2011 NFL Combine - Defensive Tackle Analysis
Nick Fairley, Marcell Dareus, Stephen Paea
Nick Fairley, Marcell Dareus, Stephen Paea
Posted Feb 28, 2011

Combine quick looks at the defensive tackles invited to Indy.

2011 NFL Combine

Defensive Tackle Rankings

2011 NFL Combine Results
- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | Cs | OTs | OGs 
- DEs | DTs | ILBs | OLBs | Ss | CBs 

2011 NFL Combine Position Analysis
- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | Cs | OTs | OGs 
- DEs | DTs | ILBs | OLBs | Ss | CBs

1. Nick Fairley, Auburn 6-4, 291
Positives: Very big and very quick. Explosive out of the blocks and gets into the backfield in a hurry. An ideal 3-technique lineman. … Hits like a ton of bricks. Beats up ball carriers and delivers a punch on quarterbacks. … He can move around wherever needed. He doesn't fit any one scheme.
Negatives: A one-year wonder. He went from being just a guy to an all-timer in one offseason. … Has a reputation for being dirty. Not known as a perfect character guy and might have an attitude. … He's going to be a target. He has to prove he can produce on a regular basis now that he's the main man.

2. Marcell Dareus, Alabama (DE) 6-3, 305
Positives: He has the prime size to work either on the nose or in the one-gap, and he can get into the backfield like a 3-4 end. Extremely versatile. … Very strong and is a great finisher. Moves well for his size. … A big hitter. He's an intimidation force.
Negatives: Not necessarily a speed rusher in a 4-3 and not necessarily a rock of a pure defensive tackle. He might be versatile and he might be great once he finds a role, but he's sort of a tweener. … Doesn't fire off the ball at a top level. He's not Nick Fairley-quick.

3. Stephen Paea, Oregon State 6-1, 303
Positives: INSANE strength. He should blow up the Combine bench press. Has the strength and the toughness to be a true nose, and he has the ability to get into the backfield as a one-gap defender. … Used to being beaten on. He spent all of last year being double teamed and still produced. … Doesn't get pushed around. He's a rock on the inside and he holds his ground.
Negatives: Not considered to be a top-shelf, difference-making lineman at the next level. He might be good, but he might to a lot of things no one notices. … Gets erased way too much. There were long stretches when he didn't show up because he was keyed on. … Not tall. Sort of a squatty defender who lacks the long frame.

4. Marvin Austin, North Carolina 6-2, 309
Positives: The ideal interior defender size-wise. He has bulk, strength, and he's a rock against the run. … Moves extremely well and can get to the quarterback. He has no problem blowing past linemen with mediocre athleticism. On sheer talent, and with no baggage, he might be a top ten talent. … The main knock is that he dealt with an agent. It's not that big a deal when it comes to NFL potential.
Negatives: However, there is a question mark when it comes to his character. He has to prove he's a want-to player who really does want to maximize his talents. … Wasn't consistent. When he pushed it, he was dominant, but he disappeared way too much. … He has to show that the year off didn't matter. He missed all of 2010.

5. Corey Liuget, Illinois 6-2, 298
Positives: A fantastic athlete with the quickness to be a dangerous interior pass rusher. … Moves well down the line and gets off blocks without a problem. … Took over games at times. He can be a game-changer and has the prototype one-gap ability.
Negatives: He didn't start dominating until he tried to become a player. He could easily let his weight slip if he doesn't focus. … Not strong enough to be a nose in a 3-4 and might have to be a 3-4 end if he's not in a 4-3. … Needs work and coaching. He's not a finished product and needs more moves.

6. Drake Nevis, LSU 6-1, 294
Positives: A great playmaker in the backfield. He's great off the ball and he has the quickness to be a dominator in the right scheme. … Always working and always with the motor on. He's never going to stop. … He'll try to get better. Very coachable, very good character, and he'll make sure he's a productive player.
Negatives: Not huge. He's a short, squatty player who lacks the raw bulk to be on the nose. He might have to be a three-technique tackle and that's it. … He'll need to be on a line with bigger, stronger players. He's not going to be anyone's anchor. … Can he play against the power running teams? He'll get beaten on and might be a part of a rotation.

7. Christian Ballard, Iowa 6-4, 283
Positives: Extremely quick and very athletic. He has the build and the pop to be a great 3-4 end. … Gets to the ball carrier down the field if needed and he's not going to stay blocked. … Looks smooth. He has the ability to be a big producer just on physical tools.
Negatives: Not consistent. A good college player who benefitted by being next to some great players. … Does he want it? He's not known for being a fire-eater. Needs to get pushed. … More of a workout guy than a top shelf player. He has to get stronger to be a true tackle and might be a tweener.

8. Phil Taylor, Baylor 6-3, 334
Positives: A massive, MASSIVE interior presence and, possibly, the purest nose tackle in the draft. … Owns the inside and turned into a bigger producer as his season went on. The former Penn State transfer finally maximized his potential with a whopper of a senior year. … Engulfs blockers. He can handle double teams without a problem.
Negatives: He's not known for keeping the motor running. He didn't exactly turn it on 100% of the time. … He's not going to be a pass rusher and he might come off the field on third downs. … He has to keep his weight in check. He could quickly balloon up without working on it.

