NFL Draft  

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Star Lotulelei, Sharrif Floyd head loaded defensive tackle class

Every NFL draft is unique. Certain positions might be flush with elite players one year only to be completely bereft of talent the following April. The 2013 NFL Draft lacks the big-name, top-tier talent that we've seen the last few years, but there are a few positions that are loaded with starter-caliber players.

The position that is flush with the most talent this time around is defensive tackle. It's possible we could see as many as 10 defensive tackles selected in the first 40 picks. Here's a quick look at those players:

Star Lotulelei, Utah: This was a pretty easy evaluation. Lotulelei has the tools to fit in either a 4-3 or 3-4 front. He has quick feet, strong hands and a good feel for the game. He can reset the line of scrimmage versus the run and possesses several effective hand moves as a pass rusher. His versatility is a huge plus for a team looking to employ multiple fronts. He should be a lock as a top-10 pick.

Sharrif Floyd, Florida: Floyd is the most dynamic defensive tackle in this draft. As a pass rusher, he has an explosive first step and very quick hands. Against the run, he uses his quickness to shoot through gaps and create plays on the other side of the line of scrimmage. He does play too high at times, but he's very instinctive and his effort is solid. Several teams have Floyd rated higher than Lotulelei, and I would be shocked if he wasn't selected in the top 10 of this draft.

Sheldon Richardson, Missouri: Richardson is an ideal three-technique in a 4-3 defense. His game is entirely predicated on quickness and effort. He is very disruptive versus both run and pass. He has a lot of success with a quick swim move as a pass rusher and also displays an athletic spin move. Against the run, he has to win early in the down with his quickness or else physical interior blockers overpower him. His lateral range and effort are both phenomenal. He tracks down wide receivers on tunnel screens; I've seen him make plays more than 30 yards down the field. He's a likely top-15 pick.

Kawann Short, Purdue: Short was a dominating force at the Senior Bowl, where his combination of size, strength and quickness certainly caught the attention of the scouting community. He has the tools to play in either front and he's very likely to get picked in the middle-to-late portion of the first round.

Sylvester Williams, North Carolina: Williams is very similar to Richardson. He is better suited to play in a 4-3 defense because of his quickness and agility. He is a disruptive interior pass rusher who employs a quick swim move as well as a nifty counter move. He lacks the power to create much movement with his bull rush. Against the run, Williams has quick feet, plays aware and shows good lateral range. He can get uprooted and washed down the line of scrimmage versus the double team. He is projected to be a mid-to-late first-round pick.

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Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State: Hankins has excellent functional strength and should fit in very nicely as a 3-4 defensive end at the next level. Against the run, he has quick hands to press off blockers and plays with a very firm base. "Big Hank" doesn't make many plays outside of the tackle box, but he's tough to move off the line of scrimmage. As a pass rusher, he relies almost solely on power to push the pocket. I gave him a late first-round grade, but some teams I've spoken with feel like he's more likely to go in the top of the second round.

Jesse Williams, Alabama: Williams is an ideal 3-4 nose tackle. He has a thick, square build and is very tough to move off the line of scrimmage. He plays with excellent knee bend and leverage against the run and is capable of pushing the pocket as a pass rusher. He has decent short-area quickness and will occasionally split double teams to create negative plays. I wouldn't be surprised to see him land in the bottom of the first round with a team in need of a powerful interior defender.

John Jenkins, Georgia: Jenkins is enormous. He played last season at 360-plus pounds. He is an inconsistent player on tape, but his sheer size is intriguing to teams in need of a 3-4 nose tackle. He has the length and strength to stack single blocks, but he struggled to hold his ground versus angle blocks and double teams. He doesn't provide much as a pass rusher and is likely only a two-down player at the next level. He didn't play like a first-round pick in 2012, but his potential has teams intrigued.

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Brandon Williams, Missouri Southern: I'm anxious to study the tape on Williams after his performance at the Senior Bowl. He checked in at 341 pounds and wowed scouts with his initial quickness during the practices. Most teams had him in the third-round area prior to his trip to Mobile, Ala., but now he's very likely to come off the board by the early portion of the second round.

Bennie Logan, LSU: Logan was a hot/cold player on film. He made several impressive plays on early tape, but his play tailed off in the later games I studied. He flashes the ability to stack single blockers before shedding them and pursuing the football. However, there are also plenty of plays where he stands straight up and gets completely washed down the line of scrimmage. He has the athletic ability to make plays outside the tackle box, but his effort is inconsistent. He is still a work in progress, but he possesses plenty of upside. I won't be shocked if he's selected near the top of the second round.

Follow Daniel Jeremiah on Twitter @MoveTheSticks.

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