10 Defensive Tackles To Watch

April 10th, 2010
Might Todd Wash have two new tackles to groom?

Might Todd Wash have two new tackles to groom?

NFL Draft guru Justin Pawlowski has identified a smart third-round nose tackle for the Bucs, and he’s not the PAC-10 Chris Hovan clone that will probably be taken a little earlier.

In this 2,000-word position breakdown for draft subscribers, Pawlowski goes very deep into 10 defensive to watch, including how each could impact the Bucs’ roster. No chance you find this kind of Bucs-focused, detailed draft coverage anywhere else.

Enjoy.  {+++}

Defensive Tackles

1. Gerald McCoy – DT – Oklahoma
6’4’’ –295 lbs – 5.07
Top 5 pick

Why I’m taking him: McCoy’s best strength is the fact that he lives in opposing offense’s backfields. His burst off the ball, quickness, and athleticism is second-to-none for defensive tackles in this draft. He has a great mix of pass rushing moves and constantly puts pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Although his personal numbers are not where Suh’s are, anyone who watches McCoy closely knows he creates as many sacks and tackles for a loss as he gets himself. McCoy is the type of defensive tackle that makes an entire defense better.

Why I’m staying away: The biggest difference between Suh and McCoy is that Suh has the strength and McCoy has the speed and quickness. McCoy lacks elite strength which might hurt him at times against double teams. McCoy is much more suited for a “Tampa 2” defense which features more of a one-gap system. This could limit the teams that look at him.

Impact on the Bucs: Lets get one thing straight, McCoy isn’t Warren Sapp, and neither is anyone else. Sapp is a once-in-a-generation player. That being said, McCoy is the best fit the Bucs could have at the under tackle position since Sapp manned that position. McCoy would make the defensive ends better by not allowing opposing quarterbacks to step up in the pocket. McCoy would disrupt opposing teams running games because of his penetrating skills, which would force runs meant to go up the middle to then bounce outside. This helps the speedy linebackers to use their speed to their advantage. Finally, McCoy makes the defensive backfield better because his penetration will force opposing quarterbacks to throw the ball before they are ready, which will lead to more interceptions and incompletions.

NFL Comparison:   Tommie Harris – Chicago Bears

 2. Ndamukong Suh – DT – Nebraska
6’4’’ – 307 lbs – 5.03
Top 5 pick

Why I’m taking him: There was no more dominant and productive player in college in 2009 than Suh.  Suh’s strength is his biggest asset. There was many times where Suh would simply throw an offensive lineman out of the way to get to the quarterback.  Suh ended 2009 with 24 tackles for a loss and 12 sacks.  His elite strength makes him a force against the run.  His 12 sacks show that he can get after the quarterback as well. Suh also has versatility to play in any type of defense. 

Why I’m staying away: As stated in this section for McCoy, Suh’s weaknesses are McCoy’s strengths, and vice versa. Suh doesn’t have the speed or quickness of an elite defensive tackle.  I’m also concerned about Suh just having one move.  Suh will grab an offensive lineman and look for the ball. Once the ball is spotted, Suh then throws said offensive lineman the opposite way and attacks the ball carrier. The problem is that offensive linemen are much stronger in the NFL. I think you acquire strength, but you can’t teach speed.

Impact on the Bucs: Like McCoy, Suh would be the best defensive tackle since Warren Sapp for the Bucs. If Suh could be as dominant for the Bucs as he was in college, the Bucs’ defense could see an early return on their investment.  Suh’s strength and power would help the Bucs run defense, which has been one of the worst in the NFL over the past couple years.  Suh isn’t an ideal fit for the “Tampa 2” defense, but he’s better than anything the Bucs currently have.

NFL Comparison:   Kevin Williams – Minnesota Vikings

3. Jared Odrick – DT – Penn St.
6’5’’ – 304 lbs – 5.06
Top 20 pick

Why I’m taking him: I love the size and frame to get bigger on Odrick. He’s already very strong and powerful, but his frame will allow him to add 20 more pounds.  He’s a very hard worker with a motor that never stops.  Odrick can get good penetration with his strength, while also being able to take on multiple blockers.  He has excellent instincts and football smarts. Odrick has the versatility to play in either a 4-3 or 3-4 defense, but his best fit is as an end in the 3-4 defense.

