Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Alameda Ta'amu: 5 Biggest Strengths and Weaknesses of 2012 NFL Draft Prospect

Alameda Ta'amu has one thing that teams covet in the National Football League: prototypical size for a nose tackle.

This position has taken on added importance over the course of the last few seasons, which leads teams to select for need more than value.

Now, I am not concluding that the Washington product wouldn't represent value in the middle rounds. On the contrary, I really like the way Ta'amu plays.

Here are five strengths and weaknesses as they relate to his game translating to the NFL.

Strength: Stops the Run, Acts Like an Anchor

Alameda Ta'amu might not be much more than a space-eater in the National Football League, but that might be all that is asked of him.

The huge nose tackle helps in run defense merely with his presence on the football field. He enables linebackers to go in another direction rather than be relied on to stop the run. This has a trickle-down effect for the entire defense.

Also, 3-4 teams can slot the Washington product in as a nose tackle and not have to worry too much about teams running up the gut against them.

Weakness: Lacks Discipline

One major issue with regard to Alameda Ta'amu is the fact that he plays undisciplined at the line of scrimmage, which should be a huge red flag for 3-4 defenses looking to draft him.

Just view the embedded video for a second, and you will know what I am talking about. His head is down far too often, which disables his ability to read the play and actually be a consistent force in the trenches.

He also tends to jump the gun by going up the field rather than maintaining the gap in the trenches. This takes him out of the play and opens up a hole for the running back to plow through.

It is this type of play that has led me to believe that he shouldn't go before the third round in the draft.

Strength: Extremely Strong at Point of Contact

Alameda Ta'amu isn't just a huge figure along the interior of the defensive line; he is as strong as they come.

This is a prospect that will consistently move the line, forcing the pocket to close quickly on the quarterback and disabling the running backs' ability to run up the gut.

This was a consistent theme in watching game film of the Washington product in college. What he does is force blocking schemes to focus on him, leaving oncoming pass-rushers the ability to go up against single-teams a majority of the time.

Weakness: Position Specific

In relation to defensive line prospects, one thing that a lot of scouts look at is whether they can play multiple positions in multiple schemes.

Alameda Ta'amu just doesn't have this ability.

He lacks the speed and technique to play outside like some of the best defensive tackles in the National Football League. Moreover, Ta'amu seems to be best suited to play nose tackle in a 3-4 scheme.

While a team running a 4-3 scheme like the Kansas City Chiefs might take a look at him, he just doesn't seem suited to play in that type of defense.

Strength: Fills the Gap

This fits right in with what I said about his ability to act as an anchor.

Alameda Ta'amu will be a force, simply because he helps outside defenders to go up against single blockers a great majority of the time.

Ta'amu will not be moved off the line of scrimmage much, if at all. He will take up two blockers, force the running back outside and cause issues with regard to the quarterback's ability to have a clean throwing lane between the hashes.

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