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2014 Defensive Tackle Rankings

May 2, 2014

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Defensive Tackle

Prototype in the NFL: Geno Atkins

Best In Class

Best Frame: Ra’Shede Hageman                   Best Quickness: Aaron Donald

Best Run Stopper: Daniel McCullers              Best Motor: Aaron Donald

Best Pass Rusher: Aaron Donald                    Best Mean Streak: Will Sutton

Best Burst: Aaron Donald                                 Best Technician: Nikita Whitlock

 

1. Aaron Donald Pittsburgh #97 6’0 ¾ 285 Sr.

Comparison: Geno Atkins

Senior Bowl: He dominated Cyril Richardson all day per Mike Mayock. Day 2: Beat Brandon Linder for would be sack-shockingly fast. Day 3: Beat Brandon Thomas 1×1 then did solid in double team drill, beat Linder on bull rush, destroyed Richardson in 1×1 drill-fastest win of the week, limited rush vs. Tyler Larsen as couldn’t get edge, beat Kadeem Edwards with quickness-another extremely easy win, next rep he went power and destroyed Edwards that way, couldn’t get edge vs. Zach Martin but went speed to power well and got a good push-slight win. He was the best DL here by far and really put on a show. I had him as a Top 15 guy before this but for many scouts he was a 1st round “bubble” guy. After this showing I don’t see how he’s not a clear cut 1st rounder.

Stats: ACC

Year

Tackles

Sack

TFL

QBH

FF

INT

TD

2013

59

11

28.5

16

4

0

0

2012

64

5.5

18.5

11

1

0

0

2011

47

11

16

11

1

0

0

2010

11

2

3

5

0

0

0

Combine: Everyone loved Clowney’s workout but you can make a valid case that Donald had the best DL workout of the year. He ran a 4.68 40 which at 285 lbs is mind boggling. It’s the fastest 40 time I’ve ever seen by a DT and is faster than 20 of the 25 pass rushers in this draft class! He WILL be the quickest DT in the entire NFL the moment he steps onto the field as a rookie. His 7.11 3 cone was faster than Clowney’s and was 4th best among the 56 DL! His 10 yd split at 1.59 was only 0.02 slower than Clowney’s and was 5th best among the 56 DL! He also was no slouch on the bench with 35 reps-2nd best. He’s basically a DT with a DE’s athleticism. Super quick in double bag pass rush drill.

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

6006

285

32.63

9.88

4.68

35

32

908

4.39

7.11

Notes: 1st team Big East in 2012.

Strengths: Listed as the #15 player on my Top 100 Board going into the 2012 season. Listed as the #7 player on my Top 100 Board in the middle of the 2012 season aka I’ve had a Top 15 grade on this kid for the past 3 years! 1st team Big East in 2011, 2012 and 2013. 1st Team All-American in 2013. Outland Trophy Winner in 2013. He’s the quickest DT I’ve ever graded. He has an elite motor and never stops fighting on a play. He played on a number of bad teams and it never affected his performance. Ever since his 2011 season, where he had 11 sacks-an elite number for a DT, he’s been double teamed yet he’s been productive nonetheless. He ends his career with 29.5 sacks and 66 TFL both of which are among the highest totals I’ve ever seen for a DT. His 28.5 TFL in 2013 were the most by anyone in the country and the 2nd most by anyone in a season in the past 6 years. It’s not hard to make the argument that, statistically, he’s one of the 5 greatest defensive tackles to ever play college football. He ran a 4.65 40 which is the fastest 40 time I’ve ever seen for a DT. He had a 7.11 3 cone drill which was faster than Clowney and bested all but 3 of the 25 pass rushers at the Combine! He basically has a DT body with DE athleticism. He had an amazing Senior Bowl with it being right up there with Von Miller and Clay Matthews in terms of dominance in 1×1 drills.

Weaknesses: He’s short (6’0 ¾), not that big (285) and has short arms (‘32 5/8). Those are the only three knocks on him. Due to his lack of size he has to win on his first move or he will be “stuck” and won’t have the length to re-start a rush. He is scheme specific as he can’t play in a 2 gap scheme and will need to be allowed to freelance and penetrate.
Overall:
Aaron Donald has been one of the two best DTs on my board for 3 straight seasons and it’s about time that the scouting community finally jumped on his bandwagon. It took a dominant Senior Bowl performance and a historic Combine for most to jump on board but now he rarely is mentioned as being on the “1st round bubble” which absolutely infuriated me. Donald is everything you want in a one gap, 3 technique DT except for 2 more inches of height, 10 more lbs and 2 more inches on his arms. He is the consummate pro as he has the best motor of any DL in this draft, he’s a gym rat (you don’t get to 35 reps on the bench by being lazy) and he has no character concerns or off the field incidents. On the field he’s the quickest, most agile DT I’ve ever graded and he made talented interior lineman look silly. I’ve had a Top 10-15 grade on him for 3 straight years but, after his historic Combine, I have to move him up even higher. He has everything you can ask for in a prospect: elite production, elite athleticism and a squeaky clean character. Top 5 as my #1 DT who is the 2nd best DT I’ve ever graded behind only Ndamakong Suh 4/27/14.

2. Ra’Shede Hageman Minnesota 6’5 7/8 310 Sr.

Senior Bowl: Day 2: Beat Weston Richburg on initial move but couldn’t quite finish-a win though, beat Cyril Richardson on 7×7, he impressed more than any other DL on Day 2. Day 3: Pancaked Tyler Larsen in double team drill showing off elite strength! Beat Richburg on initial quickness but not quite able to turn corner fully-slight win though, minimal rush vs. Michael Schofield, not quite able to get edge vs. Larsen for slight loss. He had a good week but not a great week as again he was inconsistent in effort and results. With his size/speed ratio you expect him to dominate and he just doesn’t. Early 2nd round 4/6/14.

Stats: Big Ten

Year

Tackles

Sack

TFL

QBH

FF

INT

TD

2013

38

2

13

1

0

1

0

2012

35

6

7.5

0

1

0

0

2011

13

2

3.5

0

1

0

0

2010

5

0

0

0

0

0

0

Combine: He had a good but still disappointing Combine as I expected him to be a physical freak and he was “just” very good. His 40 (5.02) and his 3 cone (7.87) were both good but he made up for it a little with an elite vertical (35 ½-best among 31 DTs) and broad (‘9’6-best). If he hadn’t come in with such hype or if Aaron Donald hadn’t dominated like he did then Hageman probably wouldn’t have gotten more love but I expected historic numbers and it didn’t happen. A very good athlete but maybe not as elite as some are portraying him as. Quick and only a little stiff in the 5 bags drills. He had anger management classes and had to switch High Schools due to some issues. Quick with solid bend in double bag pass rush drill.

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

6057

310

34.25

10.25

5.02

32

35.5

906

 

7.87

Strengths: 8 batted balls in 2013. He has a DE skinniness to him despite being about 320 lbs! Converted tight end that can still do a 360 dunk of a basketball and is an uber athlete (#2 behind only Clowney on Bruce Feldman’s annual freak list) with a ’36 vert, max bench of 465 lbs, and a 1.57 10 yd split! He potentially could add 20 lbs and be a 6’6 330 lb DT with good athleticism! It’s not hard to make the argument that he has the most upside of any DT in this draft.

Weaknesses: Father shot and mother had a cocaine habit which caused him to be raised by a white family. He’s an incredibly inconsistent player as one game he’s a star and the next he’s invisible. He’s probably too tall as he doesn’t have great bend and his stiffness allows OL plenty of body to block. He is strong but not as strong as his bench (32 reps) would indicate. His stats in 2013 are basically the same as 2012’s which means he didn’t improve. That is a huge red flag. He doesn’t give consistent effort. For a guy his size he is surprisingly soft and I think he wants to be known as the elite athlete more than as a big, strong guy. Are we all just wowed by how he looks or do we really think he’ll become a star player?
Overall:
Hageman has one of the highest upsides of any player in this draft. Unfortunately upside and potential are two things that get GMs and coaches fired and I think he’s a perfect example of this. I personally would be shocked if he ever fulfilled his potential and became a consistent performer with multiple All-Pro team selections by the end of his career. He isn’t a hard worker, doesn’t seem to have great toughness, has poor instincts, lacks any real technique to his game and is too tall for his own good. If I was to draft him I’d slowly bulk him up (muscle and fat) until he was 6’6 330 lbs and I’d accept any loss of athleticism that caused. I think his best bet is to become a tall, huge 3-4 NT with good athleticism but I’m curious if he’d accept that as he seems to get a kick out of being the tall, skinny athlete at DT. It never worked out statistically for him in college and I don’t think it’d work for him in the NFL but a player has to buy into the changes you want for them and I could see him resisting. Hageman is an elite physical specimen that doesn’t really know how to play the game of football. Maybe he becomes a student of the game and develops into one of the 5 best DTs in the NFL. I have doubt that ever happens so to me he’s more of a tease than anything. 2nd round as my #2 DT who has the highest upside of any DT in this draft but likely will just be a tease 4/28/14.

