While he missed the final three games of his freshman season due to a knee injury, Alabama defensive tackle D.J. Dale was a big body up front for the Crimson Tide throughout his sophomore campaign in 2020. Dale is expected to have a large impact on the Alabama defense this season, but how does he currently stack up to NFL scouts?
Pos: Defensive Tackle
Draft Eligible: 2022
Hometown: Birmingham, Ala.
High School: Clay-Chalkville
Started at nose tackle since being a true freshman for the Crimson Tide. Dale plays with consistently low pads, winning the leverage battle at the point of attack. He understands his lack of length and often uses one arm to try and extend. When he catches blockers leaning, Dale has quick and violent hands to throw them. He is agile to both sides out of his stance. Bats passes at a high level by getting his hands into throwing lanes. Flashes leg drive to push the pocket.
Undersized to play nose and it shows as he frequently gets driven off the ball by combo blocks. Dale lacks length, allowing blockers to play wide and box him in, making it tough to disengage in the run game. On lateral runs, he fails to stay square. His get off is average and does not threaten blockers. He is unable to get hands off of his frame as a pass rusher. Dale has questionable eyes and play recognition, failing to find ball carriers on a consistent basis.
Squatty defensive tackle who wins the leverage battle. Dale flashes violent hands and leg drive to push the pocket as a nose tackle. He is undersized for the position, often being unable to anchor and disengage due to his short arms. Dale projects as a developmental defensive tackle who has worthwhile traits to develop. A lack of size, length and strength will hinder his ability to play a considerable role on a defensive line.
Grade: 6.0 (now)/6.9 (potential)
Dale has started as nose tackle since the first game of his true freshman season — a remarkable achievement on an Alabama defense that is perennially loaded with talent. One of his biggest strengths has always been his ability to win leverage over offensive linemen. Coupled with his quickness and strength, he provides a large presence that is difficult for opposing offensive lines to handle. His strengths do not come without some weaknesses, though. At 6-3 and 307 pounds, Dale is undersized at the tackle position. While this helps him out with his quickness, it makes him lack length — a big loss against him. However, if he is able to improve his ability to recognize plays and improves his pass rush along with his ability to break away from opposing linemen, he can overcome his shortcomings. Dale's size might hinder him at the next level, so he needs to focus on his technique and quickness to gain that lost ground and use it to his advantage.
Crimson Tide Scouting Report is a 17-part series on Alabama's prospects for the 2022 NFL Draft, with evaluations by NFL Draft Bible and analysis by BamaCentral. Check out his profile on NFL Draft Bible.
While he missed the final three games of his freshman season due to a knee injury, Alabama defensive tackle D.J. Dale was a big body up front for the Crimson Tide throughout his sophomore campaign in 2020. Dale is expected to have a large impact on the Alabama defense this season, but how does he currently stack up to NFL scouts? Subscribe for full article
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