CFN 2017 NFL Draft Analysis & Rankings: Defensive Tackles

CFN 2017 NFL Draft Analysis & Rankings: Defensive Tackles

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CFN 2017 NFL Draft Analysis & Rankings: Defensive Tackles

CFN 2017 NFL Draft Analysis & Rankings: Defensive Tackles


From the college football perspective, who are the top defensive tackles in the 2017 NFL Draft?


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This isn’t the year to desperately needed defensive tackle help.

Big ends who can play tackle? Yeah, there are a few of those, but the defense-changing space-eaters inside just aren’t there. There might be a few interesting prospects with huge upside, but wait until the mid-rounds for most of the options.

So what’s the college football analysis and take on the 2017 NFL Draft defensive tackle class? Who can play, and who can’t? It’s this simple – who are the ones who matter, and who are the ones who are just guys who’ll make it if someone gets lucky?

After seeing and covering these guys from recruiting until completion, from the college football perspective …

2017 NFL Draft: Defensive Tackles

1. Jonathan Allen, Alabama

Whether as a big end or a 4-3 tackle, he’s a massive, powerful force on the line with brute-force pass rushing ability and great toughness against the run with a flash for his 6-3, 286-pound size. Most of the concerns are going to be with the nitpicky technical stuff that needs to get tweaked, and he might be a wee bit of a tweener – he’s not a speed rushing end and he’s not a space-eating tackle – but don’t worry about him. He’s been an NFL-caliber defensive lineman for the last two years.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 1st Round

2. Jaleel Johnson, Iowa

Some guys are just good at football. The 6-3, 316-pounder has great size and excellent quickness as a dominant interior pass rusher. When he’s on, he can take over games. There will be lots of knocks about his ability to consistently dominate against the run – he’s not necessarily a powerful inside force – but he’ll produce big if he’s lined up next to a large rock.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 3rd Round

3. Malik McDowell, Michigan State

A long and lean interior presence, the 6-6, 295-pounder is dangerous-athletic to go along with the strength to handle himself inside against the power running games. But here’s the problem – while he looks the part, and he’s been hyped up out of high school, he didn’t really play like it. Considering he played under Mark Dantonio, it should say something that he needs a lot of work – does he want it? Is he interested in being special? If so, he’s the best tackle in the draft. But considering he’ll probably be the first DT off the board, there’s big-time bust potential.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 1st Round

4. Chris Wormley, Michigan

A force on the inside of a great Wolverine defense, he’s not a space-eater, and he’s not going to be an NFL anchor, but he’s an athletic 6-5, 298-pound interior pass rusher who can crank up the power just enough to get by. Able to play as a big defensive end or a quick tackle, he’ll be moved around where needed and produce. The floor is as a key backup in a rotation, but he’ll start.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 2nd Round

5. Montravius Adams, Auburn

A good interior pass rusher, the 6-4, 304-pounder is always working and always hustling to make things happen – it’s as if he took to being a key star on the Tiger defense. While he’s not a blaster, and he might not have upside to be an anchor for an NFL defensive front, there’s no real downside. He’s a safe pick.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 2nd Round

NFL Draft: Dumb Luck If Any Of These Defensive Tackles Are NFL-Good Starters

6. Nazair Jones, North Carolina

Here’s your mid-round tackle sleeper. He made a whole lot of plays against the run – and was a batted-down pass machine – for the Tar Heels, and he occasionally got behind the line. With 6-5, 305-pound size and great length, he’s got the body to be stuck on the inside. However, he might work best as part of a rotation, working mostly on run downs.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 4th Round

7. Larry Ogunjobi, Charlotte

There’s little in the way of NFL athleticism, but the 6-3, 305-pounder is a high-character all-around playmaker who owned the backfield at the college level and made a whole lot of good plays. Everyone will want him for his leadership, smarts, and pass rushing potential, but he’s missing any one thing at a high-level to warrant more than a 4th round pick.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 3rd Round

8. Caleb Brantley, Florida

Ranking here is based ONLY on skill, not the other aspects that are part of the equation. The draft stock might tumble to the undraftable category for some teams after an off-the-field incident that popped up just as the entire scouting world is watching.

