The Cleveland Browns faced a … troubling … situation at defensive tackle in 2022.
The unit underachieved (we’re trying to be nice here!), which has led general manager Andrew Berry to spend resources this offseason bringing in free agents Dalvin Tomlinson, Maurice Hurst and Trysten Hill to battle with a handful of returning players for a roster spot.
Tomlinson is the only one of the group that brings about any real excitement, however, meaning that Berry will likely be on the lookout for another defensive tackle during the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Browns reportedly have two such players on their pre-draft visit list, so with that in mind let’s take a look at one of them in Siaki Ika, the large defensive lineman from Baylor.
Siaki Ika does a phenomenal job of playing two gaps here. Stands up the LG and rags his way into the A gap to make Robinson bounce the run to the outside. pic.twitter.com/EYvIGVC9Ze— Caleb James (@CJScoobs) April 2, 2023
Name: Siaki Ika
Position: Defensive tackle
Height/Weight: 6-foot-3, 335 pounds
College: Baylor Bears
Stats (4 seasons): 42 games, 24 starts, 71 tackles, 5.5 sacks
Relative Athletic Score
Average “Big Board” Position As of Publishing Date
66th overall (NFL Mock Draft Database)
The Draft Network’s Grade/Round Value
TDN Consensus Grade: 73/100 (Fourth-Round Value)
PFF Big Board Rank: 63 (Second to Third Round)
What an Expert is Saying
Pro and Cons
Cleveland needs as much help as it can find at defensive tackle, which explains why they plan to have Ika in for a pre-draft visit and why he shows up for the Browns in various mock drafts.
But Ika has some limitations that he may not be able to overcome at the NFL level, as The Draft Network’s Kyle Crabbs highlights:
Length is an area that I can see being a limiting factor, as opposing offensive linemen can at times get into his frame and he does have inconsistencies anchoring against double teams in spite of his prototypical frame, low center of gravity, and hand power. Unless he is able to more consistently eat these reps at the point of attack, he will likely be viewed as a supersized penetration 1T at the NFL level and not someone who two-gaps and plays a facilitator role up front for his linebackers.
Ika’s inconsistency should also give teams pause, as Dane Brugler at The Athletic points out:
For a player his size, he is light-footed with the short-area explosiveness and hand usage to defeat blocks, however, his best flashes can be found on the 2021 tape and he struggled to make backfield plays in 2022 (partly because of his role). Ika is a nimble, disruptive big man with stout, powerful traits, but all of his impressive parts don’t consistently add up to impact plays. He is a toolsy size prospect with a high floor as an early down NFL nose while also flashing the ability to be more.
Browns Player Drafting Could Impact
Essentially every defensive tackle currently on the roster who is not named Dalvin Tomlinson, a list that not only includes newcomers Hurst and Hill, but also incumbents Jordan Elliott, Tommy Togiai and Perrion Winfrey.
Medium to High: Berry has been working this offseason to address the defensive tackle position, with Tomlinson being the top signing. Everyone else is basically just a placeholder until a better option comes along. Ika’s size will put him on the radar of several teams, but his lack of production in college and the fact that he is best suited to be a true nose tackle in a three-man defensive front makes it hard to see the Browns taking a chance on him come draft weekend.