BBI New York Giants 2014 NFL Draft Preview: Defensive Tackles
by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56
Current Defensive Tackles on the NYG Roster:
Cullen Jenkins – 33 – Signed through 2015
Mike Patterson – 31 – Signed through 2014
Jonathan Hankins – 22 – Signed through 2016
Markus Kuhn – 28 – Signed through 2015
Where They Stand:
While the free agent acquisition period is not over yet, this appears to be the group that NYG will enter draft weekend with. It’s a very thin group that will hold this team back as it currently stands. Jenkins and Patterson are both overachieving, reliable veterans that can wear a few hats for their front. While I wouldn’t call them difference makers, they are at the very least guys that can be counted on. Hankins and Kuhn are the wildcards here, as they will be given the opportunity to fill the shoes of the departed Linval Joseph. I don’t have confidence in either of them to be the guy that needs to be in there for 80%+ of the defensive snaps, making opponents game plan around them. This group as a whole needs a fresh body or two that can contribute right away.
Top 10 Grades:
1 – Aaron Donald – Pittsburgh – 6’1/285: 85
2 – Rashede Hageman – Minnesota – 6’6/310: 80
3 – Stephon Tuitt – Notre Dame – 6’6/304: 79
4 – Brent Urban – Virginia – 6’7/295: 79
5 – DaQuan Jones – Penn State – 6’4/322: 78
6 – Timmy Jernigan – Florida State – 6’2/299: 78
7– Louis Nix III – Notre Dame – 6’2/331: 78
8 – Dominique Easley – Florida – 6’2/288: 76
9 – Taylor Hart – Oregon – 6’6/281: 76
10 – Kelcy Quarles – South Carolina – 6’4/297: 73
Day One Target:
Aaron Donald – Pittsburgh
I had a hard time accepting the fact that Donald was indeed one of the top players in the draft. I usually want guys with size inside, guys with consistent power presence that cannot be moved. But after watching almost 10+ games of Pittsburgh dating back to last year, I’m convinced Donald will be a star. He is the pass rushing presence that NYG has lacked inside for a long time and I think he is a better run defender than most will give him credit for. It’s easy to look at his size and say he can’t handle the physical power needed to anchor a position against the run. But when I scout him, I see a guy that can not only maintain position, but push linemen back, get off their blocks, and chase down the ball carrier like a linebacker. Donald will likely be my pick for NYG should be available at #12.
Runner Up: Rashede Hageman – Minnesota
Day Two Target:
Stephon Tuitt – Notre Dame
Tuitt could easily grade out as a first rounder if you go by is 2012 tape. He’s had a few physical issues over the past year and I did factor them in to his grade. Now with that said, I only have so much access to his medical information but from everyone I have spoken with and everything I have read, he should be at 100% by this summer. Tuitt played outside in ND’s 3-4 front, but I think he can easily move inside and play a Chris Canty-type role in a 4-3. He is enormous and very hard to move but also shows the short area quickness to beat blockers one on one. He is certainly a matchup problem because he can beat you a few different ways. If NYG ignores the defensive line in round one, Tuitt will likely be the guy I want in round two if he is still there.
Runner Up: DaQuan Jones – Penn State
Day Three Target:
Brent Urban – Virginia
Some view Urban as a 3-4 only player, but I disagree. When looking for defensive linemen, I am always looking for versatility. Urban can play outside in certain looks, even in a 4-3, but he can also play a three-technique role and control a couple inside gaps. I’ve even seen him play the A gap and make a difference. Urban plays a similar role and style as JJ Watt. While I don’t think he has the same upside, Urban could be a day three steal and I think he’ll be available early round 4. I love his ability to bend and pursue. He uses his hands and long arms to control blockers and he can get off them consistently. I can see him doing well here right away as a rotational defender and eventually becoming an every down difference maker because of his size, movement, and versatility.
Runner Up: Taylor Hart – Oregon
Anthony Johnson – LSU (59)
Johnson was one of the top recruits out of high school a few years ago, and rightfully so. I can remember watching his first college game and thinking he would eventually be a top 5 lock. But Johnson has failed to progress and if anything, he’s gone backwards since that first game. He looks the part and he’ll deliver some bone jarring hits here and there, but he is a poor defender play-to-play. He doesn’t anchor against single, straight blockers let alone double teams. He can’t reach the QB consistently, and he doesn’t have a long enough lasting motor. Nothing about his game is appealing to me, and I have him graded in the 7th/UDFA area. I see some labeling him a possible 2nd round pick and I question if that is simply a result of him being a top tier recruit years ago.
Runner Up: Daniel McCullers – Tennessee (64)
When looking at what is currently on the roster, I can’t see how anybody can refute the enormous need for another able body inside. NYG needs one of these rookies that can come in and contribute right away, and that’s not even accounting for any injuries to their current tackles. While they have a couple of serviceable, able bodies in there, none of these guys will alter the game plan of any offense. There is a severe lack of presence inside. This is not a group that linebackers will want to play behind nor will they take pressure of the ends against the pass. This class is a solid group of defensive tackles for days 1 and 2 of the draft and I am confident the right value will be there with one of their first three picks. The sooner the better, as I would put the need for a DT right up there with the offensive line as the top targets for the weekend.