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NFL Draft: nose tackle breakdown

Nine prospects to watch as April approaches. National Football Post

Print This March 17, 2010, 04:00 PM EST

Best of the bunch

Dan Williams, Tennessee (6-2, 327)

Williams not only has the ability to anchor vs. the inside run game, he’s also athletic enough to push the pocket on third down and showcases impressive range for the position sideline to sideline. I don’t think he’s the type of dominant run defender he’s being made out to be, but he’s still one of the prized nose tackles in this year’s class.

Terrence Cody, Alabama (6-4, 349)

Cody isn’t the same caliber athlete as Williams inside, and he isn’t going to make many plays away from his frame. But I think he has the ability to be a downright immovable space-eater on first and second down, and if I need a guy to anchor my 3-4 front, Cody is the man I go with.

Just a notch below

Cam Thomas, North Carolina (6-4, 330)

If there’s one prospect who could end up challenging the top of the 3-4-nose tackle class, it’s North Carolina’s Cam Thomas, who carries his weight very well and is a much better athlete than given credit for. He possesses good a first step and has the power to anchor and eat up blocks inside. However, he needs to continue working to keep his pad level down more consistently to take his game to the next level.

Al Woods, LSU (6-4, 309)

If there’s one thing Woods can do for an NFL team, it’s anchor vs. the run game and hold the point of attack inside. He isn’t ever going to make many plays on the football, but he’s versatile enough to play in any front and ranks as one of the draft’s top potential nose tackles.

Torrell Troup, Central Florida (6-3, 314)

A linear athlete who has the ability to fight his way up the field inside and push the pocket. However, when Troup is asked to change directions in any way, he usually ends up on the ground. Still, he’s a powerful run defender who can take on the double-team with some success and looks like a solid mid-round pick.

Size helps

Travis Ivey, Maryland (6-4, 341)

He’s still raw, isn’t a real natural bender and struggles to play with leverage, but Ivey’s elite size is tough to ignore.

Kade Weston, Georgia (6-5, 325)

Weston is another impressively sized prospect who has the girth to eat up run lanes inside. However, like Ivey, he struggles to keep his pad level down as he tires and has a tendency to take himself out of too many plays.

Martin Tevaseu, UNLV (6-1, 329)

Tevaseu is a quintessential plugger who can sit into his stance, play with natural leverage and overwhelm opposing linemen on his bull-rush. He has an ideal build for the position and showed enough at this year’s East-West Shrine Game to at least warrant late-round consideration.

The Forgotten

DeMarcus Granger, Oklahoma (6-1, 320)

He’s got character issues and injury concerns, but there is no denying Granger’s ability to play the run when he’s healthy. He pumped out 32 reps on the bench at the Oklahoma pro day in front of 31 teams, and if he’s ever able to put it all together – something he was never able to do with the Sooners – he has the ability to be a player at the next level.

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