3. Dominique Easley Florida #2 6’2 288 Jr.

Stats: SEC

Year

Tackles

Sack

TFL

QBH

FF

INT

TD

2013

5

0

2

4

0

0

0

2012

26

4

8.5

2

0

0

0

2011

37

1.5

7.5

3

0

0

0

2010

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

Combine: He only did the bench (26 reps-average) due to his ACL injury.

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

6020

288

32.88

9.75

 

26

 

 

 

 

Notes: Looks like a future 1st rounder who I am salivating (watched Tennessee 2011 game) about as it is rare to see a body hold 280 lbs so nicely as he is svelte like a LB not a DT 9/30/11. This easily was one of his best games (Louisville 2012) and showed me the size/speed ratio that so enticed me in previous years. He needs to bulk up and become the quick, strong DT I think he can be as he still is a bit too much of a tweener at this point. Late 3rd round 1/8/13.

Strengths: A blue chip prospect out of HS as the #1 DT and #3 Overall per ESPN 150 in 2010. Has not just the # (he wore #2 for his career) but also the svelte physique of someone not on the DL. He impressed me more in 2011 than did Shariff Floyd his teammate who was a 1st rounder in 2013. Listed as the #8 player on my Top 100 Board going into the 2012 season (shows that he’s been an elite player on my board for awhile now). He has an elite motor and never stops battling OL. He has a great burst with his initial quickness being one of the better ones I’ve ever graded for a DT. He has the frame to add weight if a team wants him to. He has a big personality (sings at times and is a jokester), has an elite motor and never stops battling during games.

Weaknesses: Listed as the #78 player on my Top 100 Board in the middle of the 2012 season (shows that he had a bad 2012 season as he was one of by biggest “fallers” that year on my board). He tore his right ACL in 2013 and is still recovering so he won’t be able to work out for NFL teams. He tore his left ACL at the end of the 2011 season (during their bowl game). He never had a great statistical season and was more of a “flash” player than a results player. Career highs of 37 tackles, 4 sacks, 8.5 TFL, 4 QB Hurries and 0 FF are all very mediocre. He’s a tweener as at 288 lbs he can’t handle the double team but he doesn’t have the athleticism or production of an Aaron Donald.
Overall:
Easley is a long, lean player with great quickness. He has intrigued me for years as at one time I thought he was sure to be a future Top 15 pick yet his college career ends on a down note after he tore his ACL early in the 2013 season. It affected Florida tremendously as he was their defensive leader as well as their best player and their issues late in the season can be partially attributed to his absence. I love his talent and think that his pro career could be much better than his college one but it also gives me pause that, 4 years after he came out of HS as the #1 DT in the nation, we are still talking about his potential. He basically redshirted in 2010 but in his 3 final seasons he never was more than a flash player who looked like he could become dominant someday. Those types scare me as Easley as the athleticism to become a one gap disrupter but he’s a tweener and it wouldn’t shock me if he ended up as a situational pass rusher. Teams will have their work cut out for them in deciphering a draft grade from Easley as he’s extremely talented and athletic but never was great statistically and has now torn the ACL in both of his knees. Good luck. 2nd round as my #3 DT who is a boom/bust type due to his tweener body and two ACL injuries 4/27/14.

4. Ego Ferguson LSU #9 6’3 315 Sr.

Comparison: Bennie Logan

Stats: SEC

Year

Tackles

Sack

TFL

QBH

FF

INT

TD

2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013

58

1

3.5

3

0

0

0

2012

14

0

1

0

0

0

0

2011

13

0

0.5

0

0

0

0

Combine: He only did the bench (24 reps-below average for a DT) due to injury. He also had short arms (32 ¼) which is strange for his size (6’3 315).

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

6030

315

32.25

10.75

 

24

 

 

 

 

Strengths: Elite blue chip prospect out of HS. #136 in ESPN 2010 HS Class. In the 2013 season he outplayed teammate Anthony Johnson. He is a big body with good strength and underrated athleticism. His ’10 ¾ hands are some of the bigger hands I’ve ever scouted-1st out of 56 DL at this year’s Combine.

Weaknesses: He only had one season of any real productivity and those “1 and done” guys are scary as their bust rate is elevated. He lacks the athleticism to be a one gap player but at ’32 ¼ arms he lacks the arm length you prefer for a two gap DT. He was involved in an incident in 2011 where a gun was drawn on Zach Mettenberger and Sam Montgomery. Details are limited but he was never charged with a crime and wasn’t the one with the gun or with the gun drawn on him. He missed the Outback Bowl, what was to be his final game, due to a knee injury and later missed the Combine as well.
Overall:
Ego is another player who would likely be a late 1st/early 2nd round pick if he returned to school for another year but he left for the draft early and makes life a little difficult for NFL teams. That’s because he only had one productive year AND because he is coming off a knee injury that hasn’t allowed him to work out for NFL teams, individually or at the Combine. Ego is a very talented player that reminds me a little of Bennie Logan as they are both run stuffing DTs. Bennie has longer arms and is more of a 2 down type while Ego has a little more athleticism and should be expected to make a few more “splash” plays but both are 2 gap DTs that should be above average starters for 8-10 years. Ego is the lesser talent though and just last year the two competed for the same job with Bennie winning easily so I don’t think it’s very logical to rate them the same grade, despite being similar in talent and style. As such Ego gets a slightly lower grade but one that is still higher than his more heralded teammate Anthony Johnson. Early 3rd round as my #4 DT 4/27/14.

5. Daniel McCullers Tennessee #98 6’7 352 Sr.

Comparison: A mix of Gilbert Brown and Michael Brockers

Stats: SEC

Year

Tackles

Sack

TFL

QBH

FF

INT

TD

2013

33

0.5

4.5

4

0

0

0

2012

39

1

5.5

2

1

0

0

JUCO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JUCO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Combine: He had ’36 5/8 arms which are some of the longest arms I’ve ever graded at any position! He showed himself off as a 2 down run stopper with a 20 ½ vertical and 8’1 broad-both worst among the 56 DL but at 352 lbs is it surprising or does anywhere really even care?

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

1 yr %

6070

352

36.63

11

 

27

20.5

801

 

 

 

Strengths: He is one of the 5 biggest prospects I’ve ever graded at 6’7 352 lbs and he actually played at a higher weight for much of his career (reports are he weight between 370-400 lbs the past 2 years at Tennessee). With ’36 5/8 arms he has some of the longest arms I’ve ever graded. His 27 reps are elite for arm length that size as the shorter the arms the easier to do that drill. At times he flashes 1st round talent and cannot be moved in the run game. Is there a more perfect person to anchor a 3-4 defense? Shorter QBs like Russell Wilson and Drew Brees could really struggle to see the middle of the field with his 6’7 frame. He could be a devastating weapon as a short yardage player on either side of the ball. A 352 lb FB would be an interesting role to see on him occasionally.

Weaknesses: He’s clearly just a 2 down player and he might not even be that s his conditioning is very poor. My comparison of him to Gilbert Brown isn’t really a compliment as Brown had a few dominant seasons yet quickly became too big to stay on the field. Can a team even play him against a no huddle or hurry up offense where he can’t sub out? Many people are still waiting for the light to come on with him. He’s a very raw player and doesn’t always play with good leverage. He might be too tall for his own good as it’s hard to get low at 6’7 and the low guy usually wins in the trenches.

Overall: Daniel is one of the biggest, longest and strongest players I’ve ever graded. He looks to be a perfect fit as a 3-4 NT as he can’t be moved and actually has solid short area quickness for his size. It wouldn’t surprise me if a team took him as high as the mid 2nd round but I don’t have that high of a grade on him as the NFL is quickly becoming a passing league and I just don’t think he’ll be able to play against teams like the Eagles, Broncos or Patriots that speed up the game. He was noticeably winded in games the past few years (he looked winded during Combine drills in February-huge red flag) and I just can’t value a player that high who I expect won’t be able to play more than 30-40 snaps a game for me. He does one thing well, occupy blockers, and in some defenses that is a very important job but I’m not a huge fan of any of these two down guys and he’s about as one dimensional as you can get. Early 3rd round as my #5 DT who is an elite run stuffer and space occupier but is very one dimensional 4/29/14.

6. Louis Nix III Notre Dame 6’2 3/8 331 Jr.

Comparison: A poor man’s Phil Taylor

Stats: Independent

Year

Tackles

Sack

TFL

QBH

FF

INT

TD

2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013

27

0

2

0

0

0

0

2012

50

2

7.5

3

1

0

0

2011

45

0.5

4.5

0

0

0

0

Combine: He looked like a 2 down run stuffer with his 5.42 40, 8.29 3 cone and 8’1 broad all of which were near the bottom among the 56 DL. People say he’s a “freak” for his size but I didn’t see any freakishness except for his 331 lbs. He has 9 brothers and 4 sisters! Very impressive for his size with his backpedal drill. Good in double bad pass rush drill.

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

6023

331

33

9.88

5.42

 

25.5

801

 

8.29

Strengths: He has great size at 331 lbs and he’s at times been even bigger. He’s very difficult to block as he has enough quickness to be more than just a big body. He had 95 tackles in his first two seasons combined which is a very high number for big run stuffer type. He was highly recruited and the coaching staff realized his talent from Day 1 as he was the focus of their attention from 2010 onward.

Weaknesses: Injured most of 2010 so they just redshirted him. He missed 5 games in 2013 due to injury. In the 2011 ND Spring Game they talked about his poor stamina as he really is +340 lbs and only gives about 9 “good snaps” a game forcing them to sub him in and out sparingly. He improved on this throughout his career but he never will be a full time starter due to his weight and I think he could be injury prone as well due to his weight. He only had 2.5 sacks and 14 TFL for his career in 3 years as a starter so he shouldn’t be expected to make many splash plays. Is he Phil Taylor or is he John Jenkins/Pat Sims/Alan Branch/Gabe Watson/Jimmy Kennedy or any of the many incarnations of overweight/lazy defensive tackles that become draft busts in the NFL.
Overall:
As you can probably tell from my “weaknesses” section I am not a fan of the sloppy fat DT who gives minimal effort and produces mediocre stats. I will admit that Nix is more talented than some of the players I mentioned above but he isn’t nearly the prospect Taylor was when he came out of Baylor as Taylor was 6’3 ¼ 334 lbs (comparable) but ran a 5.09 40 with 31 reps and an elite 7.75 3 cone (not comparable). Taylor was an elite athlete for his size while Nix is just kind of quick for a big man. Nix is a 2 down DT who will not contribute to a team’s pass rush, will be possibly injury prone, will not always be motivated and projects as a mediocre starter. Mayock has had Nix as a 1st rounder all year long and I just don’t get it. 3rd round as my #6 DT who I think is highly overrated as these overweight, lazy slobs have an extremely high bust rate yet no one seems to notice 4/30/14.

7. Timmy Jernigan Florida State 6’1 5/8 299 Jr.

Comparison: Drake Nevis

Stats: ACC

Year

Tackles

Sack

TFL

QBH

FF

INT

TD

2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013

63

4.5

11

2

0

0

0

2012

45

1.5

8

1

0

0

0

2011

30

2.5

6

3

0

0

0

Combine: He had a very good Combine with a 5.06 40, 1.72 10 yd split-beat a few PR, 27 reps on the bench and good explosion drills. Very quick feet and good bend in the 5 bags drills, he stumbled once but he was one of the best. Violent hands and good quickness in double bag pass rush drill. Elite ankle bend in change of direction drill-best of the group.  

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

6015

299

31.63

9.63

5.06

27

29.5

806

 

 


Strengths:
Elite blue chip prospect out of HS as #17 on ESPN 150 for 2011. 3rd team ACC in 2012. 1st team ACC in 2013. He has great straightline speed and is adept at running plays down from behind. He has a skinny frame and can get in small cracks which helps him as a pass rusher.

Weaknesses: He lacks length and flexibility as he seems somewhat tightly built probably due to how much weight his smaller stature is carrying. He’s scheme specific as he won’t be any good in a 2 gap scheme. He has a lot of bad film out there with his 2013 Miami game and his 2013 Pittsburgh game being two examples of games I scouted where I barely noticed him. His ’31 5/8 arms are TINY and if he doesn’t have the ability to be an elite one gap DT he will be a bust as his frame is too skinny to anchor against the run in a 2 gap scheme. He only had 6 sacks the past two seasons which isn’t a great number, especially considering how much defensive talent was around him on that defense.
Overall:
On September 6th, 2013 I watched his game against Pittsburgh and graded him out as a 3rd rounder. At that time nfldraftscout.com had him as their 25th best player and the chasm between my grade and the scouting community’s has done nothing but grow. Now Jernigan has become the consensus #1 DT in this draft and I still don’t even have him in the 2nd round, let alone Top 10. Jernigan to me is an undersized DT with good speed and quickness who was productive the past two seasons. Unfortunately he isn’t an elite athlete and with his incredibly short arms I think he needs that elite athleticism to overcome his other deficiencies. He had the #1 HS recruit next to him at DE, two mid round prospects at LB, a late round prospect at CB and the best safety in college football playing with him so the talent on his team was impressive and I think it hid some of his deficiencies. Jernigan statistically wasn’t an elite player in college and measurements wise he wasn’t an elite player at the Combine so I’m not really sure why he’s everyone’s top guy. Donald ran a 4.68 40 vs. Jernigan’s 5.06 40 and Donald had 11 sacks and 28.5 TFL in 2013 vs. Jernigan’s 4.5 sacks and 11 TFL. What am I missing here? To me Jernigan looks like a future starter in a one gap scheme but he’s vastly overrated by the scouting community as I don’t see stardom in his future. 3rd round as my #7 DT who is one of the most overrated players in the draft 4/30/14.

8. Anthony Johnson LSU #56 6’2 ½ 308 Jr.

Stats: SEC

Year

Tackles

Sack

TFL

QBH

FF

INT

TD

2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013

35

3

9

3

0

1

0

2012

30

3

10

2

0

0

0

2011

12

1

3

0

0

0

0

Combine: He had the 2nd worst vertical (24 ½) among the 56 DL. He was also terrible on the bench (20 reps) and only mediocre in the 40 (5.24). Add this to his up and down film and you have the makings of a potential draft day slide. He sang the national anthem at his High School football games. Good in the 5 bags drills. Very good in change of direction drill.

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

6024

308

33

10.38

5.24

20

24.5

806

 

7.93

Strengths: Blue chip prospect out of High School. The #1 DT and the #2 Overall on ESPN 150 for 2011. Nicknamed “the freak.” Starter at DT for LSU as a true freshman. Listed as the #43 player on my Top 100 Board going into the 2012 season. Listed as the #54 player on my Top 100 Board in the middle of the 2012 season aka he’s been on my radar for years now. He has a great burst and is extremely agile for a big guy.2nd team SEC in 2013.

Weaknesses: For such a highly recruited player he was marginalized by other teammates too much. First he was beat out by Michael Brockers then it was Bennie Logan and Josh Downs and even in 2013 he was bested at times by Ego Ferguson. He isn’t nearly as productive as he should be for a guy with his talent. He played as a freshman at 330 lbs and was too big making me wonder how his conditioning is. He doesn’t seem to have improved much as an athlete, especially his 20 reps on the bench which is pretty bad for a DT, making me again wonder about his work ethic.

Overall: Johnson is a kid who should have stayed another year in school as he never had a great season at LSU and still seems to be maturing mentally and physically as a person. I don’t think he understands how much work it takes to be successful in the NFL as I see a kid who is still coasting off his natural ability. He does have quite a lot of it though so each team will have to determine how high they want to grade a player who will be a bit of a headache for them. Whoever takes him will need to have a plan of action for him and will need to have a DL coach that thinks they can get him motivated. If that happens Johnson could be a steal as he has 1st round ability. If that doesn’t happen he will be quickly beaten out by less talented teammates, just like he was his first two seasons at LSU, and another team will be curious to see if THEY can get him motivated when he hits free agency 5 years from now. I’ve loved his upside for years now but have lost some interest due to him never improving as a player. As such I have him on my board ranked on the lower end of the spectrum of where he could go. 3rd round as my #8 DT who is a boom/bust type due to lack of motivation 4/27/14.

