Putting together the Big Board: Defensive Tackle

The Patriots lost Vince Wilfork this offseason, but is DT really a big need?

The Patriots lost Vince Wilfork this offseason, but is DT really a big need?

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

Another day, another position. Today the focus is back on defense and the big fellas up front.  It is a position that lost its star of the last decade plus in Vince Wilfork.  He will be tough to replace, but there are some players on the roster who can play that type of role.  The real interesting question will be if the Patriots really want a big run stuffer like Wilfork or if they want to shift gears and go with quicker, more penetrating type of defensive tackle.  There is good talent in this draft at the position and the Patriots should be able to find a guy that fits the style they want to play. Here are the guys that would intrigue me if they ended up on the Patriots.

Current Roster: Sealver Siliga, Alan Branch, Dominique Easley, Antonio Johnson, Joe Vellano, Chris Jones

Position Need: Medium

Position Overview:

This is a very interesting position.  I could make an argument that the Patriots need to draft a defensive tackle early or I could find myself defending the team the day after the draft ends because they didn’t take one at all. Last year, they drafted my binkie in Dominique Easley and I have high hopes that he will be healthy this year and be an impact player. Siliga and Branch both showed they can come in and play well, but are probably not going to be dominant and could be upgraded. Vellano and Jones are more rotational/situational type players and could be upgraded as well. Johnson has been a very good player in the past, but he is coming off injury, so he is an unknown player at this point.

Draftable Options:

Danny Shelton, Washington (6’2″, 339 Lbs.) 1st round

Putting Shelton on this list is a bit of stretch, but we saw Wilfork slide in the draft and while it is a long shot, I could see Shelton sliding as well.  If the Patriots want a true replacement for Wilfork, Shelton is that guy.  He is sneaky athletic and powerful and would be a great fit in the Patriots scheme.  Do not get fooled by Shelton’s sack numbers, they were inflated this year with most of that production coming against lower level competition.  He can move laterally quite well though and could bring some flexibility to where he plays along the line.  Shelton can be over aggressive at times which exposes his chest and allows offensive lineman to move him more than they should.

Malcom Brown, Texas (6’2″, 319 Lbs.) 1st round

see my report from earlier this year. http://www.nepatriotsdraft.com/2015/01/scouting-report-malcom-brown-dt.html

Jordan Phillips, Oklahoma (6’5″, 329 Lbs.) 1st/2nd round

see my report on him earlier this year. http://www.nepatriotsdraft.com/2015/01/scouting-report-jordan-phillips-dt.html

Grady Jarrett, Clemson (6’1″, 304 Lbs.) 2nd round

I will be honest, I had dismissed Jarrett for most of this process because of his size. Last week I decided to give him a look and I am so glad I did.  I quickly fell in love with his tape and think he could be a steal in this draft.  He plays much bigger than his size and he actually uses his smaller size to his advantage. He keeps a low pad level and consistently wins the leverage battle. He is very quick and athletic with smooth movement skills and agility.  He uses these traits to wedge through double teams and beat lineman one on one.  He has quick and heavy hands with a variety of pass rush moves.  He has NFL bloodlines and he is a hard worker on and off the field.  My only issue would be if he would be a redundant pick to Dominique Easley, but I think the Patriots are creative enough to get both on the field and create havoc.

Eddie Goldman, Florida State (6’3″, 337 Lbs.) 2nd/3rd round

see my report on him earlier this year. http://www.nepatriotsdraft.com/2015/01/scouting-report-eddie-goldman-dt.html

Carl Davis, Iowa (6’4″, 320 Lbs.) 2nd/3rd round

Davis looks the part of an athletic defensive tackle who can succeed in the NFL.  He has long arms and good short area movement skills.  Davis shows flashes of a player who can be disruptive from the inside, but it is inconsistent on tape.  He plays too high and struggles with leverage.  His effort has been questioned and you can see on film that once the play is by him he tends to shut it down and move on to the next play.  Davis has a good combination of strength and athleticism, but a coaching staff will have to work on his technique to maximize his talent in the NFL.  If a staff can do that, Davis can be an impact player.

