A team can never have enough offensive and defensive linemen, and the way that the 2010 NFL Draft is stacking up there should be plenty of talent available on both sides of the ball in the first few rounds. One of those lineman that's leveraging his way up draft boards and potentially into first round consideration is Louisiana Tech defensive tackle D'Anthony Smith.
NFL scouts are already on the loose tracking talent for next April, and Scout.com has confirmed that representatives from the St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New Orleans Saints, Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots made the trip to Reston, Louisiana to watch the Bulldogs practice.
The five teams that have scouted Louisiana Tech have addressed the defensive tackle position in the draft over the last few years. But, the Buccaneers and Rams still could use some depth and a potential starter upfront.
At 6-foot-2, 298 pounds, Smith is a solid defender who plays with a high motor. He has good size and possesses great quickness and strength. He’s quick off the line, blades through the gap and locates the ball carrier immediately. He’s physical at the point of attack, holds his own against a bigger opposition and handles double teams well. He’s a durable interior presence who demonstrates great toughness in the trenches. As good as he is upfront, Smith can still improve and become more effective as a pass rusher; he finished the ’08 season with 65 tackles, eight for a loss and five sacks.Antonio Baker. Entering his third year as a starter, Baker is the Bulldogs most consistent defender averaging 117 tackles and three interceptions over the last two seasons. At 5-foot-11, 205 pounds, Baker has great instincts and a nose for the ball. He's solid in coverage and excels against the run. He's a good athlete who doesn't have elite speed, but he has the quickness necessary to be effective. Baker is currently the 8th rated safety (108th overall) in Scout.com's 2010 NFL Draft Rankings and is a prospect that scouts will continue to keep an eye on.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. Steuber’s features are published across the Scout.com network and on FoxSports.com. If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.