Of all the positions to quantify with stats, defensive tackle is one of the toughest. Whether you’re a nose tackle in a 3-4 alignment or one of two tackles in a 4-3 scheme, the defensive tackle’s primary job is to absorb blockers. The elites, however, not only demand double teams but can shed those blocks and still create pressure on the quarterback or push the running back outside. The transcendent of these players - think Ndamukong Suh, Aaron Donald, Ed Oliver - obliterate their double teams and rack up sack and pressure numbers like a defensive end. A truly transcendent tackle is hard to fine, and while Jordan Elliott wasn’t quite to that level, his ability to force the pocket into the quarterback’s chin was unprecedented in 2019. In fact, he was the third rated defensive lineman according to Pro Football Focus.
Here’s Elliott’s career stats:
Like I said, numbers aren’t everything. 18 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks aren’t eye-popping, but take a look at any game from the 2019 season and you’ll consistently see Elliott slashing through the interior.
Towards the end of the year that was used again him, as offenses schemed around his line-busting abilities and either played away from his spot or schemed quick passes and screens to the non-Elliott side. The more talented lines - such as Florida and Georgia - were able to contain him to a certain degree but he was still able to make an impact.
I’m not going to pretend that I can scout a college player as far as fit and scheme for an NFL team, but Elliott does seem like an NFL-caliber tackle. His performance against the SEC elites is more comparable to what he’ll see in the NFL, but he’s still able to consume blocks and open up an end or linebacker to make the play. He’s not disruptive in the passing game in regards to swatting passes down and he shouldn’t be relied upon to track down a ball carrier over a distance of 10+ yards. But his ability to control the block and demand double teams is excellent, and if he can improve on his quickness off the ball, he could find himself in the league for a long time.