Marcus Hardison, Arizona State (6’3″, 307 Lbs.) 3rd round

see my report on him from earlier this year. http://www.nepatriotsdraft.com/2015/02/scouting-report-marcus-hardison-dt.html

Michael Bennett, Ohio State (6’2″, 293 Lbs.) 3rd round

Bennett is very similar to Grady Jarrett in many regards.  He is a smaller DT that plays with good leverage and quickness. Bennett is a smooth athlete with fluid movement skills.  He plays with good balance and motor, making him a difficult player to block for extended periods of time. He is strong hands and longer arms than you would expect and uses them to disengage from linemen.  Bennett is not as stout against the run and can be moved around by bigger lineman.  He wins more with technique than strength and in the NFL that will only get you so far. Bennett looks to wear down towards the end of games which led to bad habits and inconsistent technique. He needs to get stronger and and some weight to be more than a rotational player at the next level.

Rakeem Nunez-Roches, Southern Mississippi (6’2″, 307 Lbs.) 3rd/4th round

The theme continues with Roches. He is another athletic tackle with good size, flexibility, and movement skills.  He moves very well and consistently gets pressure in the backfield. He has a high motor and never gives up on any play.  He plays with good leverage and will work down the line on run plays.  Roches is a high character guy and a hard worker.  He needs to improve his strength, especially in his upper body. He is inconsistent with his hand/arm use and will need to work on his technique.

Tyeler Davison, Fresno State (6’2″, 316 Lbs.) 4th round

see my report on him from earlier this year. http://www.nepatriotsdraft.com/2015/03/scouting-report-tyeler-davison-dt.html

Bobby Richardson, Indiana (6’2″, 285 Lbs.) 4th/5th round

If the Patriots are looking to go smaller on the defensive line and want to wait on this position, this could be there guy.  Richardson has really good athleticism and quickness.  He moves really well laterally and uses a quick first step to get in the backfield consistently.  He has long arms and active hands and uses them well to effectively get off blocks.  He has good awareness with 6 pass break ups and 3 blocked kicks over his career. He also diagnoses plays quickly and reacts.  Richardson has a non stop motor and will wear down his opponent.  He has played inside and out in college and will be scheme diverse in the NFL.  He was a team captain at Indiana.  Needs to add more bulk and strength, but has the frame to do so. Although he was disruptive in college, he did not produce many sacks and needs to learn to finish.

Derrik Lott, Chattanooga (6’4″, 314 Lbs.) 5th round

I was watching Chattanooga games to see Davis Tull, but Lott was the one that kept catching my eye. Lott has good size and long arms for the position.  Lott is athletic with good movement skills and an aggressive play style.  He has active hands and can be a disruptor from the defensive tackle position.  Lott shows good awareness; reading and reacting to plays quickly.  He uses his long arms and strong hands to his advantage.  Lott plays too upright which negates his natural power. He is also over aggressive at times and will over pursue on fakes and trick plays. Lott will be 25 when he enters the NFL and will also be making a big jump in competition, so teams may see the age and the adjustment time as big negatives as he may not be a regular contributor until he is closer to 30 than 20.

Xavier Williams, Northern Iowa (6’2″, 325 Lbs.) 6th round

see my report on him from earlier this year. http://www.nepatriotsdraft.com/2015/01/scouting-report-xavier-williams-dt.html

David Parry, Stanford (6’1″, 308 Lbs.) 6th round

see my report on him from earlier this year. http://www.nepatriotsdraft.com/2015/03/scouting-report-david-parry-dt.html

Ellis McCarthy, UCLA (6’4″, 338 Lbs) 7th round

If the Patriots are looking for a true run stopper than brings very little else, then McCarthy might be that guy. He is big, but not really fat, and has long powerful arms.  He lumbers and really is only effective in short areas.  He needs a lot of technique work, but the raw skills are there to be a force in the middle. McCarthy must improve his field awareness and balance as he ends up on the ground far too often for someone his size.  He seems to fatigue easily and has to come out of games for series at a time. Must improve his conditioning so he can play more.

