2009 NFL Draft - The Defensive Tackles

Posted Apr 21, 2009

The 2009 NFL Draft is almost here. From a college football perspective, here's the CFN ranking of the top 25 defensive tackle prospects led by B.J. Raji, Jarron Gilbert and Sen'Derrick Marks, along with the most overrated and underrated prospects and the deepest sleeper.

2009 NFL Draft Position Rankings

The Defensive Tackles

2009 NFL Draft Post-Workout Rankings

| Running Backs | Fullbacks | Receivers | Tight Ends
Centers | Guards | Off. Tackles | Def. Ends | Def. Tackles
Inside LBs | Outside LBs | Cornerbacks | Safeties

By Pete Fiutak  

- 2009 NFL Prospect Rankings
Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers
Tight Ends | Off. Tackles
| Off. Guards | Centers
Defensive Ends
| Defensive Tackles | Inside LBs
Outside LBs | Safeties
| Cornerbacks

The Class Is ... Solid with the potential to be great. There are several good prospects with, roughly, the No. 3 through 15 almost the same. To be a great class, though, B.J. Raji and Peria Jerry have to be stars.

The Best Value Pick Will Be ... Alex Magee, Purdue

Most Underrated ...
Clinton McDonald, Memphis

Most Overrated ... Ricky-Jean Francois, LSU

The Deep, Deep Sleeper Is ... John Faletoese, UC Davis

Rankings of the 2010 Top Prospects
- Possible 1st Rounders
- Possible 2nd Rounders
- Possible 3rd Rounders
- Possible 4th Rounders
- Possible 5th Rounders
- Possible 6th Rounders
- Possible 7th Rounders & Free Agents
- Quarterbacks

- Running Backs
- Wide Receivers
- Tight Ends
- Offensive Tackles 
- Offensive Guards
- Centers
- Defensive Ends
- Defensive Tackles 
- Outside LBs
- Inside LBs
- Safeties
- Cornerbacks
- Punters & Kickers 


1. B.J. Raji, Boston College  6-2, 335
Whether or not the drug charges are true (Raji’s agent denies any wrongdoing or a reported positive test), Raji is the biggest brick wall in the draft. A true anchor, he’s extremely strong, relatively athletic for his size, and doesn’t get pushed around. Needing to keep his weight in check, he needs to get in better overall shape to be able to handle a 16-game season and a full NFL game. Forget about much production as an interior pass rusher or too many plays in the backfield, but he doesn’t stay blocked for two long and will hold up well with everything funneled to him. It’ll be his job to sit in the middle of the line, swallow up two blockers, and let everyone else work around him.
CFN Projection: First Round

2. Peria Jerry, Ole Miss  6-1, 295
Jerry is either the star of the draft and a sure-thing Pro Bowl performer for the next ten years, or he’s a mega-bust waiting to happen who’ll never be 100% healthy. The talent in undeniable with tremendous quickness across the line and into the backfield, and he’s a hard worker who’ll try to become a cornerstone of a front wall, but he’ll be 25 when he starts his career, isn’t anchor-strong, and he’ll struggle to stay healthy, He had a variety of little bangs and bruises throughout his career that turned out to be limiting for stretches. When he’s on the field he’ll be an instant-impact performer who’ll do a little of everything well, but he’s a piece of the puzzle and not necessarily the tackle you can count on game-in-and-game-out for a full year.
CFN Projection: First Round


3. Ziggy Hood, Missouri  6-3, 300
A great character player and a team-leader, Hood has the make-up of a steady producer who’ll be an excellent No. 2 lineman if he plays next to a superstar. Ultra-productive for the Tigers, he showed he has the raw tools to become a tremendous pro with 34 reps on the bench at the Combine to go along with surprising quickness, speed, and agility. However, with all his skills and athleticism, he’s not going to get into the backfield on a regular basis and he doesn’t always play up to his size and strength. There might be a concern that he’s a Combine/workout warrior who won’t be able to play up to the numbers once he hits the field, but he should be a solid performer and a steady starter for a decade.
CFN Projection: Second Round

