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2015 NFL Draft rankings: Top 10 defensive tackles

Ranking the top 10 defensive tackles in this year's NFL Draft.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
1. Leonard Williams (USC) | 6-foot-5, 302 pounds

Many consider Williams to be not only the top defensive tackle, but the No. 1 overall prospect in this year’s draft. He’s truly a gifted athlete with elite power. The way he latches on and throws offensive linemen to the side will certainly "wow" you on tape, and I’d have to imagine he’s selected within the top two picks.

Projection: Top-5 pick (CBS Sports)
Grade: 7.6 (NFL.com)

2. Danny Shelton (Washington) | 6-foot-2, 339 pounds

Shelton is huge. He’ll likely be limited to playing nose tackle in a 3-4 system, but I believe a team like the Cleveland Browns will jump on him with one of their top-20 picks. His strength jumps out at you on tape, and while he’s inconsistent as a pass rusher, there’s no doubt that he’ll be a dominant run-stuffer at the next level.

Projection: Top-15 pick (CBS Sports)
Grade: 6.4 (NFL.com)

3. Carl Davis (Iowa) | 6-foot-5, 320 pounds

Davis is freakishly quick for his size and one of my favorite DTs in the draft. His production wasn’t all there at Iowa, but he’s been making a name for himself since the Senior Bowl. Davis is a great talent, but there has been speculation putting his character into question, which could cause him to slide down teams’ draft boards.

Projection: 2nd round (CBS Sports)
Grade: 5.9 (NFL.com)

4. Malcom Brown (Texas) | 6-foot-2, 319 pounds

There is a lot to like about Brown. The talent is there, but the consistency isn’t. He’s a raw athlete who shows flashes of greatness. He displays great awareness against the run by keeping his head up and locating the ball at all times. Teams will likely question his motor, but if he can put all of his tools together and show that he’s more than just a rotational player, then he can be a force to be reckoned with in a 4-3 system.

Projection: 1st round (CBS Sports)
Grade: 6.2 (NFL.com)

5. Xavier Cooper (Washington State) | 6-foot-3, 293 pounds

Cooper is a supreme athlete, and it comes as no surprise to hear that he’s a former tight end/basketball player. He wins with his explosiveness and timing off the snap while using his active hands to shed blocks. My main concern with Cooper would be his tendency of getting a little too high in his stance after his initial penetration. Turn on his tape against Oregon and you’ll see a dominant force with a bright future.

Projection: 2nd round (CBS Sports)
Grade: 5.4 (NFL.com)

6. Eddie Goldman (Florida State) | 6-foot-4, 336 pounds

Goldman is another guy who I view as more of a nose tackle than a 4-3 guy. He has plenty of power at the point of attack, but was seldom asked to take on double teams. When he did face double teams… there weren’t many instances where he could split it. However, despite the obvious concerns as a pass rusher, Goldman is very powerful with violent hands and does a nice job of filling gaps and stuffing the run.

Projection: 1st-2nd round (CBS Sports)
Grade: 6.2 (NFL.com)

7. Arik Armstead (Oregon) | 6-foot-7, 292 pounds

Armstead is a bit of a tweener who is all sorts of raw. Teams will have to be patient with him and decide whether he’s a better fit as a 3-4 defensive end or a 4-3 DT. His production saw a major improvement last year, but he still struggles at shedding blocks and winning at the point of attack. I see Armstead as a player with an extremely high ceiling but also a very low floor at the next level.

Projection: 1st-2nd round (CBS Sports)
Grade: 6.4 (NFL.com)

8. Grady Jarrett (Clemson) | 6-foot-1, 304 pounds

Jarrett is very explosive off the snap and has arguably the best first step in this DT class. Despite his frame, he looks a bit undersized on tape, and if he doesn’t get that initial burst off the snap, he tends to get wiped out of the play. However, Jarrett is a high-motor player who battles through the whistle and will fit perfectly as a situational pass rusher in a one-gap system.

Projection: 3rd round (CBS Sports)
Grade: 5.8 (NFL.com)

9. Michael Bennett (Ohio State) | 6-foot-2, 293 pounds

Like Jarrett, Bennett is a true pass rusher who uses his quickness and timing off the snap to punish teams. He’s an intelligent player with a variety of moves in his arsenal and does a great job of getting low and gaining leverage at the point of attack. I question whether he’ll be anything more than a situational pass rusher at the next level, but he’ll be a nice option for anyone looking for a one-gap rusher on Day 2 of the draft.

Projection: 2nd-3rd round (CBS Sports)
Grade: 6.0 (NFL.com)

10. Jordan Phillips (Oklahoma) | 6-foot-5, 329 pounds

Phillips is a very intriguing talent who could be selected as high as the first round or as low as Day 3 depending on his medical reports. He’s as inconsistent as they come. If you watch his tape against Tennessee or Clemson, he looks like an absolute monster and a no-brainer of a first-round pick. Then you put on his tape against TCU and you’d consider him an undrafted free agent. The talent is clearly there; it’s just a matter of being consistent and staying healthy.

Projection: 1st-2nd round (CBS Sports)
Grade: 6.2 (NFL.com)

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