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2011 Combine Buzz - The Defensive Tackles
Auburn DT Nick Fairley
Auburn DT Nick Fairley
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 22, 2011


The buzz around the 2011 NFL Combine - The stars at defensive tackle

2011 NFL Combine Buzz

The Star Defensive Tackles

 
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2011 Pre-Combine Buzz
- The Luckless quarterback class
- Cam Newton is expected to do it all
- The star defensive tackles
- All the North Carolina talent and what they'll do
- Where have all the good running backs gone?
- The lousy tight end class
- The 40 star speedster will be ...
- The three players everyone will be talking about
- The offensive tackle pecking order
- The strongest position is ...
- Da'Quan Bowers' knee
- Breaking Down the 2011 NFL Combine

2011 NFL Combine Invites & Draft Projection
- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | OG/Cs | OTs
- DEs | DTs | LBs | Ss | CBs | Ps & Ks 

As young men start to parade in their underwear in front of old guys with notepads, here are ten things that all the NFL types are talking about before the fun and merriment of the Combine in Indianapolis kicks in this weekend.

The defensive tackles


The big storyline of last year was the Ndamukong Suh vs. Gerald McCoy debate, and the two showed as rookies that they were worth the hype and worth the scrutiny. Behind quarterback and left tackle, every NFL team will move heaven and earth to secure a star at defensive tackle. Get an anchor for the middle of the line, and a few solid tackles in a rotation, and everything else falls into place.

But it’s not enough anymore to find some big, lumpy rock to sit in the middle and clog things up. There’s always a place for a massive body on the nose, but today’s tackles, like Suh and McCoy, have to be able to get into the backfield on a regular basis and become disruptive forces. They need the versatility to work as a one-gap pass rusher and a two-gap run stuffer, and if they’re taken in the first round, they have to show the potential to be a cornerstone of a defense.

Defensive tackle isn’t the best position in the 2011 draft, but it might be the strongest up top. Auburn’s Nick Fairley has the athleticism and the size to be another Suh, Alabama’s Marcell Dareus is a traditional tackle who’s among the most physical players in the draft, and Corey Liuget out of Illinois is a high-rising athlete who could make a big leap up with a big week in Indianapolis.

North Carolina’s Marvin Austin has to show off the first round talent and ability many assumed he had before being suspended for all of last year. USC’s Jurrell Casey has to show off his athleticism that could make him a top 50 pick, and to overcome questions about his size. Baylor’s Phil Taylor has to build off a strong Senior Bowl week, Iowa’s Christian Ballard has to show he can be a 4-3 tackle as well as a 3-4 end, and Oregon State’s Stephen Paea, who should be one of the stars on the bench, has to come up with a whale of a workout to solidify a spot in the first round.