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Chicago Bears 2017 Draft Preview: Defensive Tackle (Rounds 4-7)

A detailed look at the top defensive tackles that are in the 2017 NFL Draft class, focusing on late-round prospects that will fit the Chicago Bears needs.

If the Chicago Bears want to add some depth to their defensive line, they will have plenty of options in the 2017 NFL Draft.

While this year's class isn’t considered a strong one for defensive tackles in the early rounds, the Bears could find some value on day three of the draft.

Chicago already has third-year NT Eddie Goldman, who is projected to be a starter in 2017, but behind him the Bears lack depth at defensive tackle.

With that in mind, here are some mid- and late-round prospects to look for in April.

Carlos Watkins, Clemson (6-3, 309)

Watkins is an interesting prospect, as he plays both the 3-technique and 5-technique. He’s got excellent quickness and is good at pursuing the ball carrier. Watkins uses leverage to his advantage, getting his arms out and establishing good position. If he’s there in the fourth round, he could be a steal for the Bears.

Projected: 4th round

Davon Godchaux, LSU (6-3, 310)

The LSU product found significant playing time on a Tigers defense that was loaded with talent. Godchaux played three years at LSU and recorded 5.5 sacks in 2016. Godhaux’s hands and arms help him rush the passer effectively, a positive on tape for scouts. But he could use some more work in getting out of his stance quicker and more effectively.  Godchaux will need some more work to be a standout player at the next level but he’s a pick that could payoff in the long run on day three of the draft.

Projected: 4th round

Ryan Glasgow, Michigan (6-3, 302)

Chicago could turn to a local kid on the third day of the draft if they decide to take Aurora native Ryan Glasgow. The four-year player at Michigan made 33 starts on the defensive line, including 13 in his senior year. Glasgow has good upper body strength and is a solid tackler on the line. His hard work is something that can’t be taught and can be transferred to the next level.

Projected: 4th round

Nazair Jones, North Carolina (6-5, 304)

Jones really found his way at North Carolina in his junior year. Playing on a defense that was pretty badin his first two years, Jones stood out on the defensive line.  Jones lined up as both a 5-technique and 3-technique defensive lineman at UNC, giving him some versatility. Some things that stand out for Jones is his upper body strength, great hands and his wingspan.  However, Jones was often fooled on play action and misdirection in college. It’s something he will need some work on right away.

Projected: 4th round

Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA (6-3, 305)

Vanderdoes started right away for the Bruins as a freshman and while the stats aren’t what you’d want them to be, he has some talent. He has the toughness and strength to win the battle against interior lineman. The defensive tackle missed the entire 2015 season with a torn ACL but rebounded with an honorable All-Pac-12 mention in his junior season. There’s a concern with his weight, especially on the upper body.

Projected: 4th round

Tanzel Smart, Tulane (6-1, 296)

The former Tulane defensive lineman is a little undersized at defensive tackle, which may cause his stock to fall. Smart saw a lot of double teams in college but still found ways to get to the quarterback. On tape, that’s something teams will see and rave about. When he did get one-on-one matchups, he took advantage of those. Smart could be a solid pick in the fourth round.

Projected: 4th round

Jarron Jones, Notre Dame (6-6, 316 pounds)

Jones’ career at Notre Dame was hampered with injuries but he showed enough to prove he can play at the next level. He’s got the size to clog up the interior at defensive tackle. Jones has ideal length and uses his power to push linemen into the backfield and win his battle. If it weren’t for the injuries, we could be talking about Jones in higher rounds. A team will take a chance on Jones and if he’s there when the Bears pick on day three, don’t be surprised if they make the move.

Projected: 5th round

DeAngelo Brown, Louisville (6-0, 312)

Scouts rave about Brown’s strength and how he surges off the snap. At Louisville, he was an excellent run stuffer and it should translate to the NFL. If he can stay consistent, he could be a value pick on day three of the draft.

Projected: 5th round

Charles Walker, Oklahoma (6-2, 310)

Right off the bat there’s a concern with Walker. He left Oklahoma with two regular season games remaining to prepare for the 2017 NFL Draft. Walker was dealing with a concussion for over a month but head coach Bob Stoops had an interesting comment about Walker “quitting on his teammates” when it happened. Walker has talent but the character concerns, his inconsistency and two previous concussions could keep Pace and the Bears away.

Projected: 5th round

Stevie Tu’ikolovatu, Southern California (6-1, 331)

The USC product will be 26 when he plays in the NFL, not the ideal age for a rookie entering the league. But don’t let that help you overlook his play. Tu’ikolovatu has a knack for finding the ball carrier and has good lateral movement. He does allow centers to stick to him as he has problems shedding blocks. He’s an early down player that should be there in the fifth or sixth rounds.

Projected: 6th round

Jeremiah Ledbetter, Arkansas, (6-3,280)

Ledbetter went up against some of the best players in the country, playing in the SEC. If the Bears are seeking a 3-technique for depth, Ledbetter may not fit the role due to his body size. Ledbetter will need to bulk up some in order to succeed at the next level.

Projected: 6th round

Treyvon Hester, Toledo (6-2, 300)

Hester didn’t play at a big school but he still has a skillset that can transfer to the next level. He lost 20 pounds ahead of his senior season and it worked in his favor. Hester is an athletic tackle that can beat guards inside with a good swipe. While he might not be a day one or two pick, Hester will be a three-technique player with a high motor to watch out for on the final day of the draft.

Projected: 6th round

Josh Tupou, Colorado (6-3, 353)

On tape Tupou showed that he can get off the line with his quickness and has the ability to help force the pocket closed.  Tupou’s frame might be ideal for a team looking to land a good run-stuffer in the late rounds and he’s shown that he can shed off blocks while getting into the backfield. He may be asked to trim the weight down at the next level.

Projected: 7th-UDFA

D.J. Jones, Ole Miss (6-1, 319)

Jones played in a tough SEC but really stood out for the Rebels. The defensive tackle rarely gets pushed to the ground and has great upper body strength. His swim move is excellent but he needs to be more consistent with his play. The tools are there for Jones but will the inconsistencies hurt his stock?

Projected: 7th-UDFA

Patrick Gamble, Georgia Tech (6-4, 277)

Gamble entered Georgia Tech as a defensive end but made the transition to tackle as a freshman. He’s got the height and size to be productive in the NFL, but there’s a lot of room for improvement. He struggled keeping proper leverage while going up against interior linemen and his moves inside aren’t great. Those are some things he needs to work on to be effective as a pro.

Projected: 7th-UDFA

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