Interesting UDFA’s:

Darius Kilgo, Maryland (6’3″, 320 Lbs.)

David Irving, Iowa State (6’7″, 283 Lbs.) side note: as a former cyclone, it was such a shame to see this kid get in trouble and kicked off the team. He has real talent.

Angelo Blackson, Auburn (6’4″, 318 Lbs.)

Leon Orr, Florida (6’5″, 323 Lbs.)

Terry Williams, East Carolina (5’11”, 344 Lbs.)






27 Responses to “Putting together the Big Board: Defensive Tackle”

  1. yb says:

    Shelton will go 15-22 16 is worth according to values 1,000 17-950 18 -900 19 -875 our 32 is 590 plus our 96,97 =so 32,96,97 = 110 +115 + 590 = 815 low end 20 aprox if shelton falls . hes a beast and will fill nt with wilfork gone . c jones , easely , and shelton will be a beast at the 3-4 at the point of attack . rather then getting mediocre talent with picks 96,97,101,131 trade up for shelton solidify dt and de for a while . lb looks strong with collins hightower and mayo ., now strengthen the poinbt of attack . Goldman if he falls to 32 = take him . But will be dissapointed if we dont trade up for shelton hes gret at point of attack opening up our linebackers ninkavich collins and hightower . Bill you listening

  2. yb says:

    Goldman at 32 if hes gone best available cb at 32 and and jarrett at 64 . 96,97,101 best available off lineman , and best available rb . We just signed mayo so a second cb in our 1st 5 picks might be good for playoff run. I really like goldman at 32 and best available o line at 64 unless theres a steal at 64 or we move up’ using our picks 96,97,101,131

  3. Rakeem Nunez is Very much underrated!!!! He’s actually did better that some of your top in the combine or the number 1 draft picks. Everything that has been written about this young man are all workable things. Coming from college to NFL they all had to practice a different routine. Don’t Sleep on this GAINT!!!! He will bring it!!!!

  4. AM says:

    Love Goldman (1st-2nd), Jarrett (2nd-3rd), and Davison (6th-7th) as options. Jarrett in particular has huge semi-sleeper potential; not really sure if he qualifies given the amount of publicity he’s had, but if he were two inches taller he’d easily be in the first-round conversation.

  5. Dylan says:

    Six players who will go way higher than people think….

    1. Byron Jones
    2. Jake Fisher
    3. Nelson Agholor
    4. Xavier Cooper
    5. Eric Rowe
    6. Stephone Anthony

    I know a few of these players have been gaining steam for a month or two now but it seems like allot people around here expect players like Cooper and Fisher to be available in the 2nd. Seems unlikely to me. Too bad because I really like both for the Pats.

    • acm says:

      not sure what gave you that impression. I’d say people may differ on their eval of Rowe and Anthony’s draft stock but it seems all over the place in “expert” mocks too.
      I’d say that the majority here doesn’t project either of these players to be readily available at 64 for the Pats, although wouldn’t be unlikely for a player or two on that list. Sure there is the occasional overly-optimistic mock here and there but wouldn’t use that as a basis to generalize.

  6. Jeff says:

    I’m starting to think that a trade-back won’t work out as there won’t be any offers worth taking. As a result, I’m thinking that the Pats will hope somebody falls (Malcolm Brown would be a dream), but if not, they’ll grab their favorite CB and then trade up in the 3rd round later on to grab a falling player. Here’s my guess as to how things shake down:

    pick 32: CB – Jalen Collins
    pick 64: G – Ali Marpet
    pick 86 (from Pats 3rd, 4th, and 7th picks): LB – Denzel Perryman
    pick 97: RB – Jeremy Langford (don’t see this as a top need, but I think the Pats take a RB or receiver around here to take advantage of strong draft classes, maybe even a DE like Za’Darius Smith)
    pick 101: G – Josue Matias
    pick 178: DT – Leterrius Walton
    pick 253: C – Max Garcia

  7. Kevan says:

    None of these hypothetical trades make sense, or maybe it’s just me I don’t know. I just don’t remember ever getting such crappy value for a trade down. Pats got a second and a 1st the following year off the saints and the Vikings gave the pats how many picks? I don’t think BB trades down unless it’s a great offer or there is literally no player on the board worth taking. On another Note news came out that Nate Solder had testicular cancer prior to the 2014 season. Maybe that puts a new spin on his somewhat sub par play. I don’t know how much of an effect that would have but I have to think it messed his season up atleast a little bit. Steve I know you were in the medical field maybe you would have some more knowledge on this. Kinda crazy.

