Larry Tripplett

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Defensive Tackle
Larry Tripplett
Year: Senior
Height: 6’1"
Weight: 300
Birthday: January 18, 1979

Strengths: Larry Tripplett is more than just your typical space-filling nose tackle. He has the strength to alter the pass pocket and the speed to get into the backfield and wreak havoc. In fact, his push along the line is so great, it’s not uncommon to see Tripplett ram the opposing center into the QB, which he did twice last year against the vaunted ‘Canes (sacking the unsackable Ken Dorsey twice in the process).

His efforts command a double team (at times last year, he was triple-teamed), and that, in turn, creates lanes and spaces up the middle for his teammates. Tripplett’s a selfless, levelheaded defensive lineman who briefly moved outside last year to try and thwart double-teams. He’s a tremendous run stuffer (you have to be, playing in the Pac-10) who last year became a pass rushing force (6.5 sacks).

Even as an interior lineman, Tripplett has shown a knack for making things happen. figures Tripplett made a decisive play in four of the team’s 10 wins last year, including blocking a potential game winning field goal against Arizona with time running down. In all, Tripplett blocked three kicks in 2000.

Areas of concern: Tripplett’s not a big guy — he stands 6’1" and weighs 295-300 pounds, but those aren’t Warren Sapp pounds — Tripplett’s not a bulky guy, doesn’t take up space. It’s likely he won’t command the double team at the next level. He’s quick enough to be moved outside, but not near tall enough. He’s close to being a ‘tweener, though few doubt he can play at the NFL level.

There’s also talk in some corners that Tripplett’s maybe peaked already, that’s he’s right now as good as he’s ever going to get. That’s debatable because it was only last year that he added pass rushing to his repertoire, but a possible lack of potential is a concern the Texans need to be aware of.

Is he sponge-worthy?: Maybe. The 2002 draft figures to be loaded with defensive tackles, and as many as three (Tripplett, Wendell Bryant and John Henderson) could go in the top 10. If Capers institutes a 3-4 defensive scheme, Tripplett (who plays in a 3-4 at Washington) would be an ideal nose tackle. But is he big enough to anchor a 4-down line?

The guy’s relentless on the field, but plays within himself. He’s not an emotional type — he prefers to lead by example. He’s very strong, with a deceptively quick first step that allows him to get tremendous push off the ball. He’s likely a mid-first round pick kind of player.

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