Positional Draft Analysis: Defensive Tackles

There are only a few standout defensive tackles in this draft, but fortunately for the Vikings they have a very solid rotation on the interior of their defensive line already. We analyze in-depth the top dozen defensive tackles available in the 2006 NFL Draft.

VIKINGS DEFENSIVE TACKLES – Kevin Williams, Pat Williams, Spencer Johnson, C.J. Mosley.

2006 POSITIONAL DRAFT NEED – The Vikings have very strong talent at the top with Kevin and Pat Williams, who became a force on the inside when the Vikings defense showed marked improvement at midseason. More than likely there will only be four or at most five defensive tackles that make the roster, so if the Vikings are to make a move here, it will likely be someone who will have battle Mosley and/or Johnson for a roster spot. With the needs on the Vikings, this isn't a high-priority area, but depth behind the Williamses is marginal at best. The team might take a pick here, but more likely it will be someone who is a Day Two developmental project that can learn for a year or two behind the veterans and potentially be an eventual replacement.

POSITION OVERVIEW – The Class of 2006 isn't especially strong, despite having a pair of players – Haloti Ngata and Brodrick Bunkley – that will be off the board by the time the Vikings are scheduled to pick at No. 17. The dropoff is pretty pronounced after that, with only a handful of tackles viewed as can't-miss Day One selections. There are a lot of little things that could keep some of these guys on the board well into the second day of the draft.


Haloti Ngata, Oregon, 6-4¼, 338 –
Fourth-year junior…Became a starter in 2002 as a true freshman, but missed all but one game in his second year with a torn left ACL and was granted a redshirt season…In the last two years as a starter, Ngata had 107 tackles, 17.5 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery…No stranger to tragedy, his father died in a car accident in 2003 and his mother died earlier this year of a heart attack…First-team All-American, Pac-10 Co-Defensive Player of the Year and team MVP in 2005…Outland Award finalist for country's best lineman…Very strong upper body, he bench presses 500 pounds…A run stuffer on the highest order that requires double-teaming…Has quick first step after the snap and can collapse the pocket from the middle…Has good agility and at times will drop into coverage…Has long arms and was a good special teams contributor, blocking six kicks in his career and batting down five passes last year…Has huge lower body and doesn't give up ground…Plays a little too upright and takes himself out of plays when offensive linemen can get a grasp on him…Isn't as good making tackles in the open field…Struggles to change direction…Durability is something of a concern given his serious knee injury in 2003…Doesn't play with same effort from one game to the next…Ran a 5.13 40 at the Combine, with 37 reps of 225 pounds, a 31½ inch vertical jump, a 9-2 broad jump and a Wonderlic score of 17.
PROJECTION: Has all the physical tools to be a nose tackle in a 3-4 alignment or a one-gap tackle in a 4-3. He needs some work on his technique, but you can't teach strength and he has a ton of it. He should be the first DT off the board and looks like a natural in Buffalo, where the Bills would finally find an adequate replacement for current Viking Pat Williams.

Brodrick Bunkley, Florida State, 6-2¾, 304 – Fourth-year senior…His only full season as a starter was in 2005, when he had 66 tackles, an amazing 25 tackles for a loss, nine sacks, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries…A litany of injuries that will serve as red flags for some teams includes a torn left ACL in high school, a torn left MCL his freshman season, a severe high ankle sprain that cost him playing time in 2004 and surgery to repair a tendon in early 2005…Good speed for a man his size…Incredible upper body strength, as evidenced by doing 44 reps of 225 pounds at the Combine…Has good burst off the line and lateral quickness…Has power to knock back defenders and is a force in the middle when it comes to sacking the quarterback…Plays with a mean streak…Doesn't pout when challenged by coaching staff…Injuries will be a huge concern to the teams picking early in the draft…Needs to get bigger – played at 285-290 most of the season, but added 15 pounds for the Combine workouts…Not a student of the game…Did not show his best at the Senior Bowl practices…Ran a 4.91 40 at the Combine with the aforementioned 44 reps, a 32½ inch vertical jump, a 9-5 broad jump and a Wonderlic score of 31.
PROJECTION: If not for the injuries, he would be a lock to go in the top 10. He still might, but a landing spot in the middle of the first round seems more likely because of his injury red flags.


