Defensive tackle is the strongest position in the 2012 draft due to the addition of many underclassman who decided to come out early. The top three rounds will be loaded with the following big men.
LSU's Michael Brockers, a redshirt sophomore, is sliding a bit after a bad combine but he did perform better at his pro day. At the combine he showed up weighting 322 pounds (up from 306), only did 19 reps on the bench and ran a slow time in the 40 (5.36).
Brockers showed he was not prepared for the combine which raises a red flag about desire and maturity. He has great potential, however, as a solid run defender who is strong at the point of attack and can also be disruptive to break into the other teams backfield. Instinctive, the Houston native goes to the ball quickly and is very aware. Michael is still raw and learning after only one year as a college starter. He needs technique work but has fine upside.
Fletcher Cox (6-5 295) from Mississippi St. is a junior who had a very productive 2011 season when won All-SEC honors and was named Defensive Player of the Week in the league four times. A young, versatile prospect who can also project to the defensive end position, Cox is naturally strong with great upside, will chase and pursue and has very good speed in the 4.8 range. He can be dominating at times. One concern for teams is that Cox was suspended for one game in 2011 for breaking team rules. He still needs to add bulk and get stronger for the pro game but can contribute quickly in either the 4-3 or 3-4.
Dontari Poe is a massive junior from Memphis. At 6-foot-5 and 338 pounds, he is quick for a big man but is still learning how to play the game. A super strong weight–trained athlete, Poe is a good run defender and a solid wrap-up tackler. Strong at the point of attack, he is not a quick pass rusher however and has been inconsistent while only showing his potential in flashes. He will get drafted fairly high due to his massive size and rare movement skills.
Jerel Worthy (6-3 315) from Michigan State is another junior who will come out early. An athletic big man with fine strength, Jerel can penetrate and be disruptive. He was the main producer in a good Spartans defense in 2011. Explosive off the snap, he has a burst and closes fast. There is a question about his work ethic; he needs to show he really wants it.
Jared Crick (6-6 285) out of Nebraska is a versatile prospect who can also project to defense end. He tore a pectoral muscle and missed most of the 2011 season. Undersized for the tackle position, he will chase and pursue with good speed, instincts and passion. Crick is a disruptive inside pass rusher also has a good work ethic.
Kendall Reyes (6-4 300) is a UConn prospect with first round talent but needs to stay in better shape and add strength for the next level. He is a versatile, emerging lineman who can also project to the 3-4 defensive end position. Athletic and quick, Reyes sheds blockers well. He is best considered a developmental and not a finish product.
Brandon Thompson (6-2 310) from Clemson is a big strong wide body who is very quick with a powerful base. A solid run defender and a competitor, Thompson does leave some production on the field and needs to play hard on every down.
Josh Chapman (6-1 310) is a solid Alabama performer who may be downgraded due to injury. He tore an ACL in his knee and had surgery which caused him to miss the Senior Bowl and limited him at the combine. He is a big run defender who can clog the middle yet is quick and agile for a big man. Chapman holds his ground and is hard to move out of the middle.
Alameda Ta'amu (6-3 330) from Washington is a player on the rise. The massive Samoan, is a short area, two-down run defender who will clog the middle. He needs to work on staying in shape and keeping his weight under control however. He had a solid week at the Senior Bowl and showed a strong bull rush.
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