9. Jurrell Casey, USC 6-1, 300
Positives: Extremely athletic for his size. He moves well off the snap and is great in space. … A huge, intimidating hitter who packs a big-time punch. … He'll work for it. He'll make himself better and won't have a problem putting in the time.
Negatives: He doesn't exactly look the part. He's a short player who could stand some body reshaping. … He can get shoved around and doesn't always use his lack of height for proper leverage. … While he can be used as a nose tackle, he could stand to get a bit stronger.

10. Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson 6-4, 310
Positives: A true tackle with a large frame and good size. He has the wingspan and the ability to take up a ton of space. … Good functional strength. Gets a push into the backfield on a regular basis and makes plays behind the line. … A good worker. He's the type of player who won't dog it and won't give a coaching staff a problem.
Negatives: A bit tall for the position on the nose. He gets upright and loses his leverage. … Won't get to the quarterback. He's not a pass rusher in any way. … Doesn't shed well enough. When he's blocked, he stays blocked.

11. Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple 6-4, 315
Positives: Versatile enough to be used as a defensive end in a 3-4. He has the pass rushing ability to turn into a strong finisher. … Quick off the ball for a player of his size. He has the tools and he has the potential to be a dominant interior pass rusher. … He looks the part. If he played for a bigger name school he'd be considered a superstar prospect.
Negatives: While he made a ton of plays, he isn't going to be a huge rock of an NFL run stopper. … He's not as physical as he'll need to be. He might be a true 3-4 end more than a tackle. … He isn't a killer. He's a playmaker, but he doesn't seem to have the desire to be a butt kicker. He needs to be more of a battler.

12. Jerrell Powe, Ole Miss 6-2, 335
Positives: A great NFL frame and anchor ability. He's a thick nose tackle who won't get moved. Great base. … Quick. He can get into the backfield from time to time and can work as a two-gap defender if needed. … Holds up against the double team. Doesn't have a problem holding his own.
Negatives: Questionable intelligence, and that's being very, very kind. … He's not a pass rusher at the next level. He's only going to be used for running downs. … Not worth the hype or all the hullaballoo. Coming out of high school, many thought he'd be a special player and he wasn't.

13. Kenrick Ellis, Hampton 6-5, 346
Positives: A huge body and he'll eat up a ton of space on the inside. He won't have any problem eating up the run inside. … Double teams aren't a problem. He doesn't lose his ground and manages to get out blocks without an issue. … He's a killer. He'll bring the right attitude on game day and he'll beat up a lot of defenders.
Negatives: Character. He started out at South Carolina before a slew of issues ended his career. He has to prove he's not a total mellonhead. … Produced at a lower level. Even at Hampton, he didn't get to the quarterback enough. … Needs technique work. He can't get by on just being big and strong anymore.

14. Ian Williams, Notre Dame 6-1, 319
Positives: Very tough. He should've been out the second half of 2010 hurt, but he fought to get back on the field when he could've, and should've, gotten 100% healthy to prepare for the NFL. … Doesn't miss a stop. He does a good job of locking on. … Functional on the nose. Strong enough to hold his own and is a proven four-year producer.
Negatives: Not all that long. He has the bulk, but the body isn't quite NFL prototype. … Forget about him getting to the quarterback. He's a two down defender. … He'll only operate in a phone booth. He'll never make plays that don't come his way.

15. Terrell McClain, South Florida 6-2, 297
Positives: Built for the nose. He gets good leverage and is able to use his size and bulk extremely well. He's a rock who could be someone's anchor. … A decent penetrator and he can get to the quarterback. He'll get into the backfield. … The tools are there. He might be scratching the surface and he could blow up into a star with the right coaching.
Negatives: Has to show he wants to be great. He not a battler and he's not a fighter. He hasn't maximized his ability. … Gets blocked a bit too easily. He doesn't fight through enough blockers. … Needs to get in better overall shape. Suffered a hamstring injury before the Senior Bowl, and it could be a conditioning issue.

16. Lawrence Guy, Arizona State 6-4, 305
Positives: Tall and tough. Carries his weight extremely well and could end up getting a bit bigger without a problem. … He'll be a 4-3 tackle, but he could be a 3-4 end without a problem. In a pinch, he could play anywhere on anyone's line. … A solid all-around defender. Not flashy, but productive and consistent.
Negatives: Not a pass rusher. He'll never touch an NFL quarterback. … He's not all that athletic and he's not all that strong. He has a big body, but he doesn't necessarily play like it. … More like a valuable, do-it-all backup than a regular NFL starter. He doesn't do any one thing at a high level.

