The Patriots are always looking to upgrade their defensive line, and aren’t shy about using Day One picks to do it, often to great success. Even though we’d prefer they fry other fish with this year’s early picks, here’s a three-pack of first day defensive tackles, just in case.
Amobi Okoye, DT, Lousiville
Senior, 6’2, 302, 5.07
Ranked 13th overall on BSMW Mock Board (as of 3/31)
The BSMW Game Day Mock Masher has Okoye just outside the top ten, and three of our mocks have the Louisville tackle going to the Rams at pick 13. Amazingly, though a senior, the native of Nigeria is just 19. He’s seen as having the bulk, strength and balance to be a solid anchor in the middle. A better run defender than a pass rusher, though he did rack up eight sacks this season by pushing the pocket. Said to be a bright kid (entered Louisville at age 16), good character and coachable. His upside has lifted him to the top of the draft. May not be the best fit for a 3-4.
Justin Harrell, DT, Tennessee
Senior, 6’4, 300, 5.04
Ranked 38th overall on BSMW Mock Board (as of 3/31)
The masher says Harrell slots somewhere in the early picks of round two, and as many as four mocks favor him to enter the first round with Indy at pick 32. He is another run defender, with good athleticism, quickness and strength to plug the middle and perhaps draw double teams. As a pass rusher, Harrell is said to push the pocket and use his long arms to disrupt lanes, but he’s not considered a real threat. Has struggled with leg injuries through career, and missed 10 games as a senior with a torn biceps. Team captain with a highly-emotional Bobby Hamilton-style make-up, apparently. I like that – it’s always good for a laugh (“You’re going to have a heart attack, Bobby!”). His injury history may push him down the board. Harrell might be more of a 3-4 end than tackle.
DeMarcus Tyler, DT, NC State
Senior, 6’2, 306, 5.18
Ranked 46th overall on BSMW Mock Board (as of 3/31)
The masher places Tyler, known as ‘Tank’, in the early to mid-second round. Two mocks favor him to go to Chicago with the 37th pick. Perhaps the Bears would like a Tank that doesn’t take the name so literally. Pat Kirwan of nfl.com says Tyler is one of the better 3-4 nose prospects in this draft, though profiles indicated a lack of consensus as to where he’s best placed. Good size, strength and quickness, a space-eater that can tie up two blockers at the line. He’s said to be an intense guy that plays through every whistle. Not a movement guy or a real factor in pass rush. Two major concerns – character (once assaulted a cop after a night of clubbing) and intelligence (doesn’t have the best recognition skills, and he bombed a 13 on the Wonderlic). Those issues could drive him down the board on draft day.