NFL Draft: Scouting the Defensive Tackles

With the exception of two players who'll be selected during the initial dozen choices, the defensive tackle crop this April is a very mediocre group. The position is full of back-ups, underachievers and undersized prospects. That's exactly why the Eagles may try to move up to get one of the stud defensive tackles who will be available. Here are the scouting reports on the top twelve defensive tackles.

Full Name: Haloti Ngata School: Oregon Pos: DT

Ht: 6-4 Wt: 338 40: 5.19 Year: 4Jr

Bio: All-Conference selection the past two years and named Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year last season. Produced 59/9/3 as a junior after 46/8.5/3.5 as a sophomore. Missed the ‘03 season after tearing a ligament in his left knee.

Pos: Big, powerful space-eater in the middle of the line. Plays with good lean, drives upfield and easily bull-rushes double teams off the line of scrimmage. Displays a good change of direction going laterally to make plays. Gets a lot of momentum going up the field and tough to stop in motion.

Neg: Must improve his hand technique and do a better job of protecting himself. Tires as the big game proceeds.

Analysis: A terrific athlete who can be a dominant force, Ngata offers outstanding upside for the next level and potential in a variety of defensive systems. Should be an early pick, produce as a rookie and has All-Pro potential if he meets expectations in the NFL.

Full Name: Broderick Bunkley School: Florida State Pos: DT

Ht: 6-2.5 Wt: 306 40: 5.00 Year: 4Sr

Bio: Two-year starter awarded All-Conference honors as a senior after 66/25/9. Junior totals included 12/3/1 when he played with a high ankle sprain.

Pos: Explosive interior lineman who can be used at defensive tackle or on the nose. Displays tremendous first-step quickness, plays with leverage and has a nasty attitude. Tough to handle and was consistently doubled by opponents. Keeps his feet driving up the field, has a burst of speed and is quick closing on the play.

Neg: Must use his hands better and develop more moves. Has a history of knee

Analysis: Ever-improving the past two seasons, Bunkley is a terrific one-gap lineman who can be used in different schemes. Elevated his draft stock significantly at the Senior Bowl and is now a first-round pick.

Full Name: Gabriel Watson School: Michigan Pos: DT

Ht: 6-3.5 Wt: 339 40: 5.32 Year: 4Sr

Bio: Moved into the starting lineup as a junior and awarded All-Conference honors the past two years. Senior totals included 40/6.5/2 after 37/7/2 the prior year.

Pos: Athletic, wide-bodied run stuffer who flashes dominance. Quick off the snap, powerful and bull-rushes opponents off the line of scrimmage. Moves well laterally, immediately alters his angle of attack and has a burst of speed. Plays with a good degree of explosion and is effective when he keeps his pads low.

Neg: Must significantly improve his hand technique and learn to protect himself. Gets tall and can be handled by ordinary blockers. Skates through plays, takes downs off and not known as a consistent worker.

Analysis: A defender who controls the line of scrimmage when focused on the task at hand, Watson offers tremendous upside potential for the next level. Switching it on and off, Watson needs to improve his conditioning, intensity and consistency to reach the level of play scouts feel he is capable of.

Full Name: Claude Wroten School: LSU Pos: DT

Ht: 6-2 Wt: 302 40: 5.09 Year: 4Sr

Bio: Two-year starter after transferring from junior college. All-Conference selection as a senior, totaling 49/10.5/6 after 44/12/6 the prior year.

Pos: Explosive one-gap defensive tackle with potential as a three-technique lineman. Gets off the ball with a great first step, is forceful up the field and pushes defenders off the line. Defeats one-on-one blocking, plays with good pad level and makes plays laterally. Fast off the edge at defensive end and stays within his angle of attack.

Neg: Must improve his hand technique and learn to protect himself. Shunned the combine workout, then was injured during Pro Day.

Analysis: A developing lineman who has displayed consistent progress the past two years, Wroten must improve the details of his game but offers starting potential.

Full Name: John McCargo School: North Carolina State Pos: DT

Ht: 6-1.5 Wt: 302 40: 5.19 Year: 4Jr

Bio: Three-year starter who posted 21/8/.5 in six games last year, missing half the season with a stress fracture. Posted career-best numbers of 52/14/3 as a freshman.

Pos: Explosive run-defending tackle who flashes power. Plays with excellent pad level, wedges between blocks and is rarely off his feet. Possesses tremendous first-step quickness, makes plays out to the flanks and has a closing burst of speed.

Neg: Marginal pass rusher. Flashes hand technique but for the most part wired by blocks.

Analysis: A hard-working prospect productive throughout college, McCargo's decision to enter the draft surprised many. Projects well as a two-gap lineman and could eventually develop into a starter at the next level.

Full Name: Jesse Mahelona School: Tennessee Pos: DT

Ht: 6-0.5 Wt: 311 40: 5.08 Year: 4Sr

Bio: Junior College transfer who made an immediate impact upon arriving at Tennessee. Senior totals were 35/8/2 after 42/18.5/5 the prior year.

Pos: Hard-working one-gap tackle who plays with a nasty attitude. Explodes off the snap, plays with good pad level and displays solid hand technique protecting himself. Fires up the field between gaps, flashes on the scene and has a burst of closing speed. Stays with the action and through injuries.

