Rating the top nose tackles in the NFL Draft

Washington defensive tackle Danny Shelton had nine sacks last season.
Washington defensive tackle Danny Shelton had nine sacks last season. The Associated Press

1. Danny Shelton, 6-2, 339, Washington

Bio: Three-year starter who had 93 tackles (16 1/2 for loss), nine sacks and three hurries in 14 games in 2014. Turns 22 this year. 31 3/4-inch arms. 10-inch hands. 5.64 40-yard dash. 34 bench reps. 30.5-inch vertical. 95-inch broad jump. 7.99 3-cone drill. 4.65 20-yard shuttle.

Evaluation: Massive frame with a strong, enormous lower body. Is not a great athlete — will always have to work hard to maintain his body. Surprisingly decent burst off the snap. Closes a little faster on a quarterback than you’d think a man his size would. Can be moved a little by the double team, surprisingly, but is stout. Has good awareness — locks out his arms at the point of attack, finds the football vs. the run and hustles downfield to make tackles. Can sniff out screens. Will lose his balance and fall a little too often. Does not have an array of pass-rush moves but does utilize an interesting little hump move, a swim move and can occasionally collapse the pocket with his raw strength. Gets off the ball pretty good. Strong hands, strong punch. Probably better shooting gaps than being asked to two-gap. Plays very hard, consistently, and always hustles to the ball, which explains his extraordinary statistical production for a nose tackle.

Grade: 6.9

2. Eddie Goldman, 6-4, 336, Florida State

Bio: Two-year starter who had 35 tackles (eight for loss), four sacks, one quarterback hurry, one pass breakup in 14 games in 2014. Turns 21 this year. 33 1/8-inch arms. 10 1/8-inch hands. 5.27 40-yard dash. 19 bench reps. 26-inch vertical. 112-inch broad jump. 7.62 3-cone drill. 4.87 20-yard shuttle.

Evaluation: Massive frame with huge base. Is quick off the ball and generates power through his hips with a strong jolt. Fairly quick on his feet for his size. Flashes stoutness against the double and will occasionally be moved but is general very strong vs. the run. Displays a very effective swim move. Can find the football vs the run. Generates power with his bull rush. Tries different pass rush moves, including a club rip. Is quick looping on stunts. Senses the screen quickly. Has a closing burst to the quarterback. Can defeat single blocks by stacking and shedding when allowed to shoot gaps. Has scheme versatility as a one-gap or two-gap guy; can do both as a nose and is a potential 3-down lineman. Generally plays hard. Limited production is a concern given his talent level.

Grade: 6.9

3. Jordan Phillips, 6-5, 329, Oklahoma

Bio: Two-year starter who had 39 tackles (seven for loss), two sacks, zero hurries, one pass break up in 13 games in 2014. Turns 23 this year. 34 3/4-inch arms. 9 3/8-inch hands. 5.17 40-yard dash. 28 bench reps. 30-inch vertical. 105-inch broad jump. 7.88 3-cone drill. 4.68 20-yard shuttle.

Evaluation: Has a history of back issues. Massive frame, massive base, with long arms to keep linemen off his body. Has good athleticism and gets off the ball quickly for his size. He fits the physical profile of an NFL-caliber two-gapper. OK jolt in his hands — can push the pocket put smaller linemen on skates. Is big and strong enough to hold his ground vs. the double team but needs to get stronger; can be ridden to the ground. Flashes the ability to stack and shed, does an OK job finding the ball. Has a nice little pet swim move in his arsenal, in addition to a spin move. Surprisingly light on his feet for his size; moves when well when drops into zone. Often tries to get his hands up vs. the pass. Can rush the passer some with his size and quickness but needs to disengage quicker vs. the pass. Effort needs to be more consistent — he sometimes gets handled by smaller guys — but you can't teach his natural size and athleticism.

