After the combine showed us that Gerald McCoy had a lot more to offer than we originally thought, many experts are whispering that he could be a better prospect than Ndamukong Suh. Perhaps, but it’s also possible that we’re reading too much into the NFL Combine.
Regardless, there’s little doubt as to who the top two defensive tackles are in this year’s draft, but after the two big guys (who are likely top-five picks), there’s a muddled group that hold a lot of potential.
Read on for the top defensive tackles in the 2010 NFL Draft:
1. Ndamukong Suh (Nebraska)
Even with all the hype of the 2010 NFL Combine, Suh is still arguably the best defensive tackle in this year’s draft, and is still a strong candidate to be taken with the first overall pick.
Suh is a massive man with good overall athleticism, along with good power and agility. He commands attention up the middle, and is very effective in both run support and rushing the passer.
Scouts question whether he’ll be an elite pass-rusher at the next level, however, and some are worried that he could be a one-year wonder.
2. Gerald McCoy (Oklahoma)
McCoy out-performed Suh is just about every drill at the 2010 NFL Combine, earning praise as the “new best defensive tackle”, and having many talking about him being picked first overall.
He’s very similar to Suh, but isn’t regarded as an elite run defender, and isn’t necessarily a perfect fit for every scheme. The Combine may have shown us that he’s a better overall athlete than Suh, but we’re still not sold that he’s as balanced or dominant.
Hey, there’s nothing wrong with being second-best, right?
3. Dan Williams (Tennessee)
Williams has good height and size for the position, and can play the middle for either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme at the next level. He almost certainly doesn’t have the versatility or speed to line-up at an end spot in a 3-4, although his solid athleticism could make it worth a shot down the road.
He’s a very good athlete with tremendous power and pursuit. He specializes in the run, is fairly quick, and possesses a solid amount of potential.
Unfortunately, his work ethic and longevity are somewhat in question. He tends to get tired and complacent, and needs to work on his consistency. He’s fairly one-dimensional, as well, as he doesn’t have elite pass-rushing skills. But as far as nose tackles go, he’s the cream of the crop.
4. Jared Odrick (Penn State)
Odrick is a physical specimen, possessing a range of skills, combined with excellent speed and quickness. He’s very athletic and versatile for his position, and could be used in a numbers of ways.
His downfall is his lack of great strength, and despite his great height and solid size, he can get pushed around by bigger offensive linemen. He also has some off-field issues that could turn some teams off.
5. Brian Price (UCLA)
Price has solid size and is very athletic, while possessing quick hands and feet. He’s not very versatile, and probably only belongs on the inside of a 4-3, but is extremely effective in his role.
He can explode off the snap and plays at a consistently high level with terrific effort, and shows great instincts in pursuit of the ball carrier.
His overall athleticism is lacking, however, and his lack of great versatility could hurt his stock a bit.
6. Odd Man Out: Terrence Cody (Alabama)
Cody has a miserable (and depressing) showing at the 2010 NFL Combine, as he showed up overweight, and did not have a strong showing in any of the drills.
Still, this negative can easily be a positive, as Cody has a massive frame and possesses great power and strength. He won’t be confused with a pass-rushing defensive tackle, anyways, and his lack of versatility doesn’t hurt him as much as you’d think.
He’s strictly a nose tackle in a 3-4, as he doesn’t have good range, speed, or versatility. However, despite his size, he’s still very athletic and disruptive. He’s an absolute beast against the run, as well.
Honorable Mentions: Lamarr Houston, Geno Atkins, Cam Thomas, Mike Neal, Torell Troup, Tyson Aualu
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