Defensive Tackle Position Features Talented Deep Class of Prospects with Early NFL Starting Grades

Defensive Tackles Grade: A

The Defensive Tackle class is one of the premier groups in recent years and one of the strongest positions this year and probably the best along with the cornerback from the defensive side of the ball.

    Defensive Tackle  –  Nathan Shepherd –          Ft. Hays (Ks)

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Defensive tackle class has 25 in depth scouting reports at a position which will dominate the first two days of the NFL Draft 2018

 Positional Overview:
This year’s tackle class is a very strong group after an average draft class last spring. It is especially deep overall through the top 100-125 prospects, though not an especially top-heavy position. Vita Vea and Da’Ron Payne are two highly rated prospects who figure to go in the top 15 selections. Both are NFL ready and should press for rookie starting roles. Taven Bryan, Maurice Hurst, Harrison Phillips and Tim Settle are first round bubble prospects. Phillips and Bryan are tweener linemen and scheme diverse to play inside and outside. Hurst worked out well on his pro day after some medical heart issues arose at the NFL Combine. He is a high level three technique tackle with an early starting grade. Settle is a huge lineman who fits the zero and one technique to become an anchor in the middle. He is expected to be selected in the top 40 overall choices. They could see 8 to 10 chosen from the middle of the first round through the top 100 picks. The highest rated prospects are all graded from the mid-1st through the 3rd round area. Juniors head this class with seven of the top ten prospects underclassmen. B.J. Hill and Nathan Shepherd are fast rising defenders with some scheme flexibility and well-rounded talent who figure in the 2nd day. Shepherd is an impressive small college prospect with an excellent skill set to play inside and outside. He is the highest rated small college defender in this class and ranks in the top 100 prospects. Hill is a fast rising prospect who had an impressive final performance which has him rising in the early rounds. Juniors R.J. McIntosh, Trenton Thompson and Kendrick Norton have NFL starting talent and are fine middle round additions. Small college prospects, Bilal Nichols and P.J. Hall were impressive vs top competition and performed well in workouts. They have moved into the middle rounds in this deep class. This tackle group should provide many 3rd day selections who can become good value choices – like Justin Jones and Greg Gilmore. All carry starting grades and expected to be available in the 3rd day. As many as 15 prospects chosen in the top 150 overall picks. Expect as many as 25 DTs chosen over the 7 rounds.

  NFL Teams in need:

    1. Cowboys       5. Browns
    2. Patriots         6. Jets
    3. Colts               7. Bengals
    4. Dolphins       8. Broncos

 NFL Premier Player
   Aaron Donald
Blue Chip – Vita Vea
Blue Chip – Da’Ron Payne
Red Chip – Taven Bryan
Rising – Nathan Shepherd
Falling – Derrick Nnadi
Underrated – Justin Jones
Overrated – Folorunso Fatukasi
Sleeper –  P.J. Hall
Boom/Bust – Trenton Thompson
Ready to Play – Da’Ron Payne
Hidden Gem – Nathan Shepherd
Over drafted – Tim Settle

Positional Traits
Best Athlete – Vita Vea
Best Pass Rusher – Maurice Hurst
Best Run Stuffer – Vita Vea
Pursuit – Taven Bryan
Shed Blocks – Da’Ron Payne
Recognition – Maurice Hurst
Best Intangibles –  Harrison Phillips
Ball Instincts – Taven Bryan
Strongest – Da’Ron Payne
Toughest – Harrison Phillips
Most Developed – Vita Vea

Top Defensive Tackle Prospects
1 * Vita Vea – Washington
2 * Da’Ron Payne – Alabama
3 * Taven Bryan – Florida
4 Maurice Hurst – Michigan
5 * Harrison Phillips – Stanford
6 * Tim Settle – Virginia Tech
7 B.J. Hill – North Carolina St
8 Nathan Shepherd – Fort Hays St. (Ks)
9 * R.J. McIntosh – Miami
10 * Trenton Thompson – Georgia
11 Deadrin Senat – South Florida
12 Justin Jones – North Carolina St
13 Derrick Nnadi – Florida St
14 * Kendrick Norton – Miami
15 P.J. Hall – Sam Houston St.
16 Lowell Lotulelei – Utah
17 Bilal Nichols – Delaware
18 Folorunso Fatukasi – UConn

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