Gil Brandt's Analysis By Position: Defensive Linemen

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How important are defensive linemen? Over the past 10 years (1996-2005), we have had 19 selected in the top 10 picks of the draft. In comparison, over this same time period, 13 offensive linemen, 12 quarterbacks and 10 running backs have been selected in the top 10 picks. Since 1967 (39 drafts), 11 defensive linemen have been selected first overall; only the quarterback position with 15 has had more No. 1 overall picks.

In the 2003 NFL Draft, 11 defensive linemen were selected in the first round -- the most ever. In the 2005 NFL Draft, 20 defensive linemen were taken in the first three rounds; that compares to 19 offensive linemen that were picked in Rounds 1-3.

The four teams that have played in the last two Super Bowls have had very good defensive lines with lots of sacks (Seattle 50, Philadelphia 47, Pittsburgh 47 and New England 45). To win games, teams must be able to stop the run and pressure the passer, which helps defensive backs play well. Defensive ends who can apply pressure from the quarterback's blind side are a real asset.

More and more, NFL teams are looking for linemen who can thrive in a 3-4 defense. In 2001, only one team played a 3-4. In 2005, eight teams used it. The past three Super Bowl champions employed the 3-4.

Size & Speed

The average of the 54 defensive linemen who worked out at the Combine or their Pro Days:

Height: 6-3 1/8

Weight: 283

Lifts: 29

Vertical jump: 32

Short shuttle: 4.43

Three-cone drill: 7.45

40 speed: 4.93

Bests:

Mathias Kiwanuka, B.C.: 6-5 3/4

Haloti Ngata, Oregon: 338

Mike Kudla, Ohio State: 45

Mark Anderson, Alabama: 42

Chris Gocong, Cal Poly: 4.08

Manny Lawson, N.C. State: 6.90

Manny Lawson, N.C. State: 4.43

DEFENSIVE ENDS

1. Mario Williams, N.C. State (6-7, 295, 4.70)

Williams had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran his two 40s in 4.66 and 4.72. He also recorded a 401/2-inch vertical jump, a 10-foot long jump, a 4.36 short shuttle, a 7.19 three-cone drill and 35 bench presses. He played running back and defensive end in high school. He averaged 10 yards per carry as a running back, notched 13 sacks and blocked five kicks. He graduated high school in three-and-a-half years and entered N.C. State in December 2002. He started 13 games in 2003, 11 in 2004 and 12 in 2005. He had 251/2 career sacks. A player much like the Panthers' Julius Peppers, Williams has great upside and is an outstanding athlete. He's very strong (35 lifts), and can be a player like the Patriots' Richard Seymour and play both end and tackle at a high level. Because of his size, things come very easy for him and he sometimes takes a play or two off. He needs to play with more urgency every play. He should be an All-Pro, Pro Bowl-type player.

2. Manny Lawson, N.C. State (6-5 3/8, 241, 4.45)

Lawson had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran his two 40s in 4.43 and 4.46 and recorded a 391/2-inch vertical jump, a 10-foot-4 long jump, a 4.18 short shuttle, a 6.90 three-cone drill and 23 bench presses. He played defensive end and running back in high school, and qualified for the State track meet in four different events. He played as a true freshman in 2002 and led the nation with three blocked punts. He also competed on the track team in the spring. He started three games in 2003 and won the ACC long jump in track competition with a 24-foot-31/2 jump. Last season, he started 11 games at defensive end and had 101/2 sacks. Lawson has great athletic ability with above-average toughness. He has very good pass-rush ability and very good quickness. He lacks bulk, but he should be able to put some on. He will be 22 years old in July. I think his best position is defensive end, but he most likely can play outside linebacker and can also be a very good special teams player.

