Colts NFL Combine guide: defensive tackles

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SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 15: Jerry Tillery #99 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish rushes against Devin Cochran #77 of the Vanderbilt Commodores at Notre Dame Stadium on September 15, 2018 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Vanderbilt 22-17. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – NFL prospects report to the Combine, or underwear Olympics as it’s sometimes called, this week. Franchises will get the chance to interview players, many of whom teams will be speaking with for the first time. Medical checks are always crucial as well. Last year we saw potential first-round pick Maurice Hurst fall to the fifth round after a medical check brought to light his heart condition. For others, medical checks will be an opportunity to show teams they have recovered from a previous injury and are ready to contribute.

The real fun starts March 1 when workouts officially begin. That Friday we’ll see running backs, offensive linemen and special teamers, positions the Colts solidified through last year’s draft. Saturday we’ll watch quarterbacks, tight ends and wide receivers. Defensive linemen and linebackers will run drills on Sunday, followed by defensive backs on Monday.

While game tape accounts for the majority of a prospect’s evaluation, the Combine is a chance for players to distinguish themselves from the pack. Getting official measurements and times can help teams separate guys who are closely ranked. Though the Combine is far from an end-all-be-all, it will certainly have an impact on most players’ draft stock.

With three draft picks in the first two rounds, and four in the first 90 selections, the Colts have an opportunity to add several more starters to their young nucleus. General manager Chris Ballard’s first two picks last year (Quinton Nelson & Darius Leonard) were elected First-Team All-Pro as rookies. The next Colts star will likely be in Lucas Oil Stadium this weekend.

Colts Draft Picks

First Round – 26th Overall

Second Round – 34th Overall (From Jets)

Second Round – 59th Overall

Third Round – 90th Overall

Fourth Round – 123rd Overall

Fourth Round – 135thOverall (Compensatory)

Fifth Round- 154th Overall

Sixth Round – 187th Overall

Seventh Round – 218th Overall

The Colts received tremendous production last season from a patchwork defensive interior. Denico Autry led the team with 9 sacks and has two more years on his contract. Margus Hunt’s 5 sacks were fourth-most, but the veteran is set to become a free agent and will turn 32 this summer. Team-captain Al Woods was the run-stuffer of the group, but like Hunt, is also an impending free agent that will turn 32 before the season begins. Today’s NFL places added emphasis on pressuring the quarterback from inside. Finding a cornerstone at defensive tackle is a box the Colts need to check.

Christian Wilkins – Senior – Clemson

Listed Height: 6’4”– Listed Weight: 315 lbs

Wilkins was a highly productive three-year starter with excellent quickness, hands and versatility. His character is off the charts. Wilkins needs to increase his power to improve at the point of attack.

Jerry Tillery – Senior – Notre Dame

Listed Height: 6’7”– Listed Weight: 305 lbs

Tillery possesses power and exceptional length, while being an above average athlete at his position. His repertoire of moves expanded in 2018, but his hand usage needs to be more consistent.

Dre’Mont Jones – RS Junior – Ohio State

Listed Height: 6’3”– Listed Weight: 286 lbs

Jones is a gap penetrator, who used good hand technique and impressive all-around athleticism to rack up 8.5 sacks in 2018. He should dominate the Combine, but strength deficiencies hurt him against the run.

Dexter Lawrence – Junior – Clemson

Listed Height: 6’4”– Listed Weight: 350 lbs

Men of Lawrence’s size don’t normally move as well as he does. He’s a run-stuffing nose tackle who can push the pocket, but teams will have questions about a PED suspension that cost him the playoffs.

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