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Draft Preview: Drilling Down On Defensive Tackles

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 20, 2013 – 9:33 am

Vikings fans have a very high standard when it comes to defensive tackles. After all, this is the home of the Purple People Eaters, of Keith Millard, of John Randle and Henry Thomas, and of the Williams Wall. So we approach this category with great respect to what fans demand out of their defensive tackles.

We also approach the preview of this position group knowing that we’re painting with a broad brush in categorizing them as defensive tackles. When it comes to defensive tackles, there are 3-techniques, there are under tackles, there are 5-techniques and there are nose tackles. There are players who fit primarily in the 3-4 or 4-3, and there are defensive tackles who can fit in both. Our goal here is not to distinguish between these categories, rather, the point is to assess this class of players and see which of them can help the Vikings defense continue to improve.

Without further ado, here’s a look at this year’s crop of defensive tackles. We’ll group them into four categories and place them alphabetically within each category. As usual, we’re interested in your feedback, so leave your thoughts in the comments section below this entry or email them to me for possible inclusion in a future Pick 6 or Monday Morning Mailbag.

Game-Changers
Sharrif Floyd (Florida) – Having played both DE and DT at Florida and with elite size/athleticism combo, Floyd is likely to be the first DT off the board next week.

Johnathan Hankins (Ohio State) – Those looking for a Pat Williams clone will find something close with this 6-3, 320-pound gap stuffer. At this point he doesn’t have the instincts and cat-like quickness Williams had to be a game-changer in the NFL, but maybe he’ll get there one day.

Star Lotulelei (Utah) – In a 4-3 scheme such as the Vikings, Lotulelei is the perfect match to Kevin Williams. A heart condition could cause him to slide, but my guess is his ability to dominate centers and overpower double-teams will be too appealing to allow him to slide even close to the Vikings.

Sheldon Richardson (Missouri) – At 6-2, 294 pounds, Richardson has the size and strength to anchor in the run game but he also possesses the athleticism to rush the passer, run sideline-to-sideline and chase plays down from the backside. Would be a steal for the Vikings at #23.

sly-blog-wp

Sylvester Williams (North Carolina) – Completely dominated two practices I watched at the Senior Bowl and was a game-changer during that game. He can play three downs, is great in short-area battles and has the strength to anchor and the motor to chase. Would be a nice complement to Williams in the Vikings defensive front.

Instant Impact
Jonathan Jenkins (Georgia) – Tremendous size at 6-4, 336 pounds and with 34-inch arms, Jenkins is the type of defender whose impact is not measured in the stat sheet. He eats up blockers and yields opportunities for others. It’s fair to question his fit in a 4-3 and he might be better-suited as a nose tackle in a 3-4 alignment.

Kawann Short (Purdue) – The 2-time team captain at Purdue seems to be a polarizing player among scouts, but it’s hard not to like his 48.0 career tackles for loss and school record 8 blocked kicks in 4 productive seasons. His size (6-3, 299 pounds) and production combo is impressive.

Brandon Williams (Missouri Southern State) – Suggesting a 2nd-round grade on a player with concerns that include durability, level of competition and height deficiency sounds like suggesting a reach. But when you look at Williams’ production, raw ability and athletic traits, I think a 2nd-round grade makes sense. In 4 seasons at Missouri Southern State, Williams set the school record with 27.0 sacks, totaled 52.5 tackles for loss, batted down 14 passes and earned the 2012 Division II National Defensive Player of the Year award. For good measure, he bench pressed 225 pounds 38 times at the Combine and was a standout at the Senior Bowl.

Eventual Starters
Jordan Hill (Penn State) – You’re more impressed with his technique, movement skills and pass-rushing ability than his sheer strength versus blockers and destructiveness versus the run.

Bennie Logan (LSU) – His athleticism and size along with his pedigree (played at LSU) will intrigue teams who think they’ll buy low on a potential star. But proponents of Logan’s will point to a lack of production, an inability to beat double teams and stamina as concerns.

Akeem Spence (Illinois) – At 6-1, 307 pounds and with moderate-to-solid production in college, Spence is a lunch pail guy with lots of starting experience in a Big 10 program. He’s strong and has good range vs. the run, but needs to improve his explosiveness off the ball and technique versus double teams.

2-Down Run-Stuffers
TJ Barnes (Georgia Tech) – A 6-6, 369 massive nose tackle who will likely be a 2-down player but who could develop into a legitimate run-stopper. Would be nice to have him on the field in short-yardage and goal line scenarios.

Kwame Geathers (Georgia) – Another massive run-stopper at 6-5, 342 pounds, Geathers has NFL bloodlines because his father, two brothers and uncle all played or play in the League. Geathers didn’t have tremendous production, but he played an important role on a SEC defense. Maybe more of a fit for 3-4 teams?

