're going to hit each play, you're going to hit every down and your job will not get easier," Pressley said. "It takes a man to play that position and I enjoy playing it.

"You have to know that you're playing for the team and that you won't make a lot of plays."

That's the sort of attitude the Buccaneers place a premium on as they evaluate players. They've made note of the overall character of their last three draft classes. The Buccaneers met with Pressley on Sunday morning before he emerged from his physical to talk to the media.

During that meeting he found himself face-to-face with the Bucs' pipe-smoking defensive line coach, Larry Coyer, who couldn't resist taking a hands-on approach during the meeting.

"(Coach Coyer) was talking to me and he actually taught me some things right there, about my hands and how to lock out and stuff like that," Pressley said. "It was a good meeting."

The top defensive tackles in this draft — notably LSU's Glenn Dorsey and USC's Sedrick Ellis — are probably outside of the Buccaneers' grasp in this draft. And they already have a suitable nose tackle in Chris Hovan. But the fact that Pressley can play the three technique as well is intriguing, as is his quickness and ability to hold blocks and move offensive players off the line. One criticism of some scouts is that he has trouble making plays in the backfield.

But the Bucs need help inside and Pressley could give them a low-cost option with some great upside. After all, consider N.C. State's recent pedigree.

And his competition.

"It was very competitive," Pressley said about his days at N.C. State. "We still had on offense players like Jed Paulson and Chris Colmer, who played with the Bucs, and LeRoy Harris. So days got real hectic. Me and Tank were fighting for the other tackle because McCargo had one sewn up. It got real competitive between me and Tank."


Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. An award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers Association, he appears frequently on Scot Brantley Show from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WHBO 1470-AM in Tampa-Clearwater.


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