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Old 05-09-2012, 08:30 PM    (permalink
Matthew Jones
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Default 2013 NFL Draft Defensive Tackle Rankings and Reports

I know defensive tackle isn't exactly a natural progression from quarterback but there were a few major defensive tackle prospects I wanted to look at. Kawann Short is my first scouting report (check it out below), and I'm going to check out Star Lotulelei next.

Other threads:

Quarterbacks - http://draftcountdown.com/forum/showthread.php?t=52803

NT Star Lotulelei, Utah (6'3", 325, 5.25)

Positives:

• Has excellent height and bulk to play nose tackle in either defensive front
• Surprisingly athletic for a man of his size and has impressive range
• Initial quickness off of the snap is impressive compared to other nose tackles
• Very strong and can throw defenders aside if he gets good positioning
• Plays with a nasty disposition and a high motor; very physical
• Low pad level allows him to get under defenders and move them off the line
• Can shoot the gaps effectively due to his size and burst off of the line
• Can anchor effectively and was used at the nose in Utah’s three-man fronts as well
• Effective wrap-and-fall tackler who has adequate arm length
• Nice career trajectory; improved substantially from 2010 season to 2011 season
• Has also been used at offensive guard in the past (NFL future is on the defense)

Negatives:

• Recognition skills need improvement; can be fooled and caught out of position
• Could do a better job of protecting his legs from cut blocks (also has a top-heavy build)
• Ends up on the ground a little bit too often for a player with his stature and power
• Did not play very much under tackle at Utah; almost exclusively worked the nose
• Not very productive in terms of making plays in the backfield (only two career sacks)
• Needs to play with more discipline/awareness and maintain gap responsibility

Grade: First round


DT Bennie Logan, Louisiana St.* (6’3”, 290, 4.90)

Positives:


• Has the size and bulk to play defensive tackle in a 4-3 or defensive end in a 3-4
• Very long arms allow him to keep blockers at bay in order to keep himself clean
• Effective at getting low and using power in order to shoot gaps on slant patterns
• Active hand use prevents offensive linemen from locking on and controlling him
• Keeps his feet moving and is difficult to drive backwards against the run
• Uses leverage in order to collapse run gaps and is already a strong run defender
• Rangy player who will pursue running backs and receivers in the passing game
• Does a nice job of getting his hands up in an attempt to swat down passes
• Should be able to contribute on special teams; blocked one kick in 2011
• Frame and athleticism suggest he has yet to reach his full potential at this point

Negatives:

• Very raw player whose draft status is largely based off of his projected improvement
• Came off the field when LSU used three-man fronts (Mingo, Brockers, Montgomery)
• Conditioning could be an issue; was often rotated out in favor of Josh Downs
• Doesn’t have a ton of counter moves when his initial burst is ineffective
• Often gets caught off balance when trying to change directions in pursuit
• Needs to do a better job of protecting his legs from cut blocks
• Has only one year of production at this point (57 tackles, 6.5 TFL, three sacks in 2011)

Grade: First or second round


DT Kawann Short, Purdue (6’3”, 310, 5.30)

Positives:

• Has enough height to play defensive end in the NFL in 3-4 fronts
• Excellent bulk and takes up quite a bit of space on the field
• Effective anchor and is difficult to move even when double-teamed
• Strong enough to push aside defenders in order to make the play
• Uses a violent spin move effectively in order to get past blockers
• Played all four defensive line positions at Purdue: LE, UT, NT, RE
• Solid tackling fundamentals; effectively wraps up and anchors
• Diligent about getting his hands up in the air in order to contest passes
• Draws double teams fairly regularly due to his sheer mass
• Diagnoses plays well and doesn’t get caught out of position very often
• Was named a defensive co-captain at Purdue last season

Negatives:

• Has a ton of bulk but looks like he may be out-of-shape and could lose weight
• Does not possess elite burst off of the line of scrimmage to penetrate
• Must become more effective at disengaging from blockers (more active hand use)
• Not athletic enough to play all over the defense in the NFL like he did in college
• Needs to play with a more consistent motor (conditioning could affect effort)
• Occasionally gives up on the play when he is double-teamed
• Feet often go dead on contact and treads too much water rather than working

