Texas defensive tackle Chris Whaley caught my eye last year. He didn’t declare as a junior, but he’ll be part of the 2014 draft. And he’s one to monitor.
He’s 6-3 and 295lbs. Whaley only has a couple of sacks this season, but he also has two touchdowns — one on an interception versus Oklahoma, another following a fumble recovery against Kansas.
If we’re looking for difference making athletes with size and length — and the Seahawks nearly always are — Whaley should be on our radar. He’s a former high school running back (see: Henry Melton — also a former Longhorn) who had 6,174 career prep rushing yards and 79 touchdowns.
In fact he was recruited to play the position before a switch to defensive end and then eventually tackle.
As Carter Strickland notes, the NFL has been forecast for Whaley for some time:
“Chris Whaley will end up being in the NFL, I think.”
(Mack) Brown did not utter those words about any other player in 2011. He made passing mention to Kenny Vaccaro’s NFL decision, as well as a few other comments on players. But never did he so firmly comment on the player’s future potential beyond Texas.
He reminds me a lot of Lamarr Houston, yet another former Texas prospect who ended up with the Raiders. Houston was one of my favourite players in the 2010 draft — an athlete with size who was versatile enough to play in several positions on the D-line.
In a year without a lot of top end defensive tackle talent, Whaley could go earlier than people currently expect. Right now he deserves a very solid second or third round grade, with the potential to go earlier.
Meanwhile another defensive tackle has made it clear he intends to declare for 2014.
South Carolina’s Kelcy Quarles has seven sacks so far this year — and has no doubt benefited from the presence of Jadeveon Clowney. Tony Pauline is a big fan, but I’ve not had a chance to really study him so far.
His production is clearly impressive. It’ll be interesting to see if the tape matches up.