Draft Position Preview: NTs

With Ryan Pickett and B.J. Raji on board, nose tackle ranks ninth in our list of the Packers' needs. If the Packers add anyone, it would be a defensive lineman capable of playing defensive end and nose tackle. We tell you about some of those players.

Packer Report continues its position-by-position looks at the NFL Draft with the nose tackles.

Packers position rank by need

Ninth of 13.

State of the Packers

With starting nose tackle Ryan Pickett franchised and signed to a four-year contract and last year's top pick, B.J. Raji, ideally suited to play the nose, the Packers are set in the middle. But that doesn't mean they wouldn't consider adding another body — especially one able to play all three defensive line positions.

Forget about ...

Tennessee's Dan Williams (6-2, 327) could wind up in Denver, Miami or Pittsburgh at Nos. 11, 12 and 18, respectively. He's the best 3-4 nose tackle by a mile — and big, athletic bodies tend to go quickly. Alabama's gigantic Terrence Cody (6-4, 349) is a second-round prospect but he's only a nose tackle.

Possible targets

— East Carolina's Linval Joseph might be a consideration if he's available when the Packers are on the clock in the second round. At 6-foot-5 and 328 pounds, scouts say he could play nose and defensive end. More than just a plugger in the middle, Joseph showed playmaking skills all three seasons, including 13 tackles for losses last season. He put up 39 reps on the bench at the Combine.


No. 13: Quarterbacks
No. 12: Specialists
No. 11: Wide receivers
No. 10: Tight ends

— North Carolina's Cam Thomas (6-4, 330) dominated all comers during Senior Bowl practices. Like Joseph, Thomas could play the nose and end, but nose would clearly be his best spot because he lacks Joseph's athleticism. He posted six tackles for losses in his two seasons as a full-time starter.

— Central Florida's Torrell Troup (6-3, 314) would be hard to pass up in the third round. His ability to occupy blockers helped edge rushers Bruce Miller and Jarvis Geathers combine for 24 sacks last season. As a junior in 2008, Troup piled up 12.5 tackles for losses. Best spot is the nose but could fit at end. Between Troup and Thomas, Troup would be the one to consider in the third because of his athleticism to play end.

— Syracuse's Arthur Jones (6-3, 301) doesn't have a typical nose tackle build but he played the position exceptionally well for the Orange. He posted a whopping 30.5 tackles for losses in 2007 and 2008. A torn pectoral following the 2008 season and a relatively minor knee injury slowed him (seven TFLs) in 2009. The former high school wrestling champ knows leverage.

— A few late-round names to remember are Stanford's Ekom Udofia (6-1, 326), Georgia's Kade Weston (6-5, 325), LSU's Al Woods (6-4, 309) and Maryland's Travis Ivey (6-4, 341). The Packers brought in Ivey for a pre-draft visit, according to a source. Woods' stock is all over the place; some insiders say third round; others say sixth or seventh. His production has never met the sum of his parts. He's explosively athletic for his size, though.

— For an undrafted darkhorse, remember Shaw's Callahan Bright. The 6-foot-2, 338-pounder put up 41 reps on the bench press. Read a great story on Bright by Sports Illustrated right here.


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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 and Facebook under Bill Huber.


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