In my previous post on nose tackles we learned are big, strong, athletic individuals who mostly come from the major college conferences and tend to make bigger impact if they are good enough to be high draft picks. So, now that we have that knowledge under our belts let's use it to look at the nose tackle prospects in the upcoming draft. Below I have some preliminary rankings of the 5 most notable nose tackle prospects:
|Rank||Prospect||College||Height||Weight||Projected Draft Rd.|
|3||Cam Thomas||North Carolina||6'3||330||2nd-4th|
|4||Torrell Troup||Central Florida||6'3||314||3rd-4th|
|5||Al Woods||Louisiana State||6'4||311||3rd-6th|
As you can see, these are all very big men and hopefully the combine will help us see how athletic some of them are. They all are from BCS conferences, with the exception of Troup (Conference USA) and 3 of them are from the SEC. As it stands now Williams appears to be the only standout at the position. Cody and Thomas have chance at being impact players, but have some work to do. Woods and Troup are the smaller of the 5 and both could probably be decent role players, the jury is still out on whether they could be starters.
1. Dan Williams
I covered Williams at the Senior Bowl with a number of comments from those that saw him practice as well as some excerpts from some scouting reports I found. You can find that here. Williams doesn't really have much to prove at the combine after rising up draft charts at the Senior Bowl. Charger fans that are interested in him would almost want his stock to slip some so he can slide to the end of the first round.
2. Terrence Cody
I also covered Cody when he was at the Senior Bowl in a similar fashion as Williams. His mostly disappointing Senior Bowl review can be found here. Cody does have an opportunity at the combine to overcome the reports on his lack of conditioning if he can shed a few pounds and perform well in some of the agility drills. Some pre-Senior Bowl mock drafts had the Chargers considering him as a first round pick, but now he would really have to be undrafted when the Chargers pick at the end of the second round for San Diego to pick him.
3. Cam Thomas
Completing the Senior Bowl trifecta, the notes I had on Cam Thomas can be found here. The notes are pretty sparse so let me add some additional notes here. He was a starter for his junior and senior seasons and an important part of the defensive tackle rotation for his freshmen and sophomore years. He's shown an ability to hold his ground against offensive lineman and shows good footwork and athleticism. He's never been a playmaker at the collegiate level in part do to former Browns head coach Butch Davis' defensive style of read and react where they didn't go on the attack much at UNC. Still, scouts were disappointed with his 23 tackles, 2.5 tackles-for-loss and no sacks in his senior year after his performance in his junior year where he put up 34 tackles, 3.5 tackles-for-loss and one sack. His good practices at the Senior Bowl helped erase that. From a Chargers perspective Thomas if Thomas can solidify his status as a 2nd round pick then he becomes a top target for the San Diego's pick in that round.
4. Torrell Troup
Troup got 3 starts his freshman season and was basically a full time starter in his sophomore though senior years. He used to go by Torrell Johnson in his first two years, but took his father's last name of Troup before his junior year. He's a much bigger playmaker than the two guys that sandwich him in these rankings. His senior year he has 12.5 tackles-for-loss, 2 sacks, 2 pass break-ups and a forced fumble. He was a disruptive force in the East-West Shrine game that was a 13-10 defensive standoff. Here is some video of him from that game. His experience facing double teams at UCF no doubt helped him when they tried to do the same to him at the Shrine game. One his biggest skills is his use of "violent" hands to jar opponents. The East coach Romeo Crennel (Kansas City defensive coordinator that specializes in the 3-4) had some words of praise for him, "Troup showed that he is a very physical and strong guy on the inside... He can push the pocket. He’s a good kid. He tries hard and does what you tell him to do. As a coach, that’s exactly what you’re looking for." The Chargers could look to draft Troup if they go for other positions in the 1st and 2nd round.
5. Al Woods
Woods was a top prospect coming out of high school, but didn't become a full time starter until his senior year. Part of that is due to the depth that that the storied school has and part of was Woods getting into better condition for his senior year shedding close to 15 pounds. The lack of experience could be an issue early on and he's already going to be 23 in March, which is old for a 2010 draftee. He's been described as equally good against the run and pass and having the combination of power and strength to manhandle opponents. Defensive lineman don't run 40 yards very often, but it could be interesting to see his 40 time at the combine since it's rumored that he could run under 5.1, which is fast for a 300 pounder. That sort of athleticism could allow him to fall back as DE in the 3-4 if he can't handle the nose kind of like current Charger Ryon Bingham. I have going as high as the 3rd because some teams may like him as 4-3 DT and draft him that high. I don't see him going that high to a team with a 3-4 defense.