Category: Defensive Tackle

DL Kentavius Street, North Carolina St.

6’2” – 280 lbs. – 4.87

Profile:

  • Rotated into the defense as a reserve during his freshman season, then started ten of thirteen games as a sophomore. Started every game over the past two seasons to conclude his collegiate career.

Positives:

  • Has experience playing both inside and outside, so may have the most value for a team that’s looking for a jumbo defensive end who can slide inside on passing downs. Lines up in different techniques, sometimes even in a two-point stance. Workout warrior who has a thick frame and a lot of power. Physical player who is able to dig in at the line of scrimmage in the run game, or fire out low and with some explosiveness, using his bull-rush to reset the line of scrimmage. Has heavy hands to ragdoll opponents, shedding blocks effectively. Thudding hitter who can help set the tone defensively. Has some discipline when working as the read man. Gives good effort as a pass rusher, with some ability to convert speed to power; mixes up his rushes. Good hips to turn the corner, with some ability to dip his shoulder and make a smooth arc. Above-average closing burst for his size and was able to record some wins on the outside.

Negatives:

  • Arms are shorter than average, preventing him from keeping opponents out of his frame. Instincts are lagging behind his athletic ability; seems a little bit late to diagnose what’s going on and doesn’t end up around as many plays as his physical and athletic attributes would indicate. Has trouble dealing with cut blocks. Better at handling power directly and can be put on skates when trying to scrape down the line. Recorded just eight sacks over three seasons as a starter (3.5 last season). Sort of a ‘tweener who may need a specialized role/the right defensive fit in order to succeed. Tore his ACL during the pre-draft process, which should drop him a round or two below where he would have otherwise gone.

Summary:

  • An interesting prospect who has some rare tools and the versatility to potentially contribute in a variety of different ways. Diagnostic skills are raw for someone who has as much starting experience as he does and arm length can be an issue, but could still come off the board in the mid-rounds as a surprisingly explosive and flexible pass-rusher for his size, and as a player who could eventually be a solid run defender.
Advertisements

DT Harrison Phillips, Stanford

6’4” – 308 lbs. – 5.21

Profile:

  • Played sparingly as a reserve in 2014, then injured his knee in the season opener and missed the subsequent season. Took over as a full-time starter the following year, and put together two highly productive seasons to conclude his career, declaring early for the draft after picking up over one hundred tackles as a junior. Played nose tackle in both three and four-man defensive fronts and projects there at the next level as well.

Positives:

  • Has a big, thick build with long arms (just under 34”) and massive hands (nearly 10.5”). Calling card is his run defense; recorded a lot of stops at the college level. Able to extend his arms and play a two-gap, read-and-react game, and also has enough quickness off the line to skinny through gaps and create disruption. Able to dig in and anchor at the line of scrimmage. Excellent combination of strength and technique; was often able to do what he wanted against single blockers. Put up forty-two reps on the bench in Indianapolis, and has an amateur wrestling background. Can jolt opponents on contact and make himself a handful when he’s doubled. Length gives him a good tackling radius; flashes the ability to make tackles while engaged. Gets his hands up to contest passing lanes, and had impressive sack production for his size. High-character, high-motor player.

Negatives:

  • Get-off at the snap is a little bit inconsistent. Can lapse into letting defenders into his pads at times; also somewhat taller than teams like their nose tackles to be. Makes questionable reads more often than you’d think given his tackle output. Not as dynamic a pass-rusher as his production would indicate; more powerful than explosive, and primary value may be in occupying blockers to create opportunities for teammates. Effort rusher instead of a freakish athlete; doesn’t really have special burst.

Summary:

  • Outstanding production, size, and strength should make him a highly sought-after commodity, although he’s not quite as explosive or dynamic as his numbers would suggest. Has the ability to one-gap or two-gap, but would be best-suited to the latter capacity. Could play in either sort of defensive front and may not always have to come off the field on passing downs. Consequently, looks like a second or third-round pick.

