20 June 2009
Strengths of the 2010 NFL Draft
Every year about this time I try to pick a position that I think will be very strong for the NFL Draft. Not knowing which juniors will declare makes it a very difficult task, but I will throw in a few of the top juniors anyway.
The strength of the 2010 NFL Draft will be…drum roll please… Defensive Tackles.
Heading up the class is massive Alabama’s senior nose tackle Terrance Cody. The 6’ 5” Cody weighed approximately 365 pounds last season, but has trimmed down to a svelte 354 pounds this season (2009). Cody reportedly weighed over 400 pounds when he initially arrived on campus as a freshman. He has responded well to Coach Nick Sabans' tough coaching. Last season (2008) he dominated games and helped the Crimson Tide finish second best against the run. They only gave up 74.1 (average) yards against the run. Cody won’t ever lead the team in tackles or sacks, but he clogs the middle of the field, draws a double team and allows the linebackers to flow to the ball. He finished 2008 with 24 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss (TFL). If Cody has another excellent season in 2009 and continues to lose weight and improve his stamina, he could end up as a top ten pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. Cody was selected as a Pre-Season first Team All American by NFL Draft Dog, Athlon Sports and Lindy’s .
SR Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh (6’ 4” 300 lbs) is more of a pure defensive tackle as opposed to a nose tackle. Suh kind of came out of nowhere last year and by the end of the season emerged as one of the top defensive players in the nation. Suh is very strong and quick and causes havoc in the backfield for opposing offenses. Last year Suh was an All Big 12 selection and finished as his teams' leader in tackles with 76 and an additional 19 TFLs, 7.5 sacks and 2 interceptions. 300-pound defensive tackles rarely lead their team in tackles, which is an indication of Suh’s power and ability. At this point Suh looks like a 1srt round draft pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. Suh was selected as a Pre-Season First Team All American by NFL Draft Dog, and a second teamer by Lindy’s and Athlon Sports.
JR Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma (6’ 4” 295 lbs.) is another potential first round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, if he comes out early. McCoy will team up with fellow junior Adrian Taylor (6’ 4” 296 lbs.) and senior DeMarcus Granger to give Oklahoma the best defensive tackle depth in the nation. McCoy was dominant at times last year. He (McCoy) finished last season (2008) with an impressive 6.5 sacks and 11 tackles for loss. McCoy was selected as a Pre-Season first Team All American by NFL Draft Dog, Athlon Sports and Lindy’s. McCoy is a high character guy, last year he was elected president of Oklahoma’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes Chapter. In 2007 he was selected as the Big 12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year, recording 19 tackles and 2 sacks.
SR Arthur Jones, Syracuse (6’ 5” 297 lbs.) Jones is a prospect that isn’t being talked about much right now, but after the Senior Bowl and Scouting Combine, he will likely emerge as a top defensive tackle prospect on most NFL Teams' Draft Boards. Entering the 2009 season, NFL Draft Dog and Lindy’s ranked him as the 4th best defensive tackle in the nation, Phil Steele ranked him 5th, and Mel Kiper ranked him as the 3rd best senior in the nation. Jones is a beast, last year he recorded 13 tackles for loss (TFLs) giving him 31.5 for his career.
JR Brian Price, UCLA (6’ 2” 296 lbs.) Price was a first team All PAC 10 selection in 2008 and he has been selected to Phil Steele’s 2009 Preseason 4th team All American team. Price is a very under rated NFL Draft Prospect. The PAC 10 and UCLA aren’t really known for defense, but this year UCLA has some excellent defensive prospects, Alterraun Verner (5’ 11” 185 lbs) is a top cornerback, and Reggie Carter (6’ 1” 240 lbs) and Korey Bosworth (6’ 1: 236 lbs) are top linebackers. Verner led the nation last season with 18 pass breakups. Bosworth led the team last year with 7.5 sacks and Carter led the team with 83 tackles. But back to Price, he is only a junior, so we might not see him until the 2011 NFL Draft, but he is a supreme talent and someone we can keep an eye on. He finished 2008 with 35 tackles, 4.5 sacks and 9.5 TFLs.
SR Jared Odrick, Penn State (6’ 5” 308 lbs.) I really liked him last year and actually thought he might enter the 2009 NFL Draft where he likely would have been a 3rd or 4th round selection. Odrick decided to return to Penn State for his senior season and is now going to have to compete with quite a few other talented defensive tackles. Don’t count Odrick out though; he is a big, strong, quick defensive lineman that with another year of development under legendary coach Joe Paterno might emerge as a very early NFL Draft selection. Last year he was a First Team All Big 10 selection finishing with 41 tackles and 9.5 TFLs.
JR Lawrence Marsh, Florida (6’ 4” 305 lbs.) Marsh will man the middle of the defensive line for the National Champion Gators once again this year. He (Marsh) is a big, talented tackle that can penetrate into the teeth of an offensive line and create chaos. He will demand constant double-teams this year. Last year Marsh started all 13 games and recorded 5.5 tackles for loss (TFLs).
JR Marvin Austin, North Carolina (6’ 3” 300 lbs.) Austin was a very highly regarded prospect coming out of high school. He was USA TODAY's Defensive Player of the Year from Ballou High and he also considered Florida State, Tennessee and Maryland before choosing North Carolina. Austin has all the physical talent in the world, but hasn’t really been dominate thus far. If he has a break out year in 2009, he could be one of the tackles that declare early for the 2010 NFL Draft. Austin finished 2008 with 38 tackles, 1.5 TFLs and 1 sack.
DeMarcus Granger, Oklahoma (6’ 2” 302 Lbs.) had trouble staying healthy last year and is fighting for starting spot with talented junior Adrian Taylor, but if Granger enters the 2009 season healthy and in shape there is every reason to believe he will emerge as an early round selection in the 2010 NFL Draft. Granger has immense physical talent, however he has been inconsistent thus far.
By Robert Bryant