Cory Grissom (South Florida) – Big and powerful run-stopper with moderate production and 3 years of starting experience. At 6-1, 306, most reports say he can fit in a “30” or “40” front but will most likely be a 2-down player.

Jessie Williams (Alabama) – The former rugby player from Australia played 2 seasons at Alabama and possesses the strength to play at the NFL level. Teams that like him will be okay with his lack of experience and will look forward to developing a raw, 6-3, 323-pound playmaker from one of the best programs in the country.

Could Make Roster
Josh Boyd (Mississippi State) – Good size at 6-3, 310 pounds and production early in his career. He caught scouts’ eyes a year ago when teammate Fletcher Cox was being watched and was eventually chosen in the 1st round. Most reports site Boyd’s effective swim move, but they also point out his dip in production without Cox and point out his small hands and short arms.

Everett Dawkins (Florida State) – One of the harder players for me to get my arms around. Not a bunch of production and seemed to change positions and wait a bit at Florida State. Has good size (6-2, 292 pounds) and played a regular role on some good teams.

Montori Hughes (Tennessee Martin) – Gigantic frame at 6-4, 329 pounds but scouts say he doesn’t play to his size enough. Can anchor versus the run, occupies blockers and fights double teams, needs to mature more.

Previous Draft Previews
Sorting out the inside linebackers
Rounding up the receivers
Corralling the cornerbacks


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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 92 Comments »


92 Responses to “Draft Preview: Drilling Down On Defensive Tackles”

  1. By BlueBird7 on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    This will be wait and see.

  2. By WRHopkins2013 on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    First…..

  3. By Goldvike on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    I don’t know that we need a D.T.

  4. By WRHopkins2013 on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    third…

  5. By WRHopkins2013 on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    5th..

  6. By Tom L on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    You never have enough defense. Back end would be better but lets get up to the #1 defense in the league. Running game and #1 defense, debate that.

  7. By Tom L on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    + Jennings/Wright/Simpson (if he fixed his hands)

  8. By WRHopkins2013 on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    Lotulelei is the only player in the first round…I believe the Vikings would move up in the draft for ???…If the price was right…

    Brandon Williams is my later round sleeper pick…High motor guy…

    Sly Williams makes the most sense…He might be around when the Vikes pick…
    And is a very solid DT…

    I think the Vikings pick 2 DT’s by the 5th round ???…

    In 5 day…7hrs…We find out !!!… :-)

  9. By Nicholas on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    Sly Williams all the way! I really hope that we get him!

  10. By WRHopkins2013 on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    My best guess for the first 2 picks the Vikings take (wherever) in the draft ???
    Is DT and WR..
    The followed closely with LB and CB…

    Best guess 11 pick sequence…

    1.WR
    1a.DT
    2.CB
    3.LB
    4.LB
    4a.DT
    5.WR
    6.DE
    7.CB
    7a.DE
    7b.P

  11. By Goldvike on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    We will all know n 5 days!!!!

  12. By Goldvike on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    I think wr & lb

  13. By Goldvike on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    I would take T.Austin then Xavier Rhodes

  14. By Nicholas on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    Sly Williams and Hopkins or Allen

  15. By Tom L on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    Rhodes and Williams.

  16. By Goldvike on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    A lot of good picks out there

  17. By James Montgomery on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    It’s funny that while recounting past DT’s for the Vikings, you don’t mention the ones who were there as part of the original Purple People Eaters: Gary Larsen and a certain Hall of Famer named Alan Page! Come on, those guys set the standard!

    As far as drafting goes, if his last name is WIlliams, take him!

  18. By Tom L on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    There you go JM, that is as good of logic as I have heard in regards to college players.

  19. By Charles Daniel on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    Notre Dame link continues I’d bet. Namely a certain Tight End and LB if still on the board when we pick…

  20. By Vikings1 on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    @By WRHopkins2013 on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    My best guess for the first 2 picks the Vikings take (wherever) in the draft ???
    Is DT and WR..
    The followed closely with LB and CB…

    Best guess 11 pick sequence…

    1.WR
    1a.DT
    2.CB
    3.LB
    4.LB
    4a.DT
    5.WR
    6.DE
    7.CB
    7a.DE
    7b.P
    _________________________________________________________________
    WRH, I really like your list here and your great insights!

  21. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    My prediction is we take a WR and Te’O in the first round.

  22. By WRHopkins2013 on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    @Vikings1…

    Thanks…

    I probably won’t get one player right in this draft ???…Picking so far in the lower end of the draft…
    But it sure is fun guessing…

    Should be an interesting 3 days starting next Thursday…

  23. By WRHopkins2013 on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1610861-nfl-draft-rumors-surveying-the-latest-buzz-heading-into-draft-week#/articles/1610861-nfl-draft-rumors-surveying-the-latest-buzz-heading-into-draft-week/page/6

  24. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    Te’OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
    Ohhhhh OH oh WHOA OHHH OOOHHH

    I can hear it now– the metrodome chanting.