9. Justin Ellis Louisiana Tech 6’1 ½ 334 Sr.

Comparison: Brandon Williams

Senior Bowl: Day 2: Great size and strength in 1×1 drills. Day 3: Very good holding POA in double team drill, minimal rush vs. Weston Richburg, beat Kadeem Edwards with quickness not power, beat Larsen with power.

Stats:

Year

Tackles

Sack

TFL

QBH

FF

INT

TD

2013

48

1.5

5.5

2

0

0

0

2012

21

0

0

0

2

0

0

2011

28

1

2.5

1

0

0

0

2010

4

0

0.5

0

0

0

0

Combine: He impressed me as at 334 lbs he had a good vertical and broad to go along with an elite 3 cone (7.81 was only 0.01 slower than Michael Sam’s). He looked quick and bendable in the 5 bags drills. Good bend in double bag pass rush drill. Good in change of direction drill. He showed great effort in every drill and I was impressed with his quickness, speed and bend for such a big guy. He really made an impression on me.

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

6014

334

33

10.13

5.27

25

28

708

 

7.81

Strengths: Nicknamed Jelly. At the East-West Shrine game practices he was the best DT and one of the best players overall as he was unblockable at times. He was so dominant that he was invited to the Senior Bowl where he was one of the better DTs at the event. He wowed me at the Combine as he was quick and explosive for a guy his size. He was noticeably better in 2013 than he was previously and I think he’s a player that had the light turn on for him with his best football ahead of him.

Weaknesses: He has great athleticism for a 334 lb guy but is he still just a 2 down player? He played at a much lower level of competition yet only had one very good season and ends his 4 year career with only 2.5 sacks.

Overall: Ellis is a massive man who at worst should be a very good two down DT/NT but who has enough athleticism that he might be a 3 down starter in the Phil Taylor mold. It’s rare to find a man his size with the quickness, explosiveness and agility he showed at the Combine and I just think he’s a diamond in the rough. Whether he worked harder or improved his technique or he played with more passion I don’t know but the Justin Ellis I saw on tape in 2013, at the East West Shrine Game and at the Combine was a legit NFL talent and I think he’s a real sleeper in this draft. 3rd round as my #9 DT who could be one of the steals of the 2014 NFL Draft as I doubt he goes anywhere close to the 3rd round 4/27/14.

10. Jason Bromley Syracuse 6’3 1/8 306 Sr.

Comparison: Akeem Spence

Stats: ACC

Year

Tackles

Sack

TFL

QBH

FF

INT

TD

2013

41

9

13.5

3

3

0

0

2012

41

2.5

7

0

0

0

0

2011

32

1.5

5.5

0

0

0

0

2010

8

0

0

2

0

0

0

Combine: He had a great Combine with a 5.06 40, 33 ½ vertical and 8’10 broad which all were near the top among the 31 DTs. TERRIBLE in double bag pass rush drill-no bend at all, worst I’ve ever seen.

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

6031

306

33.5

9.25

5.06

26

33.5

810

 

7.92

Strengths: 10 sacks as a senior. He measured out with a wingspan of 81 inches. At the East-West Shrine game practices he was the most active DL on his squad as he got penetration regularly. He’s a quick and strong player that uses his hands well. He is an athlete but he has enough size and strength to anchor as well.

Weaknesses: 2013 was the first time he started every game in a season too so a bit injury prone. 2013 was also a huge step up in sacks as he had 9 sacks that season but only 4 in the previous 3 seasons combined. He has small hands (9 ¼).
Overall:
Bromley is a very good player and the rare type that can fit any scheme. He has the size (306 lbs) and strength (26 reps) to play a 2 gap scheme but also the speed (5.06 40) and explosiveness to play a one gap scheme as a penetrating DT. I was very impressed with him at the East-West Shrine Game and later at the Combine as he seems to be a well rounded DT that is somehow flying under the radar. I’m curious where he ends up getting drafted at as he’s scheme diverse, was productive in college, was impressive at an All-Star event and showed himself to be an NFL caliber athlete at the Combine. What else does he have to do to get noticed? Somehow though I doubt he goes anywhere near where I have him graded at. Late 3rd round as my #10 DT who isn’t getting much love for reasons I can’t figure out 4/28/14.

11. Caraun Reid Princeton 6’2 1/8 302 Sr.

Senior Bowl: Day 2: He looked trim, fit and agile for a 305 lb guy.

Stats: Ivy League

Year

Tackles

Sack

TFL

QBH

FF

INT

TD

2013

26

6.5

11

 

0

1

0

2012

40

5.5

9.5

 

1

0

0

2011

68

8

16

 

1

0

0

2010

RS

 

 

 

 

 

 

2009

34

0.5

4.5

 

0

0

0

Combine: He had a very good 40 (4.91) as well as a good 3 cone (7.59) but was below average in everything else showing that he’s quick but isn’t explosive or strong. Very agile with his backpedal drill-one of the best. Very quick feet in 5 bag drill. 

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

6021

302

33

10.5

4.91

20

26.5

810

 

7.59

Strengths: A fast and quick DT that has the athleticism to make plays sideline to sideline. He has a narrow frame that should make him a good pass rusher and a perfect fit for a one gap scheme. He went to Princeton so I’m sure he’s pretty smart. It’s rare to have an Ivy League player get drafted early but his talent is impressive enough that he’s likely to be a Day 2 pick per most publications.

Weaknesses: Due to his narrow frame he’s scheme specific as he has terrible strength (his 20 reps on the bench were near the bottom among DTs at the Combine) and isn’t that explosive. He’s a very linear athlete which is rare for a DT and gives me pause as you prefer the beefy, explosive types not the long and lean types like Reid. His stats peaked in 2011 as a sophomore and went down in back to back seasons from that point. He played at a much lower level of competition and he almost never went against NFL OL so the adjustment could be tough initially for him.
Overall:
Reid is widely viewed as the best Ivy League prospect in years as he has great speed and quickness to go with NFL size. The issues with him are that he’s coming from a much lower level of competition, he isn’t very aggressive, he isn’t strong at the POA and his stats declined each of the past two seasons. I was impressed with what I saw from him at the Senior Bowl so I found some tape of his (Brown and Georgetown in 2013) yet couldn’t determine much as the athletes were so inferior to him. It was comparable to Clowney’s High School footage as he dominated but so what, those people won’t be playing football in a few years. Reid is an impressive enough athlete that I’d take a chance on him in the mid rounds despite his poor strength, declining stats and likelihood of not contributing as a rookie. Unfortunately those red flags due have me grading him out a bit lower than most. Late 3rd round as my #11 DT 4/30/14.

12. Daquan Jones Penn State 6’3 ¾ 322 Sr. 

Senior Bowl: Day 2: Stoned by Weston Richburg in 1×1, beat Michael Schofield on pure bull rush-great arm length, beat Cyril Richardson badly off snap for win, no rush vs. Michael Schofield, beat Brandon Linder on nice edge rush, only a slight late pressure vs. Zach Martin.

Stats: Big Ten

Year

Tackles

Sack

TFL

QBH

FF

INT

TD

2013

56

3

11.5

0

0

0

0

2012

22

0.5

2

0

0

0

0

2011

8

0

0

1

0

0

0

2010

6

1

2

0

0

0

0

Combine: He had a bad 40 (5.35) and was average to below average in every other measurement. Solid in the 5 bags drills. A little tight and not great in start-stop motion in change of direction drill.

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

6036

322

33.5

9.63

5.35

25

27.5

805

 

7.76

Strengths: He had an impressive senior season with 56 tackles, 3 sacks and 11.5 TFL as he was in the opponents backfield regularly. He has good size at 322 lbs but enough athleticism to be a one gap player and that size/speed ratio is rare. His 7.76 3 cone drill was elite for his size. He projects as a 3 down DT.

