Category: Defensive Tackle

DL Davon Godchaux, Louisiana St.*

6’4” – 299 lbs. – 5.20e

Became a starter as a true freshman, ultimately spending three seasons with the first team before declaring for the draft. Difficult family situation probably contributed to his decision to declare early. Typically lined up as a five-technique right end for the Tigers on their three-man line; also slid inside from time to time and played some different techniques. Really looks the part of a pro five-technique; has long arms and carries his weight very well. Typically one of  the last players off the line, but has adequate movement skills once he gets going. Pretty stout at the point of attack, capable of holding his ground versus power. Flashes the ability to control blockers and collapse gaps. Has heavy hands to discard blockers, although this element of his game is more visible as a run defender. Can lower his shoulder and create congestion to clog the inside in the running game. Flows to the ball well for a bigger player, with perhaps better play recognition than range. Exhibits a good motor in pursuit but isn’t fast enough to really make plays far from the tackle box. Pretty productive rusher, but wasn’t as disruptive as his numbers would suggest. Seemed to frequently be responsible for containing opposing quarterbacks in the pocket. On plays in which he was asked to create pressure, looked like more of a finesse pass-rusher than a bull-rusher; draws some extra attention from teams from time to time. Although he didn’t penetrate into the backfield consistently, has quick hands, usually relying on swim moves but also working rips in on occasion. Mixes outside and inside moves into his game. Capable of slipping between two blockers to create pressure on the inside. Was sometimes schemed open on stunts, generally starting as a nose tackle and looping around to find a clear lane. Could benefit from developing and integrating more counters into his game, as he gets stuck on blocks when his initial move is unsuccessful. Feet occasionally go dead when he’s successfully engaged. May be able to force passers from the pocket, but probably won’t post high sack totals at the pro level. 2013 ACL tear will need to be investigated at the Combine. Very well-built defensive lineman who brings three seasons of SEC starting experience and the strength and discipline to two-gap against the run, but who might ultimately be more of a two-down than a three-down player. Talented enough to be considered on the second day, but arrest for domestic battery might send teams in other directions.

Games watched: Auburn (’15), Texas Tech (’15), Wisconsin (’16)

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DT Jake Replogle, Purdue

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6’5” – 289 lbs.

Good bloodlines; father and three brothers all played college football. Started his career as a reserve defensive end, weighing just 240 pounds; added nearly thirty pounds and became one of the team’s starting defensive ends the following year, then shifted inside to defensive tackle as a junior, where he’s started the past two years while adding another twenty pounds. Versatile; plays both tackle spots in the team’s four-man fronts and usually plays inside when the team employs three down linemen. Tall with a reasonably thick build, but with shorter arms than usual for a player of his height. Overall athleticism is just average in terms of explosiveness, burst to close, and top-end speed; consequently, may be more likely to force opposing passers from the pocket than to finish at the next level. That said, is a pretty good gap shooter who can squeeze between linemen to reach the backfield; looked more consistently disruptive as a senior than as a junior. Does a good job of varying his rush approaches and moves. Most of his pressure comes from inside, but will also loop around and look for clear lanes to the passer at times. Good suddenness and hand use to stack and shed. Capable of anchoring; pretty stout at the point of attack, even against double-teams. Works swim and rip moves into his repertoire often and flashes a spin move as well. Doesn’t consistently threaten to collapse the pocket with his bull-rush but does have some two-gap responsibilities. Gets pretty good arm extension and has powerful hands to discard blockers. Flows well to the ball, not the most athletic player but can make some tackles in pursuit; will chase plays to the sidelines and down the field. Pretty reliable wrap tackler, albeit with a limited radius because of his lack of length. Could stand to play with more patience; takes himself out of some plays by pursuing in the wrong direction or allowing himself to be sealed away from the gap. Despite his lack of elite length and athleticism, looks like a potential starter who can disrupt things in the backfield because of his strength, hand use, and motor; could conceivably handle a few different roles but might be best as an under tackle in an even front or an end in an odd front.

Games watched: Iowa (’15), Virginia Tech (’15), Wisconsin (’16)

DT Malik McDowell, Michigan St.*

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6’6” – 276 lbs.

