The 2013 defensive tackle class could be the most talented group in the draft. Two guys on this list could come off the board in the top five picks of April’s draft.
The junior class is loaded with talent that includes the top overall DT in Johnathan Hankins of Ohio State. Hankins is worthy of a top five selection and should declare early. He should be joined by Missouri DT Sheldon Richardson. Richardson is a true three-technique that has exploded onto the draft scene with a spectacular start to the 2012 season.
The senior defensive tackle class doesn’t take a backseat to that of the junior class. It his headed by Utah’s Star Lotulelei. Lotulelei is a mammoth DT with incredible burst for his size. He will be followed by three guys that could play the nose in the 3-4.
Enough talking, here’s our 2013 NFL Draft defensive tackle rankings.
1. Star Lotulelei I Utah I 6’4″ I 320
Lotulelei is more dominant than his numbers would indicate. He’s a mammoth DT that is capable of playing in multiple fronts. He possesses explosive power and speed for his size. He was dominant against USC for most of the game and can take over the game from the inside. He does have a tendency to wear down as the game goes on which is the only reason Johnathan Hankins will be ranked ahead of him.
DRAFT PROJECTION: Top 5
2. John Jenkins I Georgia I 6’3″ I 351
The former JUCO star has showed that he’s more than just a big body to stuff the run. Jenkins has surprising athleticism with a very nice first step for someone north of 350 pounds. Jenkins presents problems as he’s disruptive in the backfield against the run and can also penetrate to put pressure on the QB. Jenkins would be considered with Lotulelei and Hankins but his motor runs a little hot and cold. That said, he’s a solid top 20 pick in April’s draft.
DRAFT PROJECTION: Top 20
3. Jesse Williams I Alabama I 6’4″ I 320
Williams didn’t start playing football until he was 15 years old. He is still a bit of a project but has the raw power and athleticism to be a solid 1-T in the NFL. He got off to a slow start this season but has picked up his production as of late. Williams is an NFL ready run stopper but lacks the technique to be effective as a pass rusher at this point.
DRAFT PROJECTION: 1-2
4. Kawann Short I Purdue I 6’3″ I 310
Short may be the top interior pass rusher in the country. He is lightning quick for a guy that goes 310 pounds. That said, he’s extremely inconsistent as there are times you don’t notice him on the field for long stretches of games. If not for Short’s inconsistencies he would be a top 20 but I think he drops into the second round of April’s draft.
DRAFT PROJECTION: 2
5. Sylvester Williams I North Carolina I 6’3″ I 320
Don’t let Williams stats fool you into thinking he’s a more dominant pass rusher than what he is. William’s has five sacks on the season but they have come against weaker opponents. There are some redeeming qualities about William’s game but he’s far from a finished product. He will need to develop from a technique standpoint if he wants to stick in the NFL as a starter.
DRAFT PROJECTION: 2-3
6. Brandon Williams I Missouri Southern St. I 6’2″ I 328 I DRAFT PROJECTION: 4
7. Larry Black Jr. I Indiana I 6’2 I 309 I DRAFT PROJECTION: 5-6
8. Cory Grissom I South Florida I 6’2″ I 316 I DRAFT PROJECTION: 5-6
9. Josh Boyd I Mississippi State I 6’3″ I 300 I DRAFT PROJECTION: 4
10. Everett Dawkins I Florida State I 6’2″ I 302 I DRAFT PROJECTION: 4
11. Abry Jones I Georgia I 6’3″ I 308 I DRAFT PROJECTION: 5
12. Anthony Rashad-White I Michigan State I 6’2″ I 330 I DRAFT PROJECTION: 5-6
13. Khaleb Rhamsey I Boston College I 6’3″ I 288 I DRAFT PROJECTION: 5
14. Baker Steinkuhler I Nebraska I 6’6″ I 290 I DRAFT PROJECTION: 6
1. Sheldon Richardson I Missouri I 6’4″ I 295
Richardson was a rotational starter in 2011 with this season being his only as a full time starter. He’s got a lightning quick first step as he blazes through the gap to disrupt the action in the backfield. Richardon’s motor and skill set should have him hearing his name called early on the draft’s first day.
Hankins is a massive human being that moves really well. He’s a disruptive force as he’s able to split double-teams routinely with his quick first step. He’s a top five pick if he declares. He’s equally adept at stopping the run and applying pressure to the quarterback.
3. Louis Nix I Notre Dame I 6’3″ I 326
Nix is a true nose guard that has come on strong during Notre Dame’s run in 2012. Nix is a run stuffer with enough burst to disrupt things for the passer. His stats don’t paint a true picture of just how dominate Nix has been at times for Notre Dame.
4. Sharrif Floyd I Florida I 6’3″ I 303
Floyd played out of position for most of 2011 as he was forced to play end due to injuries. His move back inside during the 2012 season is paying dividends for the Gators and Floyd’s draft stock. Floyd is a powerful, explosive athlete that has a knack for making plays in opponents backfield. Floyd has 23 TFL in his three year career, including 10 TFL thus far this season. He could work his way into the first round of April’s draft.
5. William Sutton I Arizona State I 6’2″ I 270
6. Bennie Logan I LSU I 6’3 I 287
7. Cassius Marsh I UCLA I 6’3″ I 290
8. Daniel McCullers I Tennessee I 6’8″ I 360
9. Kwame Geathers I Georgia I 6’6″ I 350
10. Dominique Easley I Florida I 6’2″ I 285
11. Akeem Spence I Illinois I 6’1″ I 305