Kim Klement/USA TODAY

Scouting Combine Research Series: Defensive Tackles (Part 1)

Which standout comes from a family full of walk-ons? Who is lucky to be alive after being targeted in a drive-by shooting? Who couldn't walk while in high school? Those answers and more as we get to know the top defensive tackles.

Here are the 21 defensive tackles who have been invited to the Scouting Combine. Players are listed in alphabetical order. Heights and weights come from CBSSports.com/NFLDraftScout.com. All players are seniors. For Part 2, CLICK HERE.

Montravius Adams, Auburn (6-3, 308): Adams started the final 26 games of his career. After earning third-team all-SEC as a junior, a more consistent and coachable Adams was selected a second-team All-American and first-team all-conference as a senior with career highs of 4.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for losses. In 52 career games (36 starts), he recorded 151 tackles, including 11 sacks and 21 for losses, and forced three fumbles.

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Adams’ mom worked late hours at the Tyson chicken plant in Vienna, Ga. With his mom as his inspiration and tough coaching in high school, Adams blossomed. “He always talked about that he was going to go on to the NFL. He’s always said that’s what he’s wanted to do. He just wants to go play football,” said Adams’ sister. “He would always tell Mom, ‘You ain’t gonna have to work at that Tyson plant anymore! I’m going to make it so you can stop working.’ And she would just say, ‘OK, Mon, OK. I believe you.'”

Caleb Brantley, Florida (6-2, 297): Junior. Brantley was named second-team all-SEC after posting 31 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for losses in 2016. He chipped in 6.5 TFLs as a sophomore, his first season as a full-time starter.

At Crescent City (Fla.) High School, his coach let Brantley “explore (his) possibilities” as a player. That meant Brantley played fullback and even made a one-handed catch. "He definitely wasn't a big ol' fat, stumblin' around lineman," Crescent City coach Al Smith said. Brantley’s statistical impact wasn’t anything special at Florida but, in the words of fellow Gators defensive line prospect Bryan Cox, “he disrupts everything.” Said Smith: "He's a hardcore competitor. He doesn't like to lose a play. He doesn't like to lose a drill. He doesn't like to lose at all."

Brantley was hyped as the Gators’ next star defensive lineman. It didn’t transpire immediately. “Coaching was definitely a problem for me. Like last year (2014), me and [defensive line coach Brad] Lawing obviously didn’t get along and it was just a hassle. I didn’t want to go to practice every day because I didn’t want to deal with the kind of coaching I was getting.” A change in coaching staff helped Brantley get in his career on track.

Chunky Clements, Illinois (6-3, 304): Clements started 17 games over his final two seasons. As a senior, he played in 11 games (seven starts) and tallied 36 tackles, including 3.5 sacks and seven tackles for losses. As a junior, he played in 12 games (10 starts) and had a half-sack, 11.5 TFLs and two forced fumbles.

His real name is Jarrod Clements Jr. but he’s always been called Chunky. “I’ve been Chunky actually before I knew my name was Jarrod. My mom said I was a little chunky baby on her hip, and that she could never put me down. It’s a childhood name that’s just stuck with me through my life.”

Clements was charged with battery following a March 4 fight at a campus party but signed a second-chance misdemeanor agreement that gives him a chance to clear his record.

A cousin, Roy Roundtree, played receiver at Michigan.

Ryan Glasgow, Michigan (6-3, 299): Glasgow started 33 games in four seasons and was second-team all-Big Ten as a senior, when he had career-high totals of four sacks, 9.5 tackles for losses and 42 tackles. In his first three seasons, he had a combined one sack, nine tackles for losses and 49 tackles. Glasgow was an honorable mention as a junior. In 2015, he was a semifinalist for the Burlsworth Trophy, which honors the nation’s best player who started his career as a walk-on.

Glasgrow’s brother, Graham, was drafted by the Detroit Lions in 2016 and started 11 games at center and guard. A third Glasgow, little brother Jordan, just completed his redshirt freshman season as a safety at Michigan. All three were walk-ons. “(I’m) enjoying the moment and not really thinking about it,” Ryan Glasgow said before the Orange Bowl. “It is a pretty good story I guess, but it’s not something you realize right now. You’re trying to do your job and try to make the most of it. ... Even if I try and think about it, it really doesn’t resonate with me. I always believed Graham could to do, I always believed I could do it. I always believed Jordan could get on the field. I always believed it could happen, so maybe it’s not a surprise to me.”

The Glasgows grew up in DeKalb, Ill. Their father said the boys were “terrible, absolutely terrible” and were constantly rough-housing.

Davon Godchaux, LSU (6-4, 293): Junior. Godchaux had a productive final season with 62 tackles, including 6.5 sacks and 8.5 TFLs to earn second-team all-SEC.

He’s lucky to be alive. In 2012, while growing up in Plaquemine, La., he was at basketball practice when a drive-by shooter riddled the home with bullets in a retaliatory incident. Later, the shooter said the target was Godchaux, not either of his two brothers, who have been in and out of prison. Why? Because he was “the only one that’s good for something.” The incident still fuels him, as does trying to help his ailing mother. “It was a rough day. Come home from basketball practice and had to see that. I grew up broke, but I don’t speak on it. t drives me a lot — each and every day. When I get tired, I dig in, dig deep. You got to dig deep and find that extra drive, something that drives you. That’s the extra kick I get.”

