Close to wrapping up this draft board series, I take a final look at the defensive tackle prospects. Along with OL this is one of the Bears biggest weaknesses on the roster. Tommie Harris never quite regained his 2005 form, and was finally let go. Matt Toeaina took Harris starting spot during the season, but lost it back to Tommie towards the end of the season. Henry Melton has added 14 more pounds of bulk and muscle (at 294 now), but it's a mystery to if he can contribute on 1st and 2nd downs (this is an area where the lock out hurts the Bears), and Marcus Harrison is just about out of the Bears future plans for this defense.
See why I and most draft experts say that a defensive 3 technique for the Bears is just as big of a need as OL. Here's a final look at my top #15 prospects at the defensive tackle position.
#1 Marcel Dareus Alabama- The top defensive tackle in this draft and might be the best defensive lineman in this draft. You can plug him in a 4-3 as a 3 technique defensive tackle or a 5 technique in a 3-4 and he will still be an impact player.
#2 Nick Fairly Auburn- The rise of Dareus has caused Farily stock to dip. I've seen him drop as low as #8 to the Tennessee Titans.
#3 J.J Watt Wisconsin- Might be better suited to play in a 3-4 at defensive end, but some draft experts feel he can transition inside at DT in a 4-3.
#4 Cory Liuget Illinois- The whole Liuget at #29 is not looking too good right now. I've seen him go as high as #14 to the Rams and low as #20 to the Bucs. If he somehow was to be available at #29, it would be a no brainer.
#5 Muhammad Wilkerson Temple- Intriguing, but he might not be available and also seems to be more of a defensive end in the 3-4 than a 4-3 tackle.
#6 Phil Taylor Baylor- If the Bears wants to upgrade the NT position Taylor would be a good choice. Not likely to happen though as they want to re-sign Anthony Adams and Toeaina should get some time this season at that position.
1st round to 2nd round
#7 Stephen Paea Oregon State- Dane pick in the sbnation mock draft, Paea would be worth selecting at #29 even though he's rated by most draft sites as a 2nd round prospect.
#8 Marvin Austin North Carolina- The two defensive tackles that has benefitted from these pre draft workouts are Marcel Dareus and Marvin Austin. Austin is one of the more athletically gifted interior defensive linemen in this draft, but if you saw his highlight tapes you would think he's paying me to say that. Mike Mayock thinks he's going in the first round, I think otherwise.
2nd round to 3rd round
#9 Terrell McClain South Florida- McClain is a prototypical 3 technique DT that is also a potential 3 down lineman. The Bears seem to be highly interested in McClain according to walterfootball.com that has him mock to the Bears with their 2nd round pick.
#10 Kenrick Ellis- Ellis might sneak into the top of the 2nd round as pure 3-4 NT are hard to find.
#11 Drake Nevis LSU- Walterfootball.com has Nevis as a 2nd to 4th round prospect. I don't see Nevis falling all the way to the 4th round even if some teams just look at him as a rotational tackle.
#12 Jarvis Jenkins Clemson- Jenkins is a good prospect that will be on a lot 3-4 teams radars.
3rd round to 4th round
#13 Jurrell Casey USC- Casey stock has dramatically plummet as the pre draft process has went along. He still has good tape out there that reminds you why he was once considered a 1st round prospect.
#14 Lawrence Guy Arizona State- Interesting prospect as he projected to be a 3-4 defensive end, but his ability to pass rush is intriguing. He most likely will go in the 3rd round to a team needing a 5 technique defensive end.
4th to 6th round
#15 Martin Parker Richmond- Known for his quick first step, he's reminds me of the guy the Bears are trying to mold into their next 3 technique Henry Melton.
Mock DT pick for the Chicago Bears: Stephen Paea Oregon State
Paea is rated as a 2nd round prospect, but he certainly has 1st round talent considering he can possibly play on a 3-4 defensive line. He tore his lateral meniscus on the 1st day of the senior bowl so he wasn't able to perform at the combine, but did held a private pro day where Bears new defensive line coach Mike Phair was present putting him through drills. Cut on the highlight tape of Stephen Paea and the first thing that stands out is his incredible strength to drive interior lineman into the quarterback pocket. What's also scary is that he has a quick first step off the line of scrimmage. Paea is relentless against the run to where if he develops more pass rush moves other than the club he can develop into a 3 technique that can potentially play on all 3 downs. I don't think developing more pass rush moves will be a problem considering his high work ethic and he will be coached up by one of the best defensive line coaches in the game in Rod Marinelli.