Weaknesses: He about as “one year wonder” as you can get as he only had 36 tackles in his first 3 seasons at Penn State yet blew up for 56 tackles in his final year. He lost some weight and really dedicated himself in his final year with the obvious takeaway being that he didn’t try his hardest previously. Did the light turn on or did he realize he could work his ass off for one season and get a nice paycheck at the end of it? On film he’s a good athlete but at the Combine his 5.35 40, ’27 ½ vertical and 8’5 broad were only average. He has limited upside and projects as only a mediocre starter at the next level as he does nothing great but is well rounded and can do a little of everything.
Overall:
Daquan projects as an average starting DT in the NFL who will be able to play 3 downs as he has the bulk to play on 1st and 2nd down against the run but also the athleticism to play on passing downs. He isn’t great at either job though so a team that rotates their DTs might not like him. I’m a fan of his tape as his combination of strength/size and speed/quickness is enticing. I do worry though about his one year wonder status as he didn’t change schools, head coaches or anything major so the difference likely is just pure effort. It will be something to watch out for as he could be naturally lazy but in the end I suspect he’ll be a solid starting DT for an NFL team for a half decade at least. Early 4th round as my #12 DT who doesn’t have a great work ethic and has limited upside but is well rounded and versatile 4/30/14.

13. Ryan Carrethers Arkansas St. 6’1 ¼ 337 Sr. 

Stats:

Year

Tackles

Sack

TFL

QBH

FF

INT

TD

2013

93

4

8

3

0

0

0

2012

68

1

3.5

0

0

0

0

2011

29

1.5

3

1

0

0

0

2010

6

0

0

0

0

0

0

Combine: He had a terrible Combine with a 5.47 40-worst among the 56 DL, ’26 vertical-4th worst and a 7’4 broad-worst. He looked athletic on film but at the Combine he appears to be a 2 down, run stuffing DT.

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

6012

337

31.75

9.38

5.47

32

26

704

 

7.89

Strengths: 1st team Sun Belt in 2012. #10 on Bruce Feldman’s freak athlete list for 2013 with 16% body fat (elite at 6’2 332 lbs) with a 400 lb power clean, 664 squat, and was the Tennessee state champ wrestler in HS. 1st team Sun Belt in 2013. Top 5 in the nation in tackles for a DT. He has an elite motor for a guy his size. He plays faster than his 5.47 40 would indicate. His 10 yd split was comparable to Justin Ellis and Anthony Johnson who both ran 40’s in the 5.2 range.

Weaknesses: He’s only 6’1 ¼ with 31 ¾ arms. He measured out below average to bad in most drills. On film he looked fast but he played against lower level competition so that is possibly the reason for the discrepancy.
Overall:
On film Carrethers is a huge man with an elite motor who can really move. At the end of the 2013 season I had a 3rd round grade on him and considered him to be one of the sleepers in this draft. Yet the Combine cost him a lot of money as he was near the bottom of the DL group in the 40, vertical and broad jump. He also came in short, with small hands and short arms. It was a bad showing for him but there’s only so much athleticism a 337 lb guy needs to be effective and the film shows that he has that. I think one issue is that he’s quicker than fast as his 10 yd split was similar to the 5.2 40 guys as was his 3 cone drill but then his huge weight eventually slowed him down causing his 40 to be so bad. Guys with his size, strength, motor and quickness are rare to find and I still hold that he’s a sleeper. After his horrible Combine though I wonder just how far he will drop on draft day. Early 4th round as my #13 DT 4/28/14.

14. Will Sutton Arizona State 6’0 ½ 303 Sr.

Comparison: Brandon Mebane

Senior Bowl: Day 1: He struggled in his first practice. He looks overweight and appears to have lost quickness from his junior year.

Stats: Pac-12

Year

Tackles

Sack

TFL

QBH

FF

INT

TD

2013

48

4

13.5

0

0

1

0

2012

63

12

23.5

1

3

0

0

2011

33

2.5

5.5

0

0

0

0

2010

RS

 

 

 

 

 

 

2009

17

1

3

0

1

0

0

Combine: The slide continues for Sutton as he came in at 303 lbs but even at that weight he was painfully slow (5.36 40). He was one of the worst in the broad jump and was only mediocre in the vertical and 3 cone. The worst possibly was the fact that he had 31 ¼ arms which were the shortest arms out of the 56 DL. Quick feet but slow overall and very short looking in 5 bag drill.

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

6004

303

31.25

10

5.36

24

28.5

803

 

7.93

Strengths: He’s an incredibly hard worker who never stops attacking, he’s squat and makes it difficult for an OL to get lower than him so he’s almost always playing with good leverage, he’s very good in the trail position on run and short pass plays allowing him to get far more tackles than the average DT would. 1st team Pac-12 in 2012 and 2013. 1st team All-American in 2012 and 2013. He’s a 2x Pac-12 DPOY (2012, 2013). As a junior in 2012 he played at between 265-285 and was quick, explosive and dominant with 12 sacks and 23.5 TFL. He thought he needed to add weight so he ballooned up to +320 lbs but is trimming down. At the Senior Bowl he was 315, at the Combine he was 303 and at his Pro Day he was 297 lbs so possibly by training camp the old Sutton will be back. He’s a very fiery guy who will always try his hardest.

Weaknesses: He redshirted AND played 4 seasons at Arizona State so he’s an older prospect who will be 23 early in his rookie season. He’s a smaller guy both height wise and weight wise, without great length his pass rush abilities could be negated in the NFL, he isn’t an elite athlete and lacks the raw athleticism of elite one gap DT prospects. His 31 ¼ arms are the shortest of any of the 56 DL at this year’s Combine. He lacks the frame to hold 300 lbs so you have to either accept a short, fat and slow guy on your team or a quick but tiny DT. I’m not sure either mold of Sutton will be incredibly successful in the NFL. In the 2013 Stanford game he made plays vs. Danser but was negated by Yankey aka struggled against good talent.
Overall:
The question scouts have to get answered on Sutton is: Did he made a poor decision to add weight in expectation for the NFL or is his un-NFL like body already breaking down under the stress of playing such a violent sport? In 2012 he was a late 1st rounder on my board as he didn’t look like an NFL player but his quickness, aggressive nature and elite production were too much to ignore. In 2013 he put up solid, far inferior to 2012 but solid, stats yet his un-NFL like body looked even worse as his belly got bigger, his feet got slower, his arms were more noticeably T-Rex like and I just didn’t like what I saw. He dropped to the 2nd round area by the end of the season yet after an invisible showing at the Senior Bowl and a horrific Combine his slide was so bad that I had him as a mid round pick and a future bust. Yet word has leaked out that he’s lost a lot of weight, understands why his game went awry and is working to fix it. I love hearing that as his 2012 tape was so good I want to believe he can get back to that level again but I have my doubts. Guys like him who never looked like NFL players to begin with can’t have other red flags going against them and I just wonder how a short, slow guy with extremely small arms will be a dominant DT. To me he lacks the size to be a two gap DT and the athleticism or length to be an elite 1 gap DT. He’s stuck in no man’s land and I think he’ll end up being just a #3 DT who excels on passing downs. There is value in that but nothing close to the grade I would have given him at the end of his junior year. 4th rounder as my #14 DT who had elite tape in 2012 but lacks NFL measurables and his stock seems to be in free fall 4/29/14.

15. Kelcy Quarles South Carolina 6’3 ¾ 297 Jr.

Stats: SEC

Year

Tackles

Sack

TFL

QBH

FF

INT

TD

2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013

39

9.5

13.5

3

0

0

0

2012

38

3.5

8

1

0

0

0

2011

28

0

2

4

0

0

0

Combine: He was a mixed bag as he had a good 40 (5.03) but some bad 10 yd splits (1.81 and 1.87) as well as a terrible vertical (23 ½-2nd worst among 56 DL) and a bad broad jump. He didn’t do the quickness drills so they probably were terrible too. Very tight with his backpedal drill. Below average in 5 bag drill.

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

6036

297

33.25

9.38

5.03

27

23.5

806

 

 

Strengths: Blue chip prospect out of HS. Ranked #124 in ESPN 2010 HS Class. 1st Team SEC in 2013. His 9.5 sacks in 2013 is an elite number for a DT. He played 3 seasons in the SEC at a high level.

