By Tim Graham
I have a feeling a lot of readers will scoff at this selection because they've never heard of New York Jets defensive tackle Sione Pouha, let alone can they recall anything he's ever done on the field.
Pouha is relatively unknown to the casual football fan because he has an unglamorous responsibility: stuffing the run. But Pouha does it extraordinarily well.
ProFootballFocus.com rated Pouha the NFL's best defensive tackle last season. Nose tackles don't amass the types of stats that make a player's impact obvious. They don't get many sacks. They don't even make many tackles. What they do is absorb double-team blocks and clog holes, allowing linebackers to clean up.
Jets head coach Rex Ryan made Pouha a captain on a defense that prides itself on stopping the run. With Pouha in the middle, the Jets' defense ranked sixth in average per carry last year, tied for third in 2010 and fourth in 2009.
Over the three years since Pouha became the starter, the Jets have held opponents to the NFL's lowest third-down conversion rate, second-fewest yards a game, fourth-lowest per-carry average and fifth-lowest points a game.
Pouha led the Jets' defensive line with 55 tackles last year. He had one sack, a tackle for a safety, a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and three passes batted down.
A day before the free-agency period began, the Jets signed Pouha to a three-year, $15 million contract extension.
Selected in the third round (88th overall) in the 2005 draft.
Hint about No. 13
It either will be another underrated defensive tackle or Tim Tebow.
Picks to date
14. Sione Pouha, Jets defensive tackle
15. Jairus Byrd, Bills safety
16. Brandon Lloyd, Patriots receiver
17. Stevie Johnson, Bills receiver
18. Reggie Bush, Dolphins running back
19. Jerod Mayo, Patriots inside linebacker
20. Randy Starks, Dolphins defensive lineman
21. Sebastian Vollmer, Patriots right tackle
22. Aaron Hernandez, Patriots tight end
23. Marcell Dareus, Bills defensive tackle
24. Antonio Cromartie, Jets cornerback
25. Eric Wood, Bills center