2007 NFL Draft Value Board - DTs

In Part 5 of Warpaint Illustrated's exclusive NFL Draft Value board, Mike Campbell takes a look at the top defensive tackle prospects entering this year's draft.

1. DT Alan Branch - Michigan – 6-foot-6, 324 - 5.07

The Michigan Wolverines boasted the most fearsome defense in the country in 2006. The best portion of that defense was their front seven, and a lot of their success can be traced back to Alan Branch.

Branch is a monstrous individual that fits any type of defensive front at any defensive tackle position. He'll likely be most coveted as a 3-4 nose tackle, but he can also be a disruptive force at either tackle position in the 4-3. Don't be fooled by Branch's large frame - he's exceedingly quick and agile for a 330-pound player. At the snap of the ball he shows great explosion and can easily get past an unsuspecting lineman. And if Branch can't out-maneuver the lineman (or linemen) in front of him he'll just overpower them and drive them into the backfield.

2. DT Amobi Okoye - Louisville – 6-foot-2, 302 - 5.07

At a mere 20 years old, Amobi Okoye has already been ear marked as a "special" player. While his physical development is far from complete, he can still do some remarkable things you don't usually see from interior defensive linemen. He has an unbelievably quick first step, the type you typically see out of speed-rushing defensive ends. After that he has a variety of pass rush moves and a relentless motor, but that initial step of his is what has NFL scouts so interested in him.

Okoye is a pure three-technique in a 4-3 defense. He's much too underdeveloped to play nose tackle and he lacks the height to play defensive end in a 3-4. Speaking of development, this is Okoye's glaring weakness, as he needs to become thicker and stronger for the rigors of the NFL. Right now he's merely a pass-rush specialist that you don't want on the field in short-yardage situations. If a team decided to leave him in the game as a four-down player they'd quickly discover offenses would begin to run right at him. Three years from now he'll probably be a monster, but right now he can be run-blocked like a dog on tile.

3. DT Justin Harrell - Tennessee – 6-foot-5, 300 - 5.04

Though tabbed primarily as an interior run stopper, Harrell is also a powerful pocket pusher with an explosive first step. He might not be a sack artist, but he absorbs constant double teams, allowing other players to take advantage of one-on-one match ups.

4. DT Tank Tyler - North Carolina State – 6-foot-2, 306 - 5.18

DeMarcus Tyler lives up to the nickname "Tank" with his immense lower body strength and leverage. Primarily a run stopper, Tyler is the best two-gap defensive tackle in this draft class.

5. DT Quinn Pitcock - Ohio State – 6-foot-3, 299 - 4.93

Pitcock is the second-best 3-4 defensive end prospect behind Adam Carriker. At the same time, he could easily go to a 4-3 team and continue to play defensive tackle like he did in college. Either way he's almost guaranteed to be a full-time starter by his second NFL season.

6. DT Brandon Mebane - California – 6-foot-1, 309 - 5.15

Mebane is a well-rounded, blue collar defensive tackle with a strong lower body and high motor. Since he's built so low to the ground it's easier for him to maintain his leverage against opponents and gradually push his way into the backfield. He has some natural quickness but his success is primarily a result of maximum effort.

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