Top 25 Defensive Tackles for the 2012 NFL Draft

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Jared Crick has missed most of this season so he no longer claims our top spot in our rankings. These rankings are a collaboration effort between Sayre Bedinger and Jesse Bartolis so there are of course disagreements, but for the most part we were in agreement.

For scouting reports on these players check out our scouting report page

1. Quinton Coples, UNC
2. Devon Still, Penn State
3. Alamaeda Ta’amu,Washington
4. Brandon Thompson, Clemson
5. Dontari Poe, Memphis
6. Jared Crick, Nebraska
7.Jerel Worthy, Michigan State
8. Kawann Short, Purdue
9. Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State
10. Josh Chapman, Alabama
11. Star Lotluelelei, Utah
12. Sylverster Williams, UNC
13. Marcus Forston, Miami
14. Kandall Reyes, Connecticut
15. Mike Martin, Michigan
16. Kheeston Randall, Texas
17. Tyredke Powell, North Carolina
18. Mike Daniels, Iowa
19. Derek Wolfe, Cincinnati
20. Dominique Hamilton, Missouri
21. Kaleb Ramsey, Boston college
22. Logran Harrell, Fresno State
23. Baker Steinhulker, Nebraska
24. Jaye Howard, Florida

1. Jared Crick, Nebraska, 6’6″ 285 (Senior)

Jared Crick, a member of the 2011 Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list and one of the nation’s top defensive lineman should be a top draft pick in 2012. Crick has been excellent the last two seasons and he hasn’t gone unnoticed. Crick is a two-time all conference performer. At 6’6″ 285 pounds, Crick has the size, speed and skill set to not only have a productive senior season for Nebraska but to have a great NFL Career. (Austin Bramley, Big Ten Nation)

2. Alameda Ta’Amu, Washington, 6’3″ 330 (Senior)

**No scouting report available**

3. Jerel Worthy, Michigan State, 6’3″ 305 (Junior)

Big defensive tackle prospect who is already being regarded as one of the top defensive players in the class of 2012. Big body in the middle who is very athletic and can make plays in the backfield. Stats do not jump off the screen, but he is a guy who commands a double team on every single play, and he is very disruptive. In two years, he has 77 tackles, eight sacks, and 13 tackles for loss. Very explosive player who is an excellent athlete with great quickness. In college, you are always looking for guys to “break out” and Worthy is definitely a candidate to do just that. Probably an ideal fit to play in a four man front in the NFL, and it’s possible that he could be a top ten pick if he comes out this year. Needs to work on using his upper body strength and arms to disengage from blocks instead of simply sparring with the offensive lineman that takes him on. He has the physical tools, but needs to use his hands better against powerful offensive linemen, which could attribute to his lack of elite level statistics despite his raw ability. Has top ten potential, but right now, needs more time.

4. Billy Winn, Boise State, 6’4″ 295 (Senior)

Winn is not an extremely productive guy in terms of statistics, but he is a rock on the Boise State defensive line and a guy who is always around the ball. Had 28 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and 8 tackles for loss last season as a junior. As a sophomore, he had 44 tackles, 6 sacks, and 12.5 tackles for loss on his way to being named 2nd team All WAC. Freshman All-American according to Phil Steele, and in my opinion, his game translates best as a power end in a 3-4 defensive alignment, where he could be very productive. Not an overly disruptive defensive tackle, but occupies blockers and has great strength. Has really held his own in one of the top defensive units in the country.

5. Kawann Short, Purdue, 6’3″ 300 (Junior)

Big, athletic, physical defensive tackle who could be poised for a breakout season in 2011. As a freshman, Short had 47 tackles and two interceptions as a freshman in 2009, and followed it up with somewhat of a coming out party in 2010 as a sophomore when he finished second on the team with six sacks, and 41 tackles with 11 tackles for loss. Short also finished the season with an astounding eight passes deflected at the line of scrimmage, and he has a ton of NFL potential. In fact, he might have the most NFL potential of any player on the Purdue roster. A defensive tackle with his size and athletic ability will certainly catch the eye of NFL scouts, and with the class of 2012 shaping up to be somewhat of a weak class in terms of the depth at defensive tackle, and Short has the type of talent that NFL scouts drool over. The only thing we need to see from Short in the future is health and consistency to deem him a first or second round prospect.

