Interior Defenders Look To Shine

The number of defensive tackles above the make it line on professional draft boards each years is surprisingly very short and this year's grouping of three techniques and nose tackles, is to say the least a rather unremarkable lot. Veteran talent evaluator Tom Marino gives the readers his take on which of these players he feels will rise to the top.

Football fact; if a club is unable to consistently stop the inside running game, they have virtually no chance of having any real success at the professional level. Oh, it might well be a slow agonizing death, but in the end that is exactly what will happen.

I don't think the statistical numbers tell the entire story when discussing the merits of Jeff Owens of Georgia and my personal favorite senior player, LSU Tiger Marlon Favorite. Owens, who may well have played better as a soph, plays with consistent pad level, used his hands extremely well, has unusual body quickness, is disruptive and plays extremely hard. Injured in the first game of the 2008 season, he may well miss the remainder of the season. Favorite, one of the top prep players in the country, only lacks consistency, but is an extremely bright individual, with outstanding athletic ability and playing tools. He is a class act who comes from a supportive and equally impressive two parent family unit. His overall game and physical make up is similar to that of his former teammate Glenn Dorsey, the number five selection in the 2008 player draft. In the LSU system of play (one to one playing rotation), he is never going to put up impressive numbers, but he does a lot of the little things that contribute to winning football games.

The Georgia Tech tandem of Darryl Richard and Vance Walker might well be the top combo in the country. Opponents might find out very quickly, that it won't be easy running the football inside vs the Yellow Jackets.

The return of B.J. Raji (academic disqualification) should greatly improve BC's inside game. 2008 opponents of the University of Michigan will be extremely happy when the eligibility of Terrance Taylor runs out. Although short in stature and far from body beautiful, I felt he exhibited unusual body quickness, leverage, balance, strength and stamina. His gap quickness is outstanding as was his ability to move down the line to the football.

The name Khalif Mitchell is a name probably not a familiar one to even the most sophisticated college football fans, but the East Carolina product by way of the University of No Carolina may, well be as talented an inside player as I've have seen in the past decade! Quite a statement you might say, particularly given the fact that he wasn't even a full starter in as a junior. Time will tell if this big athletic big man, who worked outside in the spring, plays to his athletic potential, but if the light comes on for this player, he has the skills to become the top player at his position in the country.

Grade Last First School 2007 Stats
Solo - Assist - Total - Sack - TFL
A Owens Jeff Georgia U 18-9-27-0-3.5
A Moala Fili USC 14-18-32-2.5-5.5
B Scott Dorell Clemson U 25-26-51-3.5
B Hypolite George Colorado U 28-23-51-6-11
B Mitchell Khalif East Carolina U 10-9-19-2-5.5
B Richard Darryl Georgia Tech 19-11-30-4.5-11.5
B Walker Vance Georgia Tech 30-15-45-8.5-14
B Favorite Marlon LSU 14-14-28-0-1.5
B Taylor Terrance Michigan U 28-27-55-3.5-8.5
B Peria Jerry Mississippi U 40-18-58-3.5-14
B Hood Evander Missouri U 30-16-46-4.5-8
B Bolden Demonte Tennessee U 16-10-26-2-5
C Mitchell Ernest Arkansas U 31-13-44-3.5-10
C Brace Ronnie Boston College 14-13-27-2.5-7.5
C Raji B J Boston College No 2007 stats
C Byrd Terrill Cincinnati U 37-19-56-8-17
C Jackson Rashard Clemson U 16-17-33-1-7
C Spinner Ronn Delaware St 31-32-63-4-10
C Visser Jake Ferris St 59-47-106-5.5-14.5
C Griffin Paul Florida St 15-9-21-6.5
C Monga Jon Fresno St 17-13-30-6-11
C King Mitch Iowa U 25-33-58-4.5-14.5
C Kroul Matt Iowa U 23-51-74-0-2
C Heyman Earl Louisville U 24-16-40-4-7
C Johnson Will Michigan U 17-23-40-0.5-2.5
C Magee Alex Purdue U 24-14-38-0-4.5
C Hill Sammie Lee Stillman College 29-23-52-1-4.5
C Miller Roy Texas U 20-20-40-1-8

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