A Prospect For Every Round: Defensive Line

Georgia nose tackle John Jenkins is an ideal two-gap nose tackle prospect. (Photo: US Presswire)

NEPD Editor: Matthew Jones

As part of the “A Prospect For Every Round” series, we previously examined some potential defensive end targets whom the New England Patriots may be interested in drafting; today, we’ll look at some other defensive line prospects the Patriots could target, whether they are defensive tackles, nose tackles, or five-technique defensive ends. Read on to find out who may be on New England’s mind as the 2013 NFL Draft approaches. As always, prospect rankings and values are provided by FRX.

1. DT Kawann Short, Purdue (FRX: #39 overall prospect, $979)

While Alabama’s Jesse Williams could also be an option due to his experience playing under Nick Saban, Kawann Short is more deserving of a first-round pick. At 6’3” and 299 pounds, he possesses an ideal frame for a three-technique defensive tackle, but could also add additional weight and play nose tackle if needed. A two-time team captain, Short is a disruptive pass rusher who can control blockers and split double teams. Purdue also used Short as a defensive end, and even as a rusher out of a two-point stance.

2. NT John Jenkins, Georgia (FRX: #55 overall prospect, $677)

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick obviously prizes size in the defensive front seven, which Georgia nose tackle John Jenkins has plenty of. A 6’3”, 358 pound behemoth, Jenkins played nose tackle in the Bulldogs’ 3-4 base defense, where he was often asked to occupy double teams. However, Jenkins is not purely a two-down run stuffer, as he possesses impressive quickness and an incredible motor. Academic issues could cause him to slip to New England’s second-round choice.

3. DT Bennie Logan, Louisiana St. (FRX: #87 overall prospect, $506)

Bennie Logan didn’t have the junior campaign many anticipated, but chose to declare for the draft regardless, which could cause him to slide into the third or fourth round on draft day. At 6’3” and 295 pounds, Logan’s primary value is as a gap-shooting under tackle, although he could potentially play some five-technique as well. His deficiencies as a run defender are cause for concern, but in a thin defensive tackle class he may represent the best available option in the third round.

4. NT Akeem Spence, Illinois* (FRX: #119 overall prospect, $453)

Spence is an active defender whose hand use and range are his greatest assets as a defensive tackle. At 6’1” and 305 pounds, Spence’s size is more evocative of a three-technique player, but his best fit at the next level should be as a nose tackle in a 4-3 defensive front. He has a surprising anchor and is a reliable wrap-up tackler, qualities that should contribute to a mid-round selection in 2013. Spence could provide the Patriots with a more reliable reserve option than Myron Pryor.

5. NT Kwame Geathers, Georgia* (FRX: #138 overall prospect, $439)

A 6’6”, 355-pound nose tackle, Geathers started for one year at Georgia and opted to declare for the draft as a redshirt junior. Bill Belichick is known to favor SEC defenders, and Geathers’ size translates to a two-gap nose tackle role at the next level, whether in a three or four-man front. Considering his inexperience, he possesses some upside and would be an interesting addition as Vince Wilfork’s apprentice. His most immediate contribution may be as a goal-line defender.

6. DT Josh Boyd, Mississippi St. (FRX: #184 overall prospect, $425)

Boyd’s stock slipped this season after former teammate Fletcher Cox was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in last April’s draft, which could lead to Boyd being available in the sixth round later this month. At 6’3” and 310 pounds, Boyd has ideal size for an interior lineman in a 4-3 defense, and his 32 repetitions on the bench press at last month’s NFL Combine are indicative of his strength. New England could be interested in adding a two-gap player such as Boyd in the late rounds.

7. 5T Quinton Dial, Alabama (FRX: #184 overall prospect, $425)

Quinton Dial was implicated in a deer antler spray controversy this past January; however, those claims were unsubstantiated and he could still end up being drafted in the sixth or seventh round later this month. New England previously targeted former Crimson Tide defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick in the draft, and they could bring in Dial to provide some competition for Deaderick’s roster spot. At 6’6” and 318 pounds, Dial could project as a 4-3 nose tackle or 3-4 defensive end.

