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2011 NFL Draft - Defensive Tackle Rankings
Marcell Dareus, Nick Fairley, Corey Liuget
Marcell Dareus, Nick Fairley, Corey Liuget
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Apr 13, 2011


The 2011 NFL Draft is loaded with very big, very talented, very athletic prospects for the defensive interior in what might be the deepest position. The big question is want-to. Who's going to bring the motor and energy every week, and who won't do enough to maximize his talents? From a college football perspective, check out the analysis of all the top defensive tackle prospects.

2011 NFL Draft Position Rankings

Top Ten Defensive Tackles


By Pete Fiutak

2011 NFL Prospect Rankings & Breakdowns
- QBs | RBs | FBs | WRs
- TEs | OTs | OGs | Cs 
- DTs
 
2011 NFL Post-Combine Draft Rankings
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2011 NFL Combine Position Analysis
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- 2012's Top Returning NFL Prospects - Offense

THE 2010 NFL DRAFT


2010 CFN Talent Rankings
- 1st Rounders
- 2nd Rounders
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- 5th Rounders
- 6th Rounders
- 7th Rounders 
- Top Free Agent Talents 

2010 CFN Position Rankings & Analysis

- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs
- Cs | OTs | OGs | DEs
- DTs | ILBs | OLBs
- Ss | CBs

2010 NFL Combine Quick Looks & Post-Combine Rankings

- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs
- Cs | OTs | OGs | DEs
- DTs | ILBs | OLBs
- Ss | CBs

2010 NFL Combine Results
- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs
- Cs | OTs | OGs | DEs
- DTs | ILBs | OLBs
- Ss | CBs 

2010 NFL Combine
- Offensive Winners  
- Offensive Losers 
- Defensive Winners 
- Defensive Losers

- 2011 NFL Defensive Tackle Rankings - No. 11 to 25 
- All-Time Greatest Draft - Defensive Tackles

This Class Is … full of great pass rushers. It's all about want-to. There's no questioning the shocking combination of size and athleticism up and down the board, but several of the top prospects have a problem with the motor. Who'll be the dog after getting the NFL paycheck? That's the multi-million dollar question.

The Best Value Pick Will Be … Jerrell Powe, Ole Miss
Most Underrated … Drake Nevis, LSU
Most Overrated … Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple
The Deep, Deep Sleeper Is … Cedric Thornton, Southern Arkansas

1. Marcell Dareus, Alabama (DE) 6-3, 319 (Jr.)
Extremely versatile and explosive, Dareus is the ideal defensive lineman in any scheme with the quickness to work as a one-gap playmaker and the size and toughness to sit on the nose if absolutely needed. With all the right tools, he’s quick off the line, tough when blocked, and fast enough to get to the runner down the field. There aren’t too many problems, but he wasn’t quite as productive as a top-shelf NFL prospect should be. He needs to keep his weight in check and he’ll need a constant push to reach his full potential, but if he decides he wants to be the best defensive tackle in pro football, he might just do it. The sky is the limit on his talent, but there’s bust potential is he doesn’t keep developing. Being a big athlete alone isn’t going to get it done at the next level.
CFN Projection: First Round

2. Nick Fairley, Auburn 6-4, 291 (Jr.)
If he wants it – REALLY wants it – he’ll be a dominant NFL pass rusher. There’s a concern that he went from being a promising part of the Auburn defensive interior rotation to an all-timer of a star way too quickly, but his 2010 was too breathtaking to ignore. If you can destroy the SEC, you can destroy anyone, and he was unblockable at times proving to be almost as important to the national title defense as Cam Newton was to the offense. He beats up runners, flies into the backfield, and explodes out of his stance. An ideal 3-technique tackle, and with the quickness to be moved to a true defensive end if needed, the expectations are going to be sky high from Day One. Fine, so he might be a cheap shot artist, he’s not exactly known for his impeccable character, and his rise was so meteoric that the temptation will be there to think he might flame out in a hurry, but tackles with his ability to get into the backfield are rare. There’s bust potential, but he might just be worth the risk.
CFN Projection: First Round

3. Corey Liuget, Illinois 6-2, 298
While he might be a bit undersized, he’s extremely strong and became ultra-athletic after getting in better shape. Bulk is sort of his issue. He was too big in a bad way a few years ago, and then he worked on his body-type, got rid of most of his bad weight, and became a star. When he’s on, he’s a game-changer who can dominate in the backfield and can be strong against the run in a true anchor sort of way. An almost ideal 3-technique defender, he’ll shoot the gap and he’ll sit on quarterbacks’ heads on a regular basis if he’s surrounded by a few big-bodied rocks. With his ability to play anywhere on a defensive front, he’ll be a coach’s dream; he can fit in any scheme.
CFN Projection: Second Round

