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2013 DRAFT PREVIEW: DTs

Overview: Along with the QBs, the defensive line appears likely to be the strength of the 2013 draft, at least in aprt, because of DTs Star Lotulelei of Utah and Ohio State junior Johnthan Hankins, a pair of huge, physical interior defenders with surprising athleticsim and agility both of whom have currently are considered to have top 5 potential. Indeed, either, or both, could ultimately be in the mix to be the first non-QB to be selected at this year's draft. At the same time, Kawann Short of Purdue and 355-pound Georgia NT John Jenkins are currently rated as more later first round prospects, but both have the physical tools to move up draft boards across the leagues. In particular, scouts are looking for a little more consistent intesity from Short, while weight control and consitioning are issues with Jenkins. Meanwhile, Jesse Williams of Alabama, a one-time rugby player who is built like a NT, but plays a 5-tech DE with the Tide, and Sylvester Williams of North Carolina head a solid group of second-day DT prospects that also includes Jordan Hill of Penn State, Illinois junior Akeem Spence, and Baker Steinkuhler of Nebraska, if he can stay healthy, along with Florida juniors Sharrif Floyd and ultra-quick Dominique Easley.

In fact, there is some potentially good depth at the position that includes veterans Kaleb Ramsey of Boston College and Michigan's Will Campbell. At this time last year Ramsey was considered to be a solid mid-round candidate, but missed the entire 2011 season after undergoing back surgery and received an extra year of eligibility; if healthy, he's a quick, disruptive interior defender. Meanwhile, Campbell is a one-time superstar recruit who has done almost nothing his first three years at the Big House - except perhaps make headlines when he was charged with vandalism this spring - but he has supposedly dropped a ton of weight and came to fall camp with a new attitude, although only time will tell for sure. Also included in that depth is Brandon Williams of Missouri Southern who looks like another prototype NT, but is actually a very disruptive interior pass rusher who had 17 sacks - albeit against lower level competition - over the past couple of seasons. Meanwhile, Montari Hughes of Tennessee-Martin and 6-1, 300-pound Brent Russell of Georgia Southern are a couple of quality small-school NTs, but overall it does not appear that there will be many draftable DTs outside the ranks of D1A programs.


Top 20 DT Prospects
#
Player
H/W
School
CL
#
Player
H/W
School
CL
1
Johnthan Hankins 6-3, 335 Ohio State JR
11
Dominique Easley 6-1, 285 Florida JR
2
Star Lotulalei 6-4, 325 Utah SR
12
Brandon Williams 6-2, 330 Missouri Southern SR
3
Kawann Short 6-2, 310 Purdue SR
13
Anthony Rashad White 6-2, 320 Michigan State SR
4
John Jenkins 6-2, 355 Georgia SR
14
Everett Dawkins 6-2, 305 Florifa State SR
5
Jesse Williams 6-3, 320 Alabama SR
15
Aaron Tipoti 6-2, 305 California SR
6
Sylvester Williams 6-3, 315 North Carolina SR
16
Kaleb Ramsey 6-3, 295 Boston College SR
7
Sharrif Floyd 6-2, 305
Florida JR
17
Josh Boyd 6-4, 295 Mississippi State SR
8
Baker Steinkuhler 6-5, 290 Nebraska SR
18
Montori Hughes 6-2, 325 Tennessee-Martin SR
9
Jordan Hill 6-1, 300 Penn State SR
19
Sheldon Richardson 6-3, 295 Missouri SR
10
Akeem Spence 6-1, 305 Illinois JR
20
Michael Brooks 6-2, 315 East Carolina SR

Future file: It usually takes young DTs a year or two to really establish themslves as legitimate prospects once they make the move to the collegiate ranks, but  a couple of other junior DT with a chance to impact the early going at the 2013 draft are SEC stars Benny Logan of LSU and 350-pound Kwame Geathers of Georgia. Logan isn't all that big at just 6-2, 290, but is very quick and has a lot of upside, while Geathers is just big and strong. Meanwhile, fellow juniors Louis Nix of Notre Dame, UCLA's Cassius Marsh and Brandon Moore are also solid future prospects. In fact, along with Logan, LSU may have arguably the best set of young DTs in the country with 310-pound sophomore Anthony Johnson joining the rotation, while the top redshirt freshman prospect at the position is 6-5, 330-pound Jordan Phillips of Oklahoma.

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