2011 NFL Draft Player Rankings: Defensive Tackles
Having a great defensive tackle is a must for any NFL football team. A versatile tackle that can make plays against the run, and penetrate the offensive line is huge. If you can stop the run, and make an offensive one dimensional then you will most likely have a successful defensive performance.
But having a penetrating pass rusher is a nice commodity as well. Warren Sapp dominated the NFL for years, getting to the quarterback and making offenses game plan against him. Ndamukong Suh has made a name for himself in his rookie season as well.
So who will be the next great defensive tackle? Find out in NFL Soup’s defensive tackle rankings:
1) Nick Fairley- Auburn*- 6’3 7/8 291
You have to love what Fairley has done in 2010 to solidify his draft status as a first rounder. He is a dominant penetrating defensive tackle with great quickness and first step despite being nearly 300 pounds. Fairley is inexperienced at the NCAA level only starting for one full season in 2010. He has a good motor and doesn’t take plays off. Fairley will most likely be a Top Five pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Projection: Top 10
2) Corey Liuget- Illinois*- 6’2 1/8 298
Liuget is a strong, bull rushing defensive tackle who gets in the backfield and makes tackles. He’s very underrated, and under-appreciated. He’s a force against the run, and is solid when rushing the passer from the inside. He’s a natural two gap penetrating defensive tackle who has played some end. He lost some weight before 2010 season, and improved athletically. Liuget has an excellent motor, and doesn’t give up on plays, however he tends to lose steam as the game progresses. At times he looks unconditioned, and past weight problems could hurt his draft stock.
3) Muhammad Wilkerson- Temple*- 6’4 1/8 315
When you think of the term run stuffer, Wilkerson comes right to mind. The big defensive tackle is a tackling machine and doesn’t let much get past him. He’s a solid penetrator that can get to the quarterback, but his strength is what really allows him to get a great push against the interior line. Wilkerson’s best bet is to play in a 3-4 defense where he can utilize his strength and double team ability at the most. He could play both nose tackle and defensive end, most likely, as he’s surprisingly versatile.
4) Phil Taylor- Baylor- 6’3 1/4 334
How about those Baylor Bears? Taylor leads a solid Baylor defensive line with pure strength. He takes up a lot of space and forces double teams consistently. His ceiling is as a pure 3-4 nose tackle at the next level.
5) Stephen Paea- Oregon State- 6’1 1/4 303
Paea is a very athletic defensive tackle who uses his quickness to penetrate the offensive line consistently. He takes up double teams quite often despite not being the biggest tackle, and his strength is exceptional, especially proving that with 49 reps at the 2011 NFL Combine . He needs to get better at getting off of blocks, but he is a wrap up tackler that is as solid as they come.
6) Drake Nevis-LSU- 6’0 5/8 294
Nevis has really come into his own in 2010. He has turned into a dominant penetrating defensive tackle often disrupting the backfield and making a tackle for loss. He’s not easy to block as he is fairly strong. However, his athleticism and lateral ability is what separates him from most of the defensive tackles in the SEC.
7) Christian Ballard- Iowa- 6’3 3/4 283
Ballard is quickly rising up draft boards with his play in 2010. He’s a versatile lineman, playing both defensive tackle, and defensive end. He’s excellent in contain as an end, and just needs to work on his strength to become a great five technique player in a 3-4 defense. Ballard is a penetrator, and moves very well laterally. He could be taken before fellow Iowa defensive lineman Adrian Clayborn.
8 )Marvin Austin- North Carolina- 6’1 5/8 309
To open up the season, Marvin Austin looked like a surefire Top 10 pick. He was dismissed from the UNC football team after being investigated for receiving benefits from NFL Agents. But Austin’s talent just cannot be ignored. He has an excellent blend of size and quickness, as well as strength. Austin can penetrate backfields, but he’s so strong he often requires a double team. Austin is a pure 4-3 tackle that could also move to a five technique at the next level. Character concerns are what may make him slide into the second or even third rounds, but it’s likely that a team takes a chance based on his talent alone.
9) Kenrick Ellis- Hampton- 6’4 7/8 346
Ellis is a very strong defensive tackle who dominates at the point of attack. Playing at a smaller school may hurt him in terms of competition, but he has the potential to be a dominant nose tackle at the next level.
10) Jarvis Jenkins- Clemson- 6’4 310
You have to love what Jenkins brings to the table. Unfortunately, playing for Clemson and being overshadowed by DaQuan Bowers doesn’t help Jenkins garner a ton of attention. But Jenkins is a force in his own way. He’s a strong defensive tackle that can get in the backfield and break up a play. He’s tall and he’s quick as well. Jenkins and Bowers both command double teams, and Jenkins may be able to move to a 3-4 defensive end at the next level. He could improve his play laterally.