    • Greg Seamone says:

      I saw one mock draft that gave the Pats a 5th round pick for number 32 and the Pats got Tampas 34 pick ,not bad could deffinately get the same quality player if Tampa would do it to get back to round 1.

  8. Russell says:

    BB trades 1st pick #32 to K.C. for #49 and #80;
    #49- Laken Tomlinson OG
    #64- Michael Bennett DT
    #80- Kenny Bell WR
    #96- Charles Davis Tull OLB
    #97- Adrian Amos S/CB
    #101- Corey Robinson OT
    #131-Kristjan Sokoli DT
    #219- Karlos Williams RB/S
    #253-Benard Blake CB
    Undrafted prospects signed;
    OL Brey Cook
    WR Kevin Vereen jr.
    DE Dezmond Johnson

    • Russell says:

      oops forgot #177- CB Julian Wilson

    • acm says:

      As lovely a trade-back scenario may be, not sure the circumstances are very favorable in this year’s draft. The diff in talent between late 1st, thru the 2nd and till mid 3rd round is not all that substantial, imo.
      There is always the possibility of a certain prospect or two falling (often that’s a QB but not this year) but I personally wouldn’t count on it.
      I think Pats would likely want to trade back but expect the pool of potential trade partners to be pretty dry.

      • Russell says:

        I will agee with you the trade partner pool for the #32 pick is poor, no question. However, I think K.C. is a big possiblity. IF K.C. was to draft OL Cameron Erving at#18, the possiblity of WR Strong or WR Green-Beckham being on the board at #49 are very low.
        To move up to #32 , IF K.C. was to give up #49 and #80 that seems fair value for booth teams. K.C. still own’s a 3d at #98 Comp.pick. BB Moves back 18 spots, and gets a 3d #80 to use or deal.

        • CC says:

          Just Ball Up & Trade Up. Prefferably and Specifically vefore the NYC Giant’s pick. How and Why wouldn’t you just say Eff it and jump up too fill the DT spot that has been Big V’s with D. Sheldon?
          Shane Vereen…..no big loss. Never was a fan on wasting a hight pick on him anyways.
          But both Browner and Revis? O.k., so after taking Sheldon…… set sights on THE BEST MAN COVERAGE D. Back – period!

          The rest is mearley dependent upon F.A..

      • AM says:

        Agreed on the sweet spot in the draft this year, but if one thing is borne out time and again, it is that teams fall in love with players and do desperate things to be with them. The Patriots generally don’t (although that Chad Jackson summer fling was a bad one), which is the main reason they play the drafting game so well.

  9. J H TARBORO says:

    DT/OLB Kristjan Sokoli- Buffalo
    DT Deshawn Williams- Clemson
    DT Deon Simon- Northwestern St.
    DT Rakeem Nunez-Roches ( very underrated )
    DT Xavier Cooper- ( very underrated )

  10. YodasLlama says:

    My Patriots Seven Round Mock Draft w/Trades

    1. D.J. Humphries, OT, Florida
    The Patriots sit on the last pick in the first round and draft a talented but risky OT prospect. With Solders contract coming up soon and Vollmer on the wrong side of 30 having a talent like Humphries waiting in the wings should be too good to pass up for New England. His rookie year he can line up at LG or be the primary swing tackle.

    2.(Trade from PHI). Marcus Peters, CB, Washington
    New England has a pretty good track record in rehabilitating “trouble” players. Peters has the size and skill the Patriots want in their corners. Combined with Butler can give New England one of the youngest and most talented corner tandems in the league.

