Draft Grades for Top 10 by Position - Defensive Tackles

By Lance Zierlein
March 29, 2013

Sharrif Floyd has Top 10 talent.

Defensive Tackles Rankings

Defensive Tackle School Round
Sharrif Floyd Florida 1st
Sheldon Richardson Missouri 1st
Star Lotulelei Utah 1st
Kawaan Short Purdue 1st/2nd
Jesse Williams Alabama 2nd
Johnathan Hankins Ohio St. 2nd
John Jenkins Georgia 2nd
Sylvester Williams North Carolina 2nd
Brandon Williams Missouri Southern St. 3rd
Bennie Logan LSU 3rd/4th


Sharrif Floyd and Sheldon Richardson both have top 10 talent and NFL execs I've spoken to seem pretty excited about the potential of both guys.  Floyd is a well-rounded DT who appears to have good defensive awareness and strength, but he's not going to blow you away with his athleticism.   He looks to be rock-solid at the position though and competes hard.  

Richardson probably has a higher ceiling, but his floor is potentially low as well.  Missouri moved Richardson around and even stood him up in their "mixer" formations.  Richardson is the most fluid athlete I've ever seen and runs like a DE more than a DT.  However, he doeesn't use his hands well right now and has other issues that must be coached.  I could see Richardson getting off to a slow NFL start, but coming on strong in year 2 or 3 if he takes coaching well and if he gets in a 1-gap scheme that allows him to get up the field.

I know of one team who doesn't even have Star Lotulelei as a draftable prospect within the first two rounds, but I have a hard time co-signing that sentiment.  Star Lotuleilei plays with power and quickness and is a terrific fit at NT for any scheme.  I think he can play as a 3-technique as well, but his tackle radius isn't quite what I would like at that position.  I think NT is where he belongs and that could mean that he falls a little further down the 1st round than you might think based on lower priorities on NTs.

Kawaan Short has powerful hands and uses them well and he really flashed at Senior Bowl week, but the tape is uneven and inconsistent and there are some scouts around the league who think that he may have showed his A-game at Senior Bowl practices and that he might not bring the same consistency of effort on the next level.  That may be, but off of pure talent, I think he's got a chance to be a solid starter.

Jesse Williams isn't dynamic, but he's reliable.  He is clearly a fit for a team who is looking for a sturdy 2-gap NT who can eat up double teams and stand his ground.  Johnathan Hankins is the opposite.  Hankins moves well for a big man and has a better tackle radius than Lotuleilei.  I don't see the consistency I would like out of a first round DT, but the talent is there.

John Jenkins is a NT who moves okay for a big guy, but his weight is a huge (no pun) concern.  When guys are 350+ coming out of college, I really worry about how big they will get with more money and more free time on their hands.  I like the talent, but whoever takes him could very well put weight clauses in his contract.

Sylvester Williams shows good quickness off the snap and is able to get into the gaps can cause problems.  One thing I don't like is that Williams has a habit of ending up on the ground a little too much, but the quickness is a big plus.  Brandon Williams has power but is still learning to use that power.  He needs to learn to take advantage of his strength and not play with finesse.  With a big, sturdy frame, Williams feels like a better value pick than John Jenkins at the same position.

Bennie Logan is flying under the radar, but I think there is plenty to like about him.  Logan is a smart football player who shows good awareness and gets good arm extension when he explodes out of his snap.  He may not be Michael Brockers, but if he's still around in the early 4th quarter, he would be a good get for a team looking for a steady, rotational 3-technique.