  25. By dryes on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    teo doesn’t fit our scheme. football 101

  26. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    Football 5201: not everything is as it appears.

  27. By Goldvike on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    About Te’o just say no!!!!!!

  28. By dryes on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    he might be good for a 3-4 though, where he has less responsibility and his slowness/ lack of range won’t be as detrimental

  29. By DRS. on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    Lawmakers Scrambling To Fund Vikings Stadium

    April 18, 2013 5:51 PM

    http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2013/04/18/lawmakers-scrambling-to-fund-vikings-stadium/

  30. By DRS. on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

  31. By DRS. on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

  32. By DRS. on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

  33. By Tom L on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    Nice piece DRS. I remember Kramer with feelings that if they ever would have put a line in front of him he could have rivaled Joe Montana.
    So long ago I forger all the reasons I felt that.
    THANK YOU

  34. By DRS. on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

  35. By DRS. on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

  36. By DRS. on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

  37. By DRS. on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    Hmmm, what is up? Was trying to post other picks, oh well

  38. By DRS. on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    The never say dies Vikings! SKOL Vikings

  39. By DRS. on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    That is, the never say die Vikings!!!!

  40. By DRS. on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    Come on Vikings, bring back the purple people eaters type players, we will be back at the frozen tundra next year!

  41. By DRS. on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

  42. By DRS. on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    The Vikings need a complete defense, draft D 1st then WR.

  43. By DRS. on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    Ponder = Fran, maybe

  44. By DRS. on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    Fran used the short pass as the run; Ponder the same, maybe

  45. By DRS. on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    Fran was called week arm, look how that turned out.

  46. By DRS. on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    Ponder listen to Fran, Please

  47. By DRS. on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    SKOL Vikings

  48. By DRS. on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

  49. By DRS. on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

  50. By DRS. on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

  51. By DRS. on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    Ponder = Kepp or any other underdog QB’s the Viking has had. 40 for 60, SKOL Vikings

  52. By Northern Norseman on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    Haha this is great!

  53. By DRS. on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    Play smart, play clean, above all play!

  54. By DRS. on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    Did you know that the Vikings had a dentist as QB?

  55. By DRS. on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    Where is the Viking statue that stood in the Met stadium?

  56. By DRS. on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    Odin, Odin, Odin, Bring on the cold on.

  57. By DRS. on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    We need the purple people eaters!!! SKOL Vikings

  58. By Ponder AP "ALL DAY" on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    To me what makes the most sense is, If DT S. Williams is there at 23. Take him. Then take the second rounder and a 4th to move back into the first. Then you have two more first round picks. Chances are good we could score 3 first round players that might actually START game one. We all know the draft is deep. So take the other seven picks and find some players.
    I love C. Paterson, but I think he will be gone by #23.

  59. By DRS. on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    When you get your chance you need to get it done. SKOL Vikings

  60. By DRS. on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    Good Night, SKOL Vikings

  61. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    Holy COW DRS– how many YouTubes are you posting in a row? Google will want royalties at this rate.

  62. By DRS. on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus, LOL, I better get the check ready

  63. By DRS. on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    Finally, Draft D 1st then WR, good night to one and all

  64. By Tom L on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    Memories……….. Grant was right that you can’t live with them but they sure are great to look back at once in while. It is who we all are. Every memory is really what build exactly who we are, good bad or indifferent, do you use the good ones or the bad ones to live by. Hard work, mental discipline and straight up truth brings every race, color and creed into one. The world needs a 300 million for life philosophy to straighten out.

  65. By Tom L on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    And Jim, anyone that hassles you about running the wrong way or not winning the big one. Let them live in their tiny little negative, critical live which probably means nothing because they make themselves feel bigger by trying to make you smaller. You my boy are a giant. Let it go at that.

  66. By pondersucks07 on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    DRS- Tommy(Tommy GUN) Kramer like the bars and night life to much or he could have been a lot better player. Ahmad Rashaad(AKA Bobby Moore)was dragging Tommy out of bars so he would get rest for the next day game.

  67. By pondersucks07 on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    Drs- Ponder = SIR FRANCIS OF TARKENTON PLEASE!!!! Don’t ever put those two QB’s in the same sentence without using them as a yard stick for one being good and the other for being bad.

  68. By pondersucks07 on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    Bud Grant ran the first west coast with Fran Tarkenton. Tarkenton scramble to buy time to find down field WR’s,By running around DBS and Safety’s coverage would break down. When Ponder runs its out of pure panic.

  69. By pondersucks07 on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    The game Marshall ran the wrong way. He went on later in the game to cause a late turnover which led to victory.

  70. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    pondersucks– WRONG again. Ponder runs eloquently and with purpose- no sign of panic.

  71. By pondersucks07 on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    TITUS – Only after you drink the purple KOOL-AID.

  72. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    I grew up on Kool Aid.

  73. By pondersucks07 on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    So did Jim Jones followers.

  74. By Stuart Johnson on Apr 21, 2013 | Reply

    By now, I’ve come to accept that I’ll never see another like Alan Page in my lifetime. Yes, draft one of this crops tackles, but remember we have another special MVP, Adrian Peterson. Drafting guard Jonathan Cooper would be smart. We can get a quality receiver in the second round.

  75. By JE on Apr 21, 2013 | Reply

    I would take to defensive players in the 1st round,and fill the receiver spot in the 2nd and maybe again in the 3rd…Justin Hunter and Marquise Goodwin would be nice. You might have to trade up in the early 2nd for Hunter but he would be worth it. Goodwin could be had in the 3rd im hoping??…As for the D…I would take a run stuff takle and a MLB that can play the pass more so than the run.

  76. By JE on Apr 21, 2013 | Reply

    I would also take a chance at Kiko Alonso if he is still on the board in the early 4th round..AJ Klein from Iowa is another Linebacker that could be had in the 4th or 5th and would be a nice fit.

  77. By Tom L on Apr 21, 2013 | Reply

    Very true JE, our division and the AFC north will require real pass defense and QB pressure. We should be able to match run offense.

  78. By Blitz69 on Apr 21, 2013 | Reply

    TJ Barnes is a beast

  79. By Blitz69 on Apr 21, 2013 | Reply

    I don’t think we need another K. Williams type DT when we’re rotating players through the line like the MN Wild. I’m looking for us to grab a run stopping DT that doesn’t need to show up on the stat sheet every week but who can play running downs and eat up some of those blocks.

  80. By dru on Apr 21, 2013 | Reply

    everyone know vikings only gonna draft players for that team… there not drafting players for run at SB

  81. By Tom L on Apr 21, 2013 | Reply

    dru, I’d rather take a second rate player that fits the TEAM than a #1 that doesn’t fit the team. If that is what you meant. You cant win a SB without a good TEAM.

  82. By liito on Apr 21, 2013 | Reply

    Surprise Shocker headlines for the Minnesota Vikings nfl draft day 1 on Thursday, April 25, 2013. Vikes snag Austin, Lotulelei, Te’O, Woods, and takes risk on Mathieu.

  83. By k28seer on Apr 21, 2013 | Reply

    I trust Spielman, Frazier and the rest of the Vikings franchise to draft the right and best players for the team. Bring back “The Purple People Eaters” Defense. SB bound son! SKOL Vikings!!!!!

  84. By MVPeterson28 on Apr 21, 2013 | Reply

    The vikes should take a corner and a mlb. I think our d-line does need to be addressed but since losing Winfield and Brinkley and not losing any one d-line we should focus on more on replacing players who left in the first round.

  85. By MVPeterson28 on Apr 21, 2013 | Reply

    Excuse my poor grammar lol

  86. By Derrick.G on Apr 21, 2013 | Reply

    I’d love to see a Williams wall again.

  87. By mexicovikingsamigo on Apr 21, 2013 | Reply

    purple people EATers again!!!!!!!!!

    23 DT
    25 MLB

    VIVA MEXICO!!!!!!!!

  88. By odark30 on Apr 22, 2013 | Reply

    RS will take Te’o in the first. IMO there is only one WR in this draft that will surely go in the first and that is Tavon Austin. We don’t need another slot man and he will not be traded up for by the Vikings. I think CB will be RS’s choice over DT but whichever player he chooses will (of course) be determined by whom is on the board that is the BPA at any of our positions of need. I don’t think RS is likely to trade up in the first. It is more likely that we stay put at #23 and #25 and try to trade up in the second round to catch falling talent.

  89. By odark30 on Apr 22, 2013 | Reply

    It is known…

  90. By odark30 on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    By the way… if anyone truly wants to learn about this team and its GM’s tendencies without training wheels and with a far superior Blog format and with a far larger audience, join Daily Norseman…..that is all.

  91. By Daniel on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    Tavon Austin & Brandon Williams

  92. By nirad24 on Apr 23, 2013 | Reply

    defense in the first round. defensive back and sly williams. wr 2nd round. mlb kiko alnso in 3rd also this player could slide to outside linebacker as well. the vikings struggled vs the bucs and redskins because they couldn t stop the run. move kevin williams to nose he holds up good against double teams and still plays the run well. he s just not as fast as he use to be. he still swats the ball down very well.

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