NFL Draft Analysis: Defensive Tackles
Every week up until the 2019 NFL Draft on April 25, The Barber’s Chair will post weekly scouting reports of the top prospects to watch in this year’s selection class. The players are listed in no particular order. The heights and weights of each athlete were gathered from NFL.com’s official Combine results page.
Houston | 6’2” | 287 lbs.
Strengths: Slimmer frame allows for greater mobility. Unwavering motor with noticeable closing speed. Stays active. A nasty bull rush created by his fast get-off is then followed by the use of violent hands. Disrupts run lanes and shoots gaps well causing quarterbacks to roll out. Plays all fronts along the line.
Weaknesses: His smaller body means some offensive lineman have the advantage when it comes to length and leverage. Bigger interior lineman easily stonewall him with favorable angles at the line of scrimmage. Had two offsides calls against Memphis.
Pro comparison: Jurrell Casey
Alabama | 6’3” | 303 lbs.
Strengths: Seemingly always near the ball. Really nice swim move. An excellent pass-rusher as well as a run-stopper. Virtually unblockable one-on-one in pass protection. Sometimes double teams don’t even work. Georgia’s interior line made him look human and he still ended with 8 tackles.
Weaknesses: Arms will occasionally flail and get stuck but gets by with his motor and get-off.
Pro comparison: Fletcher Cox
I have no problem calling him the best player in the draft. Finding weaknesses was the biggest challenge in evaluating him.
Clemson | 6’4” | 342 lbs.
Strengths: Heavy hands and major upper-body strength. Cranked out the second-most bench press reps at the combine (36). Massive frame is ideal for clogging run lanes. Nimble feet in his lateral movement working up and down the offensive line.
Weaknesses: Not fast at all. Needs to be precise when he collapses on the ball-carrier or he wont get there. Lack of pass-rushing ability.
Pro comparison: Dontari Poe
Clemson | 6’3” | 315 lbs.
Strengths: An asset in the playing the run. Smart and determined when shooting through gaps. Always runs with a full head of steam. Took nothing but double teams when Dexter Lawrence wasn’t on the field with him. Possesses the awareness to consistently bat down passes. Lower center of gravity aids his bull rush when pushing upward.
Weaknesses: Lack of arm length. Offensive linemen win a lot with first contact then he goes nowhere. Becomes easy to evade once this happens. Needs more pass rush moves in his arsenal.
Pro comparison: Marcell Dareus
Mississippi State | 6’4” | 301 lbs.
Strengths: Adapts to each play instead of bull rushing nonsensically. Wins with his moveset and aims to get the offensive guards off-balance. Uses the length of his arms to create separation between linemen.
Weaknesses: A hair late on a lot of run plays. When the ball carrier is crossing the line of scrimmage, he’s not in a position to disengage.
Pro comparison: Jarran Reed
Notre Dame | 6’6” | 295 lbs.
Strengths: Looked like a Hall of Famer against Stanford. Interior lineman can’t match his arm length. Tillery always gets first contact and dictates where the lineman goes. Hand fights all the way into the quarterback. Doesn’t get bullied backward on run downs.
Weaknesses: Although he doesn’t get pushed around, he’s still inconsistent. His block shedding in run defense is questionable. Needs to be more of a force. His middling bench press performance (23 reps) at the combine explains it.
Pro comparison: Chris Jones