Worked into the defensive-line rotation as a true freshman, then stepped into a starting role the following year, having started games at both defensive tackle and defensive end. Missed a few games as a junior. Very tall, with long limbs, big hands, and an evenly-distributed frame; may need to gain additional weight at the next level depending on the role he’s drafted for. High-motor player with the stamina to play a considerable amount of snaps per game. Much more of a gap penetrator than a two-gap, read-and-react player. Exhibits a very quick first step and comes out of his stance low, allowing him to get leverage against even some shorter offensive linemen. Has active hands and a few different moves which he uses to penetrate; most frequently uses a swim move. Gives good effort with the bull rush but isn’t overwhelmingly powerful, making it difficult for him to consistently create push. Overall athletic tools are very impressive, with above-average speed, quickness, and flexibility for an interior lineman or five-technique defensive end. Has some experience rushing from the defensive end position and is able to challenge the edge and bend back to the passer. When given a clear path to the quarterback, usually via a stunt/twist, has the closing burst to finish. Gets his hands up to contest passing lanes and can create a considerable obstruction because of his size and length. Can be knocked off-balance by a strong initial punch. Disruptive enough to make plays versus the run but is more physically and athletically talented than instinctive at this point; often shoots into the backfield only to inadvertently create a rushing lane for an opposing ballcarrier. Anchor is better than anticipated for his size; not just a finesse player. Flashes the ability to flow down the line and make tackles on horizontal rushing attempts. Looks like a reliable tackler with a wide radius. Could conceivably handle playing inside or outside on a four-man line, or outside on a three-man line; physically, fits the profile of a five-technique end the most naturally, where he has the length to potentially play in a two-gap scheme but might best utilize his gifts as a one-gap end. Has a little bit of an unconventional build but plays stronger than his weight would indicate and has a very attractive set of tools, with his bulk and instincts representing areas which could be developed over time.

Games watched: Indiana (’16), Notre Dame (’16), Wisconsin (’16)

DL Jonathan Allen, Alabama

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6’3” – 291 lbs. – 4.85

Five-star recruit who appeared in a reserve capacity as a true freshman before stepping into the starting lineup the following season, giving him three years of first-team experience. Team captain. Something of a ‘tweener size-wise; has added some additional bulk for his senior season and could conceivably play at a variety of weights depending on his pro role. Typically plays right end on Alabama’s line, whether the team is operating with three or four down linemen; will also slide inside on some passing downs and take the occasional snap from the left end spot. Very tough and physical style of play; good motor to work through the whistle. Draws lots of attention from opposing offenses, whether double-teams on the offensive line or chips from other players retained to pass-protect; ability to engage multiple defenders creates opportunities for his teammates to make plays. Does a good job of chipping backs and disrupting or preventing their release. Difficult to handle when playing downhill; can occupy two blockers and threaten to split double-teams. Primarily a bull-rusher who can collapse the pocket with his power and leg drive. Despite his size and bulk, flashes the speed to challenge the edge and bend back to the passer. Will also mix in a swim or spin move on occasion. Gets good arm extension when two-gapping against the run; has a strong anchor and the discipline to hold the edge and maintain his run fits against opposing tackles. Strong enough to reestablish the line of scrimmage in the backfield. Has a lot of power in his hands, using effective technique to prevent opposing linemen from placing their initial punch and locking onto him; capable of tossing aside even interior linemen to make plays on the ball. Rarely caught out of position; quality instincts/play recognition ability. Gives good effort in pursuit but isn’t really the type of player who will chase down opponents on the sidelines. Would have been a possible first-round pick had he declared last year, but played even better as a senior and looks likely to be one of the first players off the board this year. Very polished from a mental and technical standpoint, with outstanding play strength and impressive athleticism for a player of his size. A chess piece who can handle a variety of different responsibilities and roles, something which should be especially valuable given the multiple defenses which predominate in the pro game today.

Games watched: Arkansas (’16), Tennessee (’16), Texas A&M (’16)

DL Chris Wormley, Michigan

6’6” – 302 lbs.

Finally broke into the starting lineup midway through his redshirt sophomore year, where he has remained ever since. Versatile player who lines up on both ends of the defensive line and also slides inside to function as an interior rusher on a regular basis. Although he has more in common with a five-technique end from a physical standpoint, he often functioned as more of a traditional base end on a four-man line. Well-developed body whose frame might be nearly maxed out; carries his weight well. Pretty straightforward pass-rusher who almost exclusively relies on a speed-to-power combination on the outside. Offers a good level of intensity on the field. Gets off the line pretty quickly and can extend his arms and drive his legs to walk opposing linemen back. Capable of slapping down an opposing blocker’s arms but could stand to use his hands more frequently and develop a more nuanced approach to rushing the passer; doesn’t have a particularly diverse repertoire of rush moves and rarely attempts inside moves when he’s rushing from the edge. Does incorporate an effective spin move into his game when he’s being moved inside to rush on obvious passing downs. Can sometimes be driven wide of the rusher because of his tendency to get too far upfield. Instinctually, however, is a pretty disciplined run defender who does a good job of maintaining backside contain and avoids committing too quickly on read-options and other plays of that nature. Has the type of functional strength and build that teams may like in a two-gap run defender on the edge, but generally is more of an aggressive upfield player who wasn’t often asked to really hold the point of attack in a read-and-react system. Scrapes down the line and will pursue through the whistle but, because he lacks elite top-end speed, isn’t much of a threat to actually make plays near the sidelines. Sometimes has trouble working through trash; ended up on the ground a handful of times during the games reviewed and could be susceptible to cut blocks. Too a few snaps as an end on three-man lines in college but might be primarily considered as a five-technique end given his combination of height and bulk; in that role, could provide a pass-rushing presence for a team which lines their defensive ends to be able to generate pressure. Best fit, however, may be as a five-technique end on a four-man line in a scheme such as Seattle’s. Projects as a future starter.