4. Jarron Gilbert, San Jose State  6-6, 288
Is he a defensive end? A defensive tackle? An offensive tackle? One of the high risers in the draft after showing off phenomenal quickness in the East West Shrine practices and coming up with a tremendous workout at the Combine, his future will likely be as a 3-4 end. With his combination of skills and size, he could easily grow into a starting tackle if he builds on his frame a bit more. He has to play stronger against power blockers and he isn’t going to be a pass rusher if he’s put on the end in a 4-3, but he has too much upside, and is too good a worker, to not be a steady part of a rotation.
CFN Projection: Second Round

5. Ron Brace, Boston College  6-3, 330
Stick him in the middle of the line and let him stop the run. He’s not going to move anywhere and he’s not going to get into the backfield, but he’s really big, too big at times, really strong, and he could be a far less expensive version of his former teammate, B.J. Raji. It would be nice if he could be a bit more of a killer and it would be a plus if he could show some semblance of agility, but that’s not his game. He’ll sit on the inside of a defense as either a nose or a 4-3 tackle and will take on two blockers and make every play that comes to him.
CFN Projection: Second Round

6. Fili Moala, USC  6-4, 300
While he’s a little old, he’ll be 24 when he starts his NFL career, and he’s a finished product with little upside, he can still get bigger with room to get stronger on his large frame. He’s big, athletic, and moves extremely well, but he disappears too often in games and doesn’t have a full-time motor; he doesn’t make too many plays just by trying hard. If he’s developed the right way, and a fire is lit under him, he could become a strong interior pass rusher and he could flourish as long as he’s not asked to be the anchor of a front four. He’s not going to do much as a nose in a 3-4, but he could occasionally play end if absolutely needed.
CFN Projection: Third Round

7. Alex Magee, Purdue  6-3, 295
Strong enough to play tackle and quick enough to play on the outside, he could have a very long, very productive career as a 3-4 end or as a versatile backup in any alignment. Extremely quick, as evidenced by a good showing at the Combine, he moves well and doesn’t miss many plays when he gets to the ball. The down side is that he’ll be erased when double-teamed, but he’s not going to be anyone’s No. 1 lineman. He’ll be a strong cog who could explode at times if he’s next to a talented tackle and isn’t forced to carry the defensive front. There’s a high ceiling on what he can do with a little time.
CFN Projection: Third Round

8. Sen’Derrick Marks, Auburn  6-1, 305 (Jr.)
Extremely quick and extremely active, he was an undersized defensive tackle at times and a huge defensive end at others. A red-hot prospect after his sophomore year, he was considered a possible top ten talent. But his junior year was a major disappointment as he struggled with the stronger offensive linemen, along with ankle problems, and didn’t improve as a pass rusher. Even so, he could be an ideal 3-4 end if he can get healthy and could be a major steal. He needs to get stronger and he needs to show he can hold up when he’s getting blasted, but he has the athleticism that can’t be coached.
CFN Projection: Third Round

9. Dorrell Scott, Clemson  6-4, 310
A good cog in the system, he’s a true space-eater with long arms, a huge build, and just enough lateral quickness to make himself even bigger. He was surprisingly athletic at the Combine, tearing off a 4.92 in the 40, but he needs to get stronger and he needs to show he can handle the bigger, stronger linemen. He’s not a 3-4 nose tackle and will need to play in a 4-3 with good players around him, but he’s good enough to plug in and start from day one. He could turn out to be tremendous with a little bit of time with a trainer.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round