Grade: First or second round


NT Johnathon Hankins, Ohio St.* (6’3”, 335, 5.30)

Positives:

• Height and bulk are both ideal for a nose tackle prospect in either front
• Has played nose tackle and even right defensive end at Ohio State
• Stout run defender who is not driven off of the ball very often by blockers
• Fairly strong bull rush with an initial punch which can reset the line of scrimmage
• Has more range in pursuit than expected for a player of his size
• Effective wrap and anchor tackler who generally makes the tackle when he can
• Plays with an active motor and will keep fighting to make a play
• Has made strides each season at Ohio State and career trajectory looks promising
• Still has a lot of room for improvement as well as no known character concerns

Negatives:

• Attempts to maintain outside gaps too often rather than clogging the middle
• Should draw far more double teams than he has to this point; can be single-blocked
• Does not have an elite burst off of the line and won’t offer much as a rusher
• Balance must be improved; occasionally bends at the waist or lunges
• Does not have the type of impact on a game that would be expected given his size
• Must develop additional rush moves; relies almost exclusively on the bull rush
• Does not have much experience playing as the under tackle in Ohio State’s defense
• Will likely be a two-down player in the NFL; sacks are frequently a result of coverage

Grade: Second round


Upcoming Reports:

Dominique Easley, Florida* (6’2”, 280, 4.85)
Kwame Geathers, Georgia* (6’5”, 350, 5.35)
Johnathan Jenkins, Georgia (6’3”, 350, 5.45)
Cassius Marsh, UCLA* (6’3”, 290, 4.90)
Jessie Williams, Alabama (6’3”, 320, 5.30)
Sylvester Williams, North Carolina (6’3”, 320, 5.20)
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Old 05-09-2012, 08:49 PM    (permalink
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How do you plan the order you post these in? Based on ranking or random? Cause I don't see how Short could be your number one DT. Nice scouting report though.
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Old 05-09-2012, 08:51 PM    (permalink
Matthew Jones
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Just added a report for Johnathon Hankins; he is an intriguing prospect who could easily end up going in the first round, but for now I've got a second-round grade on him.
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Old 05-09-2012, 08:52 PM    (permalink
Matthew Jones
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OSUGiants17 View Post
How do you plan the order you post these in? Based on ranking or random? Cause I don't see how Short could be your number one DT. Nice scouting report though.
They're just in random order depending on who I have been watching lately.
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Old 05-09-2012, 08:57 PM    (permalink
Matthew Jones
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I'm going to post my Star Lotulelei report, and then I'll need some time to review tape of the others. I may do Bennie Logan and Jessie Williams a few days after Star because I was planning on reviewing the Alabama/LSU games from last year.
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Old 05-09-2012, 09:13 PM    (permalink
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Bennie Logan and Jessie Williams are two guys who I think will blow up this year.
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Old 05-09-2012, 09:45 PM    (permalink
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couple things on hankins


-no way he makes it out of the first round. guys who move like he does at his size don't last long on draft day unless they have major off-field or work ethic issues, which he doesn't.

-he did play "right defensive end" some, but in our system playing left defensive end or right defensive end is essentially playing either 5 tech DT or 3 tech DT b/c we use 3 DTs and a standup DE/OLB called the "LEO." Cam Heyward was also a RDE at Ohio State.

-Hankins never really every played nose tackle except a little bit during his freshman year. He's been the 3 technique under tackle for most of his snaps. So I suggest you watch more tape on him or any at all b/c you won't see him line up over the center very often. That was Garrett Goebel's responsibility last year (and Dexter Larimore's the year before that).

that said he was a true freshman in 2009 who wasn't in shape to play every snap, and last year in his first year as a fulltime starter he stayed on the field b/c he was in better shape. This year with a new strength coach he's down to 317 and in great shape. He had a great year last year as a complete DT who can collapse the pocket and stuff the middle, he should have an even better year as a junior in his second full season as a starter. I know a lot of people on here are big fans of Big Hank, I thought I'd share a little from someone who's seen every one of his games.
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Old 05-09-2012, 09:48 PM    (permalink
Matthew Jones
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Originally Posted by keylime_5 View Post
couple things on hankins


-no way he makes it out of the first round. guys who move like he does at his size don't last long on draft day unless they have major off-field or work ethic issues, which he doesn't.