Tags: 2013 NFL Draft, A Prospect For Every Round, Akeem Spence, Bennie Logan, John Jenkins, Josh Boyd, Kawann Short, Kwame Geathers, New England Patriots, Quinton Dial

12 Responses to “A Prospect For Every Round: Defensive Line”

  1. Russell Easterbrooks says:

    Tampa cut back-up QB Dan Orlovsky today, opening the door for a QB Mallett trade?? If BB does a trade look for a 3d #73, 4th #112 from Tampa for Mallett.

  2. bmp1113 says:

    Id like datone jones if he makes it there. hes more well rounded of a player and more versatile than any of the other d linemen available then. He can pass rush and stop the run, he can play DE when rob moves to olb in a 34 and can play DT in passing situations.

  3. acm says:

    not a fan of Jenkins, tbh … and the same goes for Short in the 1st.

    I’d go with Jesse Williams in the 1st at 29 and Brandon Williams in late 2nd or earlish 3rd.

    Boyd and Dial in the late rounds seem like pretty good options to add depth to the DT positions but I would also look at Joe Vellano in those rounds.

    Personally, I think Jesse Williams fall to the Pats at 29 and they pounce on him.

    Wouldn’t mind a combo of Datone Jones (projects for the interior, imo) and then a DT in the 6th or 7th but doubt Jones makes it past the Saints, Giants or the Packers to name a few.

    • MatthewJones says:

      Jesse Williams is possible, although I think Short offers quite a bit more as a pass rusher, making him the more valuable pick for me. Obviously the Saban connection works in Williams’ favor, but I see Short as the better three-technique; if you play the percentages, you want the better player on 60%+ of NFL plays (passing downs) over the better player on 35-40% of plays.

      • acm says:

        speaking as of right now, I agree that Short would provide better interior pass rush. However I think Williams has a higher ceiling as he has a lot to learn in terms of technique – right now he relies heavily on sheer strength to get in the backfield, hence his lack of consistency in that regard – and see him as the better pick down the stretch. It’s that higher ceiling that makes him a 1st round pick for me, while Short would be a reach in the first imo … think that even Brandon Williams in late 2nd would bring much better value than Short at 29. tbh.

        One other thing – the Pats need a DT that can not only play along Wilfork and provide interior pass rush but also give Big Vince a breather. Just don’t see Short as someone who can take upo that 2-gap role in place of Wilfork. Jesse Williams on the other hand, with improved technique, has the flexibility to be a Haloti Ngata type disruptive DT as well as a Wilfork-type run-stuffer, imo.

        • Russell Easterbrooks says:

          I agree with acm, jesse Williams is a better player to replace Wilfork when he’s off the Field. Short is not what I think the Patriots need, I like Brandon Williams better also.

    • Russell Easterbrooks says:

      I like Joe Vallano in the 5th round, a very underrated talent.

  4. Russell Easterbrooks says:

    Hard to like much in this group,….. compared to DT Jesse Williams or DT Brandon Williams. My guess is Jesse Williams with the Patriots #29 pick if he’s on the Board.
    John Jenkins has the worst motor, and lack of smarts to even be a 7th rounder, .. imo

    • cc says:

      Absolutely agree. I’d give a next year 3rd(& a 7th this year)-without hesitation if it meant jumping up in the 1st for Jessie Williams.
      Even the Kwame Short pick is more like a mid second rounder to me…
      Go DT/NT “hard” in the 1ST!

      • cc says:

        No one knows ( except for the “sub par” performance again and again ), what to actually expect from Deaderick/backup, Love/backup, Forsten/rookie……Go hard at a teal top DT/NT for an actual Wilfork clone/compliment and let the newer signing’s of J.Vega DL & A. Armstead DL fill in where they may.

  5. AM says:

    Love Akeem Spence in Round Four. Boyd would also be an interesting addition.






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