Weaknesses: Redshirted in 2010 so despite playing only 3 years he’s not younger. He came be invisible at times (2013 bowl game vs. Wisconsin when he was shutdown by Ryan Groy). He had a great 40 and good strength on the bench but his vertical, broad jump, quickness drills and flexibility in the position drills were all among the worst of any DT. At 297 lbs he’s probably not big enough to be a two gap DT but on film that is what I saw. I think he might have cut weight to improve his 40 time but it worries me as he’s not athletic enough to be a one gap DT.
Overall:
For a player that I saw in quite a few games I still feel uncertain about Quarles. Due to Melvin Ingram in 2011 and Clowney in 2011-2013 I saw at least 15 games of Quarles yet on film he looked like a 4-3 DT in a 2 gap scheme and then he showed up at the Combine under 300 lbs? He has good speed for a DT but I don’t think he’ll be able to survive as a one gap type and I think he needs to regain the weight and be more in the 315 range. Quarles is a prospect I waver on as sometimes he looks like a 3rd rounder and sometimes he looks like a 5th or 6th rounder. As such I’m giving him a 4th round grade as my #15 DT but he’s one prospect I’m not very comfortable grading at this point 4/30/14.

16. Kerry Hyder Texas Tech 6’2 ½ 290 Sr. 

Comparison: Chris Jones

Stats: Big 12

Year

Tackles

Sack

TFL

QBH

FF

INT

TD

2013

65

2

11.5

5

3

0

0

2012

56

5.5

14

0

0

0

0

2011

42

1.5

5

3

1

0

0

2010

13

2

3.5

2

2

0

0

Combine: He was exactly what I saw on tape: A big guy (6’2 ½ 290) with good speed (5.1 40) and quickness (7.23 3 cone is incredible for his size!) yet with marginal strength (20 reps-terrible for a DT) and explosiveness (average vertical and broad). Quick but didn’t seem to bend that well in the 5 bags drills. Impressive in double bag pass rush drill.

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

6024

290

33.5

9.75

5.1

20

29.5

900

4.33

7.23

Strengths: 2nd Team Big 12 in 2012 and 2013. Is agile for a man his size, good quickness, good strength, has a few polished pass rush moves (swim move). He was extremely productive for 3 straight seasons in a top 4 conference. He was productive despite being on a bad defense with little talent around him. He is very good at getting trailing tackles due to his speed and quickness. He has a very good motor and gives a good effort. He improved his ability to make plays in the backfield as he only had 8.5 TFL in his first two seasons despite having 55 tackles yet in his final two seasons he had 25.5 TFL. He has very good tape and seemed to always make plays no matter what game I watched of him. In the 2013 Arizona St. game (bowl game) he showed great speed catching a RB on a dump off when he dropped into coverage.

Weaknesses: He does not have an NFL looking body and has a very “frumpy” look to him, isn’t an elite athlete. He isn’t explosive and isn’t powerful. He’s much more of a trail side tackler than a stack and shed tackler aka he could struggle when teams run at him. At only 290 lbs he won’t be a good fit for a 2 gap scheme. With only 20 reps on the bench he was one of the weakest DTs at the Combine. He’d be a good fit for a one gap scheme but those schemes put added emphasis on the “3 technique” position and he isn’t an elite athlete so he might not be talented enough to play that coveted role. He is top heavy with very thin legs that cause him to struggle to anchor.
Overall:
Hyder is an interesting guy as he’s almost the antithesis of a Dominique Easley. Easley is long, lean and athletic yet never put up great stats while Hyder is thin legged with a big belly and a frumpy look to him yet, statistically, was one of the better defensive tackles in the nation. I’ve seen both types become good NFL players and I’ve seen both types become draft busts which is why both scare me. One thing I know Hyder will be good at in the NFL is his ability to trail a play and make a tackle on the backside. With his speed, agility and motor he should continue to rack up tackle totals in this fashion. Unfortunately that is a thankless job and most coaches prefer their DT to either be a huge behemoth that can set a defense’s center point or be an elite athlete that can cause disruption in a backfield. Hyder is neither of those and likely will be a #3 DT for most of his career due to him not being a cookie cutter DT. 4th round as my #16 DT who was extremely productive but worries me by his un-NFL like body 4/27/14.

17. Jeoffrey Pagan Alabama 6’3 310 Jr. 

Stats: SEC

Year

Tackles

Sack

TFL

QBH

FF

INT

TD

2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013

33

2

3.5

3

0

0

0

2012

23

1.5

4

2

1

0

0

2011

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

Combine: He only ran (5.12 40) which is strange. At 6’3 310 he has good athleticism but he chose not to show it off. I’m very confused.

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

6030

310

33

9.63

5.12

 

 

 

 

 

Strengths: He has good size at 310 lbs and very good quickness. He has the athleticism and frame to be a perfect fit as a one gap DT. He was miscast as a 3-4 DE in the Alabama scheme as it’s just a run stopping position and he was underutilized as a pass rusher. There have been games the past two years where I considered him the best defensive player on the field.

Weaknesses: He flashes at you on film but he isn’t consistent. He is very narrow in his frame and I think that he could struggle at the POA against the run. It’s surprising he came out as his stats in 2013 (33 tackles, 2 sacks and 3.5 TFL) is hardly impressive. He seemed to be in Saban’s doghouse a lot and I think he left due to friction with the coaching staff.
Overall:
Pagan is the classic “flash player” as he makes some spectacular plays (the hit on Mettenberger in 2013 where he drove him into the dirt, the body slam of a player in 2012 that was more wrestling move than football move, etc.) yet then goes quarters without his name being mentioned. Part of the issue I think is that he’s a narrow framed, athletic guy who fits best as a one gap, penetrating DT yet was made a 3-4 DE who has to stop the run. He didn’t fit Alabama’s scheme and I also don’t think he got along that well with the coaching staff either so I think there’s a chance that Pagan becomes a better pro than college player. Or he is the next great athlete without good college stats that becomes a bust as a NFL player. Both scenarios are very possible for flash players like him. I like his upside though so I’d take a chance on him in the mid rounds if I was a one gap scheme team like the Cowboys, Bucs or Bears. Early 5th round as my #17 DT who was miscast in Saban’s scheme but is a player with a very high ceiling 4/30/14.

18. Tenny Palepoi Utah 6’1 ½ 298 Sr.

Stats: Pac-12

Year

Tackles

Sack

TFL

QBH

FF

INT

TD

2013

53

4.5

9.5

0

1

0

0

2012

21

2

3

0

0

0

0

JUCO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JUCO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Combine: He was above average in every drill from the 40, to the explosion drills to the quickness drills. I really was impressed with his overall athleticism and I think he makes sense as a one gap type. Elite quickness, athleticism and bend with his backpedal drill.

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

6014

298

30.5

9.88

5.1

31

30.5

903

 

7.67

Strengths: 2nd Team Pac-12. His Combine was impressive as he was above average to elite in every drill. I was shocked to see how quick he was when he went through the backpedal drill as he was the best in the group by far. His older brother had a 6 year NFL career.

Weaknesses: He went the JUCO route. He’s undersized at 298 lbs and will need to be in a 1 gap scheme.
Overall:
Palepoi is a player I didn’t notice on film while scouting Utah in 2 games this season yet is one I appear to have missed as his Combine was elite and his productivity was very good. He bends and moves as well as any DT in this draft class (Aaron Donald excluded) and with his dramatic improvement from 2012 to 2013, and his JUCO background, there’s an argument to be made that his best football is in front of him. He could be a steal if put in the right scheme (one gap) and given time to learn his craft as I see borderline elite athleticism in him and he has impressive bloodlines. 5th round as my #18 DT who is a project that I would be interested in rolling the dice on 4/30/14.

19. Khyri Thornton Southern Miss 6’2 5/8 304 Sr. 

Stats:

Year

Tackles

Sack

TFL

QBH

FF

INT

TD

2013

39

0.5

6.5

4

0

0

0

2012

36

1

9.5

1

1

1

0

2011

24

2.5

9

4

1

0

0

2010

17

2.5

4.5

0

0

0

0

Combine: He impressed me with a good 40 (5.03), bench (28), vertical (’29) and broad (9’4). For a 304 lb guy he showed off speed, explosiveness and strength. He didn’t dominate the Combine but he showed that he’s a legit NFL athlete and maybe a bit of a sleeper. Very good in his backpedal drill showing flexibility that is rare for a guy his size.

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

6025

304

32.5

9.5

5.03

28

29

904

 

7.83

Strengths: 2nd Team C-USA in 2013. He really impressed me at the NFLPA game and the Combine as in both settings he showed very good athleticism and an NFL body. His Combine numbers are elite as he showed speed (5.03), strength (28 reps), explosion (’29 vertical) and quickness (7.83 3 cone). He’s a well rounded athlete who could fit any scheme but probably fits best in a one gap scheme.

