We are only a couple of scouting reports away from moving onto the defensive ends, but I still have a few prospects at defensive tackle left to feature. This is the defensive tackle some of you have been waiting for. During his college career, Kawann Short represented the Purdue Boilmakers to the best of his ability and now has the chance fulfill his dream of playing in the NFL.
Short was a three-star recruit coming out of Chicago, and he decided to commit to Purdue. Short comes into the 2013 NFL Draft with a lot of experience under his belt. He started of his college career by redshirting in 2008, but he ended up starting every game as a freshman and sophomore. Every season Short maintained solid production and continued to improve as a player.
Back in the 2007 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys drafted fellow Boilmaker Anthony Spencer. I'm sure the organization is doing their homework on the talented defensive tackle, but let's take a closer look at the type of player Short is.
Positives: Standing in at 6-3, and weighing in at 308, Short has great size for the defensive tackle position. With a massive wingspan, Short has the ability to swat passes down at the line of scrimmage throughout the game. When Short gets good leverage, he is nearly unmovable. When anchoring, the offense needs to send two lineman after him. Short can be a load to handle on the interior. He will push up with his legs and use his power moves at the line of scrimmage.
Short also possesses great upper body strength. He is willing to use his long arms and wingspan as an advantage, but he also uses a rip move in order to break away from offensive lineman. Short's quickness is very impressive for a man of his size. He shoots off the line with great speed, but his acceleration is what truly stands out. When Short gets his pad level low, he will use his bull rush and push offensive lineman back into the backfield.
When allowed to shoot off the gap, Short can become a serious playmaker on the defensive line. He's very disruptive and he is strong against the run. Short is always looking to strip the ball, but he also makes sure he makes the tackle or at least hits the running back very hard. When he wants to be, Short can be extremely physical.
While at Purdue, Short lined up all over the line. He's played just about every technique asked of him. For two consecutive seasons, his teammates voted him as a team captain. Short is also a weight room fanatic and showed that he was passionate about becoming a stronger player.
Negatives: It's obvious that Short can be a bowling ball out there, but there were times where it looked like he quit on plays. It's possible that he was fatigued or he felt that he was out of the play. NFL Scouts will have to dig deeper into those questions and find the answers to them. Short's interview process during the combine should help him sink or swim around those issues.
When Short gets good balance and pad level, he is one of the most dominant defensive tackles in college football. But when Short doesn't get good leverage, offensive lineman can stand him up and contain him from making a play. He needs to work on his technique and find a way to maintain better leverage throughout the game. Short also needs to begin developing more pass rushing moves other than a rip move and bull rush. Good coaching can help him with that, but he must be willing to accept the coaching in order to improve.
Another area that he needs to improve on is awareness. He can be fooled by the misdirection and draws, so he needs to start hitting the film room and spending more time on becoming more familiar with the opposing offense. By knowing what is going on, Short will be able to track the football quicker and easier.
Conclusion: Short is one of the most talented defensive lineman in this draft and his athleticism is great for a guy his size. He has the potential to come in right away and become a starter, but there are some parts of his game that Short must work on. In many aspects, Short is somewhat similar to Corey Liuget when he came out of Illinois in 2011. In the 2011 NFL Draft, Liuget was drafted 18th overall by the San Diego Chargers, which is coincidental considering we hold the 18th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
As of right now, Short is hovering around that 20-25 range, but I don't see him falling out of the first round. I know that some draftniks see Short as a sleeper, but others see him as nothing more than a top 60 pick. Short's college production and athleticism should intrigue the Cowboys' war room. If the Cowboys do indeed select Short at 18, then that would be a very good selection and they can cross off a major need at defensive tackle.
Kawann Short vs. Iowa (2012) (via Mario Clavel)