Jaguars Camp Competition- Defensive Tackles
The competitors: Terrance Knighton, Tyson Alualu, D'Anthony Smith, Atiyyah Ellison, Walter Curry and Kommonyan Quaye
Terrance Knighton may have been the steal of the 2009 draft as he stepped in immediately and played at a near Pro Bowl level. The former third-round pick from Temple used his size (6'3", 340 lbs.) to suck up blocks and make plays, and his emergence made veteran DT John Henderson expendable. Knighton will be the opening day starter.
The Jaguars surprised nearly everyone in April's draft when they selected defensive tackle Tyson Alualu with the 10th overall pick. Alualu doesn't have the mammoth size of his line-mate in Terrance Knighton, as the rookie from California is "only" 6'3", 304 lbs. Alualu is more of a disruptor in the middle and should pair nicely with Knighton.
D'Anthony Smith is another of the smaller, quicker type of defensive tackles. The Jaguars selected Smith with their third-round pick and expect the two-time first-team All-WAC selection to step in to the defensive line rotation right away and contribute.
It's likely that the Jaguars will keep four or five defensive tackles, and with Knighton, Alualu and Smith being roster locks, Atiyyah Ellison, Walter Curry and Kommonyan Quaye will be competing for the remaining position or positions.
Atiyyah Ellison bounced around the league since 2005 before seemingly finding a home and a role in Jacksonville last year. Ellison wasn't spectacular, but he was solid in the middle, and can even play some 3-4 defensive end if duty calls. Ellison finished last season with 16 tackles and a sack. He has the inside track on the final roster spot.
Walter Curry is another journeyman type of defensive lineman who at 29 years old could be competing for his NFL life in this year's camp. The Crescent City native has spent time on the Jaguars practice squad on three separate occasions, and thus has no practice squad eligibility remaining. At 6'4", 309 lbs., Curry is versatile enough to play 3-4 defensive end and could play in the middle on passing situations. To make the roster, Curry will have to show that he can sustain a pass rush from the defensive tackle position.
Kommonyan Quaye is an interesting prospect as he was signed as an undrafted rookie from South Dakota. The 6'1", 307 lb. Quaye was a first-team All-Great West Conference selection as a senior as he spear-headed the Great West Conference's top rushing defense. Quaye looked solid in spring workouts, but there were no pads.
How will it all shake out? Terrance Knighton, Tyson Alualu and D'Anthony Smith are all roster locks and the team would like to have Tyson Alualu win the starting job next to Terrance Knighton. Atiyyah Ellison will likely fill out the final roster spot at defensive tackle. It's likely the end of the road for Walter Curry and Kommonyan Quaye could be headed to the practice squad with a positive showing.
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