The top 2014 nose tackle prospects available for the 2014 NFL Draft. * - denotes 2015 prospect. ** - denotes 2016 prospect.
This page was last updated May 5, 2014.
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Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
Height: 6-6. Weight: 310.
40 Time: 5.02.
Projected Round (2014): 1-2.
5/5/14: Hageman could go in the back half of the first round, but also could slip to the second round. Some teams picking early in the second are doing their homework on Hageman in case he's available.
In 2013, Hageman recorded 38 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss, seven passes broken up, one interception and two sacks. The senior saw his share of double-teams, and at times, those weren't enough to contain him, but he needs to become more consistent. Sometimes, Hageman is unblockable with power and explosion. He has pass-rush ability, but needs to get more consistent pressure on the quarterback. That could improve in the NFL when he isn't facing so many double-teams.
At the Senior Bowl, Hageman had a solid week of practice. He continued to show that he has the power and quickness to overwhelm offensive linemen. Hageman followed that up with a good performance at the Combine. Sources told WalterFootball.com that Hageman did well in the team interviews.
Hageman has a lot of flexibility for NFL defenses. He could play nose tackle in a 4-3 or 3-4 defense while also having the ability to be a five-technique defensive end in a 3-4.
8/10/13: Hageman had an impressive 2012 season and was one of the better interior defensive linemen in the Big Ten. The junior totaled 35 tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss, two passes broken up, one forced fumble and six sacks. He had 13 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble in 2011.
Hageman was backup early in his career after switching to defensive tackle from tight end. If the senior can build on his breakout 2012 season, he could rise up the rankings.
Personal: Majoring in youth studies. Son of Eric Hageman and Jill Coyle.
Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame
Height: 6-2. Weight: 331.
40 Time: 5.42.
Projected Round (2014): 1-2.
5/5/14: Nix had a decent Combine, but he didn't wow anybody. Nix's stock has slid since the end of the season, and he looks likely to go in the back half of the first round. Falling to the second round isn't out of the question for him, but is probably unlikely given a few teams in the 20s that could use a nose tackle. Teams picking early in the second think Nix could get to their pick.
The junior's final season ended in early November after going in for knee surgery. He had been playing with a torn meniscus and went to Dr. James Andrews to have the knee fixed. Nix hired an agent, so he was quick to leave behind his final year of eligibility.
Nix recorded 27 tackles with two tackles for a loss in 2013. He played well against Michigan, totaling four tackles and a tackle for a loss, and was very disruptive at the point of attack. His contribution to the Fighting Irish's pass rush was greater than the numbers indicate. Nix missed the games against Navy and Air Force with his knee injury.
8/10/13: Nix was an animal for Notre Dame in 2012. He was a disruptive force who caused a lot of havoc at the line of scrimmage. The chaos he caused helped his teammates like Stephon Tuitt and Manti Te'o to clean up. Nix totaled 50 tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks, five passes batted and one forced fumble last season.
The numbers don't illustrate how good Nix was for the Fighting Irish. The senior could crack the top half of the first round in the 2014 NFL Draft with a strong 2013 season. Nix also needs to show NFL teams he can maintain good conditioning and be effective over a large amount of snaps.
Nix had a strong sophomore season for Notre Dame, too. He was a tough run-plugger at the point of attack and did a good job of occupying blockers. Nix totaled 45 tackles with 4.5 tackles for a loss, .5 sacks and a pass batted. Head coach Brian Kelly nearly rode Nix out of South Bend in the spring of 2012, removing him from a starting spot. Nix worked his way back into the starting lineup, and it looks to have been a motivational ploy by Kelly.
Personal: Son of Louis Nix and Stephanie Ancrum. Nix has a big personality known by his nickname "Irish Chocolate" and creating a segment of YouTube videos entitled "Chocolate News."
Justin Ellis, DT, Louisiana Tech
Height: 6-1. Weight: 334.
40 Time: 5.27.
Projected Round (2014): 2-4.
5/5/14: Ellis is a sleeper prospect who a lot of teams are high on. He is a heavy tackle who has power at the point of attack. Ellis showed some burst and surprising movement skills at the Combine for a big tackle. The senior recorded 48 tackles, 5.5 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks and a pass batted in 2013. He could be a nice value pick. Sources have told WalterFootball.com that Ellis received a second-day grade and has raised some eyebrows with his athleticism.
Ellis had 21 tackles with two forced fumbles in 2012. As a sophomore in 2011, he was a Second-Team All-WAC selection with 29 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, and one sack.
Personal: Son of Gloria Ellis and Jared Mack.
DaQuan Jones, DT, Penn State
Height: 6-4. Weight: 322.
40 Time: 5.35.
Projected Round (2014): 3-4.
5/5/14: In recent years, Penn State has produced a few good defensive tackle prospects in Devon Still and Jordan Hill. Jones is the latest tackle who could go on the second day of the draft. Jones is a sleeper target who a lot of teams are interested in.
