August 24, 2009

Preseason defensive tackle power rankings

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We continue our preseason power rankings at each position with the defensive tackles.

You can check out our post-spring practice power rankings here. We will update the power rankings each week during the regular season and release the final rankings for the season after the BCS title game.

The rating of a player and coach can fluctuate each week during the season depending on how they fared the previous week, but the power rankings measure overall career performances as well as their most recent results.

DEFENSIVE TACKLES POWER RANKINGS

1. Terrence Cody, Alabama (6-5/365, Sr.)
BUZZ
: He is the perfect fit as nose tackle for Alabama's 3-4 set. He requires a double team on running plays, and while he's never going to pile up the sacks, he still can blow up a pocket with a bull rush.

2. Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma (6-4/297, Jr.)
BUZZ
: He's the most physically gifted defensive tackle in the nation. He has great first-step quickness, meaning he's a threat on the pass rush; he also can quickly knife into the backfield to drag down a runner. And he's strong, too. He had 30 tackles and 6.5 sacks last season.

3. Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska (6-4/300, Sr.)
BUZZ
: Suh is an athletic 300-pounder and his quickness makes him a highly productive tackle. He made 76 tackles last season and also had 7.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss. He was the first defensive lineman since 1973 to lead the Huskers in tackles.

4. Brian Price, UCLA (6-2/295, Jr.)
BUZZ
: Price is a bit shorter than ideal, but that hasn't bothered him. He had 4.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss last season. He's both strong and quick.

5. Geno Atkins, Georgia (6-1/287, Sr.)
BUZZ
: Atkins is a disruptive force in the middle - when he wants to be. He lacks consistency but has all the physical tools to muck up the works in the middle of the line.

6. Arthur Jones, Syracuse (6-4/291, Sr.)
BUZZ
: He plays for a struggling program, but he has starred nonetheless. Jones had 60 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks last season, and he has 31.5 career tackles for loss.

7. Jared Odrick, Penn State (6-5/306, Sr.)
BUZZ
: He's a powerful run stuffer in the middle of the Nittany Lions' line. He has all the physical tools to be an All-America selection.

8. Jeff Owens, Georgia (6-2/300, Sr.)
BUZZ
: Owens broke his leg in the season opener last season, and the Bulldogs' defense suffered from it. Owens is a run-stuffer supreme; he is squatty and strong and it generally takes a double-team to move him out of the way.

9. Lawrence Guy, Arizona State (6-5/293, Soph.)
BUZZ
: He should be one of the better sophomores nationally this season. He was thrown into the fray as a true freshman last season and responded beyond expectations, finishing with 44 tackles, two sacks, 10 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery, which he returned for a touchdown. He is extremely athletic for his size, and once he truly grows into his body, he should be a force.

10. Vince Oghobaase, Duke (6-5/305, Sr.)
BUZZ
: He has started every game in his Blue Devils career and has great size. He had six sacks and nine tackles for loss last season.

11. D'Anthony Smith, Louisiana Tech (6-2/300, Sr.)
BUZZ
: He is heading into his fourth season as a starter for the Bulldogs. He had five sacks and was third on the team with 65 tackles. Smith's size and strength make him tough against the run, but he also has enough of a first-step burst to be an effective pass rusher.

12. Boo Robinson, Wake Forest (6-2/295, Sr.)
BUZZ
: He's heading into his third season as a starter. Robinson missed spring ball with a back injury but is expected to be 100 percent when the season opens. He's a good athlete with better-than-average pass-rushing skills for an interior lineman.

13. Stephen Paea, Oregon State (6-1/285, Jr.)
BUZZ
: Paea (pronounced PIE-uh) is one of the strongest players in the nation, reportedly bench-pressing upward of 530 pounds. He had 41 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and six sacks last season, his first with the Beavers after transferring from a junior college. He grew up in the Tongan Islands before moving to the United States when he was 16.

14. Malcolm Sheppard, Arkansas (6-2/291, Sr.)
BUZZ
: He was extremely productive for the Hogs last season, when he had 68 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 14.5 for loss and 12 quarterback hurries. He arrived at Arkansas as a 255-pounder and has played some at end.

15. Dan Williams, Tennessee (6-3/327, Sr.)
BUZZ
: He has been productive in the middle for the Vols. While he's not much of a pass rusher, Williams is effective at clogging the middle and shutting down the run.

16. John Fletcher, Wyoming (6-6/272, Sr.)
BUZZ
: He's a two-time All-Mountain West performer who could move to end in the NFL. He is solid against the run but his pass-rushing skills make him dangerous as an interior lineman. Wyoming was 38th in the nation in total defense last season and Fletcher's play was one reason.

17. Andre Neblett, Temple (6-2/300, Sr.)
BUZZ
: He is heading into his fourth season as a starter for the Owls, who play aggressive, physical defense. Neblett had 36 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss. He has good strength and is a bullish run-stuffer.

18. Linval Joseph, East Carolina (6-6/322, Jr.)
BUZZ
: He had a solid sophomore season (43 tackles, eight tackles for loss last season) and should emerge as a star this year. He is a massive physical presence, and he has the quickness to cause a disruption in the middle of the line.

19. Ekom Udofia, Stanford (6-2/315, Sr.)
BUZZ
: He has the physical tools but has battled injuries and a lack of consistency. At his best, his size and strength make him a solid run-stuffer.

20. Cordarrow Thompson, Virginia Tech (6-2/301, Sr.)
BUZZ
: He has gotten his weight under control and played well last season; coaches expect a big contribution this season. He had 6.5 tackles for a loss and 13 quarterback hurries last season.

(Rankings by Rivals.com staffers Olin Buchanan, Tom Dienhart, David Fox, Mike Huguenin and Steve Megargee.)



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