Pro Day Tour Puts Nose Tackles in Spotlight

A week's worth of pro days gave the Packers a good look at this year's draft-worthy prospects, with Green Bay scouts attending seven of their pro days in a seven-day span.

Assuming the Green Bay Packers re-sign Letroy Guion and B.J. Raji, they do not have an immediate need to draft a nose tackle with a premium selection.

However, if Guion and Raji are brought tack on short-term deals, there is a long-term need that could be filled beyond the first round. Here are the nose tackle rankings from the NFL’s head scout, Dave-Te’ Thomas, based on he and his staff’s study and recent league meetings in New York.

RankPlayerSchoolPos.YearHeightWeight40GradeRound
5SHELTON, DannWashingtonNGSr0:06:013275.167.81
23BROWN, MalcomTexasNGJr0:06:033055.246.91-2
33#GOLDMAN, EddieFlorida StateNGJr0:06:033145.286.81-2
47PHILLIPS, JordanOklahomaNGSr6::05.23294.986.52
60DAVIS, CarlIowaNGrSr0:06:043185.16.32
143WALTON, LeterriusCen. MichiganNGSr0:06:052945.195.65
153#COVINGTON, ChristianRiceNGrJr0:06:022955.095.55
158WILLIAMS, XavierNorthern IowaNGSr0:06:023095.185.45
215MBU, JoeyHoustonNGSr0:06:033135.195.16
224McCARTHY, EllisUCLANGJr0:06:033305.0856-7
228DAVISON, TyelerFresno StateNGSr0:06:013015.1656-7
256#SIMON, DeonNorthwestern St.NGSr0:06:053445.34.97

Thanks to the pro day schedule, Packers scouts saw several of those prospects in the span of a week that started on Friday at Central Michigan and will end on Thursday at Houston.

Carl Davis, Iowa

Career: Davis (6-5, 320) received all-Big Ten Conference second-team honors...Two-year starter started all 13 games as a senior…Recorded 36 tackles (14 solos) that included two sacks, nine stops for losses and five quarterback pressures…Recovered one fumble and blocked one kick.

Scouting nugget: There are some within the scouting industry that are concerned that he spends more time jumping on piles (22 assisted tackles) rather than initiate contact (14 solo stops). Davis is a big, physical athlete with a thick, hard body. He has long arms, big bubble and large hands – the type that can easily add more bulk to his frame without adversely affecting his overall quickness. He is a rare-sized defender who is not only light on his feet, but possesses impressive strength. He shows a fluid running stride and a good feel for leverage and balance. His straight-line charge is explosive and he generates a bone-jarring hand punch coming off the snap.

Leterrius Walton, Central Michigan

Career: Walton (6-5, 319) started 32-of-39 games at Central Michigan, including every contest during his junior and senior seasons. Walton earned all-Mid American first-team honors from the league’s coaches for the first time during his career as a senior…Finished the season with 33 tackles (19 solos), two sacks and 3.5 stops for losses, adding six quarterback pressures, two pass deflections, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble.

Scouting nugget: Walton flashes a burst to finish and shows effectiveness stopping the running game as a three-tech defender, but he is also being eyed by teams that utilize the 3-4 base defensive alignment to play five-tech. He needs to improve his upper-body power, but has a strong anchor vs. the run and uses his hands well to cross over the offensive lineman’s face to make the play. He generates leverage to stack at the point of attack. He has the quick, strong and active hands to split double teams and his long arms allow him to consistently push the pocket.

Christian Covington, Rice

Career: Covington (6-2, 289) started 31-of-33 games at Rice, coming off the bench in his first and final appearance…Finished his three-year career with 11.5 sacks and 23 tackles for losses. A knee sprain and kneecap dislocation cost him five games in 2014 and limited him to 20 tackles (14 solos) with 2.5 sacks, 3.5 stops for losses, a fumble recovery and a pass deflection...The injury prevented him from testing at the Combine but he ran in 4.89 at Wednesday’s pro day, according to NFL.com. In 2013, he piled up a team-high 11.5 tackles for losses along with four sacks and two blocked kicks.

