The 2014 NFL Draft has no shortage of talent at the defensive tackle position. Whether It’s a prototypical run-stuffer, a high motor pass-rusher, an athletic freak, or someone with the versatility to play anywhere on the defensive line, these five defensive tackles will make any team very happy.
Aaron Donald- University of Pittsburgh
- A high motor defensive tackle in the mold of former Minnesota Viking John Randle, Donald is incredibly explosive coming off the line. Not the prototypical DEFENSIVE TACKLE in terms of size, Donald uses the leverage advantage he has to bull rush opposing lineman. Given his athleticism, Donald could slide over to defensive end in a 3-4 scheme and be just as effective.
Louis Nix- University of Notre Dame
- Nix is a defensive tackle in the mold of current Green Bay Packer, BJ Raji. Extremely agile for a 340-pound man, Nix uses his strength to dispose of would-be blockers. Based on the formation, personnel, and what he has seen in films, he has excellent play-recognition which aids him in disrupting plays. Nix will need to show his knee is healthy after having surgery in the off-season.
Ra'Shede Hageman- University of Minnesota
- Hageman uses his size and strength to collapse the pocket often. A bit raw as a defensive tackle, after switching over from tight end during his freshman year. But now he has shown flashes of being a dominant defensive tackle in the NFL. He's versatile enough to play in both 3-4 and 4-3 schemes and his athleticism draws comparisons to JJ Watt.
Timmy Jernigan- Florida State University
- Jernigan is a hard working defensive tackle, who plays smart and is skilled enough to be an every-down defensive tackle due to the fact that he doesn’t have to come out because he’s only a pass-rusher or only to stop the run. Coming into 2013 with only a handful of starts, Jernigan was the driving force behind the Seminoles run and eventual win of the BCS National Title. He is quick enough to sidestep offensive lineman and collapse the pocket by pushing the offensive linemen directly into the quarterback’s line-of-fire.
Stephon Tuitt- University of Notre Dame
- Tuitt is an impressive combination of size, power and speed. And, like Hageman, he is utilitarian. Tuitt can play in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme. Because of all of these attributes, he is considered to have the most upside of any of the available defensive tackle’s. Tuitt will need to be a little more consistent in the NFL but has the potential to be a very good defensive tackle.
In an era where off the field behavior is evaluated with the same scrutiny as on the field performance, these five young men have an exemplary record making any team welcome them with open arms.
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