Neg: Plays on a straight line, loses balance when he changes direction and is a marginal pass rusher. First-move lineman who cannot shed blocks once engaged.

Analysis: Built low to the ground, Mahelona's combination of explosion and leverage gives him an advantage at the next level. Best suited to a system where he is able to slant or shoot through the holes.

Full Name: Dusty Dvoracek School: Oklahoma Pos: DT

Ht: 6-2.5 Wt: 306 40: 5.07 Year: 5Sr

Bio: All-Conference and All-Academic selection as a senior, posting 44/18/4. Played two games in ‘04 before getting suspended. All-Conference as a junior in '03.

Pos: Fiery, intense defender best as a one-gap lineman. Gets off the snap with a great first step, displays an array of moves and works to get off blocks. Keeps his feet moving on contact and makes plays in all directions. Plays hard from start to finish yet remains disciplined and stays within himself.

Neg: Does not consistently play with good pad level and is slow shedding blocks. Lacks skills in pursuit. Career was marred with several alcohol-related incidents.

Analysis: An outstanding worker, Dvoracek makes those around him better. A productive player at the next level and starter in the right system if his off-the-field issues are behind him.

Full Name: Barry Cofield School: Northwestern Pos: DT

Ht: 6-4 Wt: 304 40: 5.01 Year: 4Sr

Bio: Three-year starter who posted career numbers of 63/6.5/13 as a senior after junior totals of 52/5/15.

Pos: Athletic prospect who flashes ability. Plays with good pad level, gets leverage on opponents and immediately changes his angle of attack, pursuing to the sidelines with speed. Relatively instinctive and reads the action. Resilient and stays with the play.

Neg: Stymied at the point and very slow shedding blocks. Not a penetrating lineman.

Analysis: Possessing outstanding computer numbers, Cofield is an average worker who has yet to meet the expectations of NFL scouts. Offers potential at defensive tackle or as a two-gap lineman but must take his game to the next level.

Full Name: Montavious Stanley School: Louisville Pos: DT

Ht: 6-2 Wt: 313 40: 5.21 Year: 4Sr

Bio: Three-year starter and All-Conference selection as a senior after posting 48/10/5.5.

Pos: Athletic interior lineman who flashes ability. Displays terrific first-step quickness, plays with outstanding pad level and is tough to move off the point. Forceful up the field and commands double-team blocks.

Neg: Needs to improve his hand technique and do a better job of protecting himself. Does not consistently play at a high level.

Analysis: A good-sized defensive tackle, Stanley possesses the tools to play at the next level. Must work harder to reach the potential NFL scouts believe he possesses.

Full Name: Kyle Williams School: LSU Pos: DT

Ht: 6-1.5 Wt: 299 40: 5.19 Year: 4Sr

Bio: Three-year starter awarded All-Conference honors since his junior campaign. Named an All-American last year. Senior totals were 61/7.5/4.5 after 57/12/6 as a junior.

Pos: Technically sound one-technique lineman who does the little things well. Quickly gets off the snap, plays with solid pad level and chases to get involved in the action. Displays an array of moves working to get off blocks, keeps his feet and displays a burst of straight-line speed. Instinctive, reads the action and quick to diagnose.

Neg: Mostly a first-move lineman who cannot get off blocks once engaged. Lacks top speed in pursuit.

Analysis: Scrappy and competitive, Williams' ability to play with leverage and occupy blockers gives him a decided advantage. May never be a consistent starter yet a solid middle-round choice who could be used in a rotational system.

Full Name: Jonathan Lewis School: Virginia Tech Pos: DT

Ht: 6-1 Wt: 309 40: 5.05 Year: 4Sr

Bio: Three-year starter who posted 38/7.5/4.5 last year after 40/11/5 as a junior. Awarded All-Conference honors both seasons. Posted a career-high 69 tackles as a sophomore.

Pos: Explosive one-gap tackle with potential as a three-technique lineman. Has terrific first-step quickness, plays with good pad level and is built low to the ground. Rarely off his feet, displays a burst of closing speed and bears down on the action. Solid change of direction and fights hard throughout the play.

Neg: Undersized and controlled at the point of attack by a single opponent. Not a penetrator who commands double-team blocks.

Analysis: Highly competitive, Lewis is a tough prospect who will be effective in a scheme which allows him to slant or twist through the gaps.

Full Name: Rod Wright School: Texas Pos: DT

Ht: 6-5 Wt: 300 40: 5.14 Year: 4Sr

Bio: Four-year starter awarded All-Conference honors since his sophomore campaign and All-American honors the past two years. Senior totals included 46/13/4.5 after 36/3/1 as a junior. Career-best numbers of 80/12/7.5 came as a sophomore.

Pos: Athletic defensive tackle who makes plays in all directions of the field. Quick off the snap and tough to move off the point. Wedges between double-team blocks, slides off opponents laterally and redirects to the action. Flashes power, pushing opponents off the ball.

Neg: Does not play with a sense of urgency and seemingly gives up on plays after being initially blocked. Must improve his hand technique.

Analysis: Flashing dominance in spurts, Wright has watched his play level off the past two seasons. Offers a good amount of upside yet must start to meet it.

Complete Defensive Tackles Rankings - Complete NFL Draft Rankings

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