In late September, Godchaux was arrested on false imprisonment charges and briefly suspended. Charges were dropped.

Treyvon Hester, Toledo (6-3, 300): Hester was named second-team all-MAC as a senior, his third all-conference honor of his career. As a senior, he tallied 39 tackles, including five for sacks and eight losses. That gave him an impressive four-year tally of 13 sacks and 29 tackles for losses. He provided instant impact — a surprise considering academic issues kept him off the field for nearly two years.

Hester decided to lose about 20 pounds before his senior season. "Treyvon can run very well to begin with, and it was great to see him challenging himself to be better," coach Brad Bichey said. "I felt he could play faster, and he was already probably the strongest player on our team in terms of absolute strength. Treyvon isn't carrying around as much excess body fat, and I think that allows him to play at a higher level because he's not as tired."

Hester had shoulder surgery on Dec. 8.

Jaleel Johnson, Iowa (6-3, 309): After recording all of 12 tackles in 21 games from 2012 through 2014, Johnson made an impact as a junior with 45 tackles, including 3.5 sacks and 5.5 tackles for losses. He was even more effective as a senior, posting 55 tackles, including 7.5 sacks and 10 tackles for losses, to be first-team all-Big Ten.

At the Senior Bowl, he showed impressive athleticism.

Johnson is from a rough-and-tumble neighborhood in Brooklyn. When he was a teenager, his parents sent him to live with an aunt in Chicago. His position coach at Iowa, Chris Andriano, was his coach in high school.

D.J. Jones, Ole Miss (6-0, 320): After starting his career with two seasons at East Mississippi Community College, Jones was a force in the middle of the Rebels’ defensive line. In two seasons, he compiled 70 tackles, including 8.5 tackles for losses and six sacks — including 30 tackles, two sacks and three TFLs as a senior. By force we mean brute force, as he was one of the team’s strongest players with 460-plus pounds on the bench press and 700-plus pounds on the squat.

“The weights are a part of football,” Jones said after being named one of college football’s strongest players by NFL.com. “For me to be acknowledged for that and for that to get my name out, it’s a blessing.”

Jarron Jones, Notre Dame (6-5, 315): After missing most of the 2015 season with a knee injury sustained in training camp, Jones returned and recorded 45 tackles, including two sacks and 11 tackles for losses, and blocked two kicks. Most of the TFL count came during one dominating game vs. Miami, when had six.

“Here's a guy that has completed his degree and has achieved a lot but knows there's more for him out there," coach Brian Kelly said. "I'm sure he wants to continue to play at the next level, and he has to show a consistency. That's been our conversation for him. He's a lot more focused in the way he comes to practice. He's much more mature and professional in the way he's come to handle his work and preparation.”

A couple days later, Jones was caught wearing a red bow and blue and yellow dress with ruffled sleeves. “After a monster game he was trick-or-treating as Snow White,” Kelly said. “He’s a beautiful kid.” He gave the game ball to his mom for a 17th-anniversary present.

In 2015, he returned from a torn ACL for the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State and pressured J.T. Barrett into an interception. In 2014, he recorded 40 tackles, with 1.5 sacks and 7.5 TFLs in 11 games before a season-ending foot injury.

Nazair Jones, North Carolina (6-5, 295): Junior. Jones piled up 70 tackles, including 2.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for losses, during his final season. He was awarded his second consecutive all-ACC third-team honor. As a sophomore, Jones tallied four sacks with his 40 tackles.

Jones started his own foundation called MADE Men Mentoring, a nonprofit that aims to provide a support system for underprivileged young men in North Carolina by pairing them with college student-athletes who will mentor and support them in the areas of academics, competitive athletics and manhood.

"I started this program in memory in my mentor Mac Booker Sr.," Jones said. "He had a huge impact on my life and helped me turn it around for the better. I know what a good mentor can do to a kids life at the pivotal ages of 12-16, so my goal as the founder of MADE Men Mentoring is to have that same effect on the lives of young men that Booker had on mine. If I can have one-half of the impact on somebody else that Booker had on me then I will be able to call this program successful.”

Jones’ life took a dramatic turn in the span of a couple days as a high school junior. On a Friday night, he played in a season-ending playoff loss. On Saturday, he was in the weight room. On Sunday, he couldn’t walk.  Over the next several months, Jones went through various tests at UNC’s Children Hospital; all the while his condition was worsening, ultimately forcing him into a wheelchair. He dropped nearly 50 pounds off what had been a 6-foot-5, 250-pound frame. Jones was diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome, a chronic pain condition that affects a body part following an injury or trauma. For Jones, the area of concern was his back.

“I was still in shock because I had just played a great game, even though we lost, and now I can't walk and I don't know why, so I wasn't really focused on the pain even though that was the worst part. "It didn't look human how swollen my legs were and the crazy thing is, I would be in the hospital bed and the swelling went from one leg to another. It alternates and does whatever it wants to do.”

Bill Huber is publisher of 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 www.twitter.com/PackerReport.




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