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Dallas Cowboys 2012 Draft: Michigan State DT Jerel Worthy an Option in 2nd Round

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 03:  Jerel Worthy #99 of the Michigan State Spartans walks off the field dejected after they lost 42-39 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 Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Jonathan BalesAnalyst IMarch 30, 2012

I absolutely love Jerel Worthy, ranking him No. 3 in my 2012 Defensive Tackle Rankings. After watching him in even greater detail, there’s a good chance I’m going to move him to No. 2, ahead of Devon Still.  

I doubt there’s another board in the world that has Brandon Thompson and  Worthy as the top two defensive tackles, so I am probably wildly off. Nonetheless, that is what I see. I urge you to compare my scouting reports and watch tape on all of the defensive tackles I have assessed this offseason, listed below.

Michael Brockers, DT/DE, L.S.U.

Devon Still, DT/DE, Penn State

Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis

Fletcher Cox, DT/DE, Mississippi State

Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson

Alameda Ta’amu, DT, Washington

Now, head over to the New York Times to compare those players to today’s feature, Worthy. Here’s a preview of that post:

Jerel Worthy has the best snap anticipation of any defensive lineman I have reviewed this year.  He times the snap count and uses his quickness to get into the backfield faster than any tackle in this class.  I’m really not sure how he does it on such a consistent basis.  As you might expect, Worthy jumps offside more than average, but so do some of the top pass-rushers in the N.F.L.

To see examples of Worthy’s quickness, watch him get off the line at the 36-second and 2:50 marks against Georgia below, as well as at the 51-second clip in the second video against Ohio State.  Perhaps the king of all such plays comes at the 2:07 mark against Ohio State, when Worthy jumps the snap, knifes his way into the backfield and tackles the quarterback before he can hand off.  I watched five full games of Worthy’s, and I saw multiple plays like this in each of them.  He’s a play-making defensive tackle who is going to be a terror as an inside pass-rusher at the next level.

For the Cowboys, Worthy’s fit is speculative. While most consider the prospect a better fit as a three-technique, I believe he can play the five. He will be a top 15 player on my board. A player with such talent, athleticism, upside and versatility can be molded into a five-technique.

Plus, at 310 pounds, he could play some nose tackle. He’s not your prototypical space-eating nose, but hey, neither is Jay Ratliff. The two could rotate along the defensive line.

Worthy could be selected near the end of the first round, but if he falls into the second then he should absolutely be a consideration for Dallas.

Previous Scouting Reports

Michael Brockers, DT/DE, L.S.U.

Devon Still, DT/DE, Penn State

Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama

David DeCastro, G, Stanford

Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina

Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

Janoris Jenkins, CB, Florida/North Alabama

Mark Barron, SS, Alabama

Morris Claiborne, CB, L.S.U.

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

Nick Perry, DE/OLB, U.S.C.

Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin

Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson

Fletcher Cox, DT/DE, Mississippi State

Alameda Ta’amu, DT, Washington

Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson

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