3. Kamerion Wimbley, Florida State (6-3 7/8, 248, 4.63)

He had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran his two 40s in 4.61 and 4.65 seconds. He also recorded a 381/2-inch vertical jump, a 10-foot-9 long jump, a 4.48 short shuttle, a 6.97 three-cone drill and 24 bench presses. Wimbley played defensive end, linebacker, quarterback and wide receiver in high school and was also his team's punter. He finished school in three-and-a-half years and enrolled early at Florida State. He played as a true freshman in 2002. He played and didn't start in 2003, started two games in 2004 and started 13 games in 2005. In 2004, he had 71/2 sacks and four batted balls, and he played the last four games with an injury. He weighed 210 pounds when he first came to Florida State. He's an outstanding athlete, much like DeMarcus Ware was last year (drafted with the 11th overall choice by Dallas). This player can play defensive end or linebacker in a 3-4 defense. He has the frame to weigh 270. He has great character, great work habits and the burst to get to the quarterback. He is a Pro Bowl-type player.

4. Tamba Hali, Penn State (6-3, 275, 4.88)

Hali did not work out at the Combine, but did do everything at Penn State's Pro Day March 16. His Pro Day weight was 263, down 12 pounds from the Combine. He ran his 40s in 4.86 and 4.88 and recorded a 291/2-inch vertical jump, an 8-foot-10 long jump, a 4.31 short shuttle, a 7.28 three-cone drill and 18 bench presses. He played as a true freshman in 2002, playing 156 snaps. He started 11 games at defensive tackle in 2003, and started 23 games at defensive end in 2004 and 2005. He notched 11 sacks in 2005. He's a good, not great, athlete who plays hard on every down. He has long arms (33 5/8) and good quickness. He plays faster than his timed speed. He had just three sacks going into the 2005 season, and he has had a hard time going against big tackles. He needs to get stronger, and I see him being a good, rather than a great, player.

5. Chris Gocong, Cal Poly (6-2 1/8, 263, 4.74)

He had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran two 40s in 4.70 and 4.77 and recorded a 381/2-inch vertical jump, a 10-foot-3 long jump, a 4.08 short shuttle, a 7.05 three-cone drill and 28 bench presses. Gocong played quarterback and linebacker in high school and also set a school record in the discus. He played as a true freshman in 2001 and redshirted in 2002. He started 11 games as a nose tackle in 2003 and had one sack. Over the next two years, he started 23 games and had 41 sacks. I don't think any player has ever had 41 sacks over two years. I think he'll be a very good pass rusher and an outstanding worker. He plays with good leverage and also plays with power. You wish he was a little faster; how will he play when he faces top competition?

6. Mathias Kiwanuka, Boston College (6-53/4, 266, 4.75)

Kiwanuka had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran two 40s in 4.79 and 4.70 and recorded a 32-inch vertical jump, a 10-foot long jump, a 4.13 short shuttle, a 7.27 three-cone drill and 17 bench presses. He played defensive end and tight end in high school. He was also an outstanding basketball player. He redshirted in 2001 and then started two games in 2002. After that, he had 31 consecutive starts before missing a game in 2005 due to injury. He has the ability to play as a 4-3 end or a 3-4 linebacker. The Big East Player of the Year in 2004, Kiwanuka is a great character person. He needs to get stronger and play with better leverage. He didn't play as well in 2005 as he did in 2004, and he had a hard time in Senior Bowl practices against Virginia's D'Brickashaw Ferguson. He suffered a high ankle sprain in the opening game of the fall. There is risk involved in drafting him, with a larger reward.

7. Darryl Tapp, Virginia Tech (6-1 5/8, 252, 4.84)

He had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran two 40s in 4.83 and 4.85 and recorded a 33-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-1 long jump, a 4.48 short shuttle, a 7.31 three-cone drill and 27 bench presses. Tapp played defensive line in high school. He played three years of basketball and also lettered in track (weights). He played in 14 games as a true freshman. He started four games in 2003 and all 13 games in 2004, and then all 13 again in 2005. He had 211/2 sacks at Tech in four years. He plays hard on every play, is a great competitor, and is a very hard worker who never gives up. He did a good job in pass-rush drills at the Senior Bowl. He has 33-inch arms, and a funny-shaped body. He'll get by on hustle and hard play. He will be a good, not great, player.