Weaknesses: Thornton is an elite athlete but his production was very mediocre. He had 2.5 sacks as a freshman yet didn’t surpass that number in his final 3 seasons. Was he double teamed too much, were his poor stats a fluke or did he not try as hard as he should have?
Overall:
Thornton has late 2nd/early 3rd round talent but there’s no way I would consider taking him that high due to his questionable motor and work ethic. He never seemed to improve during his time at Southern Miss and I wonder how much he really cares about the sport. At the NFLPA game he was one of the best DL there and at the Combine his size/speed ratio was evident but to me he’s nothing more than a roll of the dice as his career will be decided by how hard he works. 5th round as my #19 DT who has early round talent but lacks the motor or collegiate production to warrant such a high pick 4/30/14.

20. Shamar Stephen Connecticut 6’4 7/8 309 Sr.

Stats: Big East

Year

Tackles

Sack

TFL

QBH

FF

INT

TD

2013

60

3

10

1

0

0

0

2012

26

0

2

0

0

0

0

2011

17

0

1

0

0

0

0

2010

27

2

4

0

0

0

0

Combine: He was below average in his 40 but above average in his vertical and broad. Overall he showed average athleticism for a 6’5 310 type guy.  

HGT

WGT

Arms

Hands

40

Reps

Vert

Broad

Shuttle

3 Cone

6047

309

33.13

10

5.17

25

30.5

807

 

 

Strengths: He has an elite frame at basically 6’5 310. He’d fit perfectly in at 3-4 DE and his big hands (’10) are a characteristic they would love. He has solid strength and athleticism for his size and was average or above average in every drill at the Combine. His 60 tackles, 3 sacks and 10 TFL are a good season.

Weaknesses: He never did much statistically until the 2013 season. He had average to above average athleticism but didn’t wow in any one area. Is he a run stopper or pass rusher as again he doesn’t have one great quality that sets him apart.
Overall:
Shamar is one of the few players I have a profile on that I didn’t actually scout. His Combine was good and his stats were very good though so he’s deserving of a mid round grade. His frame makes him a good fit to be a 3-4 DE but he has enough athleticism to stay at DT in a one gap or two gap scheme, two being the best fit. Late 5th round as my #20 DT 4/30/14.

 

Late Round Types:

21. Nikita Whitlock Wake Forest #50 5’11 260 Jr. Class 5A DPOY in Texas but lightly recruited because of measurables. In the 2011 Mississippi St game he had a great stunt from NT going outside quickly for sack (10:23 1st), good job holding up to C/RG double team then showed elite speed for a DT to tackle RB on sweep on edge, great job fighting through double team for 2 yd tackle on scrambling QB. In the 2012 Clemson game he had 4.5 sec hustle sack breaking through double team. He had a 4.82 40, ’33 vertical, 9’0 broad and a shocking 43 reps on the bench! Unfortunately he actually got smaller as now he is 5’9 ¾ 251 lbs and many scouts consider him a FB prospect. I still have him as a DT and like him as a late round guy since I think every team should have a DT pass rush specialist and he would fill that role nicely. It still amazes me how a guy with 82 tackles, 9 sacks and 18 TFL can get so little love from teams. Early 6th round as my #21 DT 4/30/14.

22. Zachariah Kerr Delaware Sr.Transfer from Maryland. At the East-West Shrine game practices he impressed all week as he was both strong enough to handle a double team and athletic enough to chase a play from the backside. He looks like a mid rounder and better than any DT other than maybe Jason Bromley 2/20/14. At the East-West Shrine game he held his ground and made a 2 yd tackle on run at him-shed blocker, good move getting outside shoulder on Dakot Dozier-best OG in the game. He had a good 40 and solid bench (28) but was average in the rest of the drills. Very slow in the 5 bags drills. Average in double bag pass rush drill. Below average in double bag pass rush drill. Solid in 3 bag drill. He’s a big guy with some athleticism who could possibly carve out a niche for himself as a rotation guy. Early 6th round as my #22 DT 4/27/14.

23. Derrick Hopkins Virginia Tech #98 6’0 312 Sr. Nicknamed skip with his brothers named hop and jump. A big, fat guy who is mainly a run stopper but has a little quickness to him-bad body. In the 2011 Georgia Tech game he shucked C and got QB on option left before he could pitch it for an athletic play (7:50 2nd), solid push against OL then adjusted and tackled RB after 7 showing quickness in open field. 2nd Team ACC in 2013. In the 2013 UCLA game (bowl game) he showed great quickness avoiding the down block of Xavier Su’a-Filo for a no gain tackle-very impressive. He had a solid pro day with a 5.06 40, 25 reps, ’26 vertical and 8’5 broad. I liked his film and loved his stats as he had +50 tackles in 3 straight seasons. I think he’s a great pick in the late rounds as there is no buzz on him despite producing for 3 straight seasons and showing solid athleticism as his pro day. Early 6th round as my #23 DT 4/30/14.

24. Bruce Gaston Jr. Purdue Sr. A physically fit DT as he has very limited fat on him. At the East-West Shrine game practices he impressed on one play and was invisible on the next. He looked inferior overall to teammate Jason Bromley. In the East-West Shrine game he had a great stack and shed eating up a run play directly at him for no gain. Early 6th round as my #24 DT as he is an inconsistent player but one with legit NFL talent 4/30/14.

25. George Uko USC 6’2 5/8 284 Jr. In the 2013 Stanford game he wowed me with a play where he raced down the line on an outside run and caught the RB for no gain. DTs his size aren’t supposed to move that fast. Combine: He was a mixed bag as he was fast (4.99) and explosive (vertical and broad both above average) but he only had 18 reps as a DT! That’s embarrassing and I wonder if he focused too much on speed and quickness as he didn’t look 284 lbs on tape. I hate when guys cut weight to get a better 40 as it rarely does anything other than make scouts confused. Is he trying to be a DE? A little tight but quick in his backpedal drill. He had 5 sacks each of the past 2 years but it’s still surprising he left school early. I’ve noticed his speed and quickness on film but he only flashes on film and his career high in tackles is only 36 which is a very low number for a penetrating DT. I like parts of his game (speed and quickness) yet dislike other parts (inconsistent and is weak at the POA). 6th round as my #25 DT 4/29/14.

26. Ken Bishop Northern Illinois #93 6’1 308 Sr. In the 2013 Utah St. game he had an amazing sack knocking the LG on his butt and destroying the play. He also had a TFL beating C Tyler Larsen off the snap and later had an INT on a deflected screen. I haven’t heard one word about him but he looks like an interesting one gap DT as a late round flier type. 6th round as my #26 DT 12/27/13.

27. Taylor Hart Oregon #66 6’6 281 Sr. In the 2013 Stanford game he went against elite OG David Yankey and flashed with good quickness and outstanding aggressiveness. Combine: He only did the bench (21 reps-below average) due to injury. He did measure 6’6 281 with 10 1/8 hands so he has a great frame yet it’s mitigated with T-Rex arms (32 ¾ arms at 6’6?). He has great height, big hands and is quick and aggressive on film so I think he’d make sense as a late round pick for a 3-4 team to use at DE. Late 6th round as my #27 DT 4/27/14.

28. DeAndre Coleman California 6’5 314 Sr. In the 2011 Stanford game had PF hitting Luck after he had slid for a questionable call at best. 2013 Honorable Mention Pac-12. Combine: He only did the bench due to an injury. At his pro day he had a 5.06 40, 25 ½ vertical, 8’7 broad and 7.71 3 cone all of which were average to above average for DTs at the Combine. He played 3-4 DE in their scheme and showed very good athleticism for his size. He has impressive speed to get a decent pass rush for them but his main role is as a run stuffer. He has poor agility/bend and needs to be a 4-3 DT in a 2 gap scheme or a 3-4 DE. His instincts are very poor and they’re so bad I sometime wonder if he’s a bright kid as he has some atrocious diagnosing skills. He has 5.5 career sacks and +100 sacks (most of each category being in the past 2 years) so he was a productive player despite playing on a terrible team. Cal was so bad the past 2 years it’s really hard to scout anyone from that program but I see an NFL talent when watching his Cal and Oregon games. Early 7th round as my #28 DT who probably fits best as a 3-4 DE 4/27/14

 

Free Agents:

Kaleb Ramsey 6’3 297 Sr.In the 2013 Arizona game (bowl game) he flashed with his standard power/quickness combo. I still think he’s underrated but it’s been years since he played a full season or made a big impact. Late round flier 1/21/14. Combine: He didn’t work out due to injury, what a surprise, but he did have 36 reps on the bench which is elite. At one time I had a 2nd round grade on him but it’s been years since he was healthy and I suspect there’s little left of his former athleticism. I’d still be the first in line to give the kid a shot though if/when he went undrafted as there was elite talent there before and he’s a hard worker with no character issues so it’d be worth a shot. Free Agent 4/30/14.