Scouting nugget: Covington has great bloodlines, as his father, Grover, is a CFL Hall of Famer. The British Columbia native has very good quickness to gain penetration. He shows agility, balance and acceleration into the backfield, along with the body control and change of direction agility to make plays down the line. Even though there are times that he does not utilize his strength, he gets good position and body lean to stack and control when he stays at a good pad level. He is similar to Timmy Jernigan (Patriots), as he has solid muscle tone in his lower body, a good bubble and wide hips.

Xavier Williams, Northern Iowa

Career: Williams (6-2, 309), a two-time FCS All-American, started 36-of-42 games and recorded 15 sacks, 29 tackles for losses and seven blocked kicks...As a senior, Williams had his finest season to help UNI to the FCS national championship, finishing fourth on the team with a career-high 93 tackles (38 solos), also establishing career-highs with eight sacks (second on the team) and a team-high 14 stops for losses while adding three pressures and two blocked kicks.

Scouting nugget: Williams has above-average strength to lock up and enough quickness to combine with his power to make explosive tackles. He hits the gaps with force and clogs the rush lanes with his ability to drive back the lead blocker consistently. When he attacks a ball carrier, he punishes them, evident by his minus 21 yards allowed on 68 running plays. When he stays low in his pads and extends his arms, he is very effective to wrap up and also shows urgency getting to the ball in the short area.

Joey Mbu, Houston

Career: Mbu (6-3, 313) started 34-of-50 games, including every contest during his junior and senior seasons...As a senior, the team captain started all 13 games at strong-side defensive tackle, recording a career-high 31 tackles (16 solos), adding 2.5 sacks, 4.5 stops for losses and a quarterback pressure, on his way to first-team All-American Athletic Conference honors.

Scouting nugget: Teams looking for an immovable object in the middle of the field to line up over the center’s head and crush double-team blockers, are keeping close tabs on Mbu, feeling much like the emergence Pittsburgh saw from a player with similar athletic ability and minimal statistical production – Daniel McCullers – a sixth-round steal in the 2014 draft, might have another find on their hands in this Houston prospect. Mbu is a wide-body type with adequate change of direction agility, quickness and balance. He is best in the short area.

Tyeler Davison, Fresno State

Career: Among the nose guard prospects available in this draft, only Washington’s Danny Shelton (208), Northern Iowa’s Xavier Williams (224) and Texas’ Malcom Brown (165) recorded more tackles than Davison’s 161. The only player at this position with more career sacks than the mighty Bulldog (14.5) is Williams (15.0). Just Williams (29.5) and Brown (29.0) have registered more tackles for losses than Davison (28.5)...As a senior, he finished second in the nation at his position with 8.5 sacks, topped by only Shelton’s nine...He had a career-high 61 tackles and two forced fumbles.

Scouting nugget: Our scouts feel that NFL teams need to perform a “re-do” in regards to Davison (6-2, 316), as they can not believe he is more highly regarded. While nose guard is never going to be a glamour position, the role of taking on multiple blockers seems to suit Davison nicely. Davison needs to improve his use of hands to disengage from blocks, as he relies on his quickness and strength but too rarely is able to get off blocks once properly engaged. Still, he recognizes the cut block and sprawls quickly to protect his knees. For a player of his size, he shows a strong burst and quickness off the snap.

Deon Simon, Northwestern State

Career: Simon (6-4, 321) started 19 games in his career, including seven during a senior season cut short by injury. Despite missing 5.5 games, he recorded 26 tackles, including 5.5 for losses and one sack. One of his two forced fumbles came during an impressive showing against Baylor...As a junior, he started all 12 games and had 42 tackles, including seven for losses....He tied for the lead among all Scouting Combine defensive prospects with 35 reps on the bench press.

Scouting nugget: With his size, Simon is the classic, two-gapping nose tackle that teams have used to anchor their 3-4 defensive schemes. He’s got 33-inch arms and excellent strength to keep blockers at bay. He’s also a surprisingly good athlete with his 5.12 in the 40. With some technique refinement and improved stamina, he could develop into a quality situational player against the run.

Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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