While my first take on defensive tackles the Broncos should draft in the first round seem to all be busts, I've revised my list to include big guys who will likely still be available with the number 25 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Here are the remaining candidates at DT for the Broncos, with a look at how they are suited for the 4-3 defense Denver employs.
Devon Still’s worst enemy during this process has been his mediocre combine showing. He ran a 5 second 40-yard dash, and he put up a mediocre 26 reps on the bench press with his 33.25-inch wingspan. But at 6’5” and 303 pounds, Still is still a beast.
What coaches and scouts cannot look past is his exceptional senior year at Penn State marked by his big plays and leadership for the Nittany Lions.
His numbers during his senior year were impressive. He made a total of 55 tackles, with a remarkable 17 going for a loss. He recorded an additional 4.5 sacks, batted down a pass, and forced a fumble.
Yes, Still is a beast.
He has an excellent combination of speed, power and athleticism that he has demonstrated all throughout his collegiate career. He has great burst off the line as he powers past offensive linemen, and he also is versatile in the 4-3 with the ability to play nose tackle or three-technique.
Kendall Reyes, in contrast to Devon Still, greatly improved his draft status at this year’s combine. He ran a 4.79 second 40-yard dash, banged out 36 reps on the bench press, and has a 34.5-inch wingspan. His size is also prototypical of an NFL-caliber defensive tackle, at 6’4” and 299 pounds. He also shined during DT field drills.
Reyes also had an impressive Senior Bowl, where he routinely beat offensive linemen in one-on-one drills using a powerful bull rush to compliment his undeniable speed.
Most project him to be a three-technique pass rushing DT who can use that speed to pressure the quarterback in the NFL. However, scouts appreciate his ability to stop the run at this point more than his potential as a pass rusher.
In his senior year, Reyes' production was similar to that of Devon Still. He notched 46 total tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss, and 4.5 sacks, very impressive stats for a guy that some believe may fall to the second round.
One option for the Broncos may be trading down with a team who picks early in the second round for more draft picks to get Reyes in round two while adding more talent through additional picks in later rounds.
Worthy had a decent combine with a 4.97 second 40-yard dash, but he is a bit smaller than some of the other top prospects who will go in the first round. Worthy is only 6’2” and weighs 308 pounds, with a 33-inch wingspan.
The Broncos might use their first round pick on Worthy out of necessity if their highest ranking prospects have already been scooped up, but picking Worthy here may come out of absolute need rather than talent or ability.
Worthy had an up and down junior season for the Spartans, where he would shine one week and be completely shut out the next week. His issue has been consistency. He also appears to be in need of extra conditioning, which could be a problem given Denver's high altitude.
His numbers were a bit less impressive than several of the prospects who are going to be drafted ahead of him. In 2011, he had a total of 30 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss, and 3.5 sacks. He could be still available for the Broncos in the second round if they want to use their first two picks on DTs in 2012.