Washington Huskies defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu was pegged early in the 2011 NCAA season as a top-ranked pick for the 2012 NFL Draft. He has fallen in the eyes of many evaluators and analysts, but still figures to be selected in the first couple rounds of the draft.
In the latest mock draft over at Draft Tek, the analysts predict that Ta'amu could go to the Houston Texans late in the second round, as the No. 58 overall pick.
Ta'amu dropped down the Big Board for awhile because, on the tapes I graded, he played entirely too high; however, the big man showed me something during Senior Bowl practices, with an inital quickness off the snap I previously had not seen. There was no doubt about his ability to clog the middle, as his strong, stout interior presence often requires double-team blocks to keep him from collapsing running lanes. Ta'amu has short, thick legs and a thick trunk which aids him in anchoring, and will probably provide more interior pressure than most nose tackle prospects. Texan incumbents Shaun Cody (6'4", 301) and Earl Mitchell (6'3", 289) are warriors, but have worn down as the season progressed. Phillips has had success with undersized nose tackles that play a penetrating, one-gap scheme but the 3-4 works much better if the NT can play a 2-gap scheme and keep blockers away from inside linebackers.
While Ta'amu's stock may have dropped during the offseason, it may actually work out in his favor if he ends up being selected by a contending team that is set up for another postseason run in 2012.
For all news and information regarding the Washington Huskies, please visit UW Dawg Pound. For updates and perspective on the Houston Texans, head on over to Battle Red Blog. For more on the NFL Draft, stay tuned to Mocking The Draft.