Games watched: Illinois (’15), Penn St. (’16), Rutgers (’16)

DT Montravius Adams, Auburn

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6’4” – 309 lbs.

Was worked into the rotation as a true freshman, then stepped into the starting lineup as a sophomore and has been there ever since. Tall, very thick defensive lineman with good musculature and weight distribution; has added weight and really looks the part. Usually lines up on the left side of the defensive line, whether the team is in its base even front or presenting an odd look. More often asked to penetrate into the backfield with a one-gap technique. Pretty explosive off the line of scrimmage and can gain the upper hand and put opposing offensive linemen on their heels early. Comes out of his stance with a low pad level and can be a handful for opposing offensive linemen to deal with due to his overall bulk and strong leg drive. Capable of generating some push against single blockers but will look like he’s playing on skates when double-teamed. Overall balance can be a problem at times, ending up on the ground too often because he comes out low and keeps his head down. Tendency to lower his head can cause him to lose track of the ball, barreling into the backfield only to miss a chance to make a tackle. Consequently, is more likely to disrupt the overall play than to square up and bring down the ballcarrier. Plays with a high motor and some violence to his game; gives good effort in pursuit and will chase through the whistle. Won’t be the first player to reach the sidelines but does cover some ground and can pick up tackles when runners are forced back inside. As a pass rusher, functions as a one-gap penetrator and is also asked to operate on stunts. Could use rush moves more often, but what repertoire he’s shown thus far is encouraging; possesses a violent spin move and will also use rip and swim moves with success. Can also walk opposing linemen back with his bull rush. Impressive closing speed for a man of his size and can generate plenty of pop on contact. However, will probably end up being more of a pressure-generator than a player who racks up gaudy sack totals. Gets his hands up to contest passing lanes on a consistent basis. Also had some success blocking kicks. Has the frame, strength, athleticism, and violence to become a pro starter, but will need to become more disciplined and clean up his technique in order to get the most out of his gifts. Could potentially play either tackle spot on a four-man line or slide outside in an odd front.

Games watched; Louisiana St. (’15), Georgia (’16), Mississippi (’16)

DT Carlos Watkins, Clemson

6’3” – 305 lbs. – N/A

Was worked into the defense in a reserve/rotational capacity in 2012 and 2014, missing all but three games of the 2013 season after being a passenger in a fatal car accident. Worked his way into the starting role as a junior. Barrel-chested defensive lineman with a thick upper body and reasonably developed lower body. Plays some different techniques and shifts around from the left to the right side. Fairly powerful at the point of attack, can’t always reestablish the line of scrimmage but is rarely driven off the line himself; very solid anchor in one-on-one matchups, although he could stand to improve his leg drive when engaged and struggles to consistently hold the point when double-teamed. Generally executes two-gap assignments rather than being asked to penetrate into the backfield; will probably be a two-gap player at the pro level as well. Has some ability to shed blocks but isn’t an especially violent player. Overall instincts are adequate; generally tends to flow in the direction of the play but can be sealed inside at times. Gives a good effort when defending against the run, scraping down the line effectively and demonstrating a willingness to pursue backs to the sidelines. More mobile than his frame would indicate, although he’s faster in pursuit than he is explosive off the line of scrimmage. Plays a little bit high; will come out of his stance with a relatively low level at times, but rise as the play progresses. Isn’t much of a factor on passing downs and might be more of a wave or rotational player at the pro level as a result. Doesn’t really beat people off the line of scrimmage and knife into the backfield very often, relying instead on his power to attempt to collapse the pocket. However, has shown the ability to split blockers on occasion. Will work in a swim or rip move from time to time but isn’t a very dynamic or creative rusher; more of the type to seek or be schemed open lanes to the passer on stunts. Gets his hands up to contest passing lanes on an intermittent basis. Generally played on four-man lines, but would occasionally take a snap as a nose tackle or defensive end in an odd defensive front, although he was generally still lined up inside with a rusher in a two-point stance further down the line. Looked reasonably polished even as a first-year starter and offers a high motor, above-average strength, and a solid frame, characteristics which could allow him to work his way into a defensive-line rotation, even though he’ll probably never be a particularly dynamic pass-rusher.

Games watched: Notre Dame (’15), Oklahoma (’15), South Carolina (’15)

DT DANNY SHELTON, WASHINGTON

DT #71 DANNY SHELTON, WASHINGTON

6’2” – 332 lbs. – 5.35e

Massive nose tackle who usually lined up in the middle of Washington’s three-man fronts, but took snaps as a five-technique left defensive end as well; played the one-technique when the Huskies fielded an extra down lineman. Capable of using his sheer size and strength to overwhelm single blockers, with an initial jolt which can decisively determine engagements; demands additional attention from opposing offensive lines. Has a knack for wiggling between two blockers when faced with a double-team, although teams did indicate a willingness to attempt to engage him with a single blocker more often than might be expected given his physical attributes. Consistently holds his ground or resets the line of scrimmage in the run game, very rarely gives up ground to opposing blockers. Mentally-sound player who locates the ball well and avoids compromising his defense’s run fits by freelancing. Quality block-shedder who positions his hands well and is capable of tossing blockers aside quickly and exploding into contact on runners. Possesses the height and weight of a two-gap nose, but appears to lack ideal arm length, which constrains his ability to make tackles away from his frame; runners often slip out of his grasp. Also has a tendency to get a bit high in his stance, something which has not had a significant effect on his play in college, but might pose problems against pro linemen, who are physically and technically superior to their NCAA counterparts. However, should be considered a “plus” run defender who is capable of handling nose tackle responsibilities in any defensive scheme, preferably a two-gap 3-4. When attempting to penetrate into the backfield, employs an underrated swim move, mixing in a rip and a swim on occasion as well. Faster than his frame would seem to indicate, with the ability to put some pressure on quarterbacks, although perhaps not enough to pursue and finish his rushes; additionally, gives good effort and displays unexpected stamina on passing downs, but is likely only a two-down player at the next level. Does what he does well, but fills a role which is being increasingly marginalized in today’s game, as evidenced by Notre Dame nose tackle Louis Nix’s slide into the third round in 2014. Should benefit from the recent success of former Huskies nose tackle Alameda Ta’amu.

Games watched: Colorado (’13), Stanford (’13), UCLA (’13)

DT MICHAEL BENNETT, OHIO ST.

DT #63 MICHAEL BENNETT, OHIO ST.

6’2” – 288 lbs. – 5.15e

Was a first-year starter in 2013. Listed height and weight are barely adequate for a pro defensive tackle, but looks bigger on tape and may weigh in higher than expected at the Combine; however, doesn’t look like he has the frame to effectively handle much more bulk. Typically lined up as the three-technique under tackle in Ohio State’s defense, but has also lined up in the nose tackle spot on occasion; in three-man fronts, plays five-technique defensive end. Possesses a bit of a squat build and predictably does a nice job of staying lower than the offensive linemen he’s up against. Lack of ideal height and length should prevent him from receiving too much consideration from teams with 3-4 defenses, though. Lacks the elite first-step quickness of a top interior rusher, as he is often the last Buckeye off the line of scrimmage; more successful because of his leverage, power, and tenacity than because of his initial explosiveness. As a pass rusher, is capable of mixing in a few different moves, including spin and swim moves, but is most successful when he’s bull rushing his opponent; is more powerful than he looks and is capable of reestablishing the line of scrimmage or walking blockers back into the quarterback. Gives good effort on a consistent basis, even when faced with extra attention from blockers. Effective block-shedder thanks to his natural strength; can knock blockers off-balance with his initial punch and ragdoll them around to clear himself a path to the ball. In run defense, he flashes the ability to dig in against a double team, but can be driven off the ball on occasion. Looks more comfortable when he’s allowed to try and penetrate into the backfield than when he’s asked to hold his ground against double teams. Could exercise a bit more gap discipline; attempts to reach the backfield occasionally carry him out of his assigned area, opening a path for runners to easily maneuver through. Also appears to lose track of ballcarriers at times and miss opportunities to make tackles away from his frame. When in position, is a reliable wrap tackler who exhibits a high motor in pursuit versus the run; above-average range for the position. Much stronger and stouter than you’d expect given his measurables and could start at either 4-3 tackle spot.

Games watched: Northwestern (’13), Penn St. (’13), Wisconsin (’13)