8. Victor Adeyanju, Indiana (6-41/4, 274, 4.88)

He had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran his two 40s in 4.86 and 4.90 seconds. He also recorded a 32-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-4 long jump, a 4.41 short shuttle, a 7.37 three-cone drill and 22 bench presses. Adeyanju played on the defensive line (10 sacks in five games as a senior) in high school, and also played basketball. He redshirted in 2001, and then started 41 games over the next four years. He had 131/2 sacks over the four-year period. He ran a 4.68 and 4.69 at 267 pounds on March 7. He has very good athletic ability; he can drop into coverage. He's a very hard worker, plays hard every down and does not let up. He's improved every year and seems to be just learning the game. People at the school love this player. He should be a solid player for the team that drafts him.

9. Mark Anderson, Alabama (6-41/4, 254, 4.66)

He had a complete workout at the Combine. Anderson ran two 40s in 4.63 and 4.70. He also recorded a 42-inch vertical jump, a 10-foot-7 long jump, a 4.22 short shuttle, a 6.95 three-cone drill and 20 bench presses. He played defensive end and wide receiver in high school. In one game, he blocked two punts, notched three sacks and recorded 20 tackles. He also played basketball. Anderson was redshirted in 2001 and played but did not start in 2002. He started six games in 2003 and 24 over the next two seasons, with 131/2 sacks over his career. He's a player that has improved a lot over the past season. He's a very good competitor with good quickness, and he has pass-rush ability. He needs more upper-body strength; he looks like he could weigh 270 pounds without any trouble. He needs to do a better job of getting off blocks. He had a very good workout at the Combine.

10. Parys Haralson, Tennessee (6-11/4, 253, 4.84)

He had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran his two 40s in 4.80 and 4.87 seconds. He also recorded a 32-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-7 long jump, a 4.28 short shuttle, a 7.37 three-cone drill and 24 bench presses. Haralson played on the defensive line in high school. He played but did not start as a freshman in 2002, and then he started 33 games over the next three years. He finished his career with 21 sacks in four years. He was one of only three players in Tennessee history to be a two-time captain in the football program. His best position may be outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense. He plays hard on every down and is very tough. He has a good burst to the passer and plays faster than his timed speed. He lacks the height you would like to have in a defensive end. He's a Pittsburgh-type player.

11. Julian Jenkins, Stanford (6-3 5/8, 277, 5.08)

Jenkins had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran his two 40s in 5.03 and 5.12 seconds. He also recorded a 341/2-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-2 long jump, a 4.23 short shuttle, a 7.11 three-cone drill and 25 bench presses. He played defensive line in high school. He also played basketball and was in the school's track program. He's one of only two freshmen to earn a letter. He started one game, playing defensive end in 2003. He then started 22 games in 2004 and 2005 at defensive tackle. He had 17 sacks in four years. He ran a 4.94 and a 4.96 at Stanford's Pro Day. He can add weight to his frame and play at 300 pounds if needed. He works and competes hard; he does not take plays off. He has very good character and is the type of player you want on your team. I'm not sure he can't play tackle and be a steady player.

12. Frostee Rucker, Southern Cal (6-31/4, 267, 4.95)

Rucker worked out at the Combine. He ran his 40s in 4.97 and 4.93 and recorded a 291/2-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-2 long jump, a 4.29 short shuttle, a 7.23 three-cone drill and 19 bench presses. He ran better on April 2 at the USC Pro Day (4.77 and 4.81). He started school at Colorado State and was redshirted, with the plan for him to play outside linebacker. He transferred to USC and did not play in 2002. He started five games in 2003. He then started 25 games in 2004 and 2005. He has some pass-rush ability; he has a quick burst. He has good, not great, athletic ability. He had 14 sacks the past two years, but he needs to get stronger. He has started at a top program for two years.

13. Ray Edwards, Purdue (6-43/4, 273, 4.82)

He had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran two 40s in 4.81 and 4.83 seconds. He also recorded a 39-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-6 long jump, a 4.52 short shuttle, a 7.71 three-cone drill and 30 bench presses. Edwards played linebacker and tight end in high school. He was a four-year starter. He played as a true freshman in 2003 and started 12 games in 2004. He started the first six games in 2005. He's been a hard player to grade; he played well in 2004 and wasn't very good in 2005, though the entire team did not play well in '05. He may be better at tackle than end. He had trouble with the coaching staff. He has good quickness and athletic ability, but he's said not to be a good worker. He left school after three years. His arms are long at 34 inches. He has ability, but will he compete every play? That is the question.