Gabe Watson, Michigan, 6-3½, 336 –
Fourth-year senior who came the Wolverines as a high school All-American…Two-year starter who had 77 tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks in that span…Classic two-gap DT who has the size and ability to play nose tackle in a 3-4 set at a very high level…Requires double coverage…Had a very impressive week at the Senior Bowl and was the most consistent DT all week…Very strong vs. the run…Excellent combination of strength and quickness at the point of attack…Work ethic has been questioned, branding him an underachiever…Was taken out of the starting lineup for four games this year by his coaches to motivate him…Takes plays off and will disappear for stretches during games…Gives up too easily on pass rushing when he's stood up at the line…Has had trouble controlling his weight and showed up for fall practice last year weighing 365 pounds…Ran a 5.27 40 at the Combine with 40 reps of 225 pounds, a 26½ inch vertical jump, a 8-6 broad jump and a Wonderlic score of 18.
PROJECTION: Watson made himself a lot of money during Senior Bowl week, showing a fire that has been missing during much of his college career. If you only saw him in Mobile, you would say he's a sure-fire first-rounder, but if you look at his body of work at Michigan, you have to concede that he will likely remain on the board until the second round. That being said, if he goes to a team that can harness his talent, he could be a Pro Bowl type player and a steal for whomever gets him.

Claude Wroten, LSU, 6-2, 302 – Fourth-year senior…Originally committed to Northwestern State in Louisiana, but didn't make the grade and spent two years at Mississippi Delta Community College…A two-year starter at LSU, where he recorded 93 tackles, 22.5 tackles for a loss and 12 sacks…Had his invitation to the Senior Bowl rescinded after being pulled over for speeding and police found more than 100 pounds of marijuana in the vehicle – charges were later dropped…Very good burst off the line of scrimmage…Has good combination of strength and agility…Can be an edge rusher if needed…Doesn't miss many tackles once he gets his hands on the ball carrier…Chases down plays to the outside…Has strong hands to keep offensive linemen outside his body…Is undersized for an NFL nose tackle…Needs to improve lower-body strength…Not committed to the weight room or film study…Gets pushed around with double teams…Ran a 5.09 40 at the Combine with 24 reps, a 28½ inch vertical jump, a 8-10 broad jump and a Wonderlic score of 14.
PROJECTION: Not a pure nose tackle and never will be, but might be the best three-technique DT in the draft. His immaturity and bad off-field decisions will turn some teams off, but he will likely go off the board somewhere in the first half of the second round.

John McCargo, North Carolina State, 6-1, 305 – Fourth-year junior…Immediate starter who, in his first two seasons, had 99 tackles, 19 tackles for a loss and three sacks…Started just six games in 2005 after suffering a stress fracture in his right foot that required surgery, finishing the season with 24-9-½ numbers…Good combination of speed and power off the snap…Can collapse the pocket…Dedicated team player…Has good lateral movement to slide down the line and make plays in pursuit…Had a good three days at the Combine…Gets called for a lot of penalties, especially jumping offsides trying to beat the snap count…Plays a little too high too often and gets redirected and smothered by big offensive linemen…Some scouts view him as overrated since he was surrounded by top-five DE Mario Williams and potential first-rounder Manny Lawson…Wears down against physical opponents…Ran a 5.11 40 at the Combine with 25 reps, a 30½ inch vertical jump, a 9-2 broad jump and a Wonderlic score of 18.
PROJECTION: McCargo should have been advised to stay in school another year. Had he done so, he could have become the focal point of the defensive line with Williams and Lawson gone. Instead, he comes into the draft coming off a sub-par season that ended with foot surgery. Next year, he would probably be a lock for the first round. Now he may in danger of dropping to the bottom or out of the second round.