17. Cedric Thornton, Southern Arkansas 6-3, 309
Positives: Obliterated mediocre competition. He came up with a phenomenal junior season with 80 tackles, 8.5 sacks, and 23.5 tackles for loss. … Moves like a much smaller player. He zips into the backfield and cuts well. … Doesn't miss a tackle. When he gets his hands on someone, it's over.
Negatives: Needs a ton of work. A TON. Got by on being far more physically talented than anyone else. … Looked the part during Senior Bowl week, but he was also exposed for desperately needing more technique help. … Won't work much on the inside. He's likely going to be a 3-4 end or a 5-technique defender. Forget about him on the nose.

18. Sione Fua, Stanford 6-2, 308
Positives: Tough against the run. He's not going to miss any stops. … The type of player who hangs around a team for a long time as a key backup. He can fill in anywhere on the inside when needed. … Good upside. He still needs work, but he might be scratching the surface on what he can become.
Negatives: Not necessarily a space-eater. He has good size, but he's not going to suck up the run on the nose. … Not athletic. He's not going to do much to be a pass rusher. … He's not a finisher. He doesn't have the instinct to kill the quarterback.

19. Adrian Taylor, Oklahoma 6-3, 334
Positives: It's all there from a size standpoint. He has a huge frame and takes up a ton of space. … Big-time upside. It might take a little while, but if he can stay healthy he could be a phenomenal value pick. He's smart and will work to be a player. … Can work on the nose. He's better than his stats and can be an anchor.
Negatives: Mega-injury issues. He missed time the last two years with big problems including an Achilles injury in 2010. … Not a pass rusher. He doesn't have the quickness after his leg problems. …Struggles against strong blockers who can get under his pads. Leverage is an issue.

20. Colby Whitlock, Texas Tech 6-2, 302
Positives: Plays big. He's not massive, but he holds his own with a nice base. Plugs up holes. … Moves well. He gets to the ball without a problem and stacks and sheds extremely well. … Productive. He was able to work his way into the backfield and was ultra-consistent.
Negatives: A tweener. He's not a big enough body to be a block on the inside, and he's not enough of an athlete to be considered a top pass rusher. … Short arms. He doesn't have a big span and he doesn't play particularly big. … He'll have a hard time finding a role as a starter. He might be a versatile backup.

19. Karl Klug, Iowa (DE) 6-3, 273
Positives: Always moving. He has a non-stop motor and he's always working to try to make plays. … Part end, part tackle. He can be used as a 3-4 end or a 4-3 tackle. … Fights hard. Makes up for his lack of size by fighting and battling play in and play out. He doesn't get shoved around.
Negatives: A try-hard type who doesn't have any semblance of athleticism. He'll have to make plays on want-to. … Small. He doesn't have NFL defensive tackle bulk and doesn't have any room to get any bigger. … Was helped by being surrounded by superior players like Adrian Clayborn and Christian Ballard.

22. Martin Parker, Richmond 6-2, 303
Positives: Ready to go right now. He's polished enough to be used out of the box. … A good veteran. He was a dominant force for a tremendous Richmond team. He was the anchor up front. … Ultra productive. He was always working to make plays, and it showed.
Negatives: Not an elite athlete. He doesn't have the wiggle to get into the backfield on a regular basis at an NFL level. … Doesn't have a big frame. He's a bit of a short, squatty player who might only work on the nose. … He's not going to be an NFL pass rusher and he might have problems if used as a one-gap defender.

23. Ollie Ogbu, Penn State 6-1, 298
Positives: Strong for his size, he doesn't get moved around. He holds his own and is better than his stats. Does the dirty work by occupying blockers. … Gets into the backfield. He's able to slip through holes and make plays, and he's a good finisher. … Productive and dependable. He was always in the lineup and he always came through.
Negatives: Way too small. He's not big and bulky enough to be a regular NFL run defender and might only work as an effective reserve. … A one-gap defender without the raw quickness and burst to be a strong pass rusher. He'll need help around him to make plays. … Doesn't do anything all that well at an NFL level. Jack-of-all-trades, master of none.

24. Sealver Siliga, Utah 6-2, 305
Positives: A big body with a nice base for any scheme. He's not a nose, but he can work anywhere on the line. … Quick off the ball. He gets up and into position in a hurry. … A strong run defender who comes up with stops whenever he gets the chance.
Negatives: Needs work. He's a project who needs at least one year to figure out how to play at a high level. … Not a pass rusher. For a tackle who'll be a two-gap lineman, he's not going to come up with any sacks. … Not athletic enough. He'll be an easy cut if he gets pushed around against the run in an NFL camp.

25. John Graves, Virginia Tech 6-3, 286
Positives: Moves extremely well. He's a defensive end in the body of a tall tackle. … A tremendous athlete who can be moved all across the line. He could be used as an outside pass rusher if needed, even though he's a 3-4 end or a 4-3 tackle. … Great attitude. He'll do what's needed to try to succeed.
Negatives: He doesn't fit. He's not a top run stopper and doesn't have the bulk, and he's not a good enough pass rusher. He only came up with 2.5 sacks. … Gets erased by anyone who blocks him. Gets blown over by a strong breeze. … Needs to find a niche. He might get lost in an NFL camp if he doesn't show something special from the start.