2016 Preseason All-American Projections: Defensive Tackles

By Charlie Campbell
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Heading into the 2016 college football season WalterFootball.com will debut our projections for the nation’s leaders during the fall. The All-American teams always have some surprises and the stars of next fall could be the headlining players next May in the 2017 NFL Draft.

First-Team Defensive Tackles:

Malik McDowell, Michigan State

Last season, the Michigan State front seven was superb and McDowell enjoyed a breakout year. At times, he was the Spartans’ most disruptive defensive lineman. He totaled 41 tackles with 13 for a loss, 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and a pick-six on the year. McDowell finished 2015 in excellent fashion and could be even better this season. He enters 2016 as one of the top interior defensive linemen in the nation.

Davon Godchaux, LSU

Godchaux (6-4, 293) was very disruptive for LSU in 2015. He totaled 41 tackles with nine for a loss, six sacks and a pass broken up during the regular season. Godchaux is fast and explosive at the point of attack. He has a lot of potential and could be poised for a big year. Entering the 2016 season, Godchaux is one of the top interior pass-rushers in the nation.

Second-Team Defensive Tackles:

Charles Walker, Oklahoma

Walker is a player who could rise. He had an impressive 2015 season with 36 tackles, six sacks and a forced fumble. The 6-foot-2, 299-pounder finished the year in impressive fashion. Considering Walker was part of a rotation last year, he could produce even more in 2016 with more playing time. He also is motivated to produce a big year as he has already suggested he plans on being in the NFL a year from now.

Chris Wormley, Michigan

Michigan had a tough defense in 2015 led by a tremendous defensive line, and Wormley was the Wolverines’ leading defender. He recorded 43 tackles with 6.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for a loss on the year. At 6-foot-5, 303 pounds, Wormley has versatile size to play in a either a 4-3 or a 3-4 defense. He can be a defensive end or tackle in Michigan’s 4-3 scheme. With Taco Charlton and other good talent around Wormley, it will be hard for offenses to double team him. Thus, Wormley could be even better as a senior.

Third-Team Defensive Tackles:

Carlos Watkins, Clemson

Watkins was a tough interior defender for Clemson in 2015 and was part of the team’s forceful defensive line. On the year, he totaled 34 tackles, 7.5 tackle for a loss, 3.5 sacks, one interception and three passes batted. Prior to his junior year, Watkins was a backup, so he could be even better as a senior now that he has a year of experience.

Montravius Adams, Auburn

There were times last year when Adams was tremendous and looked like he could be a special player. Adams had 44 tackles, three for a loss, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one pass broken up in 2015. He flashed serious speed and disruptive ability. The 6-foot-4, 296-pounder has an interesting body type that could fit as a 4-3 three-technique or a 3-4 defensive end. If Adams is more consistent with his motor and production, he could be capable of a huge 2016 season.

Honorable Mentions: Florida’s Caleb Brantley, Oklahoma State’s Vincent Taylor, Alabama’s Dalvin Tomlinson, Michigan’s Taco Charlton, Missouri’s Josh Augusta, Notre Dame’s Isaac Rochell, UCLA’s Eddie Vanderdoes, Utah’s Lowell Lotulelei, LSU’s Christian LaCouture and Iowa’s Jaleel Johnson.

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