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Kony Ealy could bulk up to play defensive tackle

One of the most intriguing aspects to Missouri defensive end prospect Kony Ealy is his versatility.

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At 6-4 and 274 pounds, he's a classic defensive end, but big enough to perhaps play inside on third down as an interior pass rusher. Nevertheless, quality full-time defensive tackles can be awfully hard to find. And NFL Media insider Ian Rapoport's understanding is that some clubs might want to bulk Ealy up to about 290 pounds and play him inside on a regular basis.

A move like that, of course, might mean Ealy won't see the edge again. As with every prospect, scheme fit is important. With Ealy, a 4-3 defensive front would suit him best.

Rapoport suggests the New York Giants, Chicago Bears, St. Louis Rams and Dallas Cowboys could be drawn to Ealy as a three-technique defensive tackle. The Rams already have one of the NFL's best defensive end duos in Robert Quinn and Chris Long, so Ealy's role in St. Louis would almost certainly be as more of an inside player.

Projections on Ealy range from the late-first to mid-second round of next week's NFL draft. NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks' latest mock draft has Ealy going to the New Orleans Saints at No. 27 overall.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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