Grade: 6.7

4. Angelo Blackson, 6-4, 318, Auburn

Bio: Rotational guy who started five games this year and had 17 tackles (5 1/2 for loss), three sacks and six hurries in 13 games in 2014. Turns 23 this year. 33 3/4-inch arms. 9 3/4-inch hands. 5.02 40-yard dash. 20 bench reps. 31-inch vertical. 101-inch broad jump. 7.50 3-cone drill. 4.57 20-yard shuttle.

Evaluation: Has a good, strong frame and long arms. Plays with good power and leverage. Sniffs out screens. Hustles pretty good. Does not get moved easily vs. the run. Has some real pop in his hands. Loses his balance more than you'd like. Needs refinement a a pass rusher but has power and plays fairly hard. Flashes potential as a two-gap nose tackle.

Grade: 6.3

5. J.T. Surratt, 6-1, 304, South Carolina

Bio: Two-year starter who had 20 tackles (4 1/2 for loss), one sack, three hurries in 12 games in 2014. Turns 22 this year. 32-inch arms. 10 1/8-inch hands. 5.19 40-yard dash. 29 bench reps. 30-inch vertical. 106-inch broad jump. 7.78 3-cone drill. 4.71 20-yard shuttle.

Evaluation: Short and squatty nose with power and okay burst off the snap. Has short arms but big hands and is surprisingly light on his feet. Knows how to stay low out of his stance and has some jolt in his hands. Is probably a NFL one-tech but might have the power to two-gap. Can get moved some by the double but does a good job finding the football and plays fairly hard. Is limited as a pass rusher.

Grade: 6.2

6. Darius Kilgo, 6-3, 319, Maryland

Bio: Three-year starter who had 43 tackles (eight for loss), two sacks, zero hurries in 13 games in 2014. Turns 24 this year. 5.19 40-yard dash. 33 bench reps. 24-inch vertical. 96-inch broad jump. 7.6 3-cone drill.

Evaluation: Moves well for a man his size and carries his weight well. Shows above-average quickness off the snap. Has some jolt in his hands and power to push the pocket. Is probably better shooting gaps — has the ability to consistently defeat reach and single blocks. Shows surprising closing burst to the quarterback, which contributes to his upside as a pass rusher. Needs to do a better job consistently locating the football. Can also be overwhelmed at the point of attack on doubles — needs to get stronger and become a more consistent tackler. Also needs to develop his pass-rush techniques — has marginal pass-rush production — but has the physical ability to be a starter one day, if he really wants it. Average effort.

Grade: 6.1

7. Joey Mbu, 6-3, 313, Houston

Bio: Three-year starter who had 32 tackles (4 1/2 for loss), 2.5 sacks, five pass deflections and one hurry in 13 games in 2014. Turned 22 this year. 35-inch arms. 9 1/4-inch hands. 5.49 40-yard dash. 21 bench reps. 26-inch vertical. 97-inch broad jump. 7.89 3-cone drill. 4.84 20-yard shuttle.

Evaluation: Big, thickly-built lower body with the long arms you want in a two-gap nose. Only average get off and average effort. Plays around the line of scrimmage too much. Might be better as a gap shooter. Possesses decent closing burst to the quarterback. Is reportedly a high-character individual.

Grade: 6.0

Grading scale

7.1-7.5: Top 10 pick

7.0: 11-20

6.9: 21-32

6.8: Top half of the second

6.7: Bottom half of the second

6.6: Top half of the third

6.5: Bottom half of the third

6.4: Fourth round pick

6.3: Fifth-round pick

6.2: Sixth-round pick

6.1: Seventh-round pick

6.0: Priority free agent

NOTE: All rankings are based on a combination of extensive personal film study, interviews conducted with draft analysts and information gleaned from NFL Network draft broadcasts. Evaluations are cross-checked with multiple draft resources. Measurements and testing results are from the combine and pro days, according to Grades are assigned based on where The Star believes the Chiefs should take each player, based on their needs and scheme-fit.

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