Why I’m staying away: I’m not sold that Odrick can be as useful in a 4-3 defense as he would in a 3-4 defense, which would really limit him. Also, I haven’t seen Odrick be dominant enough or disruptive enough. His speed and quickness are only average. He can take up space, but sometimes struggles to get off blockers.

Impact on the Bucs: Odrick is not a great fit for the Bucs.  I see him as a prototypical end in a 3-4 defense with the ability to play in a 2-gap 4-3 defense.  The Bucs play neither.  However, much like Tyson Jackson last year, I would not be surprised if Odrick’s name gets hot as we near the draft and he goes much sooner than projected.  This was why I gave him a “Top 20” grade.  Teams like the Browns, Bills, and Broncos will be interesting to watch.

NFL Comparison:   Richard Seymour – Oakland Raiders

4. Dan Williams – DT – Tennessee
6’2’’ – 327 lbs – 5.16
1st Round

Why I’m taking him: Williams is an excellent run stopper, but also very active while doing it. For a bigger defensive tackle, he has very good quickness and athleticism.  Williams has also proved to very durable during his career at Tennessee. He is very strong and provides good push in the middle of the defensive line.

Why I’m staying away: Williams doesn’t bring much as a pass rusher. He also has had issues with effort and his weight that are concerning. Those weight issues have led to worries about his conditioning and stamina.  As a typical nose tackle, Williams can take on multiple blocks, but struggles to get off of them.

Impact on the Bucs: Williams is not the greatest fit for the Bucs at this time.  At a time when the Bucs need an under tackle, Williams plays the nose and is a run stopper and space filler.

NFL Comparison:   Pat Williams – Minnesota Vikings
5. Brian Price – DT – UCLA
6’1’’ – 303 lbs – 5.15
1st – 2nd Round

Why I’m taking him: The first thing I think of when I think of Brian Price is his active hands.  Hand use is huge for the battle between offensive and defensive linemen.  Price has good explosion and strength, while playing with a nastiness about him.  He’s a tough player with excellent awareness.

Why I’m staying away: It’s a little troublesome after Price seemed sluggish and out of shape for his pro day. Price is excellent with his hands but has a limited array of pass rush moves and is not an elite pass rusher.  He also struggles with balance as he tends to lunge on tape. 

Impact on the Bucs: For me, Price’s stock seems to be slipping a tad.  He could be a fit for the Bucs at under tackle, but I view him more of a Booger McFarland than a Warren Sapp.  If the Bucs pass on a defensive tackle in the 1st round, Price will be on their radar early in Round 2.

NFL Comparison:   Sedrick Ellis – New Orleans Saints

6. Terrance Cody – DT – Alabama
6’4’’ – 354 lbs – 5.73
1st – 2nd Round

Why I’m taking him: They don’t call him “Mount Cody” for nothing.  This guy is a mountain of a man, and can single-handedly take away an opposing offense’s run game. To go with Cody’s big frame and strength, he’s got long arms that allow him to keep good leverage with offensive linemen.  Also, Cody obviously is able to take on multiple blockers.

Why I’m staying away: Weight might always be a concern with Cody. Despite being down to 345 lbs, it was just a few weeks ago when he was up to 370 lbs. This fluctuation will be frowned upon by some team, and stamina will be a concern because of it. Cody is not much of a pass rusher and might be limited to being a 2-down lineman. Another concern is that he tends to stand straight up at times, losing all his leverage. This might happen due to lack of conditioning.

Impact on the Bucs: Cody might be limited to a 3-4 nose tackle or a 4-3 defense that runs 2-gap with their defensive linemen.  Neither of these defenses match what the Bucs run.

NFL Comparison:   Jamaal Williams – Denver Broncos

7. Tyson Alualu – DT – Cal
6’2’’ – 295 lbs – 4.93
2nd Round

Why I’m taking him:  The first thing that stands out when watching Alualu play is his nonstop motor and how active he is up to the whistle.  Like Brian Price, I also think Alualu is very active with his hands and uses them well.  Alualu possesses all the top intangibles including durability, leadership, work ethic, and versatility.

Why I’m staying away: Alualu had very good production at Cal, but I just don’t see the elite talent to make him great in the NFL.  He lacks in size and struggles to get off blocks, and can be blocked one-on-one.  Alualu also lacks ideal explosiveness.

Impact on the Bucs: I’m not a big fan of Alualu. He does give good effort, but the Bucs already have players who try hard.  It’s time for the Bucs to draft talented players who can make an impact.  I have my doubts that Alualu will be an impactful player.

NFL Comparison:   Chris Hovan – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
8. Cam Thomas – DT – North Carolina
6’4’’ – 330 lbs – 5.28
2nd Round

Why I’m taking him: Thomas’ best strength is stopping the run.  He has an outstanding frame with long arms and good strength.  He’s also pretty explosive and athletic for his size.  He can take up multiple blockers and penetrate the pocket with a strong bull rush.

Why I’m staying away: Thomas gives you next to nothing in terms of a pass rush.  He has close to zero moves, and was an underachiever throughout a majority of his collegiate career.  Conditioning and stamina will be issues along with giving top effort on every play.

Impact on the Bucs: Like Cody, Thomas isn’t a fit for the Bucs defense.

NFL Comparison:   Ron Brace – New England Patriots
9. Linval Joseph – DT – East Carolina
6’5’’ – 328 lbs – 5.11
2nd – 3rd Round

Why I’m taking him: I love Joseph’s frame, size, strength, and long arms.  He’s a player on the rise with tons of potential and upside.  Joseph also displayed tremendous leadership skills at ECU. 

Why I’m staying away: Like most tackles this size, Joseph deals with fluctuating weight.  He actually got up to 371 lbs at one point while at ECU.  He’s also not an elite pass rusher.  Joseph doesn’t have much of a mean streak.

Impact on the Bucs: Of all the nose tackles, I feel Joseph might be the best fit for the Bucs.  I’m intrigued by his potential.  If available in the 3rd round, I think Joseph could add some outstanding depth to the Bucs defensive line.

NFL Comparison:   John Henderson – Jacksonville Jaguars

10. Lamarr Houston – DT – Texas
6’3’’ – 305 lbs – 4.85
2nd – 3rd Round

Why I’m taking him: Houston might have the best blend of size, speed, and strength on this list.  He has a variety of moves and plays with a mean streak.  Houston is a hard worker and leader.  Also, you can not ignore the massive amount of experience against top-notch competition.

Why I’m staying away: With all his talent, Houston was not overly productive at Texas.  He tends to get pushed around a lot and can be way too aggressive at times and over run plays.  Houston also struggles to shed blocks.  Houston has some character (DUI) and durability concerns.

Impact on the Bucs: Houston is far from elite in this draft, but still a good player.  I believe defensive tackle is too big a priority for the Bucs to wait until the 3rd round to address it.  Ironically, the earliest I’d draft Houston for the Bucs is the 3rd round.

NFL Comparison:   Shawn Cody – Houston Texans

7 Responses to “10 Defensive Tackles To Watch”

  1. zech Says:

    From what I read and seen he seems to a beast I would like to see the bucs get this guy!!

  2. WesTampa Says:

    Stop tweeting teasers to try and sell subscriptions. In fact stop tweeting about dumb crap that’s not related to football while your at it. I’m 2 secs away from unfollowing you guys.

  3. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    WesTampa – Gosh, didn’t mean to upset you with Tweets. Didn’t know there was some sort of Twitter etiquette. Joe’s gotten a couple of “enough already” feedback on the 24 commentary on Twitter. But never on anything else. Many of our draft subscribers actually appreciate the heads up to stories. Always appreciate the feedback.

  4. Joe Says:


    Could be worse. Joe could be like Darren Rovell of CNBC and Joe could be twittering about what type of shirt the serial adulterer Eldrick Woods is wearing (seriously).

    Judging by the traffic Joe is getting from Twitter, Joe must be doing something right.

    Part of what Twitter is is to tip off followers things he has posted. Joe’s not pushing subscriptions any more than he is pushing his own stories.

  5. RastaMon Says:

    I’m in the McCoy camp because of his qucikness and as Floyd Petersen said when he tried to covert #47 into DB/ LB hybrid……the NFL has turned into…
    “basketball on grass”….

  6. Mr. lucky Says:

    Joe are doing excesive tweeting?

    Are you a tweetaholic?

    WesTampa am I correct and you just told Joe to Tweet off?

  7. RahDomDaBest Says:

    Mt Cody with the 2nd 2nd rounder