Following up on today’s earlier post on Terrence Cody’s rising stock, here’s a look at the top nose tackles in this year’s class.
1. Dan Williams, Tennessee
At 6’2″, 327 pounds there’s no question that Williams has the size to play nose tackle. What makes him the top prospect at the position, though, is his athleticism. Most nose tackles earn their living just by eating up space, but a select few have the ability to get into the backfield and make plays. Shaun Rogers may be the best example among active nose tackles, and Williams could certainly have a similar impact at the next level.
2. Terrence Cody, Alabama
Cody’s stock is on the rise and the more weight he loses the higher his stock will climb. He isn’t the type that will make plays in the backfield with consistency, but he can take on two or three blockers at a time. He lacks the athleticism to be a truly elite nose tackle but he can make an instant impact anchoring a defensive line.
3. Cam Thomas, North Carolina
Thomas was overshadowed by Marvin Austin at North Carolina, but he’s starting to get the attention he deserves. At 6’4″, 331 pounds he has the size to fit right at nose tackle in the NFL. He struggled to make an impact at times in UNC’s traditional 4-3 defense due to his lack of athleticism, but he should flourish in a 3-4 scheme at the next level.
4. Linval Joseph, East Carolina
There’s a significant dropoff in talent after Thomas. Joseph has the size (6’5″, 328 pounds) and strength but he wasn’t always productive even against lesser competition at East Carolina. He’s an intriguing mid-round prospect but he isn’t a sure thing.
5. Jeff Owens, Georgia
Not all teams will view Owens as a nose tackle due to his relative lack of size (6’1″, 304) but he is a short, stout and extremely strong interior lineman. If he added some weight Owens could easily handle the duties of a nose tackle.
6. Aleric Mullins, North Carolina
Mullins was never a full-time starter at North Carolina, stuck behind Cam Thomas and Marvin Austin. He’s an intriguing prospect who has the size and strength to play nose tackle and potentially the athleticism to play defensive end in the 3-4 defense as well. He could be one of those player’s who just needs to land in the right system to reach his full potential.
7. Brandon Deaderick, Alabama
Deaderick was overshadowed by Cody at Alabama, but he too was a key member of Tide’s defense. His production was nothing impressive, but his size and strength are intriguing. He’s a developmental prospect who could be a late-round pick.
8. Travis Ivey, Maryland
Ivey battled injuries throughout his career and wasn’t a full-time starter until his senior year. His tape isn’t impressive but there’s only so many guys out there who are 6’4″, 341 pounds. He’ll draw interest in the late rounds or as a free agent.