Home > Draft, NFL > 2012 NFL Draft Rankings: Defensive Tackles

2012 NFL Draft Rankings: Defensive Tackles

After wide receiver and perhaps quarterback, defensive tackle is the strongest, deepest position in the 2012 draft, though the ability to get after the passer from the interior leaves plenty to be desired.  The strength and athleticism of many players in this class is beyond debate.

1. Michael Brockers, LSU, Top ten grade
2. Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State, Top ten grade

Since the top of the draft process, declaration day back in January, I’ve been in Michael Brockers’ corner as one of the best defensive tackles in the class.  I also loved Fletcher Cox, although more as a mid-to-late first round selection.  He had a great motor on tape.  And though I never really thought of Cox as a superior pass rusher to Brockers, he’s definitely a quicker player than the stronger Brockers.  Ultimately, what does it for me with Brockers is that he should have been so limited as a redshirt sophomore in the SEC, and you just don’t see him stay on blocks ever.  Both of these guys translate incredibly well to the pro game and though I’d bet on Cox making an impact first.  But if it came down to it, I’d say Brockers’ core strength is the greatest football skill between these two top prospects, and that gives him an edge.

3. Devon Still, Penn State, mid-first round grade
4. Alameda Ta’amu, late-first round grade
5. Brandon Thompson, Clemson, late-first round grade
6. Jerel Worthy, Michigan State, late-first round grade

Devon Still is the one guy in this class who is perhaps a better raw pass rusher than Fletcher Cox is.  He can really get after the quarterback from the three shade.  Alameda Ta’amu is the one true nose tackle in the draft, the closest B.J. Raji comparable, although a bit athletically lacking compared to Raji.  Brandon Thompson and Jerel Worthy are playmaking disruptive forces.

7. Dontari Poe, Memphis, second round grade

Poe nicely fits the mold of the disruptive force type defensive tackle that Brandon Thompson and Jerel Worthy are.  What Poe isn’t includes two things: he’s not an ideal 3-4 nose, and he’s not going to make a bunch of plays for your defense.  He’s going to create a mess inside for the offense on three downs.  That is his true role in the NFL.  He’s not a franchise player, but I think he’ll play a role in most defenses for the next ten years or so.

8. Kendall Reyes, Connecticut, second round grade
9. Josh Chapman, Alabama, third round grade

Chapman is likely the best option after Ta’amu as a 3-4 nose, but I think that Reyes (and Loni Fangupo when we get to him) can handle the role.  Chapman isn’t the perfect size for a nose, but he’s disruptive, plays the run well, and played effectively through injury in 2011, helping his team win a national title.

10. DaJohn Harris, USC, third round grade
11. Mike Martin, Michigan, third round grade
12. Jared Crick, Nebraska, fourth round grade
13. Derek Wolfe, Cincinnati, fourth round grade

A solid grouping of undersized interior players with the flexibility to play the five technique.  Harris might be the only true playmaker in this group, but Crick and Wolfe had excellent college careers, while Martin might have the best lateral movement skills necessarily to handle defense against modern zone rushing schemes.

14. Dom Hamilton, Missouri, fourth round grade
15. Marcus Forston, Miami (FL), fourth round grade
16. Loni Fangupo, BYU, fourth round grade
17. Billy Winn, Boise State, fourth round grade 
18. Akeem Hicks, Regina, fourth round grade
19. Jaye Howard, Florida, fifth round grade
20. Chigbo Anunoby, Morehouse, fifth round grade

The biggest group on this list is of complementary starters: guys flexible enough to play a 1-technique and provide depth at any 5-tech in a 3-4 scheme.  Winn and Hicks have the best movement skills among this group.  Loni Fangupo is the strongest, the bull of the group, and can play anywhere in a 30 front or inside in a 50 look.  Howard and Anunoby grabbed fifth round grades from me, but might be the sleepers in this defensive tackle class.

21. Tydreke Powell, North Carolina, fifth round grade
22. Rennie Moore, Clemson, fifth round grade
23. Kheeston Randall, Texas, sixth round grade
24. Brett Roy, Nevada, sixth round grade
25. Vaughn Meatoga, Hawaii, seventh round grade
26. Mike Daniels, Iowa, seventh round grade
27. Micanor Regis, Miami (FL), seventh round grade

Brett Roy is one of my favorite players in the draft, and probably my favorite of the draftable front seven players from the Nevada Wolf Pack defensive front.  He could play anywhere, in any scheme.  Was an interior player in college.  Disruptive, tackles well, and finds the football.  Kheeston Randall might be the toughest guy to block in this group.

28. Travian Robertson, South Carolina, Priority UDFA
29. Christian Tupou, USC, Priority UDFA
30. J.R. Sweezy, North Carolina State, Priority UDFA
31. Nicholas Jean-Baptiste, Baylor, UDFA
32. Asa Chapman, Liberty, UDFA
33. Chas Alecxih, Pittsburgh, UDFA
34. Damon Harrison, William Penn, UDFA
35. Marcus Kuhn, North Carolina State, UDFA
36. Greg Scruggs, Louisville, UDFA
37. Charles Deas, Shaw, UDFA
38. John Hughes, Cincinnati, UDFA

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: