2008 NFL Draft - Ranking Defensive Tackles
USC DT Sedrick Ellis
USC DT Sedrick Ellis
Posted Apr 20, 2008

CFN ranks the top 35 prospects with the deep sleeper and most overrated and underrated players.

2008 NFL Draft Position Rankings
The Defensive Tackles 

Rankings & Breakdowns
Top 50 Players - 1 to 25 |
Top 50 Players - 26 to 50 | Quarterbacks
Running Backs |
Wide Receivers | Tight Ends | Offensive Tackles  
Offensive Guards |
Centers | Defensive Ends | Defensive Tackles    
Linebackers |
Safeties | Cornerbacks | Punters & Kickers

By Pete Fiutak

The Class Is ... Top heavy. Glenn Dorsey and Sedrick Ellis have the potential to be all-timers, and there's great upside in Trevor Laws and Kentwan Balmer, but there's going to be a lot of busting going in with the mid-range picks.

The Best Value Pick Will Be ... Pat Sims, Auburn

Most Underrated ... Red Bryant, Texas A&M

Most Overrated ... Kentwan Balmer, North Carolina

The Deep, Deep Sleeper Is ...
Ogamdi Nwagbuo, Michigan State


1. Glenn Dorsey, DT LSU
Everyone's trying to poke holes in a near-perfect prospect, but there aren't any. An ultimate warrior who'll play through injury, pain, triple teams, and everything you throw at him, he played over the second half last year when most players who project to be a top five pick would've sat out and not risked his future. Dorsey would've been fully justified to sit out the rest of the year after the nasty chop block on his knee against Auburn, but he ended up battling his way through the national title season as the anchor of fantastic defense. Strong, agile, and as hard a worker and as high a character guy as any in the draft, he's exactly what you want in a leader. For some reason his height, at under 6-2, is a knock, but if anything that helps him with his leverage. Yes, the durability concerns are legitimate, to a point, but it'll take something serious to keep him off the field. He's a player you build a defense around for the next ten years.
CFN Projection: Top Five Overall

2. Sedrick Ellis, DT USC
Lost in the Glenn Dorsey spotlight was the tremendous 2007 season had by Ellis. A phenomenal interior pass rusher who took his game up another level in his senior season, Ellis anchored the USC line and showed the strength and toughness to handle double team after double team and still produce. He's a more creative pass rusher than most ends and it a brick wall against the run. He's not the warrior Dorsey is and he was too good at getting into the backfield for his own good sometimes, missing out on a few run stops here and there trying to get to the quarterback, but he's strong, quick, and a rock to build around. In any other year he'd be the tackle everyone would be raving about.
CFN Projection: Top Ten Overall


3. Trevor Laws, DT Notre Dame
112 tackles as a senior. For a tackle. Again, 112 tackles in one season. While he's not necessarily a tackle to build a defense around, he has the drive and the fire to become a bear of a starter and a phenomenal second interior option next to a bigger established starter. Very active and with a great motor, he can be used in a variety of ways and will still produce. At only six-feet tall, he's a bit of a bowling ball and he isn't a good interior pass rusher, but he'll make plays and will always keep working.
CFN Projection:
Second Round

4. Pat Sims, DT Auburn

It'll take some work and a little bit of time, but there's tremendous upside if he can get used to being beaten on and if he actually decides he wants to be a star. With all the skills and excellent 6-2, 310-pound size, he has the look of a starting NFL defensive tackle, but he only started for one season at Auburn and he needs to prove he can be a bit of a warrior. He needs to get stronger both mentally and physically, and if someone lights a fire under him, he could be special.
CFN Projection:
Late Second Round

5. Kentwan Balmer, DT/DE North Carolina
Easily the toughest call among the tackles, Balmer went from being a nice inside presence for the Tar Heels to a major producer in his senior season. With his 6-4, 308-pound size and shocking quickness, he has the power to be an anchor who occupies a few blockers at a time, and he has the athleticism to dominate as an end in a 3-4 scheme. Now the question is whether or not he wants it badly enough. He looks the part, but he's the type of prospect who gets scouts fired or promoted depending on how he turns out.
CFN Projection:
First Round

