2011 NFL Draft

2012 NFL Draft Projections: DT Class Is Loaded with Talent

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IJanuary 16, 2012

We all know about Penn State defensive tackle Devon Still, who has regularly shown up in the first round of 2012 NFL mock drafts. But there has been some talk that the rest of the defensive tackle class has questionable first-round talent.

However, three defensive tackles in particular are legit first-rounders in my eyes.


Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State

With good quickness, size and power, Fletcher Cox made a name for himself this season with Mississippi State. He's not the most explosive athlete, but his tremendous upper body strength, dedication to purse the ball-carrier and alertness make him a prospect who should surprise in the NFL.

This season, Cox was named first-team All-SEC, finishing with 56 tackles, 14.5 tackles for a loss and five sacks. I really like this kid and I think he's a no-brainer first-round talent.


Jerel Worthy, Michigan State

There are questions about Jerel Worthy's stamina and conditioning, but his quick hands and closing speed make him a nightmare for opposing offensive lines and quarterbacks.

He's explosive, powerful and a beast in the middle, which has seen more than a few college opponents stray away from running the ball inside.

Worthy does have some concerns about his range of motion when tackling, but if you're looking for a defensive tackle to control the inside, he's your guy.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 03:  Jerel Worthy #99 of the Michigan State Spartans reacts against the Wisconsin Badgers during the Big 10 Conference Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 3, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Gregory Sham
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images


Michael Brockers, LSU

When Michael Brockers declared, everything changed. He's a top talent who could be selected before Cox, Worthy and possibly even Still.

Brockers, who starred on LSU this season, is a powerful lineman whose strength oftentimes requires opponents to double-team him. He has the quickness and speed to spin off blocks and is also a good tackler, using his length to wrap up the ball-carrier.

Brockers, after just two seasons in college, still needs some help with technique, but he's shown more than enough to project as a difference-maker in the NFL.

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