Defensive Tackles

Class Review: This defensive tackle is very top heavy. There could be as many as six defensive tackles taken in the first round, but will more likely be four. John Henderson, Ryan Sims, Albert Haynesworth, and Wendell Bryant are the top of the class. Likely two will go in the Top 10 (Sims and Haynesworth) while the other two go in the next five selections. Larry Tripplett may sneak late into the first round, and Eddie Freeman (UAB) and Anthony Weaver (Notre Dame) may also have a shot. Dorsett Davis (Mississippi State), Nate Dwyer (Kansas), Justin Bannan, Alan Harper, Josh Shaw (Michigan State), and Mike Collins (Ohio State) may finish out the first day talent of the draft. There is some solid middle round talent with Howard Green (LSU), Chad Beasley (Virginia Tech), Will Beck (Idaho), and Charles Hill (Maryland) are probably the best of those players. This class is very deep, and quality talent will probably still be able to found in the seventh round.



FIRST ROUND


John Henderson
(6'6" 306) Tennessee (4.95)

Henderson has all the measurables to be a dominant defensive tackle in the NFL. He has great size and strength. He has a quick first step so he could become a top pass rusher from the interior. Can play the point of attack, and is athletic and can move sideline to sideline. He's the complete defensive tackle. But the knock on him is his inconsistency, since he won't be dominating over long periods of time. He will often play down to the level of his competition. Injury concerns have dropped from a top five selection to possibly the third or fourth defensive tackle taken in the draft.

Ryan Sims
(6'4" 313) North Carolina (4.95)

Sims is a solid all-around defensive tackle. He has the size to play the point of attack and can also rush the passer. But in the latter category, he will probably never be great, but could consistently get 3-5 sacks a season. As a pass rusher, he is more adept at collapsing the pocket than penetrating. Sims is a good run stopper who can hold the point of attack well. He has good strength to play the run. Probably has enough strength and size to be an effective nose tackle, but is probably to work best in a 4-3 defense. I liken him to Norman Hand in that role. Sims is not as flashy as Henderson and does not have Henderson's upside. Sims is a solid college player and should be a solid pro player, but will probably never be great.

Wendell Bryant
(6'4" 308) Wisconsin (4.8)

Bryant is a tough player, that is probably not as good as the other top tackles at stopping the run. He just doesn't have their strength. But Bryant can penetrate and get after the quarterback. According to his numbers, he's probably the most athletic of the top tackle candidates. I like Bryant a lot, although he is not great. He won't be a great run stopper or pass rusher on the next level, but should be very good in both areas, probably only a step below Henderson. Bryant has been a solid college player since his sophomore year. He's got consistency.

Albert Haynesworth
(6'5" 315) Tennessee (4.85)

Haynesworth is strictly a run stopper on the next level. He has great strength and power to hold the point of attack. But unlike Sims, he's not a pass rusher, only having 5 sacks in his career at Tennessee. Haynesworth has huge upside, and that's why he is rated so high by others. I see a mix of Marcus Stroud and Norman Hand in him. But he does not have Stroud's upside in my opinion. Stroud thus far, and Hand were disappointing early on in their careers. I think Haynesworth will have similar problems. He's not a dominating presence on the field, and I seriously think he benefited from having John Henderson next to him, than vice versa. Some have him rated as a top ten selection, but I think he is more like a middle first round talent.

Larry Tripplett
(6'2" 305) Washington (4.95)

Tripplett has potential as a nose tackle. He is not super strong, but has great power. Looks a little round, but is light on his feet. Can beat opponents with moves and can also overpower them. He's good at the point of attack, but needs to improve in that area. Tripplett has upside as a nose tackle, but is not there yet. But right now, I'd say he's better in a 4-3 than 3-4 defense. He's not flashy, and some "experts" are down on him. But he's not that far below Haynesworth in terms of talent, except Haynesworth has a more upside.


THIRD ROUND


Alan Harper
(6'2" 296) Fresno State (5.2)

Harper is an undersized tackle with nice strength and power. I think he projects better as a defensive end in the NFL. He has bulked up, but really doesn't use that extra muscle well, and should thus drop back down to the 280-285 range like he was during the season. He tries to get upfield rather than staying at home and holding the point of attack. Despite his strength, he doesn't use that well vs. the run. He has nice upfield burst, but that's not the same as edge speed. He will have to rely on his power, hands, and moves to beat offensive tackles on the next level. He doesn't project long-term to the defensive tackle position, unless he has another tough run stopper playing beside him. In that situation, he could be effective like La'Roi Glover. As a defensive tackle, he's probably a second day talent, but as a defensive end he could be selected as a second or third rounder.


FOURTH ROUND


Justin Bannan
(6'3" 300) Colorado (4.95)

Bannan is a solid run stopper, but not much of a penetrator. He can help collapse the pocket, but won't be very effective on third downs in the NFL. He does not have great size or strength, but plays well despite it. He's not flashy as the other top prospects, or will be much of a playmaker on the next level. But he should be a steady guy who gets the job done. I don't think he'll be much more than an above average starter, that could appear better if he played beside a better player.


FIFTH ROUND


Jerry Montgomery
(6'3" 300) Iowa (5.2)

Montgomery has good strength and played some nose tackle in Iowa's defensvie scheme. But he's not physical or strong enough to play that position in the NFL. He can bull rush, but is not a great pass rusher. He has great size, and projects best as a run stopper in the 4-3 defense or possibly as a 3-4 defensive end. He has some upside, but is not a great talent. He's a steady college player, that should be the same in the NFL, not much more.


UNDRAFTED


Kirk Thompson
(6'1" 270) Cincinnati (5.1)

Thompson is an undersized defensive tackle, that projects to defensive end because of his size. But he lacks the speed to play the position. He doesn't look like he'll get quicker, so he'll probably have to bulk up to 285 or more if he wants to have an NFL career. He's a project with average skills.


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