Luther Maddy Virginia Tech #92 6’1 295 Sr. 3rd Team ACC in 2013. In the 2013 UCLA game (bowl game) he shot through the line beating RG and C off the snap to get quick TFL-hit RB moments after he got hand off. Free Agent 4/29/14.

Beau Allen Wisconsin 6’3 334 Sr. In the 2011 Oregon St. game had a nice sack on swim move near the end of the game (4:10 4th).In the East-West Shrine game he showed good strength plowing Zac Kerin into the backfield, good hustle getting around James Stone’s block to trail the play backside, beart James Stone outside for sack and FF. Free Agent 4/27/14.

Jamie Meder Ashland 6’2 ¼ 293 Sr. In the 2013 NFLPA game he beat an interior OL 2x off the snap yet just flew by the QB both times-disrupted the play but not even close to a sack as going too fast, he shot through again later this time getting a TFL on a run play. He looks like a disruptive, quick DT who overcomes his mediocre measurables and lack of a chiseled body. Incomplete but intrigued as a late rounder 1/20/14. he grades out as a free agent but one who I’m very interested in 4/30/14.

Brent Urban Virginia 6’7 295 Sr. In the 2013 Oregon game he played DT, he sniffed out screen and got into the flat to knock down the ball showing elite movement skills for a guy his size. Combine: He didn’t workout but with a 6’7 frame and ’34 ¼ arms he’s the prototype of a 3-4 DE. Free Agent 4/29/14.

Calvin Barnett Oklahoma St. #99 6’2 299 Sr. 2nd team Big 12 in 2012. In the 2012 West Virginia game he was invisible. In the 2012 Oklahoma game he was invisible. In the 2012 Purdue game he showed great quickness getting to RB for TFL. Went the JUCO route to OSU. In the 2013 TCU game he impressed me with a number of pressures and big hits. In the 2013 bowl game vs. Missouri he had a few solid plays and then a great sack beating the LG on pull rush. He’s their leader and is a locker room favorite. 7th round 3/23/14. He isn’t flexible at all though and has more of a DT than DE frame though they line him up at both. A great leader and hard worker who just seems to lack the size or athleticism to be anything special in the NFL. Free Agent 4/27/14.

Eathyn Manumaleuna BYU 6’2 ¼ 296 Sr. Combine: He was average in pretty much every measurement. Average in 3 bag drill. He’s a much older prospect due to his 3 year mission trip from 2008-2010. In 5 seasons (he had a medical redshirt year too) he only had 6.5 sacks. He looks like a good option to be a camp invite as he’s already 26-27 and is unlikely to be worth a 2nd contract anyway. Free Agent 4/27/14.

Josh Mauro Stanford 6’5 7/8 271 Sr. Combine: He had a 5.21 40 which was worse than most DTs despite him being only 271 lbs. He is solely a 3-4 DE and, even at that position, his measurables might cause him to go undrafted. Very flexible in double bad pass rush drill. He had a good senior year with 51 tackles, 4 sacks, 12.5 TFL and 2 FF. He’s a blue collar, high motor type that lacks any real athleticism but played last year in the 280’s (unsuccessfully tried to improve his 40 time by dropping weight) and has the frame to get even bigger. As a 2 down, run stuffing 3-4 DE he would make sense for some teams. Rotational body at best. Free Agent 4/29/14.

Michael Pennel Colorado St. Pueblo Sr. 6’4 ¼ 332 Sr. He was mediocre in every drill but at 332 lbs that’s not a terrible thing. Average with his backpedal drill. Below average in 5 bag drill. He looks like a 2 down DT that could be effective due to his solid athleticism for such a big guy. His small school roots make it unlikely that he sticks in the NFL too long though. Free Agent 4/29/14.

Damonte McAllister Florida State #97 6’2 290 Sr. At the East-West Shrine game he beat Charles Leno Jr. for a pressure and almost sack-surprising that a guy his size can move that fast, he pushed back RT to get pressure-he’s been solid at DE but lacks the explosion to stay there. Likely a 1 gap DT who is worth a look as a free agent 3/5/14.

Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe Boise St. #43 Sr. He is part Asian and was born in Amsterdam. He moved to the Boise area late in HS and didn’t play 11 on 11 ball until his senior year so there is a chance he is low on his developmental curve. Free Agent developmental type 1/19/14.

Mister Cobble Kentucky #97 6’1 328 Jr. In the 2012 Louisville game he had an outstanding play stacking and shedding the C (threw him away with one arm) and leveling the RB going through his hole-elite strength (2:37 2nd), had 4.5 sec sack pushing C back then getting away (very slowly getting away) and taking QB down with one hand-not athletic but so strong he just swiped at Teddy and he went down (2:00 2nd), has very poor body language. Free Agent as he has a bad attitude but there’s legit talent in him 4/30/14.

Corey Miller Tennessee #80 Jr. In the 2011 Georgia game he made a quick initial move beating RG immediately then showed agility to get QB as he was trying to scramble through middle of line for 4 sec sack (9:21 1st). In the 2012 North Carolina St. game he had a sack getting through the middle-actually was intentional grounding. Camp invite 4/30/14.

Garrison Smith Georgia #56 Sr. Ranked #143 in ESPN 2010 HS Class. Is a big, thick DT who looks like a run stuffing type. In the 2011 Boise St. game he had a nice play on screen pass showing surprising quickness to react to screen hitting RB Doug Martin hard 5 yds downfield (5:41 4th). In the 2012 Nebraska game he had 5 sec cov sack going right around RT who took a swing at him and then ole’d? At the East-West Shrine game he took a lot of cheap shots at Dakota Dozier and easily could have been flagged for them. I don’t like his attitude and his film was average most games. Camp invite 4/29/14.

Calvin Howell Texas #90 Sr. In the 2011 Oklahoma game he had a good sack on inside rush from DT spot on 3rd and long pushing off LG and tripping QB as he stepped up (8:25 2nd). In the 2012 Oklahoma game he wasn’t a starter as Dorsey and Moore were ahead of him. In the 2012 Texas Tech game I noticed good quickness for a guy his size. Camp invite as I didn’t notice him once in 2013 4/30/14.

Damien Jacobs Florida #4 Sr. In the 2012 Florida St. game he was pancaked by RG Tre’ Jackson. In the 2012 Louisville game (Sugar Bowl) he swatted LG’s hands away and went through untouched for 4 sec sack in red zone. Camp invite 4/29/14.

Jacobbi McDaniel Florida St. Sr. has been the most dominant defensive player at the week of practices as his quickness and hand technique have made him unblockable all week. #5 in ESPN 150 for ’09. In the 2011 Clemson game had great penetration from NT shooting through and holding off OL to get TFL on inside run (12:46 3rd), great recognition on screen following RB immediately to ruin play (7:14 4th). He had a mediocre season in 2013 (29 tackles, 0.5 sack and 2.5 TFL) which ended the career of an elite prospect out of HS. Due to a few flashes I saw and his HS pedigree I’d give him a camp invite 4/30/14.

Ioane Gauta Washington St. #95 6’3 285 Sr. In the 2013 Colorado St. game he went against Weston Richburg and had a few pressures and a batted ball. I’ve never heard of him before but he popped on film a few times. Camp invite 12/21/13.

Ed Stinson Alabama #49 6’3 287 Sr. Is a physical clone of Courtney Upshaw and appears to be nothing more than a run stuffer. Late round/FA type 9/23/13. Combine: Edward Stinson-He didn’t work out due to injury. He lacks the athleticism, even compared to a poor athlete like Upshaw, to stay at PR so I’m moving him to DT or 3-4 DE. No matter what position I put him at though, I still dislike him and think he’s a marginal prospect at best. Camp invite 5/2/14

Davon Coleman Arizona St. 6’2 276 Sr. In the 2013 Stanford game (Pac-12 championship) he had a quick move at the snap beating stud LG David Yankey immediately for a sack. I didn’t know about him before this game but he impressed me so he’d be worth a shot as barely a camp invite 4/30/14.

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