DRAFT 2008: DEFENSIVE TACKLES

Glenn Dorsey, a defensive tackle from Louisiana State University, is one of the top players available in the 2008 NFL Draft. Although questions have continued the past two months about his injury situation, few observers and analysts doubt he will be the first player selected at his position.

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Dorsey Expected to be Top Defensive Tackle Selected in NFL Draft

INDIANAPOLIS – Throughout the past two months, Glenn Dorsey has heard questions. He has heard rumors. He has heard speculation.

About his knee. About his ability to play at a high level long-term in the NFL.

On Saturday, he'll hear something else:

His name called.

And he'll likely hear it very, very early in the 2008 NFL Draft.

Dorsey, a defensive tackle from Louisiana State University, is one of the top players available in the draft, and has been considered as such since before his final collegiate season. And although questions have continued through the off-season about injuries, few observers and analysts doubt he will be the first player at his position selected, and one of the first four or five selected overall.

As for the questions and speculation about his health, he said he can't control the situation. And he said it shouldn't be an issue.

"Everybody is going to have their opinion on what they think about me and my game," Dorsey said at the NFL Scouting Combine at the RCA Dome in downtown Indianapolis in late February.

"As long as I'm taking care of my business, that is all that matters to me. I have not missed a game since I got to LSU. Everybody gets bruised up. That's the way I look at it. Who does not go through a season without getting bumps and bruises?

"I don't think it's an issue at all. I've played every game since I've been at LSU, my whole four years, so I do not think it's a problem at all."

Still, speculation has surrounded Dorsey since the combine, when rebecame public that he sustained what he called a "hairline fracture" of his right tibia while at LSU.

Dorsey did not work out at the combine, opting to perform for NFL scouts and coaches at LSU's Pro Day on April 3. The workout was attended by more than 125 NFL scouts, coaches and officials and more than 100 members of the media.

"We think he's fine,'' Kansas City Chiefs President Carl Peterson, whose team holds the No. 5 selection and who attended the workout with Head Coach Herm Edwards, told USA Today that day. "He had some issues this year and played through it. He's a tough guy.''

Even with the issues, Dorsey is considered a franchise-level tackle, and some analysts and observers believe he could still be the first overall player selected in the draft. Most mock drafts have him being selected by Atlanta with the third overall selection while few have him falling past the Oakland Raiders at No. 4.

"I saw him last year at his best against Notre Dame when he was healthy and he's a force," Colts President Bill Polian said at the combine. "He can do it all. He can stop the run. He can rush the pass. He can beat you one-on-one. I'm not sure there are many people that can win a battle one-on-one against him in pass protection. To have a player inside like that that's a force is good, positive."

Said St. Louis Rams Executive Vice President of Player Personnel Billy Devaney, whose team holds the No. 2 selection, "Love Dorsey as a player – think he's an impact guy. He's an every-down guy, first, second and third. He elevates people around him, makes them better.

"His passion for the game, his work ethic – the guy's going to be a great pro."

Dorsey parlayed that passion and work ethic into a standout collegiate career. A two-time All-America selection, he played extensively all four seasons, starting 13 of 14 games this past season and playing with a hamstring injury early in the season, then with a sprained right knee through the final six games. He also had a sore back at times, but finished the season with 69 tackles and a career high seven sacks.

"I think that says a lot about him because there were probably a lot of games where he shouldn't have played," Raiders Head Coach Lane Kiffin said. "You could really see the injury and really see him laboring because of the injury. To me that shows a lot about him."

With less than a week remaining before the draft, such comments sound better to Dorsey than the questions about something he said shouldn't be an issue at all.

"When you are one of the top players, a lot of people are looking for negatives," Dorsey said. "Even with (people) saying I have injury problems, I played every game at LSU for four years. I don't have injury problems. Who doesn't get hurt during the year?

"You want to be that guy that gets his name called first. You want to set yourself up to go as high as possible. That would be a dream. That is the ultimate goal."

Breaking Down the Top Defensive Tackles

Louisiana State Glenn Dorsey is widely considered the top player in a solid class of defensive tackles in the 2008 NFL Draft, with Southern California defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis also generally considered a potential top five selection. Ellis has been projected as high as No. 5 overall to the Kansas City Chiefs, with few observers and analysts believing he will slip past Cincinnati at No. 9 overall. Kentwan Balmer of North Carolina generally is considered a solid late first-round selection, while most analysts and observers view Pat Sims of Auburn as an early second-round selection.

Defensive Tackles on the Colts' Roster

Raheem Brock, seventh NFL season; Ed Johnson, second NFL season; Darrell Reid, fourth NFL season; Keyunta Dawson, second NFL season; Quinn Pitcock, second NFL season; Joe Bradley, first NFL season.

THE DEFENSIVE TACKLES

A look at the defensive tackles in the 2008 NFL Draft. Rankings and projected rounds are based on several national draft publications and in no way reflect the opinions of Colts personnel.

Rank, Player, Ht., Wt., School, Projected Round

1, Glenn Dorsey, 6-2, 297, LSU, 1

2, Sedrick Ellis, 6-1, 309, Southern Cal, 1

3, Kentwan Balmer, 6-4, 308, North Carolina, 1-2

4, Pat Sims, 6-2, 310, Auburn*, 1-2

5, Trevor Laws, 6-1, 304, Notre Dame, 1-2

6, Dre Moore, 6-4, 305, Maryland, 1-2

7, Marcus Harrison, 6-3, 317, Arkansas, 2-3

8, Red Bryant, 6-4, 285, Texas A&M, 2-3

9, Ahtyba Rubin, 6-3, 315, Iowa State, 3-4

10, Frank Okam, 6-5, 347, Texas, 3-4

11, DeMario Pressley, 6-3, 301, North Carolina State, 3-4

12, Andre Fluellen, 6-2, 296, Florida State, 3-4

13, Nick Hayden, 6-4, 291, Wisconsin, 4-5

14, Letroy Guion, 6-4, 303, Florida State, 5-6

15, Carlton Powell, 6-2, 292, Virginia Tech, 5-6

16, Maurice Murray, 6-3, 310, New Mexico State, 5-6

17, Keilen Dykes, 6-5, 297, West Virginia, 5-6

18, Lionel Dotson, 6-4, 296, Arizona, 5-6

19, Jason Shirley, 6-5, 330, Fresno State, 6-7

20, Chris Norwell, 6-5, 303, Illinois, 6-7

21, James McClinton, 6-0, 293, Kansas, 6-7

22, Frank Morton, 6-3, 327, Tulane, 6-7

23, Barry Booker, 6-4, 285, Virginia Tech, 6-7

24, Derek Lokey, 6-1, 288, Texas, 6-7

25, Kevin Brown, 6-2, 293, UCLA, 6-7

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