 

 

DT Folorunso Fatukasi, Connecticut

6’4” – 315 lbs. – 5.29

Misc:

  • Redshirted, then started three of twelve games the following year as a rotational player. Became practically a full-time starter the following year, working with the first team in each of the final three seasons of his career.

Positives:

  • Big, thickly-built nose tackle who typically played left defensive tackle on his team’s line and also lined up both as a nose tackle and the five-technique spot when his team was playing in an odd defensive front, so he had some positional/schematic versatility at the college level. Plays with physicality and discipline and comes out of his stance low despite his height. Space-eater who has no problem holding his ground against power and creating solid run fits to close off lanes as a two-gapper; has plenty of power in both his lower and upper bodies. Even able to dig in against double teams. A pretty good fit for a read-and-react type of team that wants him to hold his ground at the line of scrimmage. Flashes the ability to make tackles while engaged. Not totally limited as a pass-rusher; picked up 13.5 sacks in his three seasons as a starter. Good stamina; was a high snap player for his size, and looked to be in better shape as a senior.

Negatives:

  • Lumbering player with little to no explosiveness or short-area quickness. Very limited range in pursuit. Doesn’t reset the line of scrimmage as often as he should given his frame; typically found at the line of scrimmage. Struggles to make tackles in his area with consistency because of his lack of length and closing burst. Rush repertoire is limited. Has some ability to walk back interior linemen with his bull rush but projects as more of a two-down rotational player rather than a candidate to stay on the field on passing downs. Despite having moved around in college, looks like a pure nose-tackle, preferably as a zero-technique on a defensive front with two-gap principles.

Summary:

  • Impressive pass-rush production aside, is essentially a two-gap run stuffer who can dig in at the line of scrimmage and eat space, forcing opposing runners to find other lanes. Has the frame, power, stamina, and discipline to work his way into a pro rotation, but will probably see his role reduced, as he doesn’t really offer the type of disruption to stay on the field on obvious passing downs. How highly teams value that sort of skillset will determine his draft stock, but looks like a relatively safe mid-round pick.

DT Justin Jones, North Carolina St.

6’2” – 312 lbs. – 5.09

Profile:

  • Rotated into the defense over ten games as a true freshman, then started three of thirteen games the following year. Became a full-time starting tackle in 2016, and reprised that role as a senior.

Positives:

  • Thick, well-built one-technique nose tackle who plays the game with aggression and physicality; good development throughout his frame, with a thick lower body. Fires out of his stance low and does a good job of using his bull rush to generate push against opposing linemen. Stout at the point of attack; can dig in and hold his ground at the line when defending the run. Has good instincts to flow toward the ball, and a high motor to make tackles in pursuit. Scrapes down the line in congested areas. Active with his hands as a pass-rusher and often stayed on the field in passing situations; at the very least, is capable of occupying blockers to free up opportunities for his teammates. Also has some experience flipping over to the three-technique spot. Sniffs out screens effectively.

Negatives:

  • Somewhat inconsistent get-off when reacting to the ball being snapped. Bull rush often starts well but can die off because his legs stop driving, allowing opponents to recover. A little bit limited as a pass-rusher; pretty active with his hands, but doesn’t always appear to have much of a plan and often ends up around the line of scrimmage. Could get his hands up to contest passing lanes with more consistency. Gives effort but doesn’t really have the athleticism to make it to the sidelines in pursuit. May be considered a little bit scheme-limited; could draw some interest as either a nose tackle in an odd front or an under tackle in an even front, but looks like a pretty clear one-technique on a four-man line.

Summary:

  • Not one of the sexier defensive tackles in this year’s class, but a pretty good prospect who offers a thick build with natural power, good instincts to flow toward the ball in the run game, and a high motor to maximize his skillset. Those traits should make him a mid-round pick. Figures to begin his career as a reserve/rotational interior lineman and could possibly develop into more with time. That said, may never be the type of dynamic penetrator some teams look for.

DT Nathan Shepherd, Fort Hays St.

