Top 10 DT prospects

Notre Dame's Nix tops ranking of best DTs heading into 2013 season

Updated: August 29, 2013, 11:42 AM ET
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider

Timmy JerniganAP Photo/Chris BernacchiTimmy Jernigan is poised to have a big 2013 season for Florida State.
For years, I've tried to update the top five NFL prospects at each position, for both the junior and senior classes, each week from the beginning of the college football season right up until the draft. Enough of that. This year I decided to do something different. I'll now be ranking the top 10 NFL draft prospects at each position -- with all draft-eligible players included in the same ranking -- just a few times during the season.

For one, it's more helpful to see the juniors, seniors and occasional draft-eligible sophomores all together, just as you see them in the NFL draft. Second, trying to watch enough football and talk to enough evaluators to readjust the rankings every week just got ridiculous.

So here goes with the first version for the 2013 season. The Big Board, of course, will still be updated each week. Below, you have the defensive tackles.

Note that one asterisk denotes a junior; two asterisks denote a draft-eligible sophomore.


1. *Louis Nix III, Notre Dame Fighting Irish

A rare defensive tackle who projects to operate as a two-gap, zero-tech nose tackle in a 3-4 ... but Nix also will show off the quickness to be a 3-technique penetrator in a 4-3. He has a great initial burst for a man his size (in the neighborhood of 340 pounds), and if he gets an arm through he can clear blockers and penetrate. Could be a little more disruptive against the run, but he's going to get better.

Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst