2012 NFL Defensive Tackle Prospects

Posted by Brad On July – 13 – 2011

"2012 NFL defensive tackle prospects featuring Marcus Forston"The 2012 NFL defensive tackle prospects lack any firepower at the top of the draft.  Fans of the position have been spoiled by back to back solid DT classes.  This one won’t produce a dominating presence like Ndamukong Suh or Marcell Dareus.

This class is marked by upside.  The top two candidates (Marcus Forston, Jerel Worthy) to come off the board in the first twenty picks are underclassmen.  They are raw prospects with high ceilings but have yet to produce at a consistently high level.  There are several candidates to be 2012’s version of Nick Fairley.  I will stay away from listing these guys in my rankings but there are some talented Nick Fairley-types out there (Quinton Dial, Jesse Williams, Sylvester Williams, and Jonathan Jenkins).

Here’s the list of 2012 NFL defensive tackle prospects:

1.  Marcus Forston, DT, Miami

Height: 6’3  Weight: 310

Forston is the most talented DT amongst the 2012 NFL defensive tackle prospects.  However, he has yet to produce at the expected level.  Injuries and inconsistencies will be the only thing keeping Forston from breaking the top 10 in the 2012 NFL Draft.

2012 NFL Draft Projection:  Top 15

2.  Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State

Height: 6’3  Weight: 305

Jerel Worthy is an exceptional athlete that is extremely quick off the snap.  He shows good use of leverage and pad level.  If Forston fails to gain any traction during the 2011 season, Worthy is jump him for the top spot in the 2012 NFL defensive tackle prospects list.

2012 NFL Draft Projection:  Top 20

3.  Kheeston Randall, DT, Texas

Height: 6’5  Weight: 295

Due to his scheme versatility, Randall is a player that could have a meteoric rise up the rankings prior to next April.  The three year starter for the Longhorns is viewed as someone that could make the transition to the five technique in the 3-4.  He plays with great balance and pad level and is disruptive against the run.

2012 NFL Draft Projection:  Top 25

4.  Alameda Ta’amu, DT, Washington

Height: 6’3  Weight: 330

Ta’amu is a prototypical nose tackle in the NFL.  His combination of strength and athleticism for his size will make him one to watch during the 2011 season.  He is surprisingly quick off the snap and overpowers offensive lineman at the initial surge.

2012 NFL Draft Projection:  1

5.  Jared Crick, DT, Nebraska

Height: 6’6  Weight: 285

Crick took a step back without Ndamukong Suh play next to him in 2010.  He will have to prove in 2011 that he can be dominating without a top talent next to him absorbing double teams.  Crick’s size will make him attractive as a five technique transition in the NFL.  He is dealing with knee issues that slowed him down during spring ball.  Crick has a lot to prove in 2011.

2012 NFL Draft Projection:  1-2

6.  Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson

Height: 6’2  Weight: 310

Thompson won’t overwhelm anyone with his stats but does a great job maintaining assignments.  Strictly a 4-3 DT he won’t get looks from 3-4 teams which could hurt his draft stock with so many teams moving to the 3-4 defense.

2012 NFL Draft Projection:  2

7.  Baker Steinkuhler, DT, Nebraska

Height: 6’6  Weight: 290

Steinkuhler is a long shot to declare for the draft but is an attractive prospect for 3-4 teams.  If he has a solid season for the Cornhuskers he could look to bolt Lincoln to take advantage of a weak defensive line class.  For now, he is a second round prospect but that could change with another solid season.

2012 NFL Draft Projection:  2

8.  Josh Chapman, DT, Alabama

Height: 6’1  Weight: 310

Chapman will garner many looks from 3-4 teams as a NT.  He is stout against the run and has the ability to push the pocket.  He will need to polish his technique in 2011 to prove his worth as a second round pick.  With so many teams looking to add young NT’s Chapman has the ability to get over drafted.

2012 NFL Draft Projection:  2

9.  Tydreke Powell, DT, North Carolina

Height: 6’3  Weight: 310

Powell emerged in 2010 with the absence of Marvin Austin.  However, he will need to show more consistency in 2011 to garner looks in the late first, early second round.  He has the abilities of a first round pick but will have to show them on a more consistent basis in 2011 to leapfrog the other 2012 NFL defensive tackle prospects.

2012 NFL Draft Projection:  2

10.  Kawann Short, DT, Purdue

Height: 6’3  Weight: 305

Only a junior, Short has proven to be a solid DT.  If he declares for the draft in 2012 he could look to cash in on a weak class like Baker Steinkuhler.  Short will also be attractive to 3-4 teams as a possible transition to the five technique.  In 2010, Short logged 12.5 TFL and 4.5 sacks.

2012 NFL Draft Projection:  2-3

Best of the rest:

Kendall Reyes, DT, Connecticut

Jaye Howard, DT, Florida

Armond Armstead, DT, USC

Renard Williams, DT, Eastern Washington

Devon Still, DT, Penn State

Mike Martin, DT, Michigan

Logan Harrell, DT, Fresno State

Travian Robertson, DT, South Carolina

J.R. Sweezy, DT, N.C. State

Derek Wolfe, DT, Cincinnati

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  • BUBBY303

    Josh Chapman at 8? What makes you think he’s a second round pick. He could barely win the starting job at Alabama.

    • Brad

      There’s no shame in barely winning the starting job at Alabama. With the lack of true NT’s, I think many of them will get overdrafted. In Chapman’s case I think he could be a Casey Hampton-type player in the NFL. Space-eater that is capable of pushing centers into the QB’s lap. If I were a 3-4 team in need of NT I would take a serious look at Chapman in the 2nd.

  • Birds$Real

    No Billy Winn in your rankings either? He’s better than Josh Chapman. Good rankings otherwise.

    • Brad

      I ranked Billy Winn as a DE rather than DT because I don’t think he can play DT in the NFL. He will have to kick outside as a five technique.

  • James12

    Delvin Johnson NT out of Marshall under the radar

    • Brad


      I haven’t had a chance to watch Delvin Johnson yet but you are on the right track as he’s been mentioned by some other emailers. I will take a look at him when I get to my Marshall tape.