John Jenkins DT Georgia #6
Size/Athleticism: Elite size and strength. A prototypical nose tackle. Much quicker than your typical 350 pound nose tackle. He’s a threat to get into the backfield and make some plays.
Run Defense: Has the size to be a space-eater and take on multiple blockers. Needs to improve his focus on the field. Doesn’t always see the direction of the play and doesn’t always take the right angles in pursuit.
Pass Rush: Quick off the snap. Very active hands when engaged with offensive linemen. Quicker than you’d expect for a guy his size. He’s more than just a space eater and can collapse the pocket as a pass-rusher. Made a few great plays against Chance Warmack in 2012 SEC Championship Game, walking him back into the backfield before shedding the blocking and making a play. When he gets stopped, it’s generally because he’s playing too upright and gets stood up and loses his leverage.
Versatility: A true nose tackle in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme. Potentially has the athleticism to play end in a 3-4 scheme for certain teams who prefer size over athleticism at the position.
Intangibles: JUCO transfer. Suspended by team from bowl game in 2013 due to academic issue.
Durability: Suffered hamstring injury in 2011. Suffered from heat exhaustion during a practice in 2011.
Comments: Jenkins can immediately step into a starting role at nose tackle. He played in the 3-4 scheme at Georgia with experience at end and tackle, so he’s ready to immediately step into that role. He reminds me of B.J. Raji. Jenkins isn’t quite as consistent, but flashes the elite size/athleticism combo in bursts. If he’s used as part of a rotation he could be extremely effective.
Kawann Short DT Purdue #
Size/Athleticism: Average height. Weighed in under 300 at combine but played closer to 315-320 for most of his career at Purdue. Looked even larger during his junior year, which slowed him down considerably. Long arms for his height allows him to play with leverage and also get into passing lanes. Has shown decent quickness at times, but his motor is somewhat inconsistent. Athleticism to definitely dependent on his weight.
Run Defense: Physical presence on the interior line. Has the strength to eat up space and take on multiple blockers. Shows great awareness. Keeps his eyes in the backfield and adjusts to the direction of the play. Patient defender; knows his speed limitations and stays in his space. Won’t chase anyone down from behind, but he can make the quick bursts to close on the ball carrier when he comes into his area.
Pass Rush: Quick off the snap and can often win one-on-one battles on the interior. Mixes in an occasional spin move to work his way into the backfield. Can use some athleticism in quick bursts, but ultimately he’s a bull rusher. Won’t rack up many sacks, but he consistently collapses the pocket. The type of interior lineman that impacts the pass rush by making the quarterback uncomfortable in the pocket, allowing others to finish the play.
Versatility: Lined up as a three and five technique depending on the set. Lack of athleticism makes him better suited to play inside in a 4-3 or even at nose tackle in a 3-4 if he put some weight back on.
Intangibles: Team captain.
Durability: Suffered an ankle injury during 2012 seasons. Missed team pro day due to a hamstring injury.
Comments: Short doesn’t really stand out in any one area, but he’s an extremely consistent performer who can influence all areas of the game. He has the size to eat up space and take on multiple blockers, but also has just enough athleticism to make a few plays on his own. He can play in any system, but would probably be best suited playing inside in the 4-3. Due to his fluctuating weight, each team may view him in a slightly different role.
Jesse Williams DT Alabama #54
Size/Athleticism: Elite strength. Surprisingly quick for his size. Doesn’t look like the type of athlete who can move well, but he’s much faster than your typical nose tackle.
Run Defense: Prototypical nose tackle. He’s built like a fire hydrant and is incredibly difficult to move off his spot. Wins the one-on-one battle every time. Even in double team situations, it’s very difficult to move him. You simply need to neutralize him and create a hole around him. Quick to react to the play. He disengages from blocks easily and is fast enough to make a few plays in pursuit. Short arms hurt his ability to make plays. He misses some tackles when he isn’t able to fully wrap guys up. Lateral mobility is his best asset. He isn’t fast enough to chase anyone down from behind, but he sees the play developing and is quick to shift into position to plug a hole. Even when he isn’t the one making the play, he impacts a lot of plays by shedding a block to plug a hole, forcing the runner elsewhere.
Pass Rush: Explosive off the snap and surprisingly quick. Due to his build, he’s a pure bull rusher. Lacks the length to really fight with his upper body and generate any meaningful pass rush moves. He gets into the backfield by staying low and simply bulldozing his way through interior offensive linemen. Gets his arms up into passing lanes, but he isn’t exceptionally tall and his arms are short for a typical lineman.