Orien Harris, Miami, 6-3¼, 301 – Fifth-year senior…Three-year starter who had 134 tackles, 31 tackles for a loss and nine sacks…Had shoulder surgery following the 2004 season, but started in all 12 games last year…His brother, Kwame, is an offensive tackle that was taken with the 26th pick by the 49ers in the 2003 draft…Has an excellent burst off the line at the snap…Has good upper body strength at first contact with offensive linemen…Clogs up a lot of area in the middle of the field and rarely gets pushed backwards…Knows how to use leverage to rag-doll opposing linemen…Rarely gets knocked to the ground…Is a little undersized for an NFL defensive tackle…Doesn't have great work ethic and doesn't give top effort on every down…Needs refinement on his technique…A series of knee and arm injuries hampered his play the last couple of years…Ran a 5.27 40 at the Combine with 25 reps, a 29½ inch vertical jump, a 8-6 broad jump and a Wonderlic score of 15.
PROJECTION: A three-year starter for a program like Miami is rare, so he comes NFL-ready. But his lack of discipline and questions of durability and willingness to work hard should drop him into the third round.

Rodrique Wright, Texas, 6-5¼, 300 – Fourth-year senior who came to Texas as a high school All-American…Became a starter four games into his true freshman season and finished his career playing 50 games, with 45 of those being starts…Finished his career with 227 tackles, 41 tackles for a loss, 17.5 sacks, six forced fumbles and one fumble recovery…A nephew of former Kansas City first-round wide receiver pick Elmo Wright…Very athletic with long arms and big frame that can add weight if needed…A powerful burst off the snap…Good upper body strength…Chases down plays to the sidelines…Plays too high at times and gets redirected by O-linemen…His best season was as a sophomore (80-12-7½) – in the two years after teammate Marcus Tubbs left, his combined numbers were 82-16- 5½…Had a solid Combine performance, running a 5.08 40 with 31 reps, a 32-inch vertical jump, a 9-2 broad jump and a Wonderlic score of 18.
PROJECTION: Wright clearly passes the eyeball test and after his season in 2003, he seemed like a lock to be a first-rounder. But on a team that competed for a national title the last two years, Wright was viewed as something of an underachiever. Teams will be interested in his upside, but probably not until the third round.


Dusty Dvoracek, Oklahoma, 6-2¾, 306 –
Fifth-year senior…Two-year starter who was granted a hardship redshirt season as a true senior in 2004 after he was dismissed from the team for getting in multiple off-field fights that included alcohol and was required to go through anger management and alcohol counseling classes…In two years as a starter, he had 84 tackles, 34 tackles for a loss and 11 sacks…Very good burst at the snap and straight end speed – his 4.79 40 at the Combine was the fastest of any defensive tackle prospect…Plays with a mean streak on and off the field…Can blow up plays in the pocket…Smart player…Off-field issues are a clear red flag…Was never an every-down four-quarter player…Has an injury history that includes surgery to repair a torn right labrum and a torn bicep…Needs to work on his run defense technique…Had a very productive Combine with the aforementioned 4.79 40, 31 reps, a 34-inch vertical jump, a 9-6 broad jump and an impressive 41 on the Wonderlic test.
PROJECTION: His off-field problems have headache written all over them, which typically shoots a player to the second day of the draft. But his Combine numbers could bring him back to Day One consideration.

Babatunde Oshinowo, Stanford, 6-1¾, 305 – Fifth-year senior…Three-year starter whose numbers improved each year, finishing his starting stint with 33 in a row – with 120 tackles, 24 tackles for a loss and eight sacks…Thickly built and well-suited to be a run stopper…Good upper body strength…Good hand punch…Penetrates…Doesn't have good closing speed…Lateral movement is suspect…Isn't in top condition and gets tired at the end of games…Gives up on plays when he is stood up at the snap…Had a very poor workout at the Combine, running a 5.27 40 with 33 reps of 225 pounds, a 32-inch vertical jump, a 8-9 broad jump and a Wonderlic score of 37.
PROJECTION: Which player are teams going to remember? The guy who played very well against top competition at the Senior Bowl or the guy who looked awkward and at times hideous at the Combine. Probably a mixture of both, which will drop him into the second day of the draft.