    2. Devin Smith, WR, Ohio State
    The Patriots like Urban Meyer players and Devin Smith has a ton of talent and could be that missing element of the offense that everyone has wanted since Moss left. Smith is talented, smart and could contribute immediately for New England.

    3(COMP). Ali Marpet, OL , Hobart
    If Marpet falls to the end of the third round New England would run to the podium. Marpet is extremely talented but needs a lot of coaching. Raw prospect who played Tackle in college but is a guard in the NFL. Could start Day One for New England.

    4. Gabe Wright, DT, Auburn
    He isn’t Vince Wilfork but Wright has the frame to bulk up and hopefully keep the speed he is known for. A talented DT who played DE for Auburn as well. Could give New England a good rotation of Easley, Silga, Jones and Wright in the foreseeable future.

    4. Mike Davis, RB, South Carolina
    A bowling ball at RB and a player that New England has looked at multiple times in the draft process. A everydown back with loads of talent. Could contribute right away in a RB rotation and then be the Number 1 after Blount leaves next year.

    6. Tray Walker, CB, Texas Southern
    I really like Walker and I think he can be a good player in the NFL. A small school prospect who may have to take a redshirt season. Walker is tall and is a physical press corner. Low risk high reward prospect.

    7. Ty Montgomery, WR, Stanford
    The Patriots have been working out a ton of WR prospects this draft and may double dip again like they did a few years ago. Montgomery isnt flashy and may be nothing more than a solid number 3. However he is smart and with his height 6-2 could replace Lafell in a couple of seasons.

    7(COMP). Nick Marshall QB/CB/ATH, Auburn
    Why not? Its the end of the 7th round and 99% of the time these guys don’t make the team anyway. Marshall is a talented Athlete who may never amount to anything in the NFL but the Patriots can take a flyer on him and see if they can use him in some capacity. High character guy. Worst case scenario is a good guy to have in camp.

    Projected Depth Chart
    * Denotes Rookie

    QB: Brady, Garoppolo
    RB: Blount, Davis*, Grey
    3RB: Cadet, White

    WR1: Lafell, Dobson
    WR2: Edelmen, Amendola
    WR3: Smith*, Montgomery*

    TE1: Gronk, Chandler
    TE2: Wright

    LT: Solder, Humphries*
    LG: Marpet*, Fleming
    C: Stork
    RG: Wendell, Cannon
    RT: Vollmer, Humphries*

    RE: Jones, Sheard
    NT: Silga, Branch
    DT: Easley, Wright*, Jones
    LE: Nink, Moore

    SLB: Collins, Mayo
    ILB: Hightower
    WLB: Mayo, Freeny

    CB1: Peters*, Fletcher
    CB2: Butler, Ryan, Walker*
    CB3: Arington, McClain

    FS: McCourty, Harmon
    SS: Chung, Wilson

  11. Dan Sullivan says:

    Patriots Mock Draft.
    1 Carl Davis DL Iowa
    2 Cedric Ogbuehi OT Texas A&M
    3 Josh Shaw CB USC
    3 Ben Heeney ILB Kansas
    4 Tyler Lockett WR Kansas St.
    4 Anthony Chickillo DE Miami (Florida)
    6 Mark Weisman RB Iowa
    7 Deiontrez Mount OLB Louisville
    7 Shaq Mason G Georgia Tech

  12. dslave says:

    Deon Simon is a talent I think could warrant a 4th round pick, as it stands as of today. Unless their going to trade up for Shelton, Goldman, or Malcom Brown, there excellent value for a stout, high character DT in the mid- rounds.

    • Ryan says:

      I hope that we wait until Round 3 or later to take a DT. Unless we get Shelton or Brown I don’t think any of the DTs are worth a first- or second-round pick when you look at our other needs and the talent available at those positions. In addition to many of the players Mike named, I think that Gabe Wright at the top of the fourth, Joey Mbu at the end of the fourth, and Kaleb Eulls and Leterrius Walton at the start of the sixth all make sense. Since the sweet spots for this position appear to be the top 15 picks and the 3rd-5th rounds, I don’t see a reason to go DT early over OG and CB despite the loss of Big Vince.

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