The senior impressed in 2013. He picked up 53 tackles with 11.5 tackles for a loss and three sacks. Jones has some quickness and pass-rush ability. He put more heat on the quarterback than his sack total indicates. Jones was solid, but unspectacular, at the Senior Bowl and Combine. He has added some bulk and opened himself up for consideration to be a 3-4 nose tackle.
Jones started next to Hill in 2012 and recorded 22 tackles with .5 sacks. Jones had eight tackles as a backup in 2011.
Personal: Majoring in criminology. Son of Steve Jones and Vaile Newborn.
Daniel McCullers, DT, Tennessee
Height: 6-7. Weight: 352.
Projected 40 Time: 5.54.
Projected Round (2014): 3-4.
5/5/14: The senior had 33 tackles with 4.5 tackles for a loss, one pass batted and .5 sacks in 2013. He wasn't as good as expected, but played better against Georgia and Florida than he did versus Oregon. McCullers flashed at the Senior Bowl. He can overwhelm offensive linemen with his power and strength. McCullers didn't run at the Combine.
8/10/13: The mammoth McCullers was a presence for Tennessee in 2012. He had a good game against Florida with three tackles and a tackle for a loss. McCullers also had some pass pressure versus the Gators. He totaled 39 tackles, 5.5 tackles for a loss, a pass broken up, a forced fumble and a blocked kick in 2012. McCullers is still raw, but he could turn into something special.
McCullers started out his college career at Georgia Military College. He had 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.
Personal: Majoring in arts and sciences. Son of Donnie McCullers.
DeAndre Coleman, DE/DT, California
Height: 6-5. Weight: 314.
Projected 40 Time: 5.34.
Projected Round (2014): 4-5.
5/5/14: Coleman recorded 40 tackles with nine tackles for a loss and 2.5 sacks this year. He played well for California and did well at the Senior Bowl. Coleman didn't run at the Combine.
8/10/13: California had a rough 2012 season, but he still played solid football. The junior totaled 48 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks and one pass breakup. He totaled 19 tackles with six tackles for a loss and two sacks in 2011.
Coleman could fit as a 3-4 defensive end or a 4-3 defensive tackle in the NFL. He may not be quick enough to play a traditional 4-3 defensive end at the next level.
Personal: Social welfare major. Son of Randy Washington and Deborah Coleman.
Shamar Stephen, DT, Connecticut
Height: 6-5. Weight: 309.
40 Time: 5.25.
Projected Round (2014): 4-6.
5/5/14: Stephen didn't do a lot in his first three seasons at Connecticut, but he was much improved as a senior. Stephen recorded 60 tackles with 10 tackles for a loss and three sacks in 2013. At the Senior Bowl, he flashed at times and was a physical defender at the point of attack. Stephen could play on the edge in a 3-4 defense. He didn't participate in the Combine.
Personal: Economics major.
Beau Allen, DT, Wisconsin
Height: 6-3. Weight: 325.
Projected 40 Time: 5.39.
Projected Round (2014): 5-7.
5/5/14: Wisconsin got a good season out of Allen as he was a tough run-defender at the point of attack. Allen had 20 tackles with two tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks. He could be a nose tackle in a 4-3 or 3-4 defense in the NFL. Allen didn't participate in the Combine.
8/10/13: Allen broke into the starting lineup as a junior and was a solid run-stuffer for the Badgers. He had 37 tackles with 7.5 tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks and two passes defended. Allen chipped in 22 tackles, 5.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks in 2011. He may be best in the NFL as a nose tackle who is mainly used for run defense.
Personal: Majoring in business. Son of Susie and Matt Allen.
Bruce Gaston, DT, Purdue
Height: 6-2. Weight: 303.
Projected 40 Time: 5.35.
Projected Round (2014): 6-FA.
5/5/14: Gaston played well in 2013 and recorded 44 tackles, seven tackles for a loss and three sacks. He didn't take part in the Combine.
8/10/13: Gaston formed a nice interior defensive line for Purdue in 2012 with Kawann Short. The strong and physical Gaston did a nice job of controlling his gap and defending the run. The junior totaled 28 tackles with 5.5 tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles. He had 30 tackles with seven tackles for a loss, three sacks and two passes batted in 2011.
In the NFL, Gaston would probably be best adding weight and playing nose guard in a 4-3 defense.
Personal: Law and society major.
Mister Cobble, NT, Kentucky
Height: 6-0. Weight: 340.
Projected 40 Time: 5.35.
Projected Round (2014): FA.
5/5/14: Cobble notched 25 tackles in 2013. He flashed against Louisville. Cobble didn't participate in the Combine.
8/10/13: Cobble had 25 tackles and two sacks in 2012. He started the year well before an illness sidelined him for a few games. The junior just wasn't the same player for the rest of the season.
Cobble broke out late in 2011 with some impressive games, finishing the season with 33 tackles, three tackles for a loss and one sack. He was a standout in two good defensive efforts for Kentucky in its final two games, against Georgia and Tennessee. The redshirt sophomore totaled six tackles with two tackles for a loss and a sack in those contests.
Personal: Majoring in community communications and leadership development. Son of Cassandra Cobble.
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