11) Jerrell Powe- Mississippi*- 6’1 3/4 335
Powe is a very strong defensive tackle that holds the point of attack well. He will end up as a nose tackle in either a 3-4 or 4-3 as he is versatile. He’s surprisingly quick for his size as well, but he uses his hands well and gets a good push off of the ball. He does tend to take plays off at times, and isn’t always reliable to stay on the field for most of the game, but that’s something that a great strength and conditioning coach could fix.
12) Lawrence Guy- Arizona State*- 6’4 1/8 305
Guy is a very talented tackle who utilizes his strength well in stopping the run. He’s not much of a penetrator, but he holds the point of attack well, and makes his name stuffing the run and getting double teamed.
13) Anthony Gray- Southern Miss 6’0 320
If you haven’t noticed, the trend right now is 3-4 nose tackles, and Gray is another big guy who gets a good push playing the zero and one technique. Gray gets double teamed regularly helping to free up the linebackers to make tackles.
14) Jurrell Casey- USC*- 6’0 5/8 300
Casey is one of the best pure pass rushing defensive tackles in the draft and could be drafted higher than round four. However, he’s one dimensional and struggles to stuff the run. Overall, he’s an excellent penetrator who gets off of the snap as quickly as anybody in the nation.
15) Ian Williams- Notre Dame- 6’1 1/4 319
Williams is a stronger defensive tackle who excels against the run, and moves well laterally. He won’t make a ton of plays on the defensive line, however.
16) Sione Fua- Stanford- 6’1 1/2 308
Fua is another run stuffer who can also get in the backfield and make plays. He plays nose tackle in Stanford’s 3-4 defense right now, and could make the transition at the next level as well.
17) Saia Falahola- Arizona State- 6’2 310
Falahola has been a consistent surprise for Arizona State. His numbers aren’t flashy, but his ability to use his strength and command double teams is what makes him an excellent candidate for a nose tackle in the 3-4.
18) Lawon Scott- Ole Miss- 6’2 320
The 3-4 nose tackle trend continues yet again with Scott who is dominant against the run. He’s a part of a heavily rotated Ole Miss defensive line who keeps their lineman fresh. He can shut down the run, and holds the point of attack well.
19) Adrian Taylor- Oklahoma- 6’3 311
Taylor is an unfortunate story. He’s a very talented player who’s battled through a few big injuries. Taylor is a strong penetrator who makes his presence felt against the run. His inability to stay on the field has cost him a few rounds in the draft, however.
20) Ted Laurent- Ole Miss- 6’1 305
Laurent is another solid tackle coming out of the rotating Ole Miss defensive line. He gets a good push off of the ball and is a wrap up tackler.
21) Mike Blanc- Auburn- 6’4 298
Blanc is a physical tackle who does a nice job of keeping one arm free and shutting down the run. He takes up space well, and could be a great five technique player in a 3-4 defense.
22) Colby Whitlock- Texas Tech- 6’2 1/8 302
Whitlock is another quick defensive end who moves well on the defensive line. He’s versatile and can play defensive end as well.
23) Cory Grant- TCU- 6’2 308
Grant is another space eating defensive tackle who may play a bit of nose in a 4-3 defense. He could potentially add some weight and move to the 3-4 nose position, but he’ll want to work on getting better leverage.
24)Sealver Siliga- Utah*- 6’1 3/4 305
Siliga is another potential 4-3 nose tackle who can stuff the run with ease at times. He needs to work on his lateral movement and foot speed.
25) Ladi Ajiboye- South Carolina- 6’1 3/8 297
26) Ollie Ogbu- Penn State- 6’1 287
27) Lawrence Marsh- Florida- 6’5 290
28) Chris Neild- West Virginia- 6’1 3/4 319
29) Derrick Hill- Cal- 6’2 308
30) Scooter Berry- West Virginia- 6’1 291
31) Terron Sanders- Florida- 6’1 310
32) Cedric Thornton- Southern Arkansas- 6’5 295
33) John Graves- Virginia Tech- 6’3 280
34) Corbin Bryant- Northwestern- 6’4 287
35) Terrell McClain- South Florida- 6’1 5/8 297
36) Brandon Bair- Oregon- 6’5 7/8 276
37) Martin Parker- Richmond- 6’2 1/8 303
38) Dexter Larimore- Ohio State- 6’2 315
39) Ernie Hodge- Ohio- 6’2 290
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