All Things Defensive Tackles

April 15th, 2011

The last thing the Bucs need in the draft is a defensive tackle, assuming Brian Price really is not a health concern, as Mark Dominik alluded to last week.

But who cares? Joe still brings you in depth draft coverage, courtesy of Justin “The Commish” Pawlowski, of WDAE-AM 620.

Enjoy The Commish’s breakdown of defensive tackles below.

1. Marcell Dareus – Alabama
6’3’’ – 319 lbs – 4.92
Top 5

Why The Commish would take him: The main reason I’d take Dareus is his outstanding combination of size and speed. He also flourished in the toughest conference in college football. Dareus is a powerful defensive tackle that possesses a mean streak.

Why The Commish would stay away: It’s tough to explain, but there’s something about Dareus that worries me. He isn’t very explosive and is not a great pass rusher. Durability is also a concern as he dealt with a nagging ankle injury for most of the 2010 season.

Commish’s Final Say: I have little doubt that Dareus will go either 2nd or 3rd overall in this year’s draft. His best fit will be with the Broncos in the middle of their depleted defensive tackle position. I do not think Dareus is near the talent that Ndamukong Suh was as the 2nd overall pick last year. On the high end, Dareus could be like a healthy Kris Jenkins, but on the low end he could be compared to Gerard Warren coming out of college.

Comparison: Pat Williams – Minnesota Vikings

2. Nick Fairley – Auburn
6’4’’ – 291 lbs – 4.87
Top 10

Why The Commish would take him: Dominance is the best way to describe the play of Fairley in 2010. He was a beast inside and could take games over on his own. He is a violent player who is willing to deliver the big hit at any time.

Why The Commish would stay away: There are a lot of character issues with Fairley. He does not have a good work ethic, has anger issues, and is an immature player. He was also just a one-year starter for Auburn which makes you wonder if he is a one-year wonder.

Commish’s Final Say: It’ll be interesting to see if late rumors of missing meetings and bad character will drop Fairley on draft day. There are always concerns with one-year wonders, but I think Fairley’s dominance in 2010 has made him at least worthy of a top-15 pick. It’ll be interesting if his character takes him down a similar path to Albert Haynesworth.

Comparison: Kevin Williams – Minnesota Vikings

3. Corey Liuget – Illinois
6’2’’ – 298 lbs – 4.99
1st Round

Why The Commish would take him: What stands out about Liuget is his overall personality. He is a great leader with an outstanding work ethic and awareness. Liuget is an excellent fit as a 3-technique in an even front with his quick first step and ability to penetrate.

Why The Commish would stay away: Liuget has only had one real good year of production, so I do have to wonder why it took so long for it to “click” for him. Liuget really has struggled with his weight and stamina through a majority of his collegiate career.

Commish’s Final Say: Liuget has seen a surge as of late. He is not a finished product, but has a lot of potential that good coaching will help him reach. I think Liuget would make a lot of sense for the Rams or Giants.

Comparison: Gerald McCoy – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

4. Phil Taylor – Baylor
6’3’’ – 334 lbs – 5.20
1st Round

Why The Commish would take him: Taylor is big, mean, and physical. As a nose tackle, that’s all I want.

Why The Commish would stay away: As with most nose tackles, weight and conditioning will be a question. Taylor also has some durability concerns and might deal with some injuries.

Commish’s Final Say: The nose tackle position does not have the value that other positions do in the NFL draft, but a dominant nose tackle can be the difference in games. I’m not sure if Taylor will be dominant, but a combination of size, strength, and meanness is a good start.

Comparison: Casey Hampton – Pittsburgh Steelers

5. Muhammed Wilkerson – Temple
6’4’’ – 315 lbs – 4.96
1st/2nd Round

Why The Commish would take him: I think the most intriguing part about Wilkerson is his fantastic potential. Sure, the word “potential” can be a scary word, but with his size and athletic ability, I think Wilkerson could be special in the NFL.

Why The Commish would stay away: The word “potential” means to me that a player has not gotten where he needs to be yet. Wilkerson is slow off the line and has a tendency to play too tall.

Commish’s Final Say: I think Wilkerson is one of the most intriguing prospects in the entire draft this year. He reminds me of what Jason Pierre-Paul was a year ago. Wilkerson has the size, athleticism, and talent to be special in the NFL. I also think Wilkerson has the work ethic and understanding to reach his potential if he gets the proper coaching.

