The starting nose tackle job is going to be earned in training camp due to an open audition. 27-year old Antonio Johnson would seem to have a small edge heading into camp. He played in all 16 games for the Colts last year and he had 22 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss and 2 passes defensed. Johnson has now played in 53 games in his first four years in the NFL and he has 95 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 3 tackles for a loss, 1 fumble recovery and 2 passes defensed. 23-year old rookie Josh Chapman will also get a shot to show what he can do. He was a 5th round pick out of Alabama last April. He played in 55 games (25 starts) in college and he had 88 tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss and 2.5 sacks. 28-year old Brandon McKinney played for Coach Pagano in Baltimore. He played in 12 games for the Ravens last year and he had 14 tackles and 1 forced fumble. He has now played in 61 games in his first six years in the NFL and he has 60 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery and 1 pass defensed. 26-year old Jason Shirley played in 4 games for the Panthers last year and he had 4 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 1 forced fumble. He has now played in 7 games in his first two years in the NFL and he has 8 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble and 1 tackle for a loss.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE NOSE TACKLES IN 2012: D+