4. Marvin Austin, North Carolina 6-2, 309
There was a time not all that long ago when he was considered an almost certain top ten overall pick with ideal size for the interior, the quickness to get into the backfield, and tremendous strength against the run. There’s a huge, glaring question mark when it comes to his character and he has to prove that he wants to be great. He’d be a terror if he went full tilt all the time, and he doesn’t always play up to his potential and skills, but when he had to, he destroyed the drills in offseason workouts. When the lights were on and all the scouts were watching, particularly at the East-West Shrine practices, he was phenomenal. After being suspended for all of 2010 after his dealings with an agent, he needs to get back on the field and he has to get used to being in a lather again. On sheer talent and skills, he’s worth the risk; the potential is there to be a superstar if it all comes together.
CFN Projection: Second Round

5. Stephen Paea, Oregon State 6-1, 303
Prospects who destroy the weight room at the NFL Combine rarely work out well as real, live players, but Paea should be the exception. One of the strongest players to ever enter the NFL, he threw 49 reps of 225 up like he was benching a broom. A true nose with quickness to go along with his strength, he can also work in a 4-3 without a problem. He can beat up centers and can rip into the backfield with a variety of decent moves, but he needs to keep developing. While he might not be a franchise anchor, he won’t be heard from for long stretches, and he won’t go to Hawaii every year, he’ll always bring the effort and he’ll be a productive lineman for a decade.
CFN Projection: Second Round

6. Drake Nevis, LSU 6-1, 294
He’ll be dogged for not having ideal size being too short and without enough mass to hold up as an anchor of an NFL defensive tackle, but he can really, really move. There’s upside to his game if he can get into a pro weight room right away and can get the right training, and he needs to do that immediately. With too much bad weight, he needs to transform his body and needs to make up for his lack of size by being in much better shape. Even so, at his current shape and size he can get into the backfield in a heartbeat if he can beat his man off the ball; it’s all about the snap and his explosiveness. He won’t make too many stops against the power running teams and he has to be a part of a rotation, but when it comes to interior pass rushers, consider him a smaller Nick Fairley without the first round price tag.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

7. Christian Ballard, Iowa (DE) 6-4, 283
Quick and athletic enough to work as an end, and with the toughness to work inside, he works in any scheme. He’s a fast playmaker who can get to the ball and into the backfield in a hurry, and he’s slippery enough to avoid staying blocked for too long, and he upped his stock in a big way proving to be even better than expected during offseason workouts. He doesn’t have the raw bulk and the mass to be a run-stuffing brick wall, and he has to show he wants to destroy blockers and kill the ball-carrier, but he’s so athletic and so quick that he could be one of the steals of the draft with the right coaching.
CFN Projection: Second Round

8. Phil Taylor, Baylor 6-3, 334
Forget about the quick interior pass rushers scattered about in the 2011 draft; Taylor is a massive rock who’ll sit there in the middle of the line and won’t be moved for until January. The Penn State transfer has the dream size for an NFL nose tackle with the strength to push people around to make things happen. While he has the bulk, he has to work on staying under 340 and he has to work even harder to keep the motor running. He might only be a two-down defender who’ll need to be a part of a rotation, and he’ll be maddening at times when the light isn’t on, but he’s the textbook definition of an anchor.
CFN Projection: Second Round

9. Jurrell Casey, USC 6-1, 300
Too short and too mushy, he doesn’t have the ideal look of an NFL defensive tackle and he needs to spent time in the weight room and with the right training energy to reinvent his body. Despite the concerns, he’s a great athlete with great quickness and excellent strength on the nose. When he gets to a ball-carrier he brings a pop, and he’s a productive playmaker who finds ways to work himself into the right position, but he has work to do to get in better overall shape if he’s going to be a difference maker at the next level.
CFN Projection: Second Round

10. Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson 6-4, 310
With the right frame and the right bulk he looks the part of an NFL defensive lineman. Now he has to put in the time and the effort to become special. Quick for his size and with decent strength against the run, he has good skills and will work to improve them. A good leader, he’ll never dog it and he’ll be extremely coachable. Now he has to get into the weight room to get far stronger after coming up with a mere 17 reps on the bench at the Combine, and he has to learn how to be a pass rusher. He has the size and he has the athleticism, but he didn’t get to the quarterback in college and has to put it all together.
CFN Projection: Third Round
 
- 2011 NFL Defensive Tackle Rankings - No. 11 to 25 
- All-Time Greatest Draft - Defensive Tackles