WILD CARD

Brent Hawkins, Illinois State (6-2 1/8, 240, 4.55)

Hawkins wasn't invited to the Combine, but worked out March 16 on campus. He ran his 40s indoors in ideal conditions, and posted a 4.51 and a 4.58. He also recorded a 381/2-inch vertical jump, a 10-foot-8 long jump, a 4.29 short shuttle, a 7.32 three-cone drill and 23 bench presses. He played linebacker in high school, and also played quarterback, wide receiver and defensive end. He made first-team all-state in Illinois. Hawkins played as a freshman at Purdue, playing three games before suffering a stress fracture in his right tibia. He played in 10 games in 2002 and then left Purdue. He entered Lewis & Clark Community College in 2003 and played on the basketball team, but never saw action in a game. He entered Illinois State in 2004 and started five games at defensive end. He started 11 games in 2005 and had 17 sacks, seven forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He has some pass-rush ability and has a good burst with very good quickness. He lacks height and weight. He's a lot like Robert Mathis of the Colts (21 sacks the past two years).

The following players are listed in alphabetical order. Every defensive end listed below has some ability to play in the NFL, and most likely will be picked in the later rounds.

Elvis Dumervil, Louisville (5-11 3/8, 257, 4.78)

Dumervil worked out at the Combine. He ran his two 40s in 4.75 and 4.81 and had no jumps or shuttles, but he did notch 30 lifts. He had 30 sacks the past two years. He has to play defensive end. His size will hurt him.

Jason Hatcher, Grambling (6-5 7/8, 284, 4.88)

Hatcher had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran his two 40s in 4.83 and 4.92 and recorded a 351/2-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-5 long jump, a 4.49 short shuttle, a 7.67 three-cone drill and 25 bench presses. He played tight end before switching to defensive end. He's just learning to play the position. He notched 101/2 sacks in 2005.

Eric Henderson, Georgia Tech (6-1 7/8, 270)

Henderson was injured and did not work out at the Combine or Georgia Tech's Pro Day. He had 28 bench presses but did nothing else. He has pass-rush ability; he had 25 sacks in four years at Georgia Tech.

Ryan LaCasse, Syracuse (6-2 3/8, 257, 4.61)

LaCasse had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran his two 40s in 4.54 and 4.67. He also recorded a 34-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-5 long jump, a 4.30 short shuttle, a 7.25 three-cone drill and 34 bench presses. He only started one year full time. He was a high school running back. He's a pass rusher.

Stanley McClover, Auburn (6-2 3/8, 282, 4.74)

McClover had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran his 40s in 4.71 and 4.76 and recorded a 39-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-8 long jump, a 4.50 short shuttle, a 7.57 three-cone drill and 19 bench presses. He has only played two years at Auburn. He had 151/2 sacks in those two years. He has some upside.

Jeremy Mincey, Florida (6-31/2, 259, 4.78)

Mincey had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran his two 40s in 4.75 and 4.81 seconds. He also recorded a 331/2-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-8 long jump, a 4.25 short shuttle, a 6.99 three-cone drill and 27 bench presses. He's a junior college player who spent two years at Florida. He shows very good effort and can rush the passer. He started 24 games over the past two years.

Rob Ninkovich, Purdue (6-3 1/8, 260, 4.92)

Ninkovich had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran his two 40s in 4.91 and 4.93 seconds. He also recorded a 341/2-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-5 long jump, a 4.18 short shuttle, a 6.96 three-cone drill and 23 bench presses. He ran a little better at the Purdue Pro Day. He's a junior college transfer who had 16 sacks in 2003 at Joliet Junior College and another 16 over two seasons at Purdue. He's tough and a hard worker. His size is a question. He will be a very good special teams player.

James Wyche, Syracuse (6-5 3/8, 262, 4.68)

Wyche had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran his 40s in 4.65 and 4.71 and recorded a 33-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-7 long jump, a 4.51 short shuttle, a 7.75 three-cone drill and 27 bench presses. He needs to be more consistent, but he does show flashes. He's a project with speed.

