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Seven defensive tackles expected to go in first round of NFL draft

FootballSylvester Williams Baltimore RavensKawann ShortNFLNFL Draft

One of the Ravens' bigger needs could intersect with the meat of this draft.

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome has said the Super Bowl champions need to upgrade at defensive tackle, which is regarded as one of the deepest positions in the draft.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. projects as many as seven interior defensive lineman to go in the first round. And other draft analysts project as many as eight into the opening round of the April draft.

The best interior defensive linemen are Utah's Star Lotulelei, Florida's Sharrif Floyd, Missouri's Sheldon Richardson, North Carolina's Sylvester Williams, Purdue's Kawann Short, Ohio State's Johnathan Hankins, Alabama's Jesse Williams, who's been linked to the Ravens' 32nd overall pick, and Georgia's John Jenkins, a 6-foot-4, 359-pounder. 

"As far as defensive tackle, it’s flat-out loaded," Kiper said. "It’s a loaded group. You go into rounds two, three and four and you're going to find guys. If you need nose tackles, you got it all covered in terms of the defensive tackle spot in this year’s draft.”

McShay thinks Jesse Williams plays with a gritty, blue-collar style that would fit in well with the Ravens' defense.

“He’s not flashy," McShay said. "Williams is the kind of big, tough, selfless defensive lineman who can occupy blockers and make average linebackers and safeties look much better as run defenders."

Williams is known as a strongman type in the weight room with a staggering max bench press of 600 pounds, and has set his ambitions on a specific feat of strength: the NFL scouting combine bench press record for 225 repetitions.

The current record is 51 reps, established by Justin Ernest (Eastern Kentucky) back in 1999.

Now, the Australia native is hoping to top that number.

"All the teams know how strong I am," Williams told the Courier-Mail newspaper. "I'm trying to show off other attributes."

awilson@baltsun.com

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FootballSylvester Williams Baltimore RavensKawann ShortNFLNFL Draft
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