In Mel Kiper, Jr.’s most recent mock draft, he has the Carolina Panthers selecting LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers with the No. 8 pick overall.
Brockers is massive, standing at 6’6″ and weighing 306 lbs. He is very good at stopping the run but does not possess any real pass-rushing ability, as he only had two sacks in 2011. It makes you wonder how a prospect with such size and speed could only record two sacks in 14 games.
While he can be described as durable by analysts, Brockers has only played in 27 games, starting in 15, in his short career at LSU. In his first year, he redshirted. In his second year, he totaled just 25 tackles with no sacks. Brockers also had the privilege to play with a deep defensive line that allowed him to keep fresh due to all the rest he was given with the line’s rotation.
He was impressive in 2011-12, as he had 54 tackles, one interception and two pass defenses. But are two years in college enough to justify him as a top 10 pick?
In the past five drafts, defensive tackles picked in the top 10 have not fared so well. In 2007, the Houston Texans selected DT Amobi Okoye with the seventh pick. Since then, Okoye has been released by Houston and has caught on with the Chicago Bears, though he has not appeared in a Pro Bowl.
In 2008, the Kansas City Chiefs selected DT Glenn Dorsey with the fifth overall pick. Out of LSU, Dorsey was the 2007 SEC Defensive Player of the Year along with winning the Lombardi Trophy, the Outland Trophy, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and the Lott Trophy. Still, all his success in college did not translate to the NFL, as he is a steady starter, but he is not a Pro Bowler.
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In 2009 and 2010, both DTs B.J. Raji and Ndamukong Suh paid off for the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions. Raji was a Pro Bowler in his second season and Suh, who was the Defensive Rookie of the Year, has since been named to the Pro Bowl in each of his seasons.
Of all the defensive tackles selected in the first round since 1990, only eight of them have made Pro Bowl appearances.
Now, while Brockers may turn out to be a very productive player in the NFL, picking him with the eighth overall pick might be a bit of a reach.
Before last year’s draft, the site nfldraft101.com conducted an analysis on which positions provide the best value when drafting in the first round. After reviewing the last 10 drafts by categorizing the picks by their position (such as QB, WR, RB, etc.) in the first round and giving the player a ”Boom” or a ”Bust” label, it came up with a success rate of each position drafted in the first round.
And this is what nfldraft101.com came up with. In order, the most successful position groups in the first round are: tight ends, offensive linemen, linebackers, defensive backs, defensive ends, defensive tackles, running backs, quarterbacks and wide receivers.
With all of the evidence of a bust for DTs like Brockers, the Panthers might want to think twice about taking him with the eighth pick in this year’s draft.