-he did play "right defensive end" some, but in our system playing left defensive end or right defensive end is essentially playing either 5 tech DT or 3 tech DT b/c we use 3 DTs and a standup DE/OLB called the "LEO." Cam Heyward was also a RDE at Ohio State.

-Hankins never really every played nose tackle except a little bit during his freshman year. He's been the 3 technique under tackle for most of his snaps. So I suggest you watch more tape on him or any at all b/c you won't see him line up over the center very often. That was Garrett Goebel's responsibility last year (and Dexter Larimore's the year before that).

that said he was a true freshman in 2009 who wasn't in shape to play every snap, and last year in his first year as a fulltime starter he stayed on the field b/c he was in better shape. This year with a new strength coach he's down to 317 and in great shape. He had a great year last year as a complete DT who can collapse the pocket and stuff the middle, he should have an even better year as a junior in his second full season as a starter. I know a lot of people on here are big fans of Big Hank, I thought I'd share a little from someone who's seen every one of his games.
Thanks for the insight. By nose tackle I mean the right defensive tackle, not the zero-gap like he would play in a 3-4 (although I have seen him play that as well at Ohio State.) I agree that Hankins will probably go in the first round but I don't think he's a dynamic enough pass rusher to really warrant it at this point. I try not to grade based on where people will go but rather where I think they deserve to go. Now that the NFL passes on seemingly 65% of plays a run stuffing, two down defensive tackle just doesn't seem incredibly valuable to me.
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Old 05-09-2012, 09:52 PM    (permalink
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By the way, how about Alan Branch as a comparison for Hankins?
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Old 05-09-2012, 10:19 PM    (permalink
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UGA has 4 guys on their line who could potentially be drafted in 2013. Garrison Smith and Abry Jones are 3-4 DEs for the Bulldogs, but they could be DT prospects for some NFL teams.
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Old 05-09-2012, 10:52 PM    (permalink
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Thanks for the insight. By nose tackle I mean the right defensive tackle, not the zero-gap like he would play in a 3-4 (although I have seen him play that as well at Ohio State.) I agree that Hankins will probably go in the first round but I don't think he's a dynamic enough pass rusher to really warrant it at this point. I try not to grade based on where people will go but rather where I think they deserve to go. Now that the NFL passes on seemingly 65% of plays a run stuffing, two down defensive tackle just doesn't seem incredibly valuable to me.
While I think he profiles more as a 1 tech or "4-3 NT" as most people on here call it, he can more than hold his own as a pass rushing 3 technique DT in college. No question about that. He will be a 1 tech with above average pass rushing ability for the position, or even a 3 tech in the NFL if/once he refines his pass rushing technique. Keep in mind the guy was a true sophomore last year. No doubt he has the movement and explosive ability to play 3 tech if he refines his technique. He can play in a 3 man front and a 4 man front.

My point is that his speed and quickness for his size and the upside that comes with it (and it's not like he doesn't have any production either, he was very productive in 2010) is the reason why everyone is calling this guy a future top 15 pick. 330 lb DTs who move like Hankins and Lotuleilei don't come around very often. Guys with similar skills have gone higher than that on draft day without producing as much as he did.

I wouldn't use Branch as a great comparison. He was 6'6"/330. Hankins was closer to 6'3"/330 last year and was more similar to BJ Raji than Alan Branch. But it is right in how he played UT/DE in college and will likely be an NFL nose like Branch.
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Old 05-09-2012, 11:35 PM    (permalink
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Nice list, going to have to watch more of this guy from Utah. FYI Kwame Geathers was a straight dog last year, really disappointing for a man his size, so hope he improves.