10. Ricky-Jean Francois, LSU  6-3, 295 (Jr.)
Extremely talented and extremely disappointing, it looked like he was about to become a monster after dominating in the 2008 BCS Championship win over Ohio State, but it didn’t happen. Extremely quick with all the athleticism and all the skill to play inside or out, he’s one of the draft’s most versatile linemen with a sky’s-the-limit upside. But it’s not going to work. From major character issues to a lack of functional and weight room strength, there’s just enough missing from the equation to keep him from reaching his potential. He’s way too talented to simply ignore, but he appears to be yet another disappointing LSU defensive tackle, only more so.
CFN Projection: Third Round

11. Terrance Taylor, Michigan  6-1, 305
An intriguing prospect if he can keep his weight in check, Taylor is a big space-eater who ripped off a Combine-best (for a defensive tackle) 37 reps on the bench. While he’s not a great athlete, he’s not a stick in the mud, either. He’ll never come up with a sack and he’s not going to be too active, but he could be a great value able to play any tackle spot. However, he struggled at times in post-season workouts and has seen his stock drop in a big way since the end of a good junior season. Even so, he’ll be an inexpensive flier worth taking.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round 

12. Vance Walker, Georgia Tech  6-2, 305
A red-hot prospect after his junior year, he struggled a bit once the draft spotlight was on throughout his senior year. He’s a great interior pass rushing prospect for his size and he plays quicker than his workouts might indicate, but he doesn’t play nearly as big or as strong as his bulk. He’s a big body who could fill a hole on the inside. If he gets with a pro trainer and transforms himself into a large tackle into a large, strong tackle, he could be a great value pick considering his interior quickness and work ethic. He’s always moving and always trying to make something happen.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

13. Clinton McDonald, Memphis  6-1, 285
Way undersized but extremely quick and athletic, he could grow into a tremendous pass rusher who sees time in certain situations. He’ll blow past interior blockers, but he’ll be blasted by the bigger and stronger ones. He’s not going to be an every down player because he his lack of raw strength, but the former linebacker is extremely tough and is the type of player you want in a locker room. However, he won’t stick around if he’s not getting into the backfield on a regular basis.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

14. Sammie Lee Hill, Stillman  6-4, 335
Really big and really strong, as long as he doesn’t have to move anywhere he’ll be fine. Lack of big-time competition is an issue, and it’s not like he did anything to show he could handle the top-shelf players in post-season workouts. He’ll need to be handled with kid gloves while at the same time he has to have a fire lit under him. Not exactly a go-getter, he has to hit the weights harder and he’ll have to learn how to go full-tilt all the time. Until then he could be a situational run stuffer who takes up space.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

15. Roy Miller, Texas  6-1, 310
It’s possible he could be the rare sleeper from a big-name, big-time program. Extremely strong, he fired up 36 reps on the bench at the Combine and he showed surprising quickness. However, the workout numbers don’t necessarily translate to his on-field play and he’ll never get into the backfield in the NFL. While he’s hardly a perfect tackle prospect, he’ll play 100 miles an hour on every play and will never, ever dog it. He’ll make plays on want-to and he has the raw tools to become a decent starter on a line full of good pass rushers.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

16. Darryl Richard, Georgia Tech   6-3, 305
Extremely smart, extremely motivated, and extremely big, he has the character and the make-up of an anchor. And then there’s the Combine. He only came up with 17 lifts on the bench, wasn’t athletic enough to give any inkling that he could ever get into the backfield, and he’ll only make plays that are funneled to him The type of player every coach would love to have, he’ll be tough to cut because of his effort, and easy to cut because of his lack of raw skills.
CFN Projection: Seventh Round

17. Marlon Favorite, LSU  6-1, 310
A part of a rotation and not a regular starter for the great LSU line, Favorite has one spot and one spot only: on the nose. He isn’t quick, athletic, or a pass rusher in any way, and he’s not quite strong enough to be a dominant run stopper for any significant length of time. However, he could play the same role for an NFL team that he did for the Tigers as a good backup who eats up space a down or two here and there. He’ll come up with stops against the run and he’ll hold his own when shoved, but there’s not enough overall skill to be guaranteed a spot.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

