NFL draft analysis: Defensive tackles
Miami Dolphins beat writer Omar Kelly breaks down the 2017 NFL draft one position at a time in a 10-part series.
1. Alabama’s Jonathan
Allen: Allen, whose28 sacks ranks him second in Alabama history behind Derrick Thomas, took home just about every defensive honor possible because of his dominant season. But character concerns, and his medical history (shoulder issues) could cause him to slide into the teens of the first round.
2. Michigan State’s Malik
McDowell: McDowell, who occasionally displays a mix of power and quickness, plays with good pad level and has outstanding range, which means he can play as a 3-4 defensive end in the NFL. There are some concerns about his motor and attitude, which could drop him out of the first round.
3. Florida’ Caleb Brantley:
Brantley isn’t the most impressive looking athlete, but his motor indicates that he could develop into a quality starter in a year or two. Despite his limited sack production (5.5 sacks in three seasons), hehas quick hands and a closing burst that helps him pressure quarterbacks.
4. Alabama’s Dalvin Tomlinson: Tomlinson possesses outstanding strength at the point of attack, and exhibits the football intelligence needed to diagnose plays before they happen. He’d be a perfect fit in a defensive scheme that asks its tackles to stack and shed.
5. Michigan’s Chris Wormley: Wormley, who has exceptional size (6-5, 298 pounds) and a high motor, possesses good technique and plays with leverage. He’s not explosive off the ball, which indicates that he might be best used as a defensive tackle instead of serving as a 3-4 end.
BEST OF THE REST
Clemson’s Carlos Watkins, Iowa’s Jaleel Johnson, Auburn’s Montravius Adams, UNC Charlotte’s Larry Ogunjobi, LSU’s Davon Godchaux, Mississippi’s D.J. Jones, Oklahoma’s Charles Walker all have blemishes, but they could potentially become NFL starters in time. Washington’s Elijah Qualls, Michigan’s Ryan Glasgow, Notre Dame’s Jarron Jones, USC’s Stevie Tu’lkolovatu, Oklahoma’s Charles Walker and Arkansas’ Jeremiah Ledbetter all have the talent to make an NFL roster.
There are ahandful of decent defensive tackles in this class, but nobody a team can or should build their franchise around. If it wasn’t for Jonathan Allen, who would be a perfect fit as a threetechnique end in a 3-4 scheme, this class might not have a first-round talent in it because of character, work ethic, or medical concerns.
TEAMS IN NEED
Chiefs, Broncos, Chargers, Eagles, Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Vikings, Dolphins, Patriots, Jaguars, Ravens, Bengals, Raiders, Seahawks and 49ers
The Dolphins have one proven standout in Ndamukong Suh, a fivetime Pro Bowl selection, and one inconsistent starter in Jordan Phillips, who had 23 tackles, half a sack and one interception last season. There is very little from a depth standpoint behind those two, which means the Dolphins need to add two defensive tackles to create a four-man rotation before the regular season arrives.