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Dallas Cowboys Draft 2018: Five interior defensive linemen and where to get them

Taking a gander at the defensive tackle class and where the Cowboys can find them.

NCAA Football: South Florida at Cincinnati Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

In this series, we’re going to go through all the needs the Cowboys currently have and find the candidates in the 2018 NFL Draft that fit the bill. Today, we start with defensive tackles where the Cowboys seem to have plenty of under tackles but no true nose tackle. In the past, the Cowboys don’t typically spend top resources on a 1-tech but that doesn’t mean they should continue to do so.

Here are five prospects that could fit the Cowboys need for a 1-tech and where the Cowboys will need to spend that pick to get them.

Vita Vea, 6’4, 340 lbs, Washington (Brugler: 17th, 2nd DT)

The hype train is moving full steam ahead for Vea to the Cowboys because he’s everything you want in a 1-tech with pass rush ability. He’s an absolute pocket destroyer and does a great job using his leverage and power to ruin an offense’s plan of attack. Vea is a dream of a pick for many Cowboys fans but that would mean the front office will have to hijack this draft from Rod Marinelli. At some point you have to toss flexibility aside for a player that does his job consistently down after down. Vea would be a cornerstone piece that is absolutely integral to any run defense.

Where you get him: At this point, you can want him at 19 but you may have to trade up to get him in the first round.

Maurice Hurst, 6’2, 288 lbs, Michigan (Brugler: 20th, 3rd DT)

Hurst is interesting because his size would say he’s a 3-tech and he gets favorable comparisons to a former Marinelli guy, Warren Sapp. However, Hurst lived in the backfield at Michigan and played mainly at the nose. Hurst had 13.5 tackles for a loss last season and was one of three Michigan linemen with over 50 tackles at 59 total for the year.

There are concerns seeing as he was a one-year starter but Hurst can’t be ignored even if you would like him to be over 300 pounds. He’s a well-rounded defensive lineman with surprisingly polished pass rush moves for his experience. If he’s there and Vea isn’t, it’ll be hard to say no to him.

Where you get him: First round, no doubt.

Tim Settle, 6’2, 335 lbs, Virginia Tech (Brugler: 45th, 6th DT)

Here’s a pet cat who is not getting the attention he should. There just aren’t a lot of guys with his athleticism to play both the three and one weighing as much as he does. He’s extremely smart and attacks the gaps to finish the ball carrier behind the line. He’s got true explosion to his game but has to work on not getting overextended and stay balanced. Virginia Tech had an incredibly good defense last season and Settle is one guy who deserves a lot of credit. Hokie fans and draftniks aren’t happy that he came out with two years left but he’s ready to make an impact on NFL defenses. With the Cowboys, Settle is going to check a lot of boxes.

Where you get him: There is still hope you can wrangle him in at 50.

Deadrin Senat, 6’0, 322 lbs, UCF (Brugler: 90, 10th DT)

He’s a bit short and his lack of length does show at times. He was a star recruit that decided to stay closer to home and play at UCF. He dominated his competition at times with explosive and violent gap attack. He plays with a low center of gravity and learned fairly early that leverage was going to have to be where he excelled. Senat is an overachiever in every sense of the word but he’s still learning how to use his power consistently. The dude averaged 7.4 tackles per game over the last eight of his collegiate career and his agility is quite impressive.

Where you get him: Third round should be a nice spot for Senat.

Poona Ford, 6’0, 306 lbs, Texas (Brugler: 120th, 14th DT)

He’s very quick off the snap and built thick though he’s certainly a little undersized. Ford’s length is actually not terrible as he knows how to deliver a startling punch that can knock blockers off their spot. He’s got a great motor that never quits. Ford was able to block three kicks despite barely hitting the six-foot marker. He’s got great instincts and leverage but he’s got to become more of a consistent product.

Where you get him: Fourth round

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