One of the fastest rising prospects and a favorite of mine is Illinois defensive tackle Corey Liuget. Liuget has a lot of potential and in my opinion is the #3 defensive tackle available. Most are projecting Liuget as either a 3 technique or 5 technique both positions that fit his skills. However, I would like to make an argument for yet another possible position and that is nose tackle. Now, I want to make it clear that he is by no means a traditional nose tackle nor will he fit most systems but there is one team where he might fit. The Houston Texans recently added Wade Phillips as their defensive coordinator and Phillips employs his own brand of the 3-4 defensive system. His system includes having a smaller and quicker nose tackle. After the Jump I look at this scenario a little closer.
Liuget and Jay Ratliff have a similar build both about 6-4 and 300lbs with a strong and thick lower half. Liuget has the ideal skills to fit in Phillips’s system in that he has the ability to both penetrate and play two gap football. Liuget is quick off the ball and has good upper and lower half coordination that allows him to slip and penetrate. He also possesses heavy hands that he uses to control and disengage from the offensive line. A key to playing two gap football is the ability to identify the ball carrier and Liuget has good awareness. His awareness coupled with his hand usage allows him to identify and work his way to the ball carrier.
The Texans own the #11 pick in the upcoming draft and many will feel that this is too high for Liuget. However, sometimes you have to go with need over value and looking back on the success Phillips had in Dallas one could argue that Ratliff was a major factor. Lets here your thoughts. Is this too high for Liuget? Do you feel that he would fit the Texans new system?