DEFENSIVE TACKLES

1. Brodrick Bunkley, Florida State (6-23/4, 306, 4.95)

He had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran his two 40s in 4.91 and 4.98 and recorded a 321/2-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-5 long jump, a 4.16 short shuttle, a 7.33 three-cone drill and 44 bench presses. His arms measured 33 3/8 inches. Bunkley played defensive line in high school and had 181/2 sacks as a senior. He played but did not start in 2002 at Florida State. He started two games in 2003, seven in 2004 and 13 in 2005. He's built like a defensive tackle should be. He's very strong in the upper body and can push the pocket. He's a hard worker both on and off the field; he plays hard all the time. He's very disruptive on the field, plays with a passion, and is very coachable. He did not play all that well at the Senior Bowl. He's not overly mature. His best position is nose tackle. Florida State defensive linemen have not done that well in the NFL in the past, but I think Bunkley will do well.

2. Haloti Ngata, Oregon (6-4 1/8, 338, 5.18)

He had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran his two 40s in 5.13 and 5.25 seconds. He also recorded a 311/2-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-2 long jump, a 4.73 short shuttle, a 7.95 three-cone drill and 37 bench presses. He played both defensive line and offensive guard in high school. He was a USA Today All-American. Ngata played as a true freshman in 2002, starting six games at the end of the season. He was injured (knee) in the first game of the 2003 season and missed the entire year. He came back to start nine games in 2004, but he played at less than full strength. He started all 12 games in 2005. He's very strong; he will push the pocket back. He can play defensive tackle or nose tackle in the NFL. He has blocked six kicks in his three years at Oregon. He has good short-area quickness. He plays too high and sometimes plays with inconsistent effort; he needs to be pushed at the next level.

3. John McCargo, N.C. State (6-11/2, 302, 5.19)

McCargo had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran his two 40s in 5.16 and 5.22 seconds. He also recorded a 301/2-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-2 long jump, a 4.48 short shuttle, a 7.79 three-cone drill and 25 bench presses. He played defensive line and fullback in high school, recording 98 carries for 648 yards as a senior. He also played baseball, basketball, and threw the shot-put and discus. He redshirted in 2002. He started 13 games in 2003 and 16 over the next two years, missing the final five games of the 2005 regular season with injury. He has very good athletic ability; he will get a good push rushing the passer. He has quickness and explosion in addition to good pass-rush moves -- he's not just a bull rusher. He is inconsistent at times, but he has a chance to be a Pro Bowl player. McCargo has met with eight different teams, including Kansas City on April 19.

4. Gabe Watson, Michigan (6-31/2, 338, 5.29)

Watson had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran his two 40s in 5.29 and recorded a 25-inch vertical jump, an 8-foot long jump, a 4.80 short shuttle, an 8.25 three-cone drill and 35 bench presses. He was a four-year starter at both offensive and defensive tackle in high school. He also participated in track and wrestling. He played but did not start as a freshman at Michigan. He played in 13 games in 2003, with no starts, before starting 20 games in 2004 and 2005 (though he was benched early in the year for not playing hard). He worked hard at the Senior Bowl. He can move the pocket, but he slows down as the game goes on -- he might not be in top shape. He is strong, with a massive body. He has very good quickness and agility for someone his size. He takes plays off and doesn't always work hard. He could be a Pro Bowl-type player if he controls his weight and works on every play.

5. Kyle Williams, LSU (6-11/4, 299, 5.13)

He had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran his two 40s in 5.12 and 5.14 and recorded a 271/2-inch vertical jump, an 8-foot-3 long jump, a 4.50 short shuttle, a 7.50 three-cone drill and 32 bench presses. Williams played on the defensive line in high school. He also played baseball and threw the shot-put and discus in track and field. He played as a true freshman at LSU but did not start. He started eight games in 2003 and 25 over the next two years. He finished with 161/2 career sacks. He's an outstanding competitor, he's very tough, and he's explosive. He has great work habits and a strong upper and lower body. His arms aren't very long at 31 inches. He ran better at the LSU Pro Day (4.99, 5.00). He's the type of player you want on your team. The question with him is how will he play against bigger and stronger players? He looks like a Chris Hovan-type player.