But in terms of talent, some are going to love his upside as a possible interior pass rusher to go along with the versatility to work anywhere on the inside. Just as a football players, he’s easily a top 100 pick, but there’s obviously a lot more to the equation.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 6th Round

9. Davon Godchaux, LSU

Big, the 6-3, 310-pounder can pop and bring the excellent effort. While he’s not necessarily an NFL anchor type, and he’s not going to be a dominant force, he has starting potential or should be a rock-solid part of a rotation. For some, though, he’ll fall into the just-a-guy category.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 3rd Round

10. Dalvin Tomlinson, Alabama

Really, really smart, really really tough against the run, and with a lot of tread on the tires, his biggest fault is Alabama – he didn’t play all that much in the rotation. However, he fits the Crimson Tide type with 6-3, 310-pound size and elite toughness. Coaches are going to love him as long as he’s not asked to get after the quarterback.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 3rd Round

11. Elijah Qualls, Washington

The 6-1, 313-pounder should be one of the best anchors in the draft class. One of the strongest players coming out, he won’t get shoved around without a massive effort. He’s just athletic enough, but he won’t collapse the pocket on the nose. Make him a 4-3 tackle, and he’ll stop everything.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 3rd Round

12. Carlos Watkins, Clemson

One of the leaders on a national title team full of NFL-caliber leaders, the 6-3, 309-pounder was the main man for the line with a dominant final year as an elite pass rusher. While he might not be the rock against the run some might like, his athleticism in this class stands out.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 3rd Round

13. Vincent Taylor, Oklahoma State

He’ll get knocked because he’s not much of an athlete and doesn’t have the right body type, but he was a playmaking pass rusher on the inside for Oklahoma State, turning into a baller beyond the measurables. He’ll probably drop because he doesn’t really fit the NFL mold, but he’ll be an impossible cut in a camp.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 5th Round

14. Jarron Jones, Notre Dame

Really, big, the 6-6, 316-pounder doesn’t have a ton of bulk – he’s built like a beefed up power forward – but he’s a great interior pass rushing prospect with the frame to eat everything up. There’s a big knock on his want-to, but if the light turns on, he could be a shot for the stars after the top 100 picks.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 4th Round

NFL Draft: Draft Them. Don’t Draft Them. Whatever.

15. Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA

He never lived up to the immense hype coming out of high school as a superstar prospect thanks to injuries. He hurt his knee and never really progressed enough after it. The 6-3, 305-pound size is fine, he’s tough, and he’ll battle, but can he be a star if his leg isn’t back to form? There’s massive upside, though, once he gets further away from the torn ACL.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 4th Round

16. Tanzel Smart, Tulane

There’s not enough size or power, but the 6-1, 296-pounder does everything right. He’s always going 100 miles per hour, is extremely quick, and lived behind the line over the last two seasons. The lack of size, though, he won’t be able to overcome, and he won’t hold up against the stronger blockers.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 5th Round

17. Ryan Glasgow, Michigan

The talent is limited, but he’s a good-sized 6-3, 302-pounder who fought his tail off to become a major factor in the interior of the Wolverine line. He’s nothing more than an NFL rotational run stopper who won’t get behind the line, but he’ll be a nice backup.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 5th Round

18. Charles Walker, Oklahoma

He got dogged for doing the right thing and leaving the team to protect himself from injury. His draft stock isn’t going to fall because of that, it’s going to sink because of concussion issues. There’s no denying the talent and the NFL ability, but there are too many warning signs to warrant more than a late round flier. However, defensive tackles with his skills are rare.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 5th Round

19. DeAngelo Brown, Louisville

Short, squatty, and thick, the 6-1, 317-pounder is a pure nose tackle with a great bass and excellent strength. He’s not going to make any plays, and he’s not a pass rusher in any way, but he’ll lock up on interior blockers.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: Free Agent

20. Josh Tupou, Colorado

Bulk, bulk, bulk. Nah, he can’t move, and he’ll never get into an NFL backfield, but at 6-3 and 325 pounds, and with big-time strength, stick him in the middle of the line, and let him gum things up.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: Free Agent

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