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Position U defensive linemen: 2012 draft peek

As a supplement to the "Position U" series, we take a look at the 2012 draft at that position:

A look at the numbers from the past five drafts for defensive linemen shows some interesting figures.

First, NFL teams crave pass-rushers, as evidenced by the 193 picks spent on ends/outside linebackers in the past five years. But studs in the middle pique the NFL's interest, too, as 96 picks have been used on tackles. There have been 31 first-round picks who play end/outside linebacker and 17 who play tackle.

But while the SEC is far and away the leading producer of NFL talent at tackle (25 percent, 24 of 96, of the tackle draftees have been from that league), the Big Ten leads the way at end/outside linebacker (33). The SEC is fourth when it comes to producing ends/outside 'backers.

[More draft: RB Trent Richardson exception to the rule as positional value keeps sliding]

Spotlight position: Defensive tackle

"Position U" team: Texas

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"Position U" draft possibilities this season: Kheeston Randall (projected to go no earlier than the 3rd round)

Number of defensive tackles drafted last year: 20

1st-round defensive tackles last year: 4 (Alabama's Marcell Dareus at No. 3, Auburn's Nick Fairley at No. 13, Baylor's Phillip Taylor at No. 21 and Temple's Muhammad Wilkerson at No. 30)

Number of defensive tackles drafted in past 5 years: 96

"Position U" defensive tackles drafted in past 5 years: 3 (LaMarr Houston in 2nd round in 2010, Roy Miller in 3rd round in 2009 and Frank Okam in 5th round in 2008)

1st-round defensive tackles in past 5 years: 17

Potential 1st-round defensive tackles this year: 7 (Mississippi State's Fletcher Cox, LSU's Michael Brockers, Memphis' Dontari Poe, Michigan State's Jerel Worthy, Penn State's Devon Still, Connecticut's Kendall Reyes, Clemson's Brandon Thompson)

Conference breakdown in past 5 drafts: 24 defensive tackles from the SEC, 14 from ACC, 13 from Pac-12, 11 from Big Ten, 10 from Big 12, 5 from FCS schools, 4 from Big East, 3 each from Conference USA, MAC and WAC, 2 each from independent schools and Division II schools and 1 each from Mountain West, NAIA schools and Canadian colleges

Conference breakdown of 1st-rounders in past 5 drafts: 6 from the SEC, 5 from the Big 12, 2 from the Pac-12 and 1 each from the ACC, Big East, Big Ten and MAC

[MOre draft: <Report: Colts tell Andrew Luck they'll take him No. 1]

Spotlight position: Defensive end/outside linebacker

• "Position U" team: Texas

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• "Position U" draft possibilities this season: OLB Emmanuel Acho (expected to go in 4th round or later), OLB Keenan Robinson (expected to go in 2nd or 3rd round)

Number of defensive ends/OLBs drafted last year: 36

1st-round defensive ends/OLBs last year: 9

Number of defensive ends/OLBs drafted in past 5 years: 193

• "Position U" defensive ends/OLBs drafted in past 5 years: 7 (Sam Acho in 4th round in 2011, Sergio Kindle in 2nd round in 2010, Roddrick Muckelroy in 4th round in 2010, Brian Orakpo in 1st round in 2009, Henry Melton in 4th round in 2009, Tim Crowder in 2nd round in 2007, Brian Robison in 4th round in 2007)

1st-round defensive ends/OLBs in past 5 years: 31

Potential 1st-round defensive ends/OLBs this year: 8 (North Carolina's Quinton Coples, South Carolina's Melvin Ingram, Alabama's Courtney Upshaw, Illinois' Whitney Mercilus, USC's Nick Perry, Clemson's Andre Branch, Marshall's Vinny Curry, Boise State's Shea McClellin)

Conference breakdown in past 5 drafts: 33 from the Big Ten, 29 from Big 12, 28 from ACC, 23 from SEC, 22 from Pac-12, 14 from FCS schools, 10 from Big East, 7 from WAC, 6 each from Conference USA, Mountain West and Sun Belt, 4 from Division II schools, 3 from MAC and 1 each from independent schools and Division III schools

Conference breakdown of 1st-rounders in past 5 drafts: 9 from the Big Ten, 6 from ACC, 5 from Big 12, 4 each from Pac-12 and SEC and 1 each from Big East, MAC and Mountain West

Sources: nfl.com; draftmetrics.com

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