Dre Moore, DT Maryland
A potential lead brick of a tackle, he's a run stopper who beat the tar out of everyone at the Senior Bowl when matched up one on one. He's still a bit of a project and he needs a year or two of NFL coaching, but he's extremely strong and very powerful. Even though he needs polish on his technique, he doesn't miss many tackles.
CFN Projection:
Third Round

7. Red Bryant, DT Texas A&M
Really strong, really big, and really tough, Bryant was a four-year anchor for the Aggies and could just now be reaching his potential being two years removed from a torn ACL. While he's not all that nimble and he's not going to every hit the quarterback, his 6-4, 318-pound size makes him a tough wall to move.
CFN Projection:
Third Round

8. Andre Fluellen, DT Florida State
He's not going to be your star tackle, but he'll be great at the third man in or next to a star. Extremely quick and with the athleticism to grow into a top interior pass rusher, if he gets the right coaching, he has a ton of upside. However, he'll get shoved around with anyone with any strength. He's not huge and he can't stay healthy, and he's not the playmaker he should be for a player with his athleticism.
CFN Projection:
Third Round

9. Marcus Harrison, DT Arkansas
Character and durability are going to be the main concerns, and he'll never get to the quarterback, but at 6-2 and 317 pounds with shocking athleticism and the strength to handle two blockers without a problem, he's a major prospect. The key is his health. As his knee gets better and better, so should his production. On skills he's a first rounder, but on intangibles he's a question mark.
CFN Projection:
Late Second Round To Early Third Round

10. Frank Okam, DT Texas
He should've been a lot better than he actually was. A three-years starter for the Longhorns, Okam was fine, but nothing special even though he came up with a really nice senior season. At 6-4 and 335 pounds he's the biggest of the top tackles by far and he knows how to use it. even though he needs to play stronger. The question will be how he plays when the lights go on. Terrific in the off-season circuit, it left many wondering where that player was for four years.
CFN Projection: Late Third Round To Early Fourth

11. DeMario Pressley, DT NC State
A total underachiever, he has all the tools to be phenomenal. Big, fast, athletic, and a good tackler, he was a good player for NC State, but he never became an interior pass rusher and he didn't dominate like he should've. He got dinged up with a variety of problems and didn't always play through the injuries. The upside is there, but he needs to be shoved by the coaches.
CFN Projection: Third Round

12. Nick Hayden, DT Wisconsin
While he projects to be a backup, he should be a decent one. Without the athleticism to become a regular starter at the pro level, Hayden has to use his toughness and run stuffing ability to be a part of a rotation. He's not going to get into the backfield, but it won't be for a lack of want-to. He just doesn't have the tools.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

13. Ahtyba Rubin, DT Iowa State
Really big at 6-2 and 315 pounds, he's a nose tackle who'll sit in the middle of a line and occupy two and three blockers while everyone else works. Now he has to learn how to handle the double team and still make plays. He doesn't always play to his size and he won't get in the backfield, but he has upside. He also has a major downside. If he doesn't want it enough, he's not going to stick around for more than ten minutes.
CFN Projection:
Late Third Round To Early Fourth


14. Letroy Guion, DT Florida State
For a player who's supposed to get by on his athleticism, he didn't do a whole bunch at FSU to show it off. He looks more like a big end than a tackle and will likely be more useful in a 3-4 scheme. Because of his lateral quickness and because of his ability to clean things up when they come to him, he'll be a decent backup. He was one of the players suspended from the bowl game for academic issues.
CFN Projection: Third Round

15. Eric Foster, DT Rutgers
Where's he going to play? A total tweener who needs to be in a 3-4 scheme, Foster is 6-1 and 277 pounds but not a pass rushing end. However, he's a fantastic at getting into the backfield from the inside and he has a motor that won't quit. Give him the tools of a DeMario Pressley or a Frank Okam and he'd be a top 20 pick.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

16. Keilen Dykes, DT West Virginia
Dykes can stop the run and he has the drive and the motor to work his way into the backfield. Not a natural pass rusher and limited in his overall skills, there's a hard ceiling on what he can do at the NFL level. Great at West Virginia with the type of overachiever career that helped take the program to another level, he'll be tough to boot off a team.
CFN Projection:
Late Third Round To Early Fourth

