The NFL season is finally (and sadly) complete, so now it's officially time to discuss the offseason. Over the next few weeks, Giants 101 will provide draft rankings and scouting reports on all positions — not just the ones the New York Giants are looking to draft. The rankings are a combination of production, skill set, and potential at the NFL level. The second defensive position we will take a look at is defensive tackle. If Linval Joseph leaves via free agency, the New York Giants could look to shore up the position this May.
Timmy Jernigan, JR Florida State
- Average height, a little light; good speed for the position.
- Elite run stopper; uses strength and low center of gravity.
- Sheds double teams easily; can improve in his hand to hand skills.
- Impressively strong; drives offensive lineman back.
- Average pass rusher; above average closing speed.
- Has the tool to become a very good pass rusher if he puts in the work.
- Doesn’t have elite speed for the position but has an excellent quick burst off of the line of scrimmage.
- Quick; often beats blockers to the point of attack.
- Excellent motor; plays with an edge and mean streak.
Ra'Shede Hageman, SR, Minnesota
- Excellent height and weight; average speed for the position, quick 10 yard burst (1.57).
- Remarkable athlete; combining that with his strength his ceiling is extremely high.
- Needs to play with better leverage versus the run; plays too high at times.
- Quickness allows him to chase some plays down from the backside.
- A little late on snap anticipation.
- Athletic enough to come of the corner on stunts.
- Inconsistent motor; took plays off at times.
- High ceiling player, but also bust potential.
Louis Nix III, JR, Notre Dame
- Good size and weight for a two gap tackle; good speed for his size.
- Powerful and stout versus the run.
- Good instincts versus the run; uses hands well.
- Drives offense lineman in the backfield often.
- Conditioning is a concern; probably should drop to 325-330 pounds.
- Knee tendonitis in 2013, had surgery on meniscus; could be a concern.
- Variety of pass rush moves; won’t rack up sacks but is very disruptive as a pass rusher.
- Tends to get locked up 1 on 1 in pass rushing situations at times; good be a result of fatigue.
Aaron Donald, SR, Pittsburgh
- Below average height, solid build; good speed for the position.
- Stout versus the run with good leverage; size prevents him from being a consistent run stuffer.
- Exceptional burst off of the line of scrimmage; tracks ball well in the backfield.
- Trouble with double teams at times; strictly a one gap player due to his smaller frame.
- Excellent at shooting gaps and making plays in the backfield.
- Good bull rusher despite smaller frame; average closing speed.
- Appears on film to consistently beat blockers to the point.
- Good motor and effort; turns it up on certain plays.
Anthony Johnson, JR, LSU
- Typical height and weight for a 4-3 DT; above average speed for the position.
- Strong upper and lower body; very well built.
- Plays with a very good pad level; appears on tape to be consistent with his pad level..
- Very good change of direction and athleticism for the position.
- Needs to improve on anticipating the snap; can be late too often.
- Lacks burst off of the line of scrimmage when playing the 3 technique.
- Despite lack of burst he has very good speed once he gets himself going.
- Possibly the best combination of athleticism and strength of all the defensive tackles in this class.
- Could be a very productive player in the right system.
Ego Ferguson, JR, LSU
- Good height, can afford to add muscle to frame; good speed for the position.
- Suspended for bowl game; no reason was given.
- Very good snap reaction and initial quickness.
- Very good instincts; also seems to find himself around the football.
- Excellent run stopper; easily the best part of his game.
- Plays very physical and aggressive; shows ability to toss blockers aside while trying to shoot the gaps.
- Very raw and inconsistent pass rusher; has a lot to learn in terms of pass rushing moves.
- Wasted movement when rushing the passer; doesn’t have a plan.
- Needs to learn how to set up blockers throughout the game.
- High ceiling; could be very productive if he develops his pass rushing.
DaQuan Jones, SR, Penn State
- Around average height and build; impressive speed for the position.
- Lacks any type of quick initial burst and first step.
- Needs to improve his tackling; prone to using arm tackles instead of wrapping up.
- Incredibly strong; most offensive lineman will have trouble stopping him one on one when he bull rushes.
- Impressively athletic for a player his size; can chase down plays in the backfield.
- Versatile; can play defensive end in 3-4 and defensive tackle in a 4-3.
- Athletic enough to win one on one battles as a tackle.
- Makes up for a lack of a quick first step with strong active hands.
- Inconsistent versus the run; tends to stand up too high against the run.
- Can be a very productive player in the right system.
Will Sutton, SR, Arizona State
- Short for a defensive tackle, came into the season 40 pounds heavier than last season; could be a concern about character and dedication.
- Plays with very good leverage; stays home and shows very good football instincts.
- Needs to improve tackling form.
- Quick at shooting through gaps.
- Uses hands well; will struggle versus the run against bigger offensive lineman.
- Consistently beats blockers to the point on tape.
- Average strength as a bull rusher; shows a variety of pass rush moves.
- Lack of size limits his upside; could be a productive player in the right system.
Daniel McCullers, SR, Tennessee
- Incredible size, needs to control his weight; above average speed for a player of his size.
- Played out of position in a 4-3 defense this year at Tennessee.
- Needs to improve his lower body strength; turn some of the fat into muscle.
- Sometimes late disengaging; not going to get much penetration.
- Prototypical two gap, space eating nose tackle.
- Average agility and athleticism for a player his size; below average burst off of the line of scrimmage.
- Strictly a run stopper; however will be difficult for quarterbacks to throw over if he collapses the pocket.
- Displays good instincts; but is still raw; strictly a 2 down player.
Kelcy Quarles, JR, South Carolina
- Very good height, but seems to have a thin lower body on tape; very good speed for the position.
- Clearly benefited from playing on the same defensive line as Jadeveon Clowney.
- Could possibly end up fitting best in the five technique in a 3-4.
- Plays too upright out of his stance at times.
- Very good tackler; good pursuit on plays, showing off impressive athleticism for his size.
- Quick off of the snap and at shooting the gap; very good closing speed.
- Needs to strengthen his base.
- Needs to add a variety to his pass rush, however often finishes penetration with sacks.
- Uses arms well when engaging with blockers; sheds blockers very well.
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Just because the Super Bowl left NY/NJ it doesn't mean the NFL action is over. Come see the Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame at Liberty Science Center see jerseys worn by legends, make the tough call under the hood, try on equipment and get immersed into football like never before.Aaron Donald, Anthony Johnson, Daniel McCullers, Daquan Jones, Ego Ferguson, Football, Kelcy Quarles, Louis Nix III, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Timmy Jernigan, Will Sutton
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