No surprise that Tommie Harris got released yesterday. Since 2007, Tommie Harris hasn't had a significant season and every summer it was always "if Tommie Harris is healthy, he can be this" or "if Tommie Harris is healthy, this defense will be top 5". I'm glad I got to see Tommie Harris dominate for 3 seasons, but I, like many fans, felt it was time to move on. The release of Harris certainly solidified DT as a top need. Yes, the Bears have Anthony Adams (assuming he re-signs), Matt Toeaina, and Henry Melton, but 2 are NT's and 1 is a situational pass rushing DT. The Bears need that dominant disruptive force from the 3 technique to make this defensive line go.
With the defensive tackles finishing up their combine performance over the weekend, this week I will update my defensive tackle rankings.
#1 Nick Fairley, Auburn (6-4 291 pounds) - I almost put Marcell Dareus #1, but I have to stick with Fairley just based off the 2010 season.
#2 Marcell Dareus, Alabama (6-3 319 pounds) - Dareus is maybe my favorite defensive tackle in this draft. The man can play in both the 4-3 and 3-4, and is extremely athletic for his size (4.92 40 at the combine).
#3 Cory Liuget, Illinois (6-2 298 pounds) - 50/50 chance that Liuget falls to us at #29, with teams like St. Louis and Philadelphia picking ahead of us. If Liuget falls to #29 and the top tackles are off the board, I would think that he will be the pick to fill the DT void.
#4 Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple - Wilkerson is a pure 5 technique tackle in the 3-4, and I expect him not to be on the Bears radar.
#5 Phil Taylor, Baylor - Taylor wouldn't fill out his full potential as a 3 technique tackle, but instead as a 3-4 NT.
#6 Drake Nevis, LSU - Nevis is still one of my favorite 4-3 tackle prospects in this year's draft. He has great explosion off the line of scrimmage particularly because he is quick. The problem with Nevis is, can he be a 3 down tackle and not just a rotation tackle because of his size.
#7 Stephen Paea, Oregon State - Paea has moved up my draft board with his performance at the combine. Once he's healthy, I think he can be a pretty good 3 technique with a 4-3 team.
#8 Marvin Austin, North Carolina - The only thing that is dragging Austin down is character concerns because he's an extremely talented athlete.
#9 Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson - Another 3-4 player that most likely won't be on the Bears radar.
#10 Jurrell Casey, USC - Was once considered a 1st round prospect by many mock draft analyses, Casey has seen his stock drastically fall the past couple months all the way to the 4th round.
#11 Lawrence Guy, Arizona State - Guy's athleticism and size makes him an intriguing prospect for 3-4 teams looking for a 5 technique tackle.
#12 Terrell McClain, South Florida - Underrated prospect who performed well during drills at the combine.
#13 Sione Fua, Stanford - Pure Nose Tackle that could be on the radar of the Bears if they don't plan on re-signing Adams.
#14 Kendrick Ellis, Hampton - Another pure Nose Tackle, but Ellis has great physical talent that just needs to be coached up.
#15 Ladi Ajiboye, South Carolina - Late round tackle, that is most likely a developmental project at the next level.
Mock DT pick for the Bears: Marvin Austin, North Carolina
I make this pick because I feel either OT Gabe Carimi or Derrick Sherrod will fall to us with the 1st round pick. Austin, Paea, or Nevis will fall to us in the 2nd round and either one will be solid picks, but Austin has the most potential of the three. I also make this pick because I feel Marinelli can really coach Austin up in that 3 technique defensive tackle position and Austin will respond to a fiery motivational coach like Marinelli. If Rod Marinelli can accomplish this, it will most certainly be a huge steal for the Bears in round 2.