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Published on 02/17/2012 at Fri Feb 17 12:03.

Good afternoon once again, Broncos fans.  It’s Friday and that means more NFL Draft Talk.  Today marks the second installment of Prospect Perspective with this week’s focus being dedicated to a position where the Broncos seemingly always need talent:  defensive tackle.

The player in question:  Penn State DT — Devon Still.

Devon Still: The NFL's Next Ferocious DT?

After starting his collegiate career with two injury hampered seasons that limited him to one game, Devon Still finished strong with a healthy 38 game streak to complete his tenure with the Nittany Lions.   Still’s pressure and play allowed him to amass 55 tackles (17 for loss) and 4.5 sacks in his Senior Campaign which solidified his selection as the Big 12’s Defensive Player of the Year and Defensive Lineman of the Year.  Additionally, Still was a Bednarik and Outland Trophy Finalist.

Still’s incredible play over the last two seasons have made his expectations even bigger, especially if he is to follow his cousins (Art Still and Levon Kirkland) lead in the NFL.  Whether or not he lives up to those expectations is a different question.  Listed below is a statistical overview of Still’s time at Penn State along with my personal scouting report on his skills and how they will translate into the NFL.

Career Statistics
2007 RS
2008 1 0 0.0 0.0
2009 13 19 5.5 2.0
2010 13 39 10.0 4.0
2011 13 55 17.0 4.5
Totals 40 113 32.5 10.5

Scouting Report

Strengths:  Fantastic bloodlines.  Ability to take on and play through a double-team.  Superb run stuffer and is known for making plays in the backfield – signified by his high percentage of tackles for loss.  Uses hands well and is fairly consistent with shedding off blocks.  Great size and strength allow for him to overpower smaller blockers.  Unparalleled bull rusher.  A sound tackler that plays hard and through the last whistle.  Good quickness and agility for a man his size.  Battle-tested and saw well over 700 snaps each of the past two seasons.

Weaknesses:  Marginal explosion off the line of scrimmage and average closing speed, which may impact his ability to rush the passer in the NFL.  Significant injury history (listed below), which will raise flags during medical examinations.  Dominated lesser competition, but too often loses battles in the trenches to superior offensive lineman who get off the line better.  Could improve upon his pass-rushing moves, especially the swim.  Inconsistent motor and tends to get worn down late in games – could improve with better conditioning.

Injuries: Torn ACL and MCL (2007 — Redshirt)  Broken Ankle (2008)

Round Projection: First-Round

How He Fits in Denver:  There is a lot to like about Still who has drawn favorable comparisons to Vikings standout Defensive Lineman Kevin Willliams, but it is one I do not agree with.  If Still can improve his consistency, movement off the line and become more seasoned in his pass-rushing moves, the sky is the limit.  In my opinion, Still would benefit best in the NFL in a one-gap scheme.  Overall, Devon would be a welcomed addition to our defensive line, but I feel we need a player who is more consistent at rushing the passer and see Still struggling in that regarding in the NFL.  Still is currently slated to be a first-round pick and is a consensus Top 3 defensive tackle in this class.