Not sure why you left these guys out, all have talent and potential for next years draft.

Casey Walker Oklahoma
Baker Steinkuhler Nebraska
Omar Hunter Florida
Jacobbi McDaniel Florida State


I really like Hankins as well, compared to Geathers, Hankins was crazy productive and impactful last year, very good season and should be even better this year.

I am a big Louis Nix fan too, talking low to the ground, big stout NT's, he is one to watch as a redshirt sophomore.
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:50 AM    (permalink
Matthew Jones
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Casey Walker is barely on my radar right now; he had two tackles for loss and a sack against Texas and just one tackle for loss over the rest of the year. He suffered a season-ending knee injury the year before that and has virtually no production in 2009 or 2010. Steinkuhler is a decent player with some intriguing size for a 3-4 defensive end but he has never really put it together to this point and got arrested for a DUI so right now I'd say he's more of a mid-round pick. There's not really much tape available on Omar Hunter either, he barely played last season and only has one career sack. McDaniel missed most of last season with an ankle injury and hasn't really put it together either. I'll keep an eye on those guys but at some point they're going to have to produce in order to get noticed.
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:01 AM    (permalink
Matthew Jones
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Just added a scouting report for Bennie Logan; at this point I don't think he's quite the prospect that Michael Brockers was last year but he should be able to earn a first round grade if he has a strong junior campaign. Logan's best fit is likely as a 3-4 defensive end.
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:17 AM    (permalink
Matthew Jones
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Just ran into some bad luck; Easley tore his ACL during my Florida State review and Jesse Williams left the game early in the first meeting against LSU.
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:52 AM    (permalink
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I'd suggest watching Joe Vellano from Maryland. Kid is a freaking beast. He's only about 6'1" 285 but he goes non-stop and has a quick first step.
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:03 AM    (permalink
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I'd suggest watching Joe Vellano from Maryland. Kid is a freaking beast. He's only about 6'1" 285 but he goes non-stop and has a quick first step.
I have not watched Vellano but the undersized, short DT doesn't seem to have much of a place in the NFL anymore. Mitch King was the poster boy for this type of player and he couldn't even stick in the Colts pathetic DT rotation.
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:41 AM    (permalink
Matthew Jones
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I have not watched Vellano but the undersized, short DT doesn't seem to have much of a place in the NFL anymore. Mitch King was the poster boy for this type of player and he couldn't even stick in the Colts pathetic DT rotation.
I don't know if that's true, Jonathan Babineaux, Karl Klug, and Pernell McPhee are a few undersized defensive tackles who have been playing well in the NFL. John Simon could end up being drafted as a defensive tackle as well, but I'm going to hold off and post his scouting report along with the defensive ends.
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Old 05-10-2012, 03:25 PM    (permalink
villagewarrior
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Arkansas has an embarrassment of riches at the defensive tackle position with Bryan Jones and Robert Thomas. Every time I watched Arkansas play these two big monsters were making trouble. I think the Razorbacks even have a 3rd guy but I forget his name.

This isn't a bold prediction, but I think we will see more DTs picked in the first next year than QBs.
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:28 AM    (permalink
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Arkansas has an embarrassment of riches at the defensive tackle position with Bryan Jones and Robert Thomas. Every time I watched Arkansas play these two big monsters were making trouble. I think the Razorbacks even have a 3rd guy but I forget his name.

This isn't a bold prediction, but I think we will see more DTs picked in the first next year than QBs.
I was really impressed with Jones in the spring game but he hasn't really produced previously so I'll have to take a closer look before doing a writeup.
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Old 05-13-2012, 01:18 AM    (permalink
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Jacobbi McDaniel Florida State

No 'Cobi. He's a midget with short arms and doesn't make up for it by being outstanding at any other aspect of his game. Undraftable but solid college player. Plus, it's possible he redshirts this year after a pretty gruesome injury second half of the season.

The two midround DT prospects for FSU are Everette Dawkins (3 tech / 3-4 DE type) and Amp McCloud (NT). Both should be drafted.
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