Dallas Cowboys 2012 Draft: Defensive Tackle Alameda Ta'amu in Sights?

Jonathan BalesAnalyst IMarch 20, 2012

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 13:  Running back Chris Brown #29 of the Oklahoma Sooners rushes against Alameda Ta'amu #74 of the Washington Huskies on September 13, 2008 at Husky Stadium in Seattle Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

I recently posted my 2012 defensive tackle rankings, so many of you know I think Washington’s Alameda Ta’amu is overrated.  

In addition to being REALLY disappointed if he comes to Dallas and I have to continually type his name, I think Ta’amu is a late third or early fourth-round talent.  Here is part of my report (you can see the whole thing here):

At 6'3"—347 pounds, Ta’amu has elite size to be a 3-4 nose tackle.  

He carries the weight pretty well, not looking particularly soft.  Actually, I thought he was about 320 pounds when I first started watching him.  Ta’amu plays the way you might think, rarely getting blown backward and holding his ground against double teams pretty well.  He will be excellent in short-yardage situations in the NFL.

Unfortunately, I don’t think Ta’amu has much versatility or upside.  He isn’t quick off the ball.  Washington had Ta’amu stunt at times—see at the 37-second mark below—but his limited lateral quickness and athleticism will probably prohibit a lot of that in the NFL. 

Ta’amu is a space-eater, and only a space-eater.  Some other analysts disagree and say he could play in a 4-3 defense, but I think Ta’amu’s lack of quickness and inability to garner penetration will limit him to playing the nose in a 3-4.

While most defensive tackles don’t play three downs nowadays, I think Ta’amu will have to come out in all passing situations.  When potentially investing a second-round selection in a player, you want him to do more than one thing well.  Perhaps I am mistaken, but I don’t see Ta’amu excelling at anything other than run defense in the big leagues.  He has a limited pass rush repertory and simply won’t gain pressure on a consistent basis.

In terms of a potential fit in Dallas, I don’t really see one.  While I think the team could benefit from moving Jay Ratliff to end a bit more, Ta’amu’s lack of versatility makes his likely second-round price tag too much to pay for a team with more than a couple holes.

Previous Scouting Reports

Michael Brockers, DT/DE, LSU

Devon Still, DT/DE, Penn State

Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama

David DeCastro, G, Stanford

Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina

Quinton Coples, DE, UNC

Janoris Jenkins, CB, Florida/North Alabama

Mark Barron, SS, Alabama

Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois

Cordy Glenn, G, Georgia

Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia

Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis

Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia

Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson