Daniel McCullers Scouting Report
Daniel McCullers, 6-6/348
By Charlie Campbell
Overwhelming size and strength
Can't be moved off line of scrimmage
Powerful bull rush
When he plays with good pad level, he can bully offensive linemen
Constantly fills his gap
Requires multiple blockers
Perfect fit as a zero-technique in a 3-4
Must work on leverage, gets too high too often
Not much pass-rushing production
Will need to be rotated to stay fresh
Disappears for stretches
The mammoth McCullers was a presence in the SEC over the past two seasons. While he didn't put up the biggest of stat lines, he was one of the more challenging interior defensive linemen in college football's best conference. With his huge size and strength, McCullers ate up double-teams and plugged running lanes. He probably would be ranked higher if the other Tennessee defenders had made more plays around him and if the Volunteers had won more games.
McCullers started out his college career at Georgia Military College. He recorded 37 tackles, nine tackles for a loss and two sacks there in 2011. McCullers had 27 tackles, four tackles for a loss and a forced fumble in 2010.
In his debut for Tennessee in 2012, McCullers started well with a good game against Florida with three tackles and a tackle for a loss. He also had some pass pressure versus the Gators. In other games McCullers would flash, but wasn't consistent enough. He totaled 39 tackles, 5.5 tackles for a loss, a pass broken up, a forced fumble and a blocked kick for the year.
The lack of consistency remained in 2013. In 2013, McCullers totaled 33 tackles with 4.5 tackles for a loss, one pass batted and .5 sacks. The senior didn't make the strides many expected. He did have some good games, but had too many stretches of quiet play.
At the Senior Bowl, McCullers, who carries his weight surprisingly well, flashed. He showed some a monster bull rush when he played with good leverage. When McCullers stands up too high, offensive linemen win the battle, so if McCullers lands with good coaching, his best football could be ahead of him.
For the NFL, McCullers will be a nose tackle in a 4-3 or 3-4 defense. In a 4-3, he would be a good nose to eat up a guard and a center to free up a speed-rushing three-technique next to him. In a 3-4, McCullers would be a natural zero-technique to line up over the center.
McCullers won't ever put up a big sack total, but he should be a good run-defender who eats up blockers to free up other linemen and linebackers. McCullers also could cause disruption at the point of attack. He will probably be a mid-round pick, but could develop into a player who is a quality contributor.
Player Comparison: Shaun Rogers.
The massive tackle Rogers is similar to McCullers even though the latter is bigger. Both offer more speed than is typical for such large nose tackles. In his good years, Rogers (6-4, 350) would be a potential model for McCullers. After being a second-round pick for the Lions in 2001, Rogers played for four teams over 11 seasons. He flashed dominance at times while never seeming to consistently play up to his potential. McCullers could follow that trend.
Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Green Bay, New England
There are a lot of potential landing spots for McCullers in the first half of the 2014 NFL Draft. The Falcons want to get bigger and more physical on their lines, and McCullers would help Atlanta do that defensively. The Falcons need some talented youth at tackle.
The Bears could be a potential landing spot for McCullers as they need a lot of help at defensive tackle. He would be a nose tackle and run-stuffer for Mel Tucker.
The Cowboys have to get some help at defensive tackle, although Rod Marinelli typically prefers tackles who are shorter and speedy gap-shooters. McCullers could be a nose tackle for Marinelli and would give Dallas a zero-technique if the team switches back to a 3-4 in a year's time.
Pittsburgh would be a great fit for McCullers. The Steelers need a long-term replacement for Casey Hampton, and McCullers would be a natural zero-technique for them. He could be a good choice if Pittsburgh addresses a different position in Round 1.
Green Bay may not re-sign B.J. Raji, and McCullers would be a nice fit as an end or nose tackle in the Packers' defense. New England could use some size for the interior of its defensive line, and McCullers would be a good understudy to Vince Wilfork.
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