Want to make the New York Giants middle linebacker look a lot better, no matter who it turns out to be? Get a pair of defensive tackles in front of him who can swallow up blockers, keep him clean and let him fly to the football without having to shed a bunch of blockers.
Though I bypassed UCLA defensive tackle Brian Price in our Mock Draft, I steadfastly believe a run-stuffing force at defensive tackle would be a tremendous addition to the Giants' 2010 defense.
While doing the Daily NFL Draft Prospect Profile series I have touched on a number of players who might fill that role. Today, let's focus on another one.
East Carolina's 6-foot-5, 328-pound Linval Joseph is a junior who is entering the draft a year early. NFL Draft Scout calls him a player who "looks like a nose tackle but plays like a three-technique."
Joseph is an intriguing talent, and he is likely to be available in the middle to late rounds. He might be worth a shot if the Giants get to the fourth or fifth round and they have not yet addressed adding someone to the defensive tackle mix.
Let's take a closer look.
In the video above the one thing I see is a guy who runs well and seems to have excellent side-to-side quickness for his size.
Linval Joseph Scouting Reports
From the National Football Post.
A tall, thickly built defensive tackle who fills out his frame well, Joseph possesses an above-average first step for his size but allows his pad level to get too high on contact. ... Showcases some natural power and quickness when trying to fight his way into the backfield and penetrate his way inside. ... An athletic kid for his size, but he needs to play with a lower pad level in order to maximize his potential. He made a lot of plays vs. Conference USA competition this year but wasn't nearly as effective vs. the better conferences on the schedule. He needed another year but has some upside.
Joseph is a big body who could line up at nose tackle in a 3-4 front or interior defender in a 4-3 scheme. He is somewhat one dimensional as a run defender. He flashes ability to anchor well when he keeps his pads down but can be very inconsistent in this area. He has strong arms and hands to control blockers but can be slow to shed to the pile. He has decent quickness between the tackles but lacks range outside the box. He flashes power to collapse the pocket as a bull rusher but needs to expand his pass-rush package to become more effective in this area. Joseph has enough size and strength to push for a starting role along the defensive line, but weight and durability concerns likely will affect his draft status.
From NFL Draft Scout.
Joseph's potential is intriguing, but there are questions about his functional strength and stamina, which could limit his value to some teams. Others might end up drafting him higher than his ability warrants because of a pressing need at the position.
Looks like a nose tackle but plays like a three-technique, penetrating and getting consistent pressure when fresh. Good closing speed for his size ... Adequate anchoring against double-team blocking due to thick legs and a wide upper body and will move to the ball carrier after he's through the line ... Surprising quickness off of the snap for his size ... Length and wide body allows him to engulf players in his path. Gives effort to chase, can be effective when well rested.
Why Joseph fits with the Giants
Because he is a run stuffer, a guy who can help anchor what was a very soft middle for the Giants in 2009. Who really cares if there are stamina concerns? I don't. Any defensive tackle the Giants bring in is going to play limited snaps as part of a rotation, anyway, so that is not a problem. Plus, many of the reports indicate he is just beginning to tap into his potential. To me he is intriguing. Even as a guy who might be looked at as a long-term replacement for someone like Rocky Bernard, or even Chris Canty if he flops again. Seems like he has some technique issues that can be corrected with quality coaching.
Why the Giants should pass
Because Joseph has struggled in the past to keep his weight down. You don't want to draft guys and watch them eat their way out of the league.