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2013 NFL Draft: Star Lotulelei, Sharrif Floyd are top DT prospects

Posted Apr 8, 2013

With the 2013 NFL Draft set for April 25-27 at Radio City Music Hall in New York, NFL.com draft analyst Josh Norris is identifying the top prospects available at every position. Today, he presents an overview of the best interior defensive linemen.

1. Star Lotulelei, Utah: Lotulelei will be pegged as a nose tackle, but he can be much more. He has improved backfield vision, maximizing his strength at the point of attack and footwork in penetration. Lotulelei also played on 91.2 percent of Utah's defensive snaps in 2012, a ridiculous number for an interior lineman. Projection: First round

2. Sharrif Floyd, Florida: Floyd possesses an ideal frame for an interior defensive lineman and projects best to the three technique. The Florida product has some experience as an edge rusher, but his ability to win by working through or around blockers is a nice combination. Projection: First round

3. Sheldon Richardson, Missouri: Cut from the same cloth as 2012 first-rounder Fletcher Cox, Richardson is an ultra-athletic penetrator who runs the line like someone of a much smaller size. He had a couple of rough outings, most notably against Kentucky's Larry Warford, but Richardson can make things happen behind the line of scrimmage. Projection: First round

4. Jesse Williams, Alabama: Blessed with great strength and solid athleticism for a man of his stature, Williams is not the typical nose tackle prospect. Not only did he play the one and zero techniques at Alabama, but Williams has experience as an end in a three-man front and will only progress with improved technique. Projection: First round

5. Sylvester Williams, North Carolina: There's a lot to to like about Sly Williams, specifically his consistent jump off the snap and quickness off the line to play one or two yards upfield. However, he fails to finish off plays far too often. Even if he doesn't show up on a stat sheet, Williams can impact the game. Projection: Top 50

6. Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State: Coming into the season, some believed Hankins could challenge for the top spot on this list due to great agility for his size and a dependable anchor at the line. However, Hankins disappeared for long stretches of time in 2012. Still, a team will believe it can turn the great flashes into consistency. Projection: Top 50

7. Brandon Williams, Missouri Southern State: A small schooler with a stout frame (and anchor, to boot), Williams should be the first true nose tackle selected on the draft's second day. There's some pass-rushing skill there, as well, thanks to leverage, strength and leg-drive advantages. Projection: Second round

8. Kawann Short, Purdue: Many love Short's game because he displays athletic feet to work around blockers. However, there are plenty of hit-and-miss elements to his tape. Just like Hankins, teams will attempt to turn the flashes into consistency. If that is achieved, watch out. Projection: Second/third round

9. Bennie Logan, LSU: Logan is a raw prospect in terms of technique and effectiveness, something that is becoming a common theme with LSU defensive players. He has great quickness and length, but outside of winning off the snap, Logan tends to struggle. With some coaching, he can be productive. Projection: Third round

10. John Jenkins, Georgia: Many rank Jenkins higher, since he moves quite well for a massive human being. However, the Georgia nose tackle absorbs much more often than he delivers on first contact. I worry about his consistency outside of splash plays. Projection: Third round


Like to do your own draft scouting? We have prospect highlight videos of all the top players entering the 2013 NFL Draft. Watch them now in our Draft section.

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