Nov 10, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Utah Utes defensive tackle Star Lotulelei (92) reaches for Washington Huskies quarterback Keith Price (17) during the 2nd half at CenturyLink Field. Washington defeated Utah 34-15. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE
Firstly, I have to give my sincerest apologies for the lack of postage this past week. A busy schedule and fighting a stubborn cold have forced this blog to the backburner so far in November. Unacceptable. I’ll be making up for it with a ton of updates the rest of the month. Stay tuned.
Back to draft talk.
Putting a gun to my head, I would say that the defensive tackle group is by far the best position group of the 2013 class, and one of the best groups of DT’s we have seen coming out in awhile. Combine them with the defensive end class and a solid linebacking class, and this is the best year to go for front seven help. Here are my top DT’s through November.
1. Star Lotulelei, Utah
Lotulelei had a lot of hype heading into the season. Todd McShay had him as the number one prospect in the whole country and he wasn’t the only one. Lotulelei hasn’t had a super-star season like Glenn Dorsey, Ndamukong Suh, or Nick Fairley have had in recent years, but he hasn’t done anything to drop him from being a top 10 prospect and the top DT. He has ideal size and athleticism. Combine that with his scheme versatility and I think you have quite the prospect.
2. Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State
Hankins has surpassed Lotulelei in some peoples’ minds. I definitely see the line of reasoning. Hankins brings a Vince Wilfork body-type and has shown that he can collapse the pocket and put pressure on the QB this season. This is extremely rare for someone with his size. I love him as a 3-4 nose prospect, and think he is top-15 pick material. I don’t think his pass rushing success this year will translate to the NFL. But he will be an anchor and can play the 0-technique spot, which is extremely valuable at the NFL level with these modern 3-4 schemes.
3. Sheldon Richardson, Missouri
I made myself a little note to make sure and watch Sheldon Richardson this season in Mizzou’s first year in the SEC. I have not been disappointed. Richardson is a pure 3-technique that has shown that he can get after the QB as well as making plays down the line of scrimmage in the running game. He plays on a bad defense, so he isn’t getting a ton of hype, but he reminds me of Corey Liuget from a couple years back out of Illinois. I think he’ll go in that mid-first range. However unlike Liuget, I hope he goes he goes to a 4-3 team.
4. Jesse Williams, Alabama
I was very high on Williams going into the season. Many seem to have soured on the Aussie native. I’m not really sure why, as he has held strong in the middle of that vaunted Alabama defense. He hasn’t shown off the versatility or athleticism of former Tide DT Marcel Dareus, but Williams still has room to grow. He has a great frame, is strong as an ox, and plays with great leverage. He may not bring much pass-rushing potential but he, like Hankins, can hold down the fort in the middle of a 3-4. I think he would be great in a Pat Williams-esque 4-3 nose role.
5. Sharrif Floyd, Florida
Floyd has been nicked up this year, but he has been the rock for the talented Florida defense. His burst off the line is what impresses me the most. He isn’t as big as the guys further up this list, but like Richardson he offers more pass rushing potential and ability in the 4-3. Floyd’s ability against the run is excellently developed. Even when blocked out, he always managed to stick his arm out and at least contact the ball-carrier. He may choose to return for his senior year, but Floyd is NFL ready right now.
John Jenkins, Georgia
Kawaan Short, Purdue
Jordan Hill, Penn State