The Lions are fine at defensive tackle for the 2016 season. However starting defensive tackle Haloti Ngata is 32, so there is a strong chance the Lions will look to move on from him after the season. For this reason, the Lions may look to select someone to replace Ngata in the draft. There are a handful of good defensive tackles in college football right now, but three that stand out from the pack are Alabama’s Jonathan Allen, Michigan State’s Malik McDowell, and Davon Godchaux out of LSU. Let’s get to know them better…
Draft Prospects for 2017 – Defensive Tackle
Jonathan Allen- Alabama
Out of all of the defensive tackle prospects in the upcoming draft class, Allen is probably the most talented. He is listed at 6’3″ and 294 pounds. Allen is a very good athlete for a man of his size. Because of his athleticism he is a versatile player; Alabama lines him up all over the defensive line. Although he does play a lot of defensive tackle for the Crimson Tide, he is also used as a defensive end. He notched 12 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss during the 2015 season which is outstanding for a guy with his build. Allen also does a great job of always keeping his hands up on pass plays which makes it tough on quarterbacks to find passing lanes. He plays with good awareness and effort. When it comes to rushing the passer, Allen does a very good job of mixing up his moves; he has the quickness to go around an offensive tackle as well as the strength to bull rush through most of them. Against the run Allen does a great job of shedding blockers to get to the ball. One thing that he needs to work on is at times he is slow to get out of his stance, which puts him at a disadvantage on some plays. If you want to see Jonathan Allen for yourself, here are some big time games to watch: @ Ole Miss, September 17th; @ Tennessee, October 15th; @ LSU, November 5th.
Malik McDowell- Michigan State
Malik McDowell doesn’t possess the average body type that you would typically look for in a defensive tackle. He is listed at 6’6″ and 276 pounds, he is not as thick as most guys playing the defensive tackle position. McDowell will likely need to eat a few extra cheeseburgers to add some weight to his frame before making the transition to the NFL. McDowell has tremendous length, for such a large man he is an exceptional athlete with very good speed for a defensive tackle. Although he does need to add some meat to his frame as mentioned previously, he does have enough strength to play the position. Michigan State uses McDowell much like Alabama uses Jonathan Allen, they like to move him around the defensive line. But unlike Jonathan Allen, McDowell didn’t show a ton of production in 2015. He logged 4.5 sacks, 13 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, and an interception. Those aren’t bad numbers for a defensive tackle however, for someone with McDowell’s talent you could expect those numbers to improve in 2016. Some areas where McDowell needs to improve are his hand usage to disengage from blockers and as mentioned, he definitely needs to eat more junk food! If you want to watch McDowell in action, here are some games to watch: @ Notre Dame, September 17th; vs. Michigan, October 29th; vs. Ohio State, November 19th.
Davon Godchaux- LSU
There are a lot of things to like about Godchaux as a defensive tackle. He has a quick first-step, he possesses the speed to shoot the gap, he also has very good strength that he likes to use to bull rush and overwhelm opposing offensive lineman. However, Godchaux also has his weaknesses. He needs to work on holding his ground in the run game. Like McDowell, Godchaux also needs to work on his hand usage and do a better job at keeping his pad level low on a consistent basis. In 2015 Godchaux recorded six sacks, nine tackles for loss, one forced fumble, and one pass break-up. Those aren’t eye-popping numbers but they are respectable for a guy playing the defensive tackle position. But also like McDowell, expect Godchaux to improve upon those numbers in the 2016 season. Some good games to watch Godchaux play are as follows: @ Florida, October 8th; vs. Ole Miss, October 22nd; vs. Alabama, November 5th.