Three 2018 Draft Prospects To Watch: Defensive Tackle Part Two

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In part one of this article it was mentioned that Lions defensive tackle Haloti Ngata is in the final year of his contract and is 33 years old. Obviously both of those things are still true. Also Haloti Ngata suffered a torn bicep and is out for the season. The injury makes it even more likely that the Lions will move on from Ngata in the offseason.

The Lions will need to find a defensive tackle to pair with A’Shawn Robinson.

2018 Draft Class Options- Defensive Tackle Prospects

This looks like a great draft class to try add a defensive tackle. There should be some decent depth at the position.

These are three more defensive tackles that the Lions could potentially add in the 2018 draft:

Da’Ron Payne- Alabama

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Payne has rare athleticism for a guy who plays nose tackle most of the time. At 6’2” and 308 lbs. he isn’t huge but he is put together well and is plenty strong enough to handle his position.

The junior’s stength makes him a solid run defender. He usually shuts down the gap that he is responsible for and is rarely gets moved when he decides to anchor.

Payne doesn’t have a lot of production as a pass rusher in his career. He does however do a good job of pushing the pocket to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

The biggest knock on Payne’s game is his pass rushing ability. He’s a nose tackle so nobody expects him to lead the country in sacks but he has the athleticism to do more than he does.

Vita Vea- Washington

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Vita Vea is a massive man, he’s listed at 6’5” and 340 lbs. He defenitely uses his size and strength to his advantage.

As you would expect from a man his size, Vea is at his best as a run defender. He’s nearly impossible to move and occupies blockers to make things easier for his teammates.

Vea is a decent pass rusher too. He recorded five sacks in 2016 and has three so far this season. His strength allows him to bull his way to the quarterback. He also has better quickness than you’d expect.

One problem Vea has is that he plays too high sometimes. This makes it easier for lineman to move him around. He needs to do a better job of keeping his pads low to give him better leverage.

Derrick Nnadi- Florida State

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Florida State has struggled this year but they still have some talented players, and Nnadi is one of those players. At 6’1” and 310 lbs. he doesn’t have prototypical size but he makes up for it in a variety of ways. He broke out in 2016, his junior year, recording 49 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and six sacks.

Nnadi is a very good all-around player. Although he’s on the smaller side of defensive lineman, he has a thick lower body and is incredibly strong. His height also gives him an advatage in the leverage department. He is a very diffeicult player to move and is also strong enough to penetrate gaps and disengage from lineman to make a play.

The senior defensive tackle can also get after the quarterback. He is quick out of his stance and usually gets his hands on his blocker before they can get hands on him. His strength allows him to simply overpower guys on his way to the quarterback on occasion too.

Some will be worried about Nnadi’s size and whether he can keep finding ways to compensate for it in the NFL. Nnadi has the tools, mainly his power and quickness, to overcome it and succeed at the next level.

I really hope you enjoyed the article! Follow me on twitter @CHayes95 and join the discussion on the Lions subreddit!

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About the Author

Cory Hayes
I attend Central Michigan University, I am majoring in Journalism and minoring in Sport Management. I am a junior. I am from Marysville, MI. I love following sports, both professional and collegiate. I follow the Lions, Pistons, and Tigers very closely, and the college team that I choose to cheer for is Ohio State.