NFL Scouting Combine Preview: DTs

Glenn Dorsey is considered the best defender in the 2008 Draft. But the ascension of USC's Sedrick Ellis has sparked a debate about who is the top DT this year.'s NFL Draft Analyst Chris Steuber previews and ranks the top interior D-Linemen inside...

1. Glenn Dorsey, LSU, 6-2, 313

After a stellar career at LSU, Dorsey will work out for the first time this offseason at the Combine. He possesses freakish strength, a solid burst and excellent technique. Not only is he a tremendous player with dominant skills, but he’s an individual with upstanding character that teams will fall in love with. With an impressive workout at the Combine, Dorsey will be in the running for the top pick in April’s draft.

2. Sedrick Ellis, USC, 6-1, 307

Ellis did wonders for his draft stock by playing in the Senior Bowl. He displayed incredible leverage and showed ability that rivals Dorsey. Entering the Combine, Ellis, in the eyes of some teams, may be the best DT available in the draft. For him to keep that status he will have to continue his high level of play and outperform Dorsey in Indianapolis.

3. Kentwan Balmer, North Carolina, 6-4, 308

An intriguing prospect who defends the run extremely well, Balmer has caught the eye of many teams in the league. He performed well at the Senior Bowl the first day, but suffered a hamstring injury on the ensuing day. One positive from Mobile was his weight. He played this past season at 295, but weighed in at 308 pounds. That’s promising, but scouts will observe Balmer’s explosion off the line to see if the hamstring injury still lingers.

Notre Dame DT Trevor Laws looks on against UCLA.
AP Photo/Michael Conroy

4. Trevor Laws, Notre Dame, 6-1, 280

One of the most productive players in college football this past season, Laws showed scouts at the Senior Bowl that although he’s undersized, he’s a top defender in this draft. He played with tremendous leverage and revved up his motor another notch all week long in Mobile. He was always around the ball and was involved in a couple of turnovers during the game. His ascension will continue at the Combine as he’s very well spoken and intelligent. Teams will love his attitude and work ethic.

5. *Pat Sims, Auburn, 6-4, 315

Sims has a lot of promise and demonstrated his ability this past season with the Tigers. He’s a good run defender and a developing pass rusher. He gets a good push up the middle and uses his hands well. He probably could have used another season of development to continue his growth on and off the field. He has good size and moves well laterally, but teams want to see how he moves inside and whether or not he can get off blocks consistently. He had some problems off the field, so teams will want to address those with him during interviews in Indy.

6. Joseph Bryant, Texas A&M, 6-5, 330

Bryant is a load inside and performed very well in Mobile. For a big man, he displayed the ability to get low, play with leverage and quickly penetrate up the middle. He has to get off blocks better and be more effective against the run, but his size alone is a perfect fit for a 3-4 defense. Bryant has great strength, but his quickness is suspect. He has to show improved footwork and hand placement at the Combine to help his draft stock.

7. Frank Okam, Texas, 6-4, 325

Just like Bryant, Okam is a load who has dominating skills but lacks consistency. He had a roller-coaster week at the East-West Shrine game. He showed moments of brilliance followed by inconsistent, head-scratching play. He has to play lower, and not always try to use his upper body strength to get through blocks. And he has to develop an inside move to improve his draft positioning.

8. Dre Moore, Maryland, 6-4, 308

Moore really helped his draft stock at the Senior Bowl. He was impressive all week long and displayed tremendous strength. He used his hands well and got a good push up the middle. He got slower as practice continued, but still displayed the ability to get through the line. Moore will certainly perform well in strength workouts at the Combine, but it’s his quickness off the line that will hurt him.

9. Andre Fluellen, Florida State, 6-2, 280

After an up-and-down career at Florida State, Fluellen performed well in Mobile and displayed excellent quickness. He showed a variety of moves inside and got into the backfield on many occasions. The one concern moving forward is his overall size and his inconsistency over his career. Teams will be interested in talking with Fluellen to get his thoughts on why he didn’t live up to his potential with the Seminoles.

10. Demario Pressley, NC State, 6-3, 300

Pressley is one of the better defensive tackles in the country when he’s healthy, but over the last year or two he’s suffered a variety of injuries. That’s a concern moving forward. He participated in the Senior Bowl and didn’t have a great showing. He lacked explosion off the snap and didn’t get off blocks well. He has to improve his quickness and strength, and he must that demonstrate he’s completely healthy to rise up draft boards.

11. *Letroy Guion, Florida State, 6-4, 300

12. Ahtyba Rubin, Iowa State, 6-3, 320

13. Marcus Harrison, Arkansas, 6-3, 310

14. Carlton Powell, Virginia Tech, 6-2, 301

15. James McClinton, Kansas, 6-0, 289

16. Nick Hayden, Nebraska, 6-4, 305

17. Barry Booker, Virginia Tech, 6-4, 281

18. Lionel Dotson, Arizona, 6-4, 288

* Underclassmen

A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999.

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