The three technique defensive tackle position in the Tampa-2 has been the root of success for the defensive line in the system. When you think of the position at its highest point, you think of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers DT Warren Sapp. Before injury, Tommie Harris was regarded as one of the best to play the position. In Minnesota, Kevin Williams has been a solid pro at the position for a very long time and is still playing at a high level today.
Chicago Bears DT Henry Melton is carrying on that tradition, and is displaying the skills to be consider as arguably the best 4-3 DT in the league (Throw Geno Atkins‘ name in that hat also). No one predicted Melton being this good when the Bears drafted him in the 4th round of the 2009 NFL draft. When the Bears drafted him, he was looked at as a DE, having played the position at Texas.
Melton has improved each year he has been in the league. In 2010, Melton played sparely but you saw the raw quickness and speed from the DT. The following year, Melton had a breakout season from a pass rushing perspective; tallying up seven sacks.
This year you are seeing Melton put it all together as he’s become stouter against the run, and using his speed and quickness to knife into the back field and disrupt the run. You can tell that Melton has taking to defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli teaching both on the field and in the film room this past off-season.
The hard work seems to be paying off as he leads all NFC DTs in Pro Bowl voting. Melton contract runs out at the end of this season, but it wouldn’t surprise no one if General Manager Phil Emery locks Melton up long-term before the season ends.
We still have plenty of games left in the season, but it’s looking like the Bears have a special player at the DT position in Melton.