Jonathan Lewis, Virginia Tech, 6-1¼, 309 – Fourth-year senior…Three-year starter who had 147 tackles, 25.5 tackles for a loss and 13.5 sacks in that span…Has good upper body strength and bulk…Has a good first step and can get inside and blow up the pocket…Has good football smarts…Finds the ball quickly and rarely makes incorrect reads on plays…A little too short for an NFL DT…Gets his pad level too high and can get neutralized and pushed…Doesn't have top lower body strength to be an NFL run clogger in the middle…Too often tries to avoid contact instead of taking blockers head-on…Is viewed by some scouts as being soft and not a true warrior…Teams have run at him at times and succeeded…Ran a 4.97 40 at the Combine with 24 reps of 225 pounds, a 33½ inch vertical jump, a 9-3 broad jump and a Wonderlic score of 14.
PROJECTION: Seems like he will have to be in the right system to work and a 3-4 appears out of the question. With the number of teams on the rise that use that formation, his potential landing spots are limited, which will push into the fourth round.

Montavious Stanley, Louisville, 6-2, 313 – Fourth-year senior…Three-year starter who had 115 tackles with 27.5 tackles for a loss, 12.5 sacks, five forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries…Played defensive end as a sophomore and defensive tackle in 2004-05…Has very good burst on the snap and can blow up plays…Good three-technique player who bottles up the middle of the field…Solid tackler who finishes plays…Played through a shoulder injury in 2005 and had the best statistical year of his career (48-10-5½)… Doesn't have good, consistent technique…Wears down as the game progresses…Doesn't put a lot of time into improving his game or working on conditioning or weight training…Ran a 5.12 40 at the Combine with a 29-inch vertical jump, a 8-10 broad jump and a horrible Wonderlic score of 8.
PROJECTION: Has a chance to be a situational rotation DT, but has a lot of work to do and needs to prove he's willing to put in the effort. A Day Two prospect that will need refinement.

Kyle Williams, LSU, 6-1¼, 299 – Fourth-year senior…Spent first year-and-a-half as a defensive end before becoming a starter at tackle midway through his sophomore season…In two-and-a-half years as a starter, he has 159 tackles, 26 tackles for a loss and 14.5 sacks…Married…Never lets up and makes plays all over the field because of his relentlessness…Will play through pain – played with a compound fracture in his left hand without complaint…Has good upper body strength…Keeps his pad level low…A team leader who was a captain…Undersized by NFL standards…Will get neutralized by big, aggressive O-linemen…Takes himself out of too many plays…Short arms don't allow him to keep offensive linemen away from his body…Ran a 4.99 40 at the Combine with 32 reps of 225 pounds, a 27½ inch vertical jump, a 8-3 broad jump and a Wonderlic score of 24.
PROJECTION: Has been compared by some scouts to a poor man's Chris Hovan – an undersized, scrappy player who gives everything he has, but is prone to disappearing for stretches at a time. He'll likely stay on the board until Day Two because he doesn't look to be strong enough in the different facets of the game to be a full-time every-down player.


McKinley Boykin, Mississippi, 6-1, 289
Manaia Brown, BYU, 6-3, 301
Kedric Golston, Georgia, 6-4¼, 299
Tommy Jackson, Auburn, 6-0½, 304
Johnny Jolly, Texas A&M, 6-3¼, 317
Jesse Mahelona, Tennessee, 6-0¼, 310
Domata Peko, Michigan State, 6-2¾, 307
Le Kevin Smith, Nebraska, 6-2¾, 316

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