There's something for everyone in this class of defensive tackles. If it's a quick, pass rushing three technique you desire, Sharrif Floyd is your man. If you prefer a gigantic plugger, Johnathan Hankins will be your guy. Or if you need a combination, how about Kawann Short? As many as seven defensive tackles have been discussed as first round possibilities.
1. Sharrif Floyd, Florida, 6-3, 297: He can win in one-on-one pass rush situations. One scouting director lauded Floyd for his ability to "play with his eyes." He is a high energy player who left school early and still is developing. He fires off the line and attacks gaps. Floyd is instinctive and disruptive. "He has left a lot of sacks on the field, but as he figures things out he could become a finisher," a scout said. Another talent evaluator said he considers Floyd more disrupting than a sacker. He helps others make plays. Floyd weighs less than 300 pounds, but he plays bigger. He can anchor well and break down running plays. He needs to learn to shed blockers quicker and get to the ball.
2. Star Lotulelei, Utah, 6-3, 311: He is a very gifted big man who has been a somewhat inconsistent player. Lotulelei has tremendous power. He uses his strong upper body and hands to waylay blockers. His get off is special. One scout questioned his instincts. "He is a really good run player, and his pass rush may be developed," a scouting director said. Another scout said he still is raw as a pass rusher, but he can play all downs. He is mostly just a power rusher. He would be best utilized in a two-gap system. A heart condition that was discovered at the NFL scouting combine apparently is a non-factor, as Lotulelei has passed subsequent tests.
3. Sheldon Richardson, Missouri, 6-3, 294: He is a good candidate for a team looking for a three technique, pass rushing defense tackle. Richardson has a quick first step and a burst to finish. He shows good hand use, and can use a variety of interior rush moves. Richardson recognizes the play quickly and can shed blocks. "He can hold the point and rush a little," a scouting director said. Richardson is a nice blend of athleticism and effort. He makes chase plays. He sometimes plays erect and loses leverage. An early draft entree, he has potential to be a better pro than he was a college player.
4. Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State, 6-3, 320: He's huge and plays with power and explosion. He is quick off the snap and can get upfield. "He is a little like Vince Wilfork, that style of player," one front office man said. Some predict the best is yet to come with Hankins, who left school early. He is difficult to move, and subsequently is a force against the run. He has surprising quickness for his size. Hankins reads the play well. He has not played with consistent effort.
5. Kawann Short, Purdue, 6-3, 299: His talent is top shelf. "He can be dominant," one front office man said. "But he disappears at times." He will be blocked easily one-on-one on one play, and then defeat a double team on the next. If his motor ran higher, he could dominate. Short has long arms, a powerful core and he can defend both the pass and run. He has a knack for batting down passes. Short, who grew up in East Chicago, Ind., has good strength but it doesn't always show up on the field.
6. John Jenkins, Georgia, 6-4, 346: Teams looking for a nose tackle will love this prospect. "The No. 1 thing he is is big," one veteran scout said. He takes up a lot of real estate. Though massive, he does not always play as big. Jenkins gets beat on double teams. He flashes ability but is inconsistent. Jenkins holds the point well and allows others to make tackles. He does not make many plays himself. In pass defense, he strictly is a bull rusher. He can drive blockers backward. One front office man compares him to Dontari Poe of the Chiefs. When Jenkins keeps his balance and plays under control, he can be a disruptive force.
7. Sylvester Williams, North Carolina, 6-3, 313: He is one of the most versatile tackle prospects with upper end ability. He can play three technique, nose tackle or five technique. He uses a nice swim move to penetrate, and also can change it up with a bull rush. Williams is intense and strong. He has been productive. He shows quickness off the snap, but doesn't always finish the play. "He is solid at everything, but special at nothing," a scouting director said. Said another, "He is a full-grown man. He doesn't have a high ceiling, but he will be a consistent player from day one." Williams can improve his awareness.
8. Jesse Williams, Alabama, 6-4, 323: This Australian native grew up playing rugby. He is a huge space eater with excellent power. He is stronger in his upper body than lower (600 pound bench press). He doesn't penetrate much. Williams tries hard, but is stiff athletically. One scout said Williams is on the ground too much, and saw him as strictly a run down player. He does not make a lot of plays. Williams still is developing and could come on as his career progresses.
9. Akeem Spence, Illinois, 6-1, 307: He does not have ideal height, but he makes up for it with long, strong arms. "He's very strong up top," one executive said. Spence can control blockers one on one. He is a productive run defender who finds the ball and gets the ball carrier on the ground. He isn't the most effective pass rusher, but he has room to develop. He left Illinois after his junior year. He has 38 career starts.
10. Bennie Logan, Louisiana State, 6-2, 309: He may not be a high end athlete, but Logan is an appealing blend of football player and intangibles. He is a "terrific leader," according to scouts. He is consistent. He is tough. He plays hard. He has a good burst off the ball. And he's strong. Scouts think he can develop over time. Logan didn't have a real productive season in 2012, and decided to leave school early.
11. Kwame Geathers, Georgia, 6-3, 342: This is a gigantic space eater who will appeal to 3-4 teams looking for a nose tackle. Geathers has natural strength. "It's hard to knock him off a spot," a college scouting director said. "He is a monster of a man." Geathers does not make many plays, and he doesn't move laterally very well. He has only eight career starts, and scouts think he could have benefited from staying in school for his last year of eligibility. His brother (Robert Geathers Jr.) and uncle (Jumpy Geathers) both played in the NFL.
12. Brandon Williams, Missouri Southern, 6-1, 335: He is a compact, thickly built tackle with power. Williams, a nose tackle candidate, is mostly a run down player. Although he had 27 sacks in college, he probably won't be much of a pass rusher in the NFL. Williams lacks burst and explosiveness. He played against a lesser level of competition and needs to learn better technique. He gets pushed around at times, according to one front office man. Williams helped himself at the Senior Bowl.
13. Jordan Hill, Penn State, 6-1, 303: He is a very active defensive lineman who makes plays in pursuit. Hill has a good first step and can move laterally. He doesn't have ideal size or athleticism, but playing with good leverage helps him overcome his deficiencies. One experienced talent evaluator pegs him as a rotational player in the NFL.
14. Montori Hughes, Tennessee-Martin, 6-4, 329: The Tennessee transfer has rare size and potential. He plays with good power. Hughes has some good flashes but has not dominated consistently. Weight control appears to be an issue. He was dismissed from Tennessee because of off-the-field issues.
15. Quinton Dial, Alabama, 6-6, 318: NFL teams see potential in him because of his unusual size and his effort. Dial can penetrate with brute strength. He also could be seen as a defensive end in a three-man front, but he won't offer much as a pass rusher other than a bull rush. He recently had toe surgery.
16. T.J. Barnes, Georgia Tech, 6-6, 369: He is an enormous space eater who came on during the 2012 season. Barnes is learning to keep his pad level down and play with better leverage. He does not make many plays and doesn't have much quickness, but he absorbs blocks and would make a good nose tackle or five technique defensive end.
17. Josh Boyd, Mississippi State, 6-3, 310: He is a strong, tough tackle with decent size who can clog up the middle and help slow down a running game. One evaluator said Boyd doesn't play hard enough at times. He helped himself at the East-West Shrine game and at the Senior Bowl. He likely will be a rotational tackle in the estimation of one scout.
18. Lawrence Okoye, no college, 6-6, 308: A discus thrower from England, Okoye has no experience playing football. But he has the size and athleticism to interest NFL teams. There has been quite a buzz about him over the last couple of weeks. He is fast (4.78 40-yard dash) and explosive (35 inch vertical).
19. Damion Square, Alabama, 6-2, 293: Some see him as a three-technique tackle, some see him as a defensive end. Square is strong and competitive and could be a backup at more than one position. He uses good technique to free himself from blockers, and plays with good pad level. He has a knee injury that could affect where he is drafted.
20. Everett Dawkins, Florida State, 6-2, 292: He is a scrappy defensive end who plays with surprising strength. He has a quick first step and some pass rush savvy. His size is a limitation. Dawkins did not step up last season the way some front office men hoped he would. He probably is not a starter in the NFL.
21. Corey Grissom, South Florida, 6-2, 306: A nose tackle who can be a presence in the middle of the field, Grissom knows how to get free from a block. He is not a consistent player and does not make a lot of plays, according to one scout. Aside from a quick first step, his movement skills are average at best.
22. Brent Russell, Georgia Southern, 6-2, 303: He has good athleticism, and he plays hard. He is a battler who sometimes plays a little out of control. Russell has short arms, and struggles with cut blocks. He played against a lower level of competition and will need to make a big adjustment. "He has enough talent to get drafted," a scout said.
23. Nicholas Williams, Samford, 6-5, 309: He is a big, good-looking athlete who also could play defensive end in a 3-4. Williams has quick feet and tools to work with. He is just learning how to play, according to one front office man. He deemed Williams' instincts as "average to poor."
24. William Campbell, Michigan, 6-5, 311: With his size, he could be versatile enough to play nose guard or defensive end in a three-man front. Campbell has quick feet and can be disruptive. He put himself in the discussion for being drafted with a solid performance at the East-West Shrine game. He needs work on his technique. He was not very productive.
25. Jared Smith, New Hampshire, 6-4, 302: He has a good first step and his motor runs high. Smith doesn't have special athleticism or power. Some NFL teams project him as a fourth defensive tackle. He has some kick blocking ability.
Mike Purcell, Wyoming
Stacy McGee, Oklahoma
Adam Replogle, Indiana
Baker Steinkuhler, Nebraska
Abry Jones, Georgia
Anthony McCloud, Florida State
Cody Larsen, Southern Utah
Brian Arnfelt, Northwestern
Chris Jones, Bowling Green
Garrett Goebel, Ohio State
Gilbert Pena, Missisippi
The Bears have two solid starting tackles in Henry Melton and Stephen Paea, but they could use some depth. Right now, Nick Collins is the third tackle. Three players who logged significant time last year — Matt Toeaina, Amobe Okoye and Israel Idonije — are unsigned. Seeing the importance of tackle to the Bears' defensive scheme, and the depth this draft offers, it would not be a surprise to see the Bears select an interior rusher.
Next: Outside linebackers
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