NFL Draft 2013: Updated 4-3 Defensive Tackle Rankings

Al Bello

After finishing up the scouting reports on the 4-3 defensive tackles, we revisit the rankings and update them according to my research.

Back in January and prior to the scouting reports, I went into detail about how I would be tackling my draft coverage this season. We kicked everything off with my rankings on the 4-3 defensive tackles, which you can find here. After putting in extensive research, I am compelled to reconfigure my rankings and adjust them accordingly.

Here are my 4-3 defensive tackle rankings back from January 15th.

2013 NFL Draft 4-3 Defensive Tackle Rankings
Rank Name School Height Weight
1 Star Lotulelei Utah 6-3 320
2 Johnathan Hankins* Ohio State 6-3 320
3 Sheldon Richardson* Missouri 6-3 295
4 Sharrif Floyd* Florida 6-3 303
5 Sylvester Williams North Carolina 6-3 320
6 Kawann Short Purdue 6-3 315
7 Jesse Williams Alabama 6-3 320
*denotes underclassman

In my research of the defensive tackles, I wanted to find someone who was quick and disruptive. Now there are the space-eating types of defensive tackles who can really can help anchor your defensive line, but the Dallas Cowboys are moving to a defense that requires pressure more than ever.

With that in mind, the updated rankings reflect the need of a disruptive defensive tackle that can offer the Cowboys a pass rushing presence along the interior of the defensive line.

Below you will find my updated 4-3 defensive tackle rankings.

Updated 4-3 Defensive Tackle Rankings
Rank Name School Height Weight
1 Star Lotulelei Utah 6-3 320
2 Sheldon Richardson* Missouri 6-3 295
3 Kawann Short Purdue 6-3 315
4 Sharrif Floyd* Florida 6-3 303
5 Johnathan Hankins* Ohio State 6-3 320
6 Sylvester Williams North Carolina 6-3 320
7 Jesse Williams Alabama 6-3 320
*denotes underclassman

Star Lotulelei is one of the best players in the entire 2013 NFL Draft and he will be long gone before the Cowboys go on the clock. Star is an elite talent, but Sheldon Richardson isn't too far behind him. Richardson is very similar to Fletcher Cox and his ability to disrupt and generate pressure make him the perfect weapon as a three-technique defensive tackle.

Because of his feisty style, Kawann Short climbs up the board to third overall. If the Cowboys drafted Short at 18, he would be a great option to come in and start on the defensive line as the three-technique. Short was once considered to be a second-round talent, but I just don't see him falling out of the first round because he has the production and game tape that should force a war room into selecting him in the first round.

The opinion on Sharrif Floyd varies, but he looks like he has the talent to grow into a very good player. How he performs at the NFL Combine could determine if he is selected in the first or second round. I may be higher on Floyd than most, but SEC lineman with athletic ability always grade out higher on my board.

With the emphasis on the pass rush, Johnathan Hankins is the biggest loser and takes the biggest dive on my board. He's massive, but his lack of disruption and pass rushing skills are concerning. Hankins looks like a risk that may not make a lot of sense for the Cowboys.

With Josh Brent's NFL future at risk, the Cowboys still have a need for a one-technique who can whose size can be a major factor on the line, but I believe you can find someone like that later in the draft. It's much harder to find a defensive tackle with the ability to get after the quarterback. Had the Cowboys stayed in their 3-4 defense, then larger bodies like Hankins or Georgia's Jonathan Jenkins would have made more sense.

Sylvester Williams may not be a preferred option for the Cowboys at 18, but he does make sense for a trade down in the first round or a trade up in the second round. Williams has the skill set to thrive at either technique, and that type of versatility could interest the Cowboys.

Jesse Williams would have been a perfect fit for us if we were still operating out of the 3-4 scheme. Williams could thrive in the 4-3, but there are areas of his game that he needs to refine and work on. His lack of experience and pass rushing ability push him down my board.

This is one of the deepest defensive tackle class in recent memory. It wouldn't be surprising to see five of these tackles get drafted in the first round, maybe more. If the Cowboys want to upgrade the interior of their defensive line, the 2013 NFL Draft will offer them a great opportunity to do so.

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