6. Kheeston Randall, Texas, 6’5″ 295 (Senior)

Solid defensive line prospect who projects as an excellent 3-4 defensive end at the next level. Randall hasn’t been overly productive in his Texas career, but he has the size and strength to be a dominant player. As a junior in 2010, he was an honorable mention All Big 12 performer with 39 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, eight QB pressures, three passes broken up, and two blocked kicks. Only had one sack last year, but enters his senior season as one of the top overall defensive tackles in the class of 2012. Has started 22 of Texas’ last 26 games, and should be a major factor on their defensive line in 2012. Very active off the field and an excellent student as well as in the community.

7. Jaye Howard, Florida, 6’3″ 302 (Senior)

Howard is Florida’s most productive returning defensive tackle defensively, though following ankle surgery this offseason, he is not listed on the Spring two-deeps. He has NFL potential with his size, strength, and athletic ability, and if he can build off of a junior season where he had 12  tackles for loss, he could be a day  two pick in the coming draft. Howard also has seven career sacks, and could be a big impact player and leader for the Gator defense in 2011.

8. Kendall Reyes, Connecticut, 6’4″ 298 (Senior)

If there is one player that you should know on UCONN’s team next year, it’s the burly defensive tackle from New Hampshire. Reyes, at 6 foot 4, 298 pounds, has experience at both defensive end and defensive tackle. As a Husky, he has started for each of the past two years, and was named to the Big East All-Conference First Team last year after racking up 13.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks, as well as 2 interceptions, one of which resulted in a 90 yard return. Reyes is a stalwart against the run and the pass, plays with good technique and has 3-4 versatility at defensive end, though he would probably be suited best in a 4-3 defense. I think that Reyes has a second round ceiling as a draft pick, though he could go a bit higher with a dominant senior year. I am excited to see how he adjusts to a new, more pressure-oriented defensive scheme. (Ethan Hammerman)

9. Tydreke Powell, North Carolina, 6’3″ 310 (Senior)

Had to wait his turn behind Marvin Austin and Cam  Thomas, but really had an excellent junior season where he finished with 47 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and two tackles for a loss along with a forced fumble. Has been very productive for the Heels as a rotational tackle, and really showed that he could take on double teams and create opportunities for others as the main man in the middle last year. This is a guy who will be 24 years old when he starts his first NFL game, so he could fall a bit due to that fact, but he is a productive gap clogging tackle who is probably a top five defensive lineman going into next season. He could be a real force, and while his stats won’t jump off the page, he makes plays for the guys around him like Quinton Coples and Donte Paige-Moss.

10. Marcus Forston, Miami (FL), 6’3″ 300 (Junior)

One of the highest rated defensive tackles in the nation heading into the 2011 season. Forston had a huge sophomore season with 37 tackles, 12 for loss, three sacks, and an interception. Sat out most of the 2009 season with an injury, so that concern remains, but he really burst onto the scene as a freshman when he earned Freshman All-American status after a season where he had 18 tackles, 4.5 for loss, and three sacks. Forston hasn’t been overly disruptive, but he is a gap clogger and could have a huge season in 2011 for the Hurricanes. He is a high motor player who doesn’t give up until the whistle blows, and if he has a big season, he could vault himself into the first or second round. This is potentially a very weak overall class for defensive tackles, so don’t be surprised to see him leave school early, especially since he’s already missed a year with injury. I am excited to see how he improves this season on one of the more talented defensive lines in the ACC.

11. Baker Steinkuhler, Nebraska, 6’6″ 290 (Junior)

**No scouting report yet available**

12. John Simon, Ohio State, 6’2″ 276 (Junior)

One of the leaders of the Buckeye defense on the field and in the locker room. Smart, tough player who dedicates himself in the film room, and is one of the top performers in the weight room. Powerful defensive lineman who combines strength and athleticism. Definitely a little undersized for a defensive tackle prospect, so he will have to add some weight but he is certainly capable of that. I think he will likely return for his senior season in 2013, but definitely a hard worker and a name to watch.