Draft's top defensive tackles

Top defensive tackles in 2008 NFL Draft:

1. Sedrick Ellis, Southern California

Height: 6-0   Weight: 309
College stats: 36 starts, 144 tackles, 28.5 tackles for loss, 17.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles
Vital numbers: 5.0 40-yard dash, 4.73 short shuttle, 36 reps on the bench

Most teams have Dorsey as the top defensive tackle and I have no problem with that but Ellis is my choice because of his non stop motor and he has been healthier. I still haven't seen a bench press test result for Dorsey not that it's the most important test the players take but I do know how strong Ellis is with his 36 reps on the test. Sedrick's performance at the Senior Bowl when he dominated every guard and center for the week of practice was all I had to see to make my decision. Draft projection: Round 1.


2. Glenn Dorsey, LSU

Height: 6-1   Weight: 297
College stats: 31 starts, 157 tackles, 29 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, 1 forced fumble
Vital numbers: 5.12 40-yard dash, 4.80 short shuttle, no recorded bench score

Dorsey is an excellent prospect who will be selected in one of the top four spots in this draft. He has Warren Sapp's first-step quickness, long arms and an ability to be disruptive inside especially in a 4-3 defense as a three technique. He played through injuries at a high level and when he was healthy was unblockable. Draft projection: Round 1.


3. Kentwan Balmer, North Carolina

Height: 6-4   Weight: 308
College stats: 22 starts, 92 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, 0 forced fumbles
Vital numbers: 5.11 40-yard dash, 4.80 short shuttle, 33 reps on the bench

There are varied opinions on Balmer. Some see him as a low motor underachiever more often than not and others see him as a dancing bear inside who can be disruptive. He is big, strong and could fit in a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme. The game tapes make him look more like a two gap candidate as a DE in a 3-4 defense. He's only a one year true starter and when you realize he never forced a fumble, recovered a fumble and has limited sacks in his career its easy to see a motor that doesn't always run hot. Draft projection: Rounds 1-2.


4. Trevor Laws, Notre Dame

Height: 6-0   Weight: 304
College stats: 37 starts, 224 tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, 2 forced fumbles
Vital numbers: 5.13 40-yard dash, 4.49 short shuttle, 35 reps on the bench

I was impressed with Laws at the Senior Bowl practices. He has a motor, he has a knack to recover and make a play and he reads blocking schemes very well. He is a much better fit in a 4-3 one gap scheme especially on first and second downs. He would be an excellent third tackle in a rotation. A 4-3 team may have him graded higher than Balmer and would be a nice fit in Chicago, the Giants, or Indianapolis. In a 3-4 defense he would disappear like Dewayne Robertson did for the Jets. Draft projection: Round 2.


5. Pat Sims, Auburn

Height: 6-2   Weight: 301
College stats: 12 starts, 53 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles
Vital numbers: 5.09 40-yard dash, 4.80 short shuttle, 20 reps on the bench

Sims is a good athlete, but the 20 reps on the bench are not very good. He relies on his natural skills and is only a one-year starter. He needed to stay in school for another year and mature as a player and a person. It's a lean year for tackles and he will get drafted higher than he should based on what I watched on film. He needs to be in a one gap scheme and always stunting to survive in the NFL. He does not have the power or technique to survive otherwise. A guard such as Alan Fanaca could do a lot of damage to Sims early in his career. Draft projection: Round 2.


6. Dre Moore, Maryland

Height: 6-4   Weight: 305
College stats: 26 starts, 140 tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles
Vital numbers: 4.84 40-yard dash, 4.55 short shuttle, 31 reps on the bench

Moore moves well for a big man and could fit in a 3-4 as well as a 4-3 scheme. He looked more impressive in drills at the Senior Bowl than he did in the team period. His first move is more conducive to a two gap scheme than a penetrator. His measurables suggest he can really run but his play speed suggests it doesn't transfer yet. He's another guy that doesn't pass many of his own players in pursuit of plays away. He may never be more than a rotation player unless the light goes on about how hard the game has to be played snap to whistle. Draft projection: Rounds 2-3.


7. Red Bryant, Texas A&M

Height: 6-4   Weight: 318
College stats: 42 starts, 127 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble
Vital numbers: 4.88 40-yard dash, 4.64 short shuttle, 20 reps on the bench

At the Senior Bowl, he looked like he had a chance to be a space eater in the 3-4 defense on the nose. He plays stronger than his poor bench press test result, but he still needs to live in the weight room. There are defensive backs and receivers who throw up 225 pounds more than he does. He has the arm length and quickness to combine one gap penetration with two gap technique. He could line up at any of the 3-4 defensive line spots and at both inside spots in a 4-3 package. His speed suggests he can rush the passer but the film says otherwise. 2007 was a comeback season from an ACL injury and his best football could be ahead of him. Draft projection: Rounds 3-4.


8. Ahtyha Rubin, Iowa

Height: 6-2   Weight: 315
College stats: 20 starts, 76 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble
Vital numbers: 5.29 40-yard dash, 35 reps on the bench

Some believe he is a 3-4 nose tackle candidate, but his height isn't ideal and he doesn't take on double teams the way NFL 3-4 nose tackles have to every Sunday. A junior college kid who originally was an offensive lineman. I could see him as a backup to Jamal Williams in San Diego, but struggle to see him as the man who sets the 3-4 defense in motion commanding a double team. Draft projection: Round 4.


9. DeMario Pressley, N.C. State

Height: 6-3   Weight: 301
College stats: 32 starts, 140 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles
Vital numbers: 5.09 40-yard dash, 4.47 short shuttle, 28 reps on the bench

Pressley is another guy that doesn't go hard all the time and will probably fit as a rotation tackle in a 4-3 scheme. He has an injury history, limited pass rush skills, and may have a very hard time when pro coaching gets in his face. Draft projection: Round 4.


10. Carlton Powell, Virginia Tech

Height: 6-2   Weight: 292
College stats: 32 starts, 107 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble
Vital numbers: 5.00 40-yard dash, 4.62 short shuttle, 23 reps on the bench

Powell gives decent effort and has to be in a one gap front. The Tampa scheme where movement and stunting happens all the time is his best chance to make a team. His strength is a concern and he may never be more than a backup. Draft projection: Round 5.


11. Jason Jones, Eastern Michigan

Height: 6-5   Weight: 273
College stats: 36 starts, 174 tackles, 50 tackles for loss, 14 sacks, 3 forced fumbles
Vital numbers: 4.78 40-yard dash, 4.32 short shuttle, 18 reps on the bench

Jones probably has more upside than half the tackles ahead of him. He needs to develop more upper body strength but he has the lower body strength, the height and the speed to be an interesting prospect at most of the defensive line spots in all the schemes. He struggled at the bowl practices but the talent is there. He could go a lot higher in the draft and is visiting a lot more teams than most of the tackles ahead of him. Draft projection: Rounds 4-5 (but don't be surprised if he goes in the third round).


12. Andre Fluellen, Florida State

Height: 6-1   Weight: 296
College stats: 30 starts, 81 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, 0 forced fumbles
Vital numbers: 5.0 40-yard dash, 4.45 short shuttle, 28 reps on the bench

He has talent and played through injury most of his career and could make it as a back up if he can stay healthy. A one gap front is his only chance. Draft projection: Round 6.

13. Kendall Langford, Hampton

Height: 6-6   Weight: 287
College stats: 38 starts, 236 tackles, 56 tackles for loss, 24.5 sacks, 5 forced fumbles
Vital numbers: 4.95 40-yard dash, 4.69 short shuttle, 24 reps on the bench

Rare height/weight and college production. He will be higher on some draft boards as a defensive end in either scheme but one defensive line coach told me he likes him as an inside player. His production at a lower level of football was good but it could have even been better if he learned to disengage better from blocks. Draft projection: Round 6.

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