6’5” – 315 lbs. – 5.09

Profile:

  • Originally attended Simon Fraser University as an undersized linebacker. Redshirted, then rotated into the defense over nine games. Transferred to Division II Fort Hays St. and spent the past three seasons there, enjoying three productive seasons to conclude his collegiate career.

Positives:

  • Plays the one-technique and sometimes even the zero-technique; may project as more of a three-technique or one-gap one-technique in the pros. Has an impressive combination of height and bulk for a defensive tackle, with more athleticism than is usual for his size. An explosive player off the snap who drew a lot of attention from opposing blocking schemes; was frequently chipped or double-teamed by opponents. Has an excellent work rate on a snap-to-snap basis and served as an every-down lineman at the college level. Able to flow down the line toward the ballcarrier on stretch runs and other outside attempts. Flashes the ability to make tackles while engaged. Tenacious bull-rusher who can walk back opposing linemen into the pocket. Varies his approach as a pass-rusher and flashes the ability to shed blockers with hand use. Has short-area quickness to find open lanes to the quarterback, and an impressive burst to finish his rushes with sacks. Blocked a couple of kicks in his first season at Fort Hays St. Walked on after working at a factory and ended up paying his way through college.

Negatives:

  • Will need to make a massive leap up in the level of competition he’ll be facing at the next level. Lets his pad level rise and is already taller than your typical defensive lineman. Can look like he’s playing on skates at times, being washed down the line of scrimmage when opponents get into his pads. Instincts are still a work in progress. Takes himself out of some plays by getting too aggressive; needs to play within the defense more consistently. Consequently, may not appeal to teams that prefer discipline in their run fits over disruptive athletes. Struggled to deal with double-team blockers. Got consistently blown off the line of scrimmage by cut blocks during the games reviewed. Doesn’t always look like he has a plan as a pass-rusher.

Summary:

  • Has been a hot name during the pre-draft process, and could interest teams who are willing to let him sit to begin his career in order to potentially reap the rewards which further development and discipline could bring. Probably won’t appeal to teams looking for discipline on the defensive line, but could be a disruptive force down the road and may go as high as the second day.

DT Vita Vea, Washington*

6’4″ – 347 lbs. – 5.10

Played in thirteen games as a redshirt freshman, then started five of fourteen the following year and became a full-time starter as a junior before declaring for the draft. One of the most straightforward evaluations in this year’s draft class. An absolutely massive run-stuffer with below-average length but world-class size and bulk for an interior lineman. Played all over the defensive line for the Huskies; typically the left defensive tackle on the team’s four-man lines, and a zero-technique nose tackle or five-technique end in odd fronts. One of the most physically overwhelming players in the class. Has incredible strength and dominated collegiate linemen. Excellent two-gapper who uses brute force to control blockers, driving them into rushing lanes to create a mess in the middle of the line. Has active, heavy hands to ragdoll opponents when stacking and shedding. Digs in easily in the run game and can handle double-teams, eating blocks to free up teammates. Hits like a ton of bricks. Doesn’t have a great tackling radius but puts himself in position to make tackles on inside attempts and can use his grip strength to bring down ballcarriers while engaged. Good instincts, tends to flow in the play direction. Gives effort in pursuit and has relatively impressive athleticism for a player of his size, but overall range is generally limited to playing between the tackles. More of a facilitator in the passing game than a threat to bring down the passer; remained on the field in some passing situations at the college level, although some teams may view him as more of a two-down option at the next level. Get-off at the line is just average, but comes out low and can bull-rush opposing linemen into the pocket to disrupt attempts. Active hands in the run game carry over into the passing game; uses a swim move and (less frequently) a spin, but is far better at attacking blockers than shooting gaps. Gets his hands up to contest passing lanes when he’s unable to reach the quarterback. Draft stock will be determined more by philosophical concerns than by differing evaluations of his overall skillset and performance; how much are teams willing to invest in an elite run-stuffer who may not offer much in the passing game? If the draft status of former teammate Danny Shelton is any indication, he should end up going somewhere in the first round.

DT Da’Ron Payne, Alabama*

6’2″ – 311 lbs. – 4.95

Rotated into the defense as a freshman, then spent the past two seasons in the starting lineup before foregoing his senior season in order to declare for the draft. Big, thickly-built defensive lineman who usually played the one-technique on four-man lines (sub packages) and the zero in odd fronts (base); also projects as a nose tackle at the next level. Was listed at 308 pounds this past season but started at 319 as a sophomore. A pro-ready prospect who will be only twenty years old on draft day. Dominant run defender with all the tools needed to two-gap at the next level. Gets out of his stance quickly and does a good job of diagnosing the play and flowing toward the ballcarrier. Can reportedly bench press 545 pounds, and weight-room numbers translate to the field. Has the lower-body strength to anchor against double-teams and can control opposing linemen in one-on-one situations to create congestion. Uses his hands well to shed blockers at the appropriate time in order to make tackles. Also demonstrates the ability to make tackles while engaged. Strong grip to stop forward progress and bring down ballcarriers away from his frame. Could potentially also play in a defense which wanted him to shoot gaps, a testament to his athletic ability. The rare nose tackle who’s able to stay on the field in passing situations. Plays with excellent intensity and is very light on his feet for such a big man. Has the explosiveness and suddenness to penetrate into the backfield and generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Very active with his hands, mixing in different rush moves; best move is his overhand swim move. Bull-rushes surprisingly infrequently. Closes surprisingly quickly for his size, although he’s more of a pressure-generator than a sack artist; picked up just 2.5 sacks over the past two seasons, but eleven pressures, including eight as a junior. Consequently, is able to draw some extra blocking attention on passing downs, creating one-on-one situations for his teammates. Gets his hands up to contest passing lanes. The total package: a very thickly-built nose tackle with excellent strength and rare athleticism for his size, allowing him to two-gap against the run and remain on the field to generate pressure as a pass-rusher on third down. Those traits make him a likely first-round pick, especially coming from a program with a reputation for churning out high-quality, pro-ready defenders.

DT Deadrin Senat, South Florida

6’0″ – 314 lbs. – 5.16

Redshirted in 2013, then rotated into the defense over twelve games the following year, before starting ten of twelve games played the following season. Was named the team’s defensive MVP the following season, one in which he started twelve of thirteen games played, then earned first-team all-conference honors as a senior. Invited to the Shrine Game. Very squatty, thickly-built defensive lineman with what looks like a maxed out frame. Takes most of his snaps as a nose tackle (right defensive tackle) in his team’s even defensive fronts, but will occasionally slide over to the left defensive tackle spot or take snaps as more of a zero-technique at times as well. Primary value is as a run defender. Was asked to do a lot of two-gapping in college, and has the low center of gravity and natural girth to dig in and hold the point of attack when run at. Does a pretty good job of flowing toward the play side, and can create congestion to clog running lanes. Has very heavy hands to shed blocks; can ragdoll interior linemen at times in order to create opportunities to make stops. Hits like a ton of bricks and can stop forward progress on contact. However, is significantly less valuable on passing downs. Offers just adequate get-off out of his stance, and has a tendency to get upright rather than firing out. When he comes out low, flashes the ability to knife between gaps and force opposing quarterbacks off their spot, but ends too many of his rushes idling near the line of scrimmage because at this point his repertoire doesn’t really include any rush moves or counters. Holds the point of attack better than he uses his bull rush to walk back opposing offensive linemen into the pocket. Could also do a better job of getting his hands up to contest passing lanes, although his lack of length may prevent him from batting too many passes. A pretty straightforward evaluation in that he comes with three years of starting experience, a maxed-out frame with the strength needed to play at the next level, and a clear role, that of a two-down, two-gap run stuffer from the nose tackle spot. Consequently, looks like he could earn some consideration in the mid-rounds of the draft, even though at this point he doesn’t offer very much as a pass-rusher.

