In my last write-up I talked about the need for the Cowboys to look into going defense heavy, in particular at defensive tackle. I got together with Emory Hunt from FootballGameplan.com to bounce some questions off him. If you haven’t had the chance to check out his work, you need to head over to his site and check out his YouTube channel for the latest, he does a great job covering the game and prospects. So, let’s get into it:
With the major college all-star games in the bag I wanted to cover some defensive tackles that may have moved up the boards, and who we should be looking at heading towards the combine in 2 weeks. With Jason Hatcher looking to land a sizable contract in free agency, the Cowboys will enter the draft with a gaping hole up the middle. For the sake of hypotheticals, lets say Dallas uses their first rounder on a DT.
1) In your mind, who will be the first 6 defensive tackles taken off the board? Is this a deep defensive tackle draft in your opinion?
- Aaron Donald (Pitt), Timmy Jernigan (FSU), Will Sutton (ASU), Louis Nix (ND), Ra’shede Hageman (MINN), Anthony Johnson (LSU)
2) For the sake of hypotheticals, if Dallas is looking to fill the void left by Hatcher’s impending departure, who do you like with their first round pick, in terms of a defensive tackle?
- I think Aaron Donald or Timmy Jerningan because of their quickness off the ball would be an ideal fit!
3) I’m a big Notre Dame fan, and having seen the work Louis Nix and Stephon Tuitt have put in, they look poised to bolster someone’s defensive line. I’ve seen Nix mocked from the 12th pick to the 2nd round. Why such disparity? Of the two, Tuitt would seem to be the better fit for Dallas’ 4-3. Both have been very disruptive, what’s your thoughts on the two?
- Nix is coming off an injury…super talented guy and I think he’d be an ideal NT in a 3-4 front. Tuitt would also be an ideal 5T in a 3-4. I don’t think they’d be as effective in a 4-3
4) Ra’Shede Hageman is built like a tank, is he this year’s boom or bust for defensive tackles potentially going in the first round?
- Big fan of his game…once he learns how to play with better leverage on a consistent basis, he’ll be a monster
5) Thoughts on what round Timmy Jernigan goes, and should we be concerned about his tank, he looked totally spent during the National Championship game. What do you like about his game or dislike?
- I think he’ll go at the top of Round 2. He wasn’t as disruptive as you would’ve liked considering what he was billed as coming out of HS. Still a very good player nonetheless
6) Aaron Donald seems to be a hot name right now, has he jumped into the 1st round discussion? Is his size really a valid concern? He’s a pretty decorated defensive tackle and Outland trophy winner.
- Size doesn’t matter IMHO if the production is there to back it up and his production warrants a 1st round selection!
7) One of my favorite lesser known players is Caraun Reid from Princeton. He put in solid Senior Bowl game, and looked fierce, like a mauler. I saw the interview you did with him leading up to the Senior Bowl, what’s your take on him, is he going to be a possible draft day steal? I’ve seen mocks having him go from the 5th-7th round?
- Reid is a guy that played literally all over the defensive line for Princeton and its that type of versatility will make him a very productive player with whomever drafts him
8) Who are some other guys who haven’t received as much coverage but could make some noise during the scouting combine?
- I think people will be surprised with Tennessee’s DT Daniel McCullers’ athleticism because he’s only in his 6th year of football. Keep an eye on him
I want to thank Emory Hunt for taking some time to contribute to our draft talk and I hope to get some more good bits from him throughout the draft season. I’ll be looking at defensive ends next.