Versatility: Experienced at nose tackle in Alabama’s 3-4. He may have enough athleticism to play end in the 3-4 early in his career, but in the long term, he’s a space-eating nose tackle in any scheme.
Intangibles: Grew up in Australia playing rugby and didn’t start playing football until age 14. Originally committed to Hawaii but was forced to attend JUCO for academic reasons. Has a YOLO tattoo on his face.
Durability: Suffered concussion in 2012.
Comments: Williams would be a perfect fit for a hybrid defense due to his size and athleticism. He can line up at tackle or end in the 3-4 and inside in 4-3 sets. But even in a standard 4-3 he has value as a space-eater at nose tackle. His ability to handle doubles teams without giving up ground will make him a valuable asset in run defense in any system.
Sheldon Richardson DT Missouri #34
Size/Athleticism: Modest overall size, but has the nice blend of strength and athleticism. He has the strength to bull rush his way into the backfield, but also has the speed to use his athleticism to work his way around interior offensive linemen. Plays with an impressive motor.
Run Defense: Lacks the elite strength to excel at the point of attack, but he holds his own. Struggles to shed double teams at the point of attack, but he’s generally able to hold his ground even if he can’t penetrate. Does a great job in pursuit. Fights through traffic and demonstrates an impressive motor. Fast enough to make some plays in pursuit. Does a nice job keeping his eyes in the backfield and reacting to the direction of the play.
Pass Rush: Explosive off the snap. A full-speed-ahead pass rusher who really pins his ears back and explodes off the snap. Impressive strength, especially considering his relatively modest size for an interior lineman. Does a great job collapsing the pocket even when he fails to disgusting from a block and fight his way into the backfield. Stays low and plays with good leverage to bull rush his way into the backfield. Does a nice job getting his arms up into passing lanes.
Versatility: Experience lining up as a three-tech in 4-3 sets, and as an end and nose tackle in 3-4 sets. At his best as a three-tech, but could play end in a 3-4.
Intangibles: JUCO transfer with only one year of experience as a full-time starter.
Durability: No significant injuries of note.
Comments: Richardson is an explosive pass-rush who can get into the backfield with ease using a variety of moves. What really sets him apart from other prospects, however, is his consistency. Many other interior pass-rushers struggle against the run but Richardson holds his ground. He can definitely be pushed around at the point of attack at times, but he makes up for with an elite motor in pursuit. He’s a true three-down lineman and should excel immediately in a 4-3 scheme.
Sharrif Floyd DT Florida #73
Size/Athleticism: On the smaller side for a defensive tackle. Only average height and overall size. But makes up for modest size and strength with impressive athleticism. Few interior offensive linemen can match his quickness.
Run Defense: Lacks the dominant strength to really anchor at the point of attack against the run. He can get pushed around, especially in double-team situations. Has the speed to make some plays in pursuit. Gives a strong effort in pursuit, always gets back up quickly and when he’s knocked down by a cut block. Needs to do a much better job keeping his eyes in the back field. He’s often slow to react to the direction of the play and offensive linemen can manipulate his direction as a result.
Pass Rush: Shows a nice array of pass rush moves from the interior. Strong upper body and active hands allows him to fight his way through the interior offensive line. Bull rush works occasionally in one-on-one matchups, but typically needs to disengage from a block and work his way around the lineman to slip into the backfield. Not the type of pass rusher that plows through the middle of the line immediately off the snaps; he simply lacks that type of power and explosion. Inconsistent off the snap; often the last one to move.
Versatility: Has experience lining up at end in 3-4 sets and tackle in the 4-3. However, he’s a much better fit as a three-technique tackle in a 4-3 defense. He lacks the strength to handle the duties of
Intangibles: Not significant positives or negatives.
Durability: No significant injuries of note.
Comments: Floyd is a prototypical three-technique tackle who can be an asset as a pass rusher from the interior line. However, he isn’t a complete player due to his struggles against the run. His grades will vary based on the team. Certain teams want to have a guy like Floyd who can pin his ears back and go after the quarterback (the Lions use Ndamukong Suh in this way, for example). But other teams want a more well-rounded player who can be an asset on all three downs. Floyd may draw interest from 3-4 teams because he has the basic tools necessary to play the 3-4 end position, but he lacks the strength to really excel at the position. Overall, I give him a late 1st-round grade. But as a 3-4 end, he’s more of a late-2nd-round prospect.