Originally posted on Grits Blitz  |  Last updated 4/24/13
On the defensive side of the ball, the Defensive Tackle rotation has been one of the more consistent in terms of service time. Jonathan Babineaux, Corey Peters, Peria Jerry, and Vance Walker had all been a part of the rotation for at least 3 seasons. With Walker departing, that leaves room in the middle for someone to step in. Many feel that can be 2nd year man Travian Robinson - but that doesn't mean the Falcons won't take a look at someone in this draft who can allow them to further diversify their defense and run even more multiple sets as Mike Nolan is wont to do. Add to that the continuing disappointment in what Peria Jerry has turned out to be, this is a position the Falcons are likely to have on their draft card at some point after Thursday night. Much iike with WR's, this isn't a position I anticipate the Falcons spending a first round pick on - though you never know with Thomas Dmitroff. With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the DTs who will be available in each round from the 2nd on who might add some interesting elements to the Falcons defense.   2nd Round - Kawann Short, Purdue - one of the few bright spots for a mostly awful Boilermaker program, Short is a disruptive, playmaking, tackle in the mold of a Jonathan Baineaux. In his final 2 years in West Lafayette, he piled up 12.5 sacks & 31.5 TFL. Standing at 6'3", 299 - he's the kind of player who could do well inside a 4-3 opposite a bigger tackle, or kick out to DE in a 3-4 and use his sheer strength to penetrate and make plays. Ranked around the 60th best player in the draft, which means he's likely to be there when (if) the Falcons pick late in the 2nd. 3rd Round - Brandon Williams, Missouri Southern - the small school DT that has garnered the most attention this draft, he pulled off the rare feat (for a Defensive Tackle) of being his school's all time leader in QB Sacks. At 6'1" 335, he has the short, powerful, frame that many are looking for in a Nose Tackle. He also tied Margus Hunt for most bench reps at the combine with 38. One thing the Falcons haven't had lately is someone who can get in the middle and take on several blockers. Wiliams might have a long learning curve, coming from Division II, but might be worth a shot in the late 3rd Round. 4th-5th Round - Nicholas Williams, Samford - another small school guy I got to watch play in person, and generally make life hell for a pretty good Appalachian State O-Line. Has the measurables in spades at 6'5", 309, and backed those up with the best 40 time (4.84) and vertical (33") of any DT at the combine, along with a  respectable 28 reps on bench. With his size and speed, Wiliams is the kind of D-Tackle you could draft and find 3 or 4 ways to use him on defense. Could be one of the bigger sleepers of the draft at any position. 6th Round - Lawrence Okoye, Great Britain - The Ultimate Wild Card in this draft. Okoye is a former Olympic discus thrower, and rugby player, who just happens to have the size and measurables for NFL Scouts to take a look at him. Measuring out at nearly 6'6" and 305 lbs., Okoye reportedly ran a 4.78 40 at the Arlington Regional Combine, and registered a 35" vertical. Those numbers officially put him in the "freak" category. All that's left to know is whether he's ready for the NFL. One asset he posesses that will help him is his experience in Rugby, where he didn't even get to wear padding. While the game isn't played at quite the same speed due to that, it still has helped acclimate him to contact. An asset the Falcons now have, that few teams do, is another player who made the England to America transition and became a very successful football player - Osi Umenyiora. While Osi's transition was at a much younger age, he still will have a better idea of what Okoye is experiencing than someone else would. At this stage in the draft, I wouldn't mind seeing the Falcons go after someone based on sheer physical prowess. 7th Round - Kwame Geathers or Abry Jones, Georgia - Geathers is a BIG body at 6'6" 346, Geathers also comes from ridiculously good NFL genes thanks to father Robert, brother Robert, Jr. and Uncle (and former Falcon) Jumpie Geathers. If the Falcons are looking for someone to help them play more 3-4, this is a low risk pick in the later rounds that can do it. That said - the better value might be in Abry Jones, who played both DE and DT in his time in Athens. If not for an injury against Kentucky last season, might be higher up on the draft board, and thus might find himself in a BPA situation when the Falcons pick 3 times in the 7th Round.  A lot of options, as you can see. Who would you be interested in having the Falcons take at Defensive Tackle, and do you feel like it's a position they should focus on in this draft?   
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