Senior Moments: Nose Tackle Edition

Nose Tackle is a very elite and very specific position in the NFL and only 11 teams really need one. However, good ones are so rare that even though only 1/3 of the NFL teams need one there aren't enough to go around. The Chargers have/had one of the best in Jamal Williams, but at this point he can only play on 1st and 2nd down and I don't think we can count on him to stay healthy. Nothing against Jamal, but he's a very big man who is getting up there in age and has suffered some major injuries over the years and this time was bound to come sooner rather than later. The Senior Bowl offers a look at 3 of the better NT prospects available in this year's draft.

North
Prospect College Height Weight
Terrence Cody Alabama 6'4 370
Dan Williams Tennessee      6'2 329

 

South
Prospect College Height Weight
Cam Thomas  North Carolina 6'3 331

Terrence Cody, Alabama, 1st-2nd round

Senior Bowl Notes: The comments on Cody tend to focus on his weight, his endurance and his lack of conditioning.
  • "Alabama DT #62 Terrence Cody was an immovable object at the point of attack. Cody didn't push the pocket but will not give ground. In better shape he has unique potential."
  • "Sloppy, will have to turn it around by combine."
  • "Terrence Cody tipped the scales at a whopping 370 pounds and looked every bit of it. Now, there is no denying the guy is tough to move inside, but there’s a lot of sloppy additional weight on his frame and he looks like a guy who could really be more effective playing in the 330-340 range."
  • "Cody's one move is the bull rush"
  • "We understand Cody's potential to be a space-eater inside, but his sloppy build and lack of consistent effort are hard to ignore. Cody had a hard time splitting double-teams on Day 3 and was knocked off-balance several times by the down blocker, which raises question about his overall core strength. And while his role will obviously be as an interior run-stuffer Cody offers nothing as a pass-rusher. He can be an effective bull rusher at times but he doesn't stay low enough to generate a lot of push so offensive linemen are able to sink and anchor against him, and when that happens he has no countermove. At this point we would have a hard time using even a second-round pick on a guy who is going to give you limited snaps over the course of a game because of his weight and one-dimensional game."
  • "Terrence Cody is showing a lack of balance today, getting knocked off his feet by a down-block during double-team drills."
  • "Terrence Cody is providing nothing in 1-on-1 pass rush drills. His lack of moves is really showing up today."
  • "Terrence Cody has to show the endurance to be effective for the entire practice. He looked pretty bad while weighing in at 370 pounds, and there are enough concerns about his weight and discipline that his stock could start taking a big hit."
Scouting Notes (Scouts, Inc): Marginal top-end speed but good height and excellent bulk. Appears to have excellent lower- and upper-body strength on film. Plays with an edge and hits whatever crosses his path. Lacks ideal endurance and appears to wear down at times. Isn't going to win many battles with his first step but is quick enough to establish position. While he shows the ability to keep offensive linemen at bay on film he doesn't jar blockers with a sudden/violent initial punch. Rarely gives ground and flashes the ability to split double teams. A strong tackler. Lacks range and isn't going to make many plays in pursuit. Powerful bull-rusher who can collapse the pocket and help free up other defensive linemen by drawing two blockers. He's one-dimensional, though, and doesn't show a variety of pass-rush moves or the closing speed necessary to get to the quarterback on a consistent basis.



Dan Williams, Tennessee, 1st-2nd round

Senior Bowl Notes: Williams is turning heads and the Senior Bowl has solidified him as at least a high 2nd rounder and possibly a 1st rounder.
  • "Tennessee defensive tackle #55 Dan Williams played with a high motor and a low center of gravity. He is a solid run stuffer but doesn't offer much rush."
  • "It’s obvious when watching Tennessee defensive tackle Dan Williams that the man is one powerful individual. He’s consistently able to overwhelm opposing linemen on contact and generates a great deal of power from his lower half. However, he hasn’t quite had the type of week many expected. He’s not a guy who is overly explosive off the snap and doesn’t do a good job using his hands to disengage from blocks inside. I’m not saying that there isn’t a place for him in the NFL, but I don’t think he’s worthy of being graded out as an impact-caliber defensive lineman."
  • "(W)e'd like to see Williams use his hands better to disengage and finish his rush."
  • "When he stays low out of his stance he is strong and powerful and able to good surge and penetration. He wears down and gets high at times, though, and then is susceptible to being pushed aside by down blocks. Williams flashed as pass rusher but needs to finish better and more consistently with improved hand use."
  • "Williams continues to stand out because of his thick frame and good use of leverage when he is fresh"
  • "At one point he drove USC C Jeff Byers straight back into the quarterback before simply tossing Byers aside with one arm."
  • "He is also showing much more endurance and while he still is not showing refinement as a pass rusher he did flash the ability to collapse the pocket from the inside. Once he develops the ability to use his hands better in the passing game -- rip moves, swim moves, club moves -- he will be much more effective in that area."
Scouting Notes (Scouts, Inc): Possesses good size and strength, especially in the lower body, along with adequate mobility for size his. Williams has had weight issues in the past, which brings up some slight concerns about overall work ethic. Lacks quickness at the snap of the ball. However, he is heavy handed and displays a strong punch to control blockers on the interior. Plays with good balance and always keeps his feet underneath him. Plays with good leverage and rarely gives ground. Wins most one-on-one battles and does a good job of disengaging and redirecting to fall back into plays. Shows the ability to consistently anchor against double teams and flashes the ability to split them on occasion. Protects his feet well against cut blocks. A powerful bull-rusher who shows the ability to collapse the pocket from the middle. Flashes an effective rip-and-spin move. Too often comes out of stance high, though, and lacks the ability to counter once engaged with blockers. Closing burst is good but not great.


Cam Thomas, North Carolina, 3rd-6th round

Senior Bowl Notes: Cam Thomas' stock is risely for the reason I mentioned in the intro; it's hard to find nose tackles.
  • "North Carolina defensive tackle #95 Cam Thomas is a high-motor plugger inside, and can also push the pocket. Teams are looking him as a nose tackle."
  • "North Carolina defensive tackle Cam Thomas has played his way up to my No. 3 nose tackle with a good week down in Mobile. He needs to show a rip move, but his power and bulk has been at times unblockable. In a weak nose tackle draft, he could very likely go off the board in the third round."
Scouting Notes (Scouts, Inc): Unfortunately, this info is not available yet.
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