18. Corvey Irvin, Georgia  6-3, 300
With good quickness for his size and nice all-around athleticism, he can be used in a variety of ways in any sort of alignment. He’s not strong and he won’t hold up for a long period of time if put on the nose, but he could be a big end in a 3-4 and he might grow into a decent interior pass rusher. Fortunately, he’ll try hard to be better and will work to get stronger, tougher, and will be coached without a question. He’ll take some developing, but it could be worth it to create a decent backup inside presence.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

19. Terrance Knighton, Temple  6-3, 321
With good size and good strength and toughness, he’s a good project player with excellent upside. He needs a lot of work, isn’t going to be a pass rusher, and he needs a lot of technique work, but he wants to get better and will do what he can to improve. While he won’t play on the nose, he could be a steady tackle or a 3-4 end.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

20. John Gill, Northwestern  6-3, 300
Very quick for his size and very active, almost to a fault, his mistakes usually come from trying too hard. He’s not going to be a major space-eater and he could be a bit limited as a run defender at an NFL level, but he’s fast, will work hard, and will be a tough cut thanks to his combination of size and work ethic. He could make just enough noise in a camp with a big play here and there to hang around for a while, but he’s not strong enough to be a regular starter.
CFN Projection: Seventh Round

21. Demonte Bolden, Tennessee  6-4, 285
Not quite big enough to be a regular for most lines and with major character and work habit issues, he’s nothing more than an interesting project. A tremendous high school prospect and a huge get for the Vols, he never lived up to the hype and finished as a major disappointment. This might be as good as he gets. He doesn’t have the drive to become a star and didn’t show enough maturity in college to think he could grow once he gets in a pro environment.
CFN Projection: Free Agent

22. Myron Pryor, Kentucky  6-0, 310
Height will always be an issue, he’s pushing six feet tall and is a bit of a bowling ball, but the biggest issue is his injury history. Unable to stay fully healthy, he’ll always be bothered by a variety of bumps and bruises and he’ll have a hard time being consistent. On the plus side, he’s freakishly strong, setting Kentucky high school weight room records, and he’s quick enough to get into the backfield on a semi-regular basis. He doesn’t play up to his strength and will be erased at times if he’s asked to be on the nose.
CFN Projection: Seventh Round

23. George Hypolite, Colorado  6-1, 290
Severely limited by his lack of size, he’s a finesse tackle who could be a situational interior pass rusher and could be decent in a rotation. He’s too light and not big enough to be an every down defender, but he works hard, will keep the motor going, and will make just enough plays to be a decent contributor if he’s not asked to do too much.
CFN Projection: Free Agent

24. Ra’Shon Harris, Oregon  6-5, 300
A workout warrior, he wasn’t bad at the Combine on the bench, coming up with 28 reps, and he ran a sub-5.0 40. However, it didn’t always translate to the field and he wasn’t always tough enough against the run. Even with all he did for the Ducks, he’s still a bit of a work in progress and will have to prove early on that he’s willing to work himself into a role.
CFN Projection: Free Agent

25. Adrian Grady, Louisville  6-2, 305
Extremely strong, coming up with 31 bench reps at the Combine, he has a nice combination of raw skills and drive. Always working and always trying to get better, he’ll try to do whatever he can to make a team. A bit old, he’ll be 25 when he gets in the pros, this is as good as he’ll get with an injury history and a hard ceiling on what he’ll be able to do to become a regular in a rotation.
CFN Projection: Free Agent


26. Chris Baker, Hampton
27. Khalif Mitchell, East Carolina
28. John Faletoese, UC Davis
29. Jason Chapman, Wisconsin
30. Rashaad Jackson, Clemson
31. Terrill Byrd, Cincinnati
32. Nader Abdallah, Ohio State
33. Brigham Harwell, UCLA
34. Jervonte Jackson, Florida Atlantic
35. Cody Moore, TCU