David Faaeteete, DT Oregon
It'll be interesting to see if the light goes on. At 6-0 and 324 pounds, he's a good-based bowling ball of a tackle who should play on the nose and be a rock against the run. Very strong and very tough, he set Oregon weight-room records and showed it on the field. Durability is a problem and he's not always going at top speed, but with his base set of skills, he'll get a long look. He'll probably get cut once or twice before he finds a good home.
CFN Projection: Late Sixth Round To Seventh Round

18. James McClinton, DT Kansas
A tremendous worker and a high-character guy who can be a team leader, McClinton is the kind of tackle you want somewhere in your mix. Unfortunately he doesn't have the talent to be more than a fringe prospect. He's very slow, not that big, and he can get shoved around a bit. That combined with an issue with seizures knocked him off some draft lists.

CFN Projection: Seventh Round

19. Derek Lokey, DT Texas
Extremely strong with tackle-power, he's able to hold up well and he doesn't get pushed around. A high-character, high-motor player, he's got the attitude and the drive you'd love to see in a far more talented player. Not that big and not nearly quick enough to get into the backfield on a regular basis, there's a limit to what he can do, but he'll have a few wow moments in training camp when he'll beat the tar out of someone who isn't giving 100%.
CFN Projection: Seventh Round

Carlton Powell, DT Virginia Tech
He was fine over the last few years, but he didn't dominate like he should've. At 6-2 and 288 pounds he doesn't have the space-eater body to be a must-have prospect, and he's not in good enough shape to be the type of athlete who'll make a push into the backfield. He might be good in short bursts, but he can't be used for more than a few plays in a row.
CFN Projection:
Late Sixth Round To Early Seventh

21. Ogamdi Nwagbuo, DT Michigan State
The upside is there, but the athleticism isn't. Where you stick him, that's where he's going to stay. He won't push his way in the backfield and he won't get shoved around. He's a block of granite, for good and bad. However, he has room on his frame to get bigger and could eventually get to around 315-320 pounds in a good way. He's still raw; there's a good upside.
CFN Projection: Late Sixth Round To Early Seventh

22. Lionel Dotson, DT Arizona
While he had a good senior year, he played like the bulked up defensive end he was. Not a big body, he's only 283 pounds and he times slowwwwww. He hasn't been able to tough it out through a variety of injuries and he doesn't have the strength to survive as an every down tackle, but he could be a decent interior pass rusher and he'll do the work needed to get better.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round to Sixth

23. Barry Booker, DT Virginia Tech
He has the inside skills to make plays up and down the line, and he can play far bigger and far stronger than his 6-4, 288-pound size, but he has a short ceiling. He'll get shoved around a bit too often and he'll be erased by any NFL double team. Even so, in the right system in the right rotation, he could be a functional backup who grows into a role.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

24. Frank Morton, DT Tulane
A pure run stopper and nothing else, the 6-2, 307-pounder isn't going anywhere, he isn't going to make any plays in an NFL backfield, and he isn't going to do anything laterally. He'll be stuck in the mud, won't move, and will stop anything that comes to him. He'll never stand out, but his inside presence could make him tough to cut.
CFN Projection: Free Agent

25. Josh Thompson, DT Auburn
Ridiculously strong, the three-time Georgia state high school weightlifting champion can hold his own, and a 5-11 and 305 pounds could emerge as a backup nose tackle. A smart, tough player who'll try to work through his limitations, he has the potential to stick on a team if he can show any sort of movement. That could be a problem.
CFN Projection: Free Agent


26. Jason Shirley, DT Fresno State
27. Colin Ferrell, DT Kent State
28. Michael Lafaele, DT Hawaii
29. Leger Douzable, DT/DE UCF
30. George Chukwu, DT Rice
31. Landon Cohen, DT Ohio
32. Teraz McCray, DT Miami
33. Maurice Murray, DT New Mexico State
34. Richard Ciebert, DT South Florida
35. Henry Smith, DT Texas A&M