6. Claude Wroten, LSU (6-2, 302)

He did not work out at the Combine and gave no reason, but he did say he would work out at the LSU Pro Day on March 16. He didn't end up working out there either due to a lingering left hamstring strain. He did 26 bench presses and nothing else. As of March 31, he still had no 40 time, but he had recorded a 1.81 10-yard dash, a 291/2-inch vertical jump, an 8-foot-6 long jump, a 4.83 short shuttle and a 7.70 three-cone drill. He signed out of high school with NW Louisiana, but he ended up at Mississippi Delta Community College. He played at LSU in 2004, starting nine games, and then started 12 games in 2005. He was asked to leave the Senior Bowl because of legal reasons. He's strong and athletic, and has lots of natural ability. He's not easily blocked, but he has trouble vs. the double team. His off-field problems will hurt his draft status.

7. Rodrique Wright, Texas (6-5 1/8, 300, 5.11)

He had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran two 40s in 5.08 and 5.14 and also recorded a 32-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-2 long jump, a 4.51 short shuttle, a 7.84 three-cone drill and 31 bench presses. He played defensive line in high school and threw the shot-put. Wright played as a true freshman in 2002, starting nine games with 41/2 sacks. He started 36 games over the next three years with 13 more sacks. He has the ability to be a top player; he just needs to turn it loose on every play. His effort is inconsistent and he seems to lack confidence. He has the big hands and long arms that you want for the position. It's hard to figure Wright out -- you don't start nine games at Texas as a true freshman if you don't have some talent. He needs to play lower.

8. Babatunde Oshinowo, Stanford (6-1 5/8, 304, 5.31)

Oshinowo had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran his two 40s in 5.27 and 5.34 seconds and recorded a 32-inch vertical jump, an 8-foot-9 long jump, a 4.54 short shuttle, a 7.87 three-cone drill and 33 bench presses. He played defensive line in high school. He threw the shot-put and the discus in the state meet. He redshirted in 2001 at Stanford. He played and started one game in 2002. He started 33 games the past three years. He has good athletic ability for his size. He has the strength to overpower blockers. He plays too high at times and wears down late in games. He had 12 sacks in three years. He's good for a tackle position, but his best position is nose tackle. The big question is whether he wants a long career in the NFL or just wants to play a couple of years.

9. Dusty Dvoracek, Oklahoma (6-23/4, 306, 5.04)

He had a complete workout at the Combine, running his two 40s in 5.01 and 5.07 seconds, though he ran a little faster at the Oklahoma Pro Day. He also recorded a 34-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-2 long jump, a 4.35 short shuttle, a 7.82 three-cone drill and 31 bench presses. He played on the defensive and offensive lines in high school. He was also a shot-putter (56-foot-9) in track and was a power lifter (1,555 pounds). Dvoracek played as a true freshman in a very good program, starting one game in 2001. He started 32 games over his next three seasons. He's a very aggressive player. He plays hurt; he tore his left bicep in the 2005 spring games and came back to start nine games that season. He's a very instinctive player who is physical. He has had off-field problems, but I feel he is a good person who's very bright. He was kicked off the team in 2004, but he did everything it took to get back on the team. He could have gone to the NFL at the time had he stayed in school.

10. Jonathan Lewis, Virginia Tech (6-1 1/8, 309, 5.0)

Lewis had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran a 4.97 and a 5.02 in the 40. He also recorded a 331/2-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-3 long jump, a 4.40 short shuttle, a 7.40 three-cone drill and 24 bench presses. He played defensive line and won all-state honors three years in a row. He had 46 sacks in three years and also played as the center of his basketball team. He started two games as a true freshman in 2002. He started 39 straight games the past three years. He also had 15 sacks. He has very good athletic ability for the position. He stays on his feet, is hard to block and runs to the ball. He needs to get stronger and play more physically. His best position is tackle in a 4-3 defense.

11. Barry Cofield, Northwestern (6-4, 304, 4.98)

Cofield had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran his two 40s in 4.95 and 5.01 seconds. He also recorded a 34-inch vertical jump, an 8-foot-8 long jump, a 4.35 short shuttle, a 7.43 three-cone drill and 36 bench presses. He played as a true freshman in 2002. He started 12 games in 2003 as a defensive end, 11 games as an end in 2004 and 12 games at defensive tackle in 2005. He played defensive end in high school and also played basketball, baseball and track. He can play both end and tackle, though I think tackle is his best NFL position. He's a strong and powerful player. He doesn't have many pass-rush moves. He seems to have a problem with stamina and tires in the fourth quarter. He's a smart player, though he needs to play lower.

12. Orien Harris, Miami (Fla.) (6-31/4, 301, 5.24)

He only lifted at the Combine, doing everything else at Miami's Pro Day on March 4. He ran his two 40s on grass in 5.27 and 5.21 seconds. He also recorded a 291/2-inch vertical jump, an 8-foot-6 long jump, a 4.68 short shuttle, a 7.45 three-cone drill and 25 bench presses. He played defensive line in high school and was rated one of the top high school players in the country. He redshirted in 2001 and played but did not start in 2002. He then started 34 games over the next three years. He can play tackle in a 4-3 or 3-4 defense. He has some ability and good upper-body strength. He's much like his brother who plays for the 49ers. He has ability but lacks the motor to be very good. He gets by on good ability, and he really needs to play hard on every play.

The following players are listed in alphabetical order. Every defensive tackle listed below has some ability to play in the NFL, and most likely will be picked in the later rounds.

Johnny Jolly, Texas A&M (6-31/4, 317, 5.42)

Jolly did not have a complete workout at the Combine. He recorded no lifts or shuttles. He ran his two 40s in 5.41 and 5.43 and notched an 8-foot-7 long jump. He did not work out at the Texas A&M Pro Day because of a bad ankle. He was a three-year starter at A&M. He looks strong and has toughness.

Jesse Mahelona, Tennessee (6-01/2, 311, 5.37)

Mahelona did not work out at the Combine, due to his left ankle and MCL. He worked out March 15 at Tennessee's Pro Day. He ran his 40s in 5.34 and 5.39 seconds. He also recorded a 27-inch vertical jump, a 7-foot-6 long jump, a 4.84 short shuttle, a 7.63 three-cone drill and 27 bench presses. His arms measured 31 3/8 inches. He's a short-area athlete that has quickness. He will have a hard time against big people with long arms.

Montavious Stanley, Louisville (6-2 1/8, 313, 5.17)

Stanley worked out at the Combine but did not lift. He ran two 40s in 5.12 and 5.21 and recorded a 29-inch vertical jump, an 8-foot-10 long jump, a 4.60 short shuttle and an 8.06 three-cone drill. He never did lift. He started 36 games in three seasons, and he does look strong on tape. He tore his left pectoral late in 2005.

Inside The Scouts

What scouts look for when grading defensive linemen:

Critical factors

  1. Character
  1. Ability to learn football
  1. Competitiveness and toughness
  1. Work habits
  1. Athletic ability

Position specifics

  1. Lateral quickness
  1. Reactions
  1. Strength at point
  1. Explosion
  1. Use of hands
  1. Stays on feet
  1. Pass rush
  1. Tackling ability
  1. Closing speed

Did You Know?

Mathias Kiwanuka's grandfather, Benedicto Kiwanuka, was elected Uganda's first prime minister in 1961 (He was assassinated in 1972).

Chris Gocong, who won the Buck Buchanan Award in 2006, had 41 sacks in the past two years (2004-05).

Tamba Hali was born in Liberia (his mother still lives there), and he came to the U.S. at age 10 to live with his father, a chemistry and physics teacher in New Jersey.

Victor Adeyanju spent much of his childhood living in Nigeria before moving to Chicago.

Rod Wright's uncle, Elmo, was a first-round pick by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1971 (16th overall).

Julian Jenkins' father, Ed, was drafted by Miami in 1972 in the 11th round and played two years with several NFL teams.

Jesse Mahelona won letters in four sports in high school: football, basketball, soccer and paddling (outrigger canoe).

When the Miami Dolphins drafted Jason Taylor out of Akron in Round 3 in 1997, he was 6-6 and 240 pounds. He has been to four Pro Bowls. Manny Lawson from N.C. State (6-5 3/8, 241) has a similar build.

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