Compares To:  Marcus Stroud, DT — Jacksonville Jaguars

  • 5280

    I would be happy with Still, but ideally, i like to see denver make a huge move and try(if its possible) to trade up as far as they can to land quinton coples. I know he’s listed as a DE but his senior year when he was moved to DE wasn’t really his best year and he kind of struggled. in the previous years as a DT is when he shined and looked like the DL that we all think should be taken in the top ten of the draft. Even Mayock would agree that if you put his seniour season game tape on he doesn’t even look like a 3rd rounder unless your talkin about the senior bowl where he looked dominant. That being said, i really think that if denver can get someone to trade with them in the first 10 to 15 picks they might be able to land him and still play him as a DT with spot work as a DE. Really, if you look at Denvers depth chart, who do they really have that can make a real impact as a DE next season on their roster right now? Robert Ayers? Ayers held his own this year and made some important plays, but he isnt a dominant force that needs to be game planned around.  Doom is the only probowl impact type DE denver has. So I think that its obvious they need to get a DE, but that really doesnt need to happen until the 2nd round or later. One guy they can probably pick up from the 2nd round on that might be able to bolster their depth and make an impact right away would be Andre Branch. he’s obviously not as gifted as Von Miller but he has that type of talent where he can be put in many places and still get in the backfield and make a play. He’s fast and can get up field quickly and he also plays aggressive and mean.  the other DT i would like to see Denver take is Brandon Thompson. Denver really needs help with stopping the run and Thompson has a knack for doing so. he can be the guy who is the anchor in the middle who can clog the line of scrimmage and he’s quick enough to make his guy miss and get in the backfield. he makes it possible for the LB’s to swarm to the ball.Those are just a few guys i like. i think it’ll be really hard for denver to disappoint this year in the draft because theres a lot of guys they can take and be okay.

  • DTandED

    i like devon still but injuries could be a problem

  • Anonymous

    I think we need DT help, not DE help in the draft (except for depth later on). Remember, Ayers was a DE in college, but McDaniels drafted him to be a LB, and then tried to transition him into a LB, which he was never comfortable playing. Last year, we finally saw Ayers being a DE, which is his natural position. It’s his first time being a true DE in a 4-3 scheme, while in the NFL.

    Ayers looked 10 times the 4-3 DE as he did at any time, and in any scheme as a LB. I think Ayers will only grow from here. 1st year DE dominance is tough to come by, so Ayers not dominating isn’t surprising or concerning. He needs to adjust to the speed from the DE position, and then keep working on fine tuning his skill. I honestly think the sky is the limit with Ayers, so I wouldn’t even bother drafting a DE in the first few rounds. Him and Doom will be a great duo for years to come. We need DL and secondary help like you wouldn’t believe.

    Bunkley and Thomas should be re-signed because they are solid, if not very consistent (I’m looking at you Thomas). If we could get Coples and have him be his natural position of DT, then I think we’d have a special kid, and our line would be vastly improved. I think that it’s always a mistake to try to make someone change positions either late in college, or in the pros. Defensive Ends are Defensive Ends, NOT Linebackers. Defensive Tackles are Defensive Tackles, NOT Ends. If we got Coples and kept him as a DT, fantastic. If we try to have him play as a DE, we’re in trouble and might as well draft someone else.

    Still has the pedigree which should never be overlooked, yet never be so relied upon that you “overly reach” for a player. That being said, his pedigree alone should land him in the top 2 rounds. Combine that with his skills, and it’s easy to see why he’s a 1st round prospect. I think he would do great for us, primarily because his desire is there. Conditioning will be an issue his rookie year, as it is with all rookies, but I think that he can overcome that entering year 2. If he can get good conditioning, I think he’ll be a steal in the later half of the 1st round, because honestly, when it comes to interior linemen, it’s all about guys with the desire, determination, and the “want to” that separates the dominant ones and the so-so ones. I want a guy with fire to play on our line, even if he has deficiencies. I’d take that guy over the talented yet undetermined player any day.

    What made Al Wilson so great? It wasn’t his size (undersized), it wasn’t his speed (good but not great), it was his FIRE and his ATTITUDE and his LEADERSHIP that made him so freaking dominant. I know he was a linebacker and not a lineman, but the same thing applies. He overcame deficiencies with his intangibles. That’s what made him great, and that is what could make Devon Still great as well. I think either guy would be a great pickup by us. I wouldn’t give up too much to move higher in the draft though, as we have so many holes that we need all the “higher” round picks as we can get, so trading our 1st and either 2nd or 3rd/4th just to move up in the 1st is a bad idea in my opinion. There are just too many holes to fill, and it’s just too risky to try to fill them with 5th rounders and undrafted free agents. Yes, there are exceptions to every rule, but we need to think that we will get the “standard”, not the “exception” when we take gambles.