Comparison: Chris Canty – New York Giants

6. Marvin Austin – North Carolina
6’2’’ – 309 lbs – 4.90
1st/2nd Round

Why The Commish would take him: Austin was highly touted before the 2010 season and before he was suspended for the season as part of the scandal that occurred at North Carolina. He possesses the dominant features you want in a defensive tackle. Austin is big, strong, quick, and a good pass rusher.

Why The Commish would stay away: Sitting out an entire season, there has to be concern about whether Austin will be ready to make an impact in the NFL. He showed up to the Senior Bowl in decent shape, but not as good as scouts had hoped.

Commish’s Final Say: Even though Austin missed the entire 2010 season, I still think he should be regarded as one of the top defensive tackles in this draft. Like most of his teammates from North Carolina, Austin is supremely talented and could get drafted a lot higher than people think.

Comparison: Sedrick Ellis – New Orleans Saints

7. Stephen Paea – Oregon St.
6’1’’ – 303 lbs – DNP
1st/2nd Round

Why The Commish would take him: With Paea, it all begins with strength. He did the most reps on the bench at the combine. He can hold up against NFL linemen. Paea also has a good get-off from the line of scrimmage. I think Paea is a reliable player who’s a leader, has a great work ethic, and is durable.

Why The Commish would stay away: For as solid as Paea could be, there really isn’t anything overly special about his play. He isn’t the flashiest player and does not have a lot of pass rush ability.

Commish’s Final Say: I think the question for Paea is whether he is Tyson Alualu or Trevor Laws. I don’t think he is Alualu because I’m not sure he is as good a pass rusher. I think Paea’s best fit will be in in a 4-3 defense that asks it’s defensive tackles to take on multiple blockers.

Comparison: Trevor Laws – Philadelphia Eagles

8. Christian Ballard – Iowa
6’4’’ – 283 lbs – 4.80
2nd Round

Why The Commish would take him: Ballard has a great combination of power and speed. He’s a hard worker with no character concerns. Ballard is versatile and projects to any type of defense. Ballard really saw his stock rise at the Senior Bowl where he was deemed “unblockable.”

Why The Commish would stay away: I think Ballard might be limited to being an end in a 3-4 defense. He was not very productive when it came to numbers at Iowa and was overshadowed by Adrian Clayborn. My biggest concern is that Ballard can struggle to shed blocks when an offensive lineman gets inside on him.

Commish’s Final Say: Ultimately, Ballard’s best option is as an end in a 3-4 defense. He isn’t the flashiest player, but could be a very solid choice in the 2nd round.

Comparison: Ray McDonald – San Francisco 49ers

9. Drake Nevis – LSU
6’1’’ – 294 lbs – 5.06
2nd/3rd Round

Why The Commish would take him: For as talented as Nevis is on the field, he is a great person off the field as well. He works extremely hard and never gives up on a play. Nevis is also a good pass rusher and gets penetration into the backfield.

Why The Commish would stay away: Nevis was unable to beat out other defensive linemen at LSU during his career, so he was just a one year starter. He’s also not the most powerful lineman as he does not have elite size or strength.

Commish’s Final Say: Despite his lack of size, Nevis has everything that a team could want in a defensive tackle to be drafted in the middle rounds. I think you have to take into account his community service that he has done out of the kindness of his heart, his experience in the SEC, his leadership skills, and his work ethic. When you combine those factors, Nevis looks like a very solid mid round selection.

Comparison: Darnell Dockett – Arizona Cardinals

10. Jurrell Casey – USC
6’1’’ – 300 lbs – 5.06
2nd/3rd Round

Why The Commish would take him: Casey’s strength is his first step off the ball. He does a decent job of shooting the gap and making plays in the backfield. His strength will be as a one-gap defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense.

Why The Commish would stay away: Casey doesn’t have the greatest work ethic and it shows by his sloppy upper body. Also, with as good as his first step is, it’s sometimes late which hurts him tremendously.

Commish’s Final Say: Casey isn’t the most impressive specimen at the defensive tackle position. He does have talent and potential, but his lazy work ethic would steer me away from him.

Comparison: Kentwan Balmer – Seattle Seahawks

One Response to “All Things Defensive Tackles”

  1. gitarlvr Says:

    Yeah there is no way the Bucs draft a defensive tackle. Unless…. They want to make a full time move to a 3-4 alignment and draft Phil Taylor to be the nose tackle?? Stranger things have happened.