NFL Draft Musings: Defensive Tackles


Oct 26, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers defensive lineman Ra

This defensive class is unique.  The best player from a technical standpoint is far and away Aaron Donald.  He put opponents on their backs at the Reese’s Senior Bowl despite giving up around 50lbs to some of his opponents.  Everytime a hurdle is put in front of him, he does not merely clear it, but makes it look laughable that anyone would have suggested it in the first place.

Then, there a player like Ra’Shede Hageman who is athletically incredible and should put on an incredible display at the combine.  He still has a ton to learn about in terms of technique and the game of football.  Hageman runs himself out of run gaps for example.

Nevertheless, looking at Hageman and his athleticism and raw ability, I look at his ability to bend, which makes me feel fetter about it.  There are players like Stephon Tuitt and Taylor Hart who are similarly impressive in their raw athleticism, but struggle to bend and show off their raw strength.  Hageman can do it, which makes me inclined to believe in him.

Then there is a player like Daniel McCullers, who is tremendous in his build.  Leverage is always going to be a question and how much he loves football, but if there is a fire lit under him and he is fresh, he can be absolutely devastating.  He is difficult to move and a pain in the ass when he is tired.  McCullers can be a one man wrecking crew when he is motivated and fresh.  He one armed Chance Warmack into the backfield.  That is an image that is tough to forget.

Louis Nix III and Dominique Easley are incredibly talented but were injured this past year so where they go remains to be seen.  Will Sutton is a to be determined situation with what he does with his body and weight.  Players like Caraun Reid or Brent Urban could make a big move up the board.