Building The Perfect NFL Player: Defensive Tackle

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Building The Perfect NFL Player: Defensive Tackle
(Photo by NFL Photos)

By Ryan of The Sportmeisters

The players in the trenches do the most work, but probably receive the least amount of credit. From the Offensive Line to the Defensive Line, these mammoths pound into each other with the speed and strength of a mack truck, waiting to see who will yield first.

On the Defensive Line, the Defensive Tackle, also known as the Nose Tackle, is the big monster for the defense. They are designed to swallow up lineman for the linebackers to make the play, or even speed by the Center and Guard on their way to making the stop.

Whether its using strength and size to hold the line, or speed and vision to make the play, having the perfect Defensive Tackle is crucial for victory. So, today, The Sportmeisters build the perfect Defensive Tackle.

Legs: Kevin Willams, Minnesota Vikings

One half of the Williams brothers in Minnesota, Kevin Williams is undoubtedly the faster of the two. With four interceptions, including two in 2007 (one returned for a touchdown), his legs give him the ability to move down the field. It was that speed that also allowed him double digit sacks in 2003 and 2004, and three years of over 50 tackles. Simply put, Kevin Williams, despite being a man in the trenches, can get himself into the backfield as fast as possible. This makes his legs a perfect addition to the perfect Defensive Tackle.

Hands: Tommie Harris, Chicago Bears

Strength lies in the hands for a Defensive Tackle. Whether its grabbing the lineman and taking them out of the play, or plowing himself into the backfield, strong hands make the big difference. Despite injury concerns, Tommie Harris epitomizes strength and power in the hands. He’s had three straight seasons with at least five sacks, and three seasons of over thirty tackles. He’s done all this with less than a full season under his belt since 2005. Strength and power are an important piece of puzzle for the Defensive End, and that comes from the hands of a player like Tommie Harris.

Head: Pat Williams, Minnesota Vikings

We already discussed Kevin Williams being the speed piece of the Minnesota Vikings, but it takes the ability to see the play developing that makes a Defensive Tackle so important. That’s why the head of Pat Williams, the other half of the Minnesota Vikings tandem, brings the vision piece to the perfect Defensive End. Williams uses that vision to amass six seasons of over fifty tackles, including two straight years of over eighty tackles. Despite not many sacks, Williams uses his vision to ensure he gets to the runner in time to prevent the big play.

Body: Jamal Williams, San Diego Chargers

Size matters, especially on the defensive line. With so many offensive lineman now towering over 300 pounds, it take a big man on the other side of the ball to neutralize them. Enter Jamal Williams. At a massive 6’3’’, 348 pounds, Williams’s size makes him a huge asset. His role isn’t to get into the backfield and make the sack or the tackle. Instead, he’s designed to use his size to swallow up the Center and/or Guard, allowing a Linebacker to burst through the hole. This explains why he has only three seasons with over fifty tackles, and his highest sack total is four for a season. However, numbers don’t explain all of the job, and being able to neutralize one or two players on any given play gives an unfair advantage to the San Diego Chargers. The size of Jamal Willams is a huge asset for the perfect Defensive Tackle.

Intangibles: Albert Haynesworth, Washington Redskins

Like it’s been said, a Defensive Tackle is not usually the premier guy on the line, but instead sets up for the Linebacker and Defensive Ends. With Albert Haynesworth, that’s not the case. Lining up at an enormous 6’6’’, 350 lbs, Haynesworth forces offense’s to look at a whole other piece of the puzzle. Despite injury concerns, he has managed two seasons of over fifty tackles, and set a career high with eight and a half sacks in 2008. He’s an extra force in a position that is not used to having key playmakers. That piece alone makes Albert Haynesworth, and all he brings to the table, part of the perfect Defensive Tackle.

In trying to stop the run game and the pass game, a Defensive Tackle has many roles. From gap filler, to lineman neutralizer, to sack master, to just plain unstoppable, a DT must do it all. That’s why everything from speed to vision to strength to size all matter. Add it with a little bit of the “it” factor, and you have the perfect Defensive Tackle.

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