DT Derrick Nnadi, Florida St.

6’1″ – 317 lbs. – 5.38

Was a regular member of the defensive-line rotation over nine  games played as a true freshman, then started an average of twelve games played in each of the following three seasons, serving as the team’s nose tackle. Has a very thick, pro-ready frame, although height is just adequate; looks a little bit bigger in the upper-body. Plays some different techniques for the Seminoles, including the zero-technique and one-technique, and projects there at the next level as well. Typically asked to two-gap and eat space in the middle of the Seminoles’ defensive line. Plays with an impressive motor and very physical on-field demeanor. Workout warrior whose weight-room strength translates to the field and represents his greatest asset as a player. Can be too much for some interior lineman to handle, resetting the line of scrimmage with his bull rush and drawing double teams. Comes out of his stance low, plays with leverage, and anchors well at the point of attack. Can drive blockers into rushing lanes to create congestion. Keeps blockers away from his pads with quick hands. Flashes the ability to stack and shed, with a strong grip and solid tackling radius. However, instincts/play recognition are inconsistent; doesn’t always flow toward the play direction. Has some balance issues and will end up on the ground more often than he should. Range in pursuit is very limited, not the type of defensive lineman who can be found chasing ballcarriers toward the sidelines. Remains on the field on passing downs. Gets off the line of scrimmage pretty quickly for a player of his size, with the ability to generate pressure as a one-gap or two-gap rusher on the interior. Typically depends on his bull rush to walk opposing linemen back into the pocket, but also works a swim move into his game with some success. Has heavy hands to ragdoll opponents and create lanes for himself. However, lacks the closing burst to finish his rushes with a sack and consequently some teams may rotate him off the field in some passing situations. A very thick, physical, and powerful two-gapping nose tackle with plenty of starting experience for a major program; represents a high-floor prospect who should be able to work his way into a defensive-line rotation early in his career. Will hope to follow in the footsteps of fellow Seminoles’ alumni such as Broderick Bunkley, Letroy Guion, Timmy Jernigan, and Eddie Goldman.

DT Lowell Lotulelei, Utah

6’2″ – 315 lbs. – 5.30e

Started nine of thirteen games played at defensive tackle as a freshman, then spent started nine games at left tackle the following season while also recording twenty-six tackles on defense. Started twelve games at right tackle the following year, then transitioned back to defensive tackle. Has pro bloodlines; brother is Panthers defensive lineman Star Lotulelei. Very thickly-built nose tackle who typically plays the one-technique in his team’s defense, but will also line up over the center as a zero-technique at times. A prototypical two-gap space-eater. Anchor is strong enough to hold the point, even against the occasional double team. Has powerful hands to shed blockers in the run game, although his tackling radius is limited by his lack of length. Can control blockers and create congestion in the middle of the line, but overall range and willingness to pursue plays to the outside are marginal. Will get preoccupied with taking on blockers and lose track of the ball. Could play with more consistent leverage and keep his feet moving on a consistent basis; will occasionally come out high, let his feet go dead on contact, and rely on his natural power. Projects as more of a rotational player but flashes the ability to explode out of his stance and drive smaller linemen back like blocking sleds to collapse the pocket and generate pressures in the passing game. Relatively athletic in his initial move downhill but athleticism dramatically drops off with distance. Hands are quick enough to mitigate some of his length deficiency and works a surprisingly effective swim move into his game at times, although he projects as predominantly a bull-rusher. Doesn’t really have developed counters he can fall back on if his initial move is unsuccessful. Past experience as an offensive tackle is more of a curiosity than a viable backup plan for his career given his lack of height and length; would have to move inside to offensive guard in a best-case scenario. A fairly straightforward projection as a powerful, thickly-built nose tackle who can two-gap and anchor against the run, but who is probably going to be more of a two-down rotational player who comes off the field on passing downs despite some initial burst and a surprisingly effective swim move. Draft stock will depend on how highly teams value that type of skillset.