DT; A Critical Need For Defensive Stability

Look for the run on the premium defensive tackles to begin and end quickly on draft day. In most year's you can count the top inside prospects on one hand and after viewing the tapes former NFL scout Tom Marino believes this year will be no exception.

Even with the top players in this group and the draft just one day away, I believe there are still a lot more questions then there are answers regarding this critical need position.

I didn't feel that way back in 2006, but after viewing Boston College tackle B.J. Raji perform during the 2008 season, there was no doubt in my mind that he was clearly the top player Nationally at the position. At times I likened his initial get off quickness, power and ability to literally destroy blockers to that of former Clemson and NFL star tackle Chester McGlockton, but as was the case with the latter, few of BJ's problems to professional clubs lies between the hash marks.

What is hearsay and what is the truth is not for me to determine, but if a club is satisfied with the answers to the question they have posed to him, I believe baring injury he has a chance to become a dominant professional player and play this game for a very long time.

I didn't like what I saw early on with Perria Jerry of Ole Miss' game, but found out later he was not near 100% physically for the first third of the season. Later in the year, I really liked what I saw with this player. I'm not certain he's a two gap player, but I really liked his initial quickness to beat blocks and get upfield, his use of hands and playing leverage. I thought he shed blocks well and was quick to locate the football. On his pass rush, I thought he had explosive quicks and was nifty footed. He has strong hands to grab cloth and was effective at varying his rush moves. I would have hoped this player was a tad bigger and stronger, but overall I really liked this players' overall game.

I knew very little about Jerron Gilbert of San Jose State until viewing him at the East West game. First off, he is big as a house; he plays with good leverage and has the feet, quickness and strength to play affectively either as a 4-3 tackle or as a 3-4 end. I thought his pads had a tendency to get a tad high and and he needs a great deal of work as a pass rusher, but I him as a rotational player early with a chance to become a very steady professional.

I saw Missouri's Evander Hood basically as a 3 technique, who relies predominately on his quickness. He plays with good leverage and showed the ability to stretch things out pretty good inside. I liked his contact balance and effort, but I felt he was very limited as a pass rusher. I would describe Evander as steady rotational type player, who did what I thought was a good job vs the double team and stacking inside. Should play a very long time based on the lack of quality inside defenders.

Dorell Scott of Clemson has been a three year regular that has been a solid contributor. He's a big man and surprisingly very strong was a very disruptive when he managed to keep his pads down. Will at times get too straight legged and get pushed around some (too much blocking surface). As a pass rusher, he was pretty much a bull rusher who is going to need a great deal of work and development in this area. In my four game exposure, I didn't see what I would consider so much as a pressure let alone a legitimate sack.. Overall I saw him as a three technique, but I also don't think he would be out of place at the nose.

Fili Moala of USC is an adequate athlete who plays his butt off on every snap. I would have liked for him to be a little more productive, but effort goes a very long way at this critical position. He lacks refinement as a pass rusher and was not really productive in that area, but as a run player he was able to come off the ball, control people with his hands (stack) and occupy on the inside. There may be some physical issues that would limit this player, but if cleared medically I see him as a rotational contributor.

Ricky Jean-Francois of LSU was without question the absolute best player on the field in the National Championship victory back in January of 2008; quite a feat when one considers the fact that he missed the entire 2007 season due to an academic disqualification. I didn't see the same fire and consistency in his play in 2008 (playing in LSU's rotation), but make no mistake about it, this guy is a big hand fighter with quickness, balance and play strength. He's not really a seasoned player in terms of experience and his post season workouts were very ordinary, but he showed me in the biggest of all games that he can be a dominant football player.

East Carolina tackle by way of the University of No Carolina Khalif Mitchell has as much ability as anyone in this group and for that matter in the entire NFL, but something is just missing in his overall play. He has too much athletic ability not to play, but if it were me making the decision, I would draft him with the thought of playing him on the other side of the football. With his feet, quickness and body control. I have a belief, he has a chance to develop into a dominant left tackle.

Defensive Tackles

RK Name School HT WT 40 GR
1 Raji, B.J. Boston College 6014v 337v 5.13v 1.17
2 Jerry, Peria Mississippi 6016v 293v 5.02v 1.19
3 Gilbert, Jarron San Jose St 6052v 288v 4.84v 1.21
4 Hood, Evander Missouri 6027v 300v 4.89v 1.26
5 Jean-Francois, Ricky LSU 6025v 295v 5.21v 1.28
6 Moala, Fili USC 6040v 305v 5.13v 1.29
7 Scott, Dorell Clemson 6032v 312v 4.94v 1.36
8 Magee, Alex Purdue 6024v 288v 4.97v 1.38
9 Brace, Ron Boston College 6030v 334v 5.47v 1.39
10 Marks, Sen'Derrick Auburn 6014v 303v 5.06v 1.44
11 Taylor, Terrance Michigan 6000v 306v 5.27v 1.46
12 Mitchell, Khalif East Carolina 6050v 318v 5.08v 1.50
13 Johnson, Will Michigan 6042v 281v 5.13v 1.51
14 Irvin, Corvey Georgia 6030v 301v 5.00v 1.56
15 Walker, Vance Georgia Tech 6017v 304v 5.33v 1.65
16 Favorite, Marlon LSU 6007v 314v 5.19v 1.66
17 Hill, Sammie Lee Stillman 6037v 329v 5.15v 1.72
18 King, Mitch Iowa 6014v 280v 4.87v 1.76
19 Steinkuhler, Ty Nebraska 6037v 285v 4.97v 1.77
20 Baker, Chris Hampton 6020v 326v 5.02v 1.78

Free Agents

RK Name School HT WT 40 GR
Harris, Ra'Shon Oregon 6036v 298v 5.04v 1.80
Miller, Roy Texas 6012v 310v 5.00v 1.80
Doolittle, Tez Auburn 6017v 288v 4.96v 1.90
Byrd, Terrill Cincinnati 5112v 294v 5.28v 1.90
Hypolite, George Colorado 6007v 301v 4.87v 1.90
Nicolas, Brandon Colorado 6027v 294v 5.29v 1.90
Richard, Darryl Georgia Tech 6024v 303v 5.04v 1.90
Pryor, Myron Kentucky 6002v 319v 5.07v 1.90
Grady, Adrian Louisville 6013v 298v 5.23v 1.90
Ellis, Louis Shaw 6021v 316v 5.31v 1.90
Knighton, Terrance Temple 6030v 321v 5.26v 1.90
Bolden, Demonte' Tennessee 6032v 285v 5.06v 1.90
Field, Alex Virginia 6057v 273v 4.88v 1.90
Gill, John Northwestern 6027v 304v 4.96v 1.90
McDonald, Clinton Memphis 6015v 283v 4.91v 1.90
Gales, Dion Troy 6042v 267v 5.16v 1.90
Duncan, Rashaad Pittsburgh 6015v 302v 5.17v 1.90

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