The Combine Chronicles: Defensive Tackles

This is the seventh in a series of articles about the NFL Combine. Defensive tackles and nose tackles are
lumped together for purposes of this article.

All information in this article is based on the 1999-2012 Combines. The DRAFTMETRICS analysis includes the results of the following drills:

Combine Events

This article reviews the Combine results from three perspectives:
• Provide a context for Combine results by reporting historical performance
• Consider whether results of any Combine drills are meaningful predictors of future success
• Consider whether results of any Combine drills portend a low probability of success

DRAFTMETRICS summarized its information by four overlapping groups of players. Any individual player can be included in only one group or a many as all four. The groups are:
• All Combine participants from 1999 through 2012
• Combine participants who were drafted from 1999 through 2012
• Combine participants who started at least one season (starters start at least 8 games in a season)
• Combine participants who started at least three seasons

The following table displays the number of participants and average for each of the player groups and is a good starting point in evaluating 2013 Combine results. Although flying 20 split and 40 yard-dash results are included in the table, DRAFTMETRICS believes they are of very limited usefulness in assessing the skill set of defensive tackles.

The next table shows the range of results for all players who started for at least one season.

DRAFTMETRICS offers several observations based on its review of Defensive Tackles and their Combine results:
• Overall, the general data pattern for defensive tackles is similar to that of large defensive ends
-There were not large differences between starters and all Combine participants
• The 10-yard split had the largest differences but even those were not significant
-70% of 1-year starters and 82% of 3-year starters ran the 10-yard split in 1.75 seconds or faster versus 58% of all Combine participants
• The vertical jump and 20-yard shuttle drill results were somewhat significant for 3-year starters
-64% of 3-years starters jumped at least 29.5 inches versus 52% of all Combine participants and 57% of 1-year starters
-83% of 3-year starters ran the 20-yard shuttle in 4.73 seconds or less compared to 72% of all Combine participants and 77% of 1-year starters
• The rest of the drill results generally showed marginally better results for starters
• A few “red flags” were noted
-None of the 23 Combine participants who ran the 40-yard dash in 5.31 seconds or slower became 3-year starters
-None of the 24 Combine participants who had less than 21 bench press reps became 3-year starters.


Tony is the founder of DRAFTMETRICS.COM can be e-mailed at and followed on Twitter @draftmetrics

Upcoming Games

Jan 30th, 3:00 PM

Cincinnati +7 -110

Kansas City -7 -110


Jan 30th, 6:30 PM

San Francisco +3.5 +100

LA Rams -3.5 +100