There's little doubt as to who the top two defensive tackles are in this year's draft, but after the two big guys (who are likely top-five picks), there's a muddled group that hold a lot of potential.
Read on for the top defensive tackles in the 2010 NFL Draft:
1. Ndamukong Suh (Nebraska)
Do we really even have to go here? Suh is by far the best DT prospect, as he possesses unmatched size and athleticism for the position (in his class). With 12.5 sacks and 24.5 tackles for loss, Suh has proven to be a dominant force in both run support and rushing the passer.
He has some minor questions about his frame, but there is little doubt that he'll be an absolute stud defensive tackle at the next level.
2. Gerald McCoy (Oklahoma)
While Suh is far and away the number one DT, McCoy is easily the next safe bet at the position, and completely owns the rest of the competition in the 2010 draft class.
McCoy has good size and athleticism, almost always putting his hands to great use, and takes all the right angles when working against the run. There's questions as to whether or not he'd be ideal for all schemes at the next level, and after Suh, he's the cream of the crop.
3. Dan Williams (Tennessee)
Williams is a bit more one-dimensional than Suh and McCoy, as he is an outstanding presence against the run, but doesn't bring a lot of effective pass-rushing ability.
He has adequate height and great size, combined with good athleticism and great strength. It's debatable where he ranks after McCoy, but in the right scheme, he could be a real problem for teams that like to run.
4. Jared Odrick (Penn State)
Odrick has all the size and tools needed to be a stud at the next level, and even has the versatility to line-up on the outside of a 3-4, but could still be used on the inside of any scheme.
He has character concerns, though, stemming from an arrest back in March of 2009. He's probably rated a spot or two lower on most rankings and draft boards, but he's simply too talented to let one arrest keep him from getting pick in the first round.
5. Brian Price (UCLA)
Price's chances of being made a first round selection almost solely depend on how teams view Odrick's character. But that doesn't mean there's a big gap between the two player's talent levels.
Price has solid pass-rushing ability, but really thrives against the run, as he recorded 16.5 tackles for loss in 2009, and despite only being 21, is regarded as a top-five defensive tackle.
He could slip due to his lack of versatility (probably just a 4-3 hole-plugger), but he's as talented as they come in stopping the run.
6. Terrence Cody (Alabama)
Cody is another guy — like Price — who could shoot up NFL team's draft boards if other players aren't held in such high regard, as his talent level is very similar to the other elite defensive tackle prospects.
However, like Price, he's almost strictly a run-stopper, which limits his versatility on the line. His mammoth size — 370 pounds when last recorded — could have teams leaning either way. He could just be an impenetrable force, or a guy who struggles with weight problems for his whole career.
Is he a bust or the next Pat Williams? That is the question.
7. Cam Thomas (North Carolina)
Thomas has terrific size and mass to man a nose tackle position at the next level, although his lack of versatility, like several other defensive tackle prospects, could force him to drop further than you'd like.
However, he's regarded as one of the best run-stoppers in the draft, possessing great strength and burst off the line. He could creep up boards due to his stellar Senior Bowl.
8. Lamarr Houston (Texas)
Has great size and athleticism for the position, with a solid first step (not elite), along with excellent agility and balance.
Houston has outstanding strength and power, which he can sometimes rely on too much, causing him to take poor angles. He has great hand skills, and can fight off against his man even when pushed back and off balance.
He is really an under-rated talent and could surprise some people at the next level with his overall athleticism and versatility. Houston was known as mostly a run defender, but has improve in rushing the passer.
There are worries that he can't be a traditional defensive tackle, and that he may actually be better suited for the outside of a 4-3. If that's the case, he'll have to continue to improve his pass-rushing ability.
9. Tyson Alualu (California)
He's a bit under-sized and vastly under-hyped, but he could end up turning into a very solid pro.
Alualu is a sound run defender with adequate pass-rush ability, but currently doesn't have the proper technique and fundamentals to excel at getting to the quarterback at the next level.
One of the things scouts love about him the most is how he plays on full-throttle. The guy is pure energy at times, which can be looked at as a positive or a negative, as his head can get out of the play/game.
Alualu will inevitably be held back in this draft due to his lack of great size and the inability to rush the passer on an elite level.
10. Arthur Jones (Syracuse)
Jones has very good height, size, and frame for the position, but he's supposedly a major risk due to missing some action in 2009 with a knee injury. He's had surgery, and is still recovering.
He has definitely shown in the past that he can break through the line (sometimes with ease), and can get to the running back and quarterback at a high level. His 3.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss in 2008 showed that, while his 2009 (6.5 tackles for loss) wasn't too shabby, either.
The guy is a great run defender with an excellent attitude, while displaying the ability to rush the passer at a moderate level. If he can come back from his injuries and get back to form, he could be a huge steal.
A lot of people have a healthy Mike Neal rated way above Jones, but he sticks here, injury history, and all.
Honorable Mention: Geno Atkins, Mike Neal, Torrell Troup, D'Anthony Smith
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