Summary: Short was one of the best defensive linemen in the Big Ten and college football for the last three years. He was an elite interior pass-rusher who carried the Purdue defense.
Short had a breakout 2010 season playing next to Ryan Kerrigan. With Kerrigan rushing from the outside, Short was able to take advantage of quarterbacks stepping up in the pocket. The sophomore recorded six sacks, 12.5 tackles for a loss and 41 tackles.
Short saw extra blocking attention as a junior since Kerrigan had moved on to the NFL. Short started the year slowly as a result but heated up down the stretch. He really improved his overall game in 2011. Short totaled 54 tackles with 17 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks and one forced fumble.
The senior started out this year on fire. He was excellent in Week 2 versus Notre Dame, beatin center Braxston Cave and guard Mike Golic, Jr. for sacks, plus forcing a fumble that he didn't get credit for. Short also played well against Michigan and Marshall. An ankle injury slowed him down in the second half of the year and he had some ugly games including a bad performance against Penn State.
Short ended the regular season with a dominant performance against Iowa. He also had a sack against Oklahoma State in the Boilermakers' bowl game blowout loss. Short totaled 43 tackles, 15.5 tackles for a loss, seven sacks, four passes broken up, four blocked kicks and a forced fumble in 2012.
Short had a strong week of practice at the Senior Bowl. He gave offensive linemen fits with his speed in the pass-rushing one-on-ones. Short displayed that he is a fast gap-shooting defensive tackle who will put heat on the quarterback in the NFL. Short uses his hands well to shed blocks and has a nice repertoire of moves.
Short needs to improve his run defense and just get more consistent overall. He could use more power to anchor and hold his ground when runs come straight at him. Still, Short has the size and speed to be a good defensive tackle and could develop into a potential Pro Bowler.
Skilled interior pass-rushers are a tough commodity to find. Few defensive tackles enter the NFL with a sack total of 19.5 across three seasons. Short would be best at the next level in a 4-3 defense that plays him as a three-technique gap-shooter so he can fire off the snap and cause havoc by getting penetration. Short doesn't look like a good fit as a 3-4 defensive lineman. He could be a late first-round or a second-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Player Comparison: Randy Starks. Short's game is similar to Starks. Both are good interior pass-rushers who can put heat on the quarterback. Short is almost identical size to Starks (6-3, 305), and both players are speedy gap-shooters who can collapse the pocket. Starks was a third-round pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. Short could also go on the second day of the 2013 NFL Draft but probably will go before the third round.
NFL Matches: Minnesota, Denver, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, Carolina, St. Louis, Seattle
A number of teams could dip into a strong class of defensive tackles late in the first round and early in the second round. Short should go off the board in the No. 20-50 range.
The Vikings would be a good fit for Short. They need a tackle upgrade next to Kevin Williams as the pro bowler is aging. Short's pass-rush ability would provide some continuity to Minnesota's defense after Kevin Williams hangs it up.
Denver added some veterans in free agency, but the team also could use a defensive tackle with pass-rush ability. Quarterbacks step up in the pocket to avoid edge-rushers, so a tackle like Short could help create more sacks for the Broncos.
The Falcons could use a young tackle to pair with Jonathan Babineaux. Atlanta has to upgrade its pass rush, and Short could be the best pass-rusher available when the Falcons are slated to pick.
The Jaguars could use a young three-technique tackle. It they pass on Sharrif Floyd and Star Lotulelei in the first rouns, Short would make a lot of sense for at the top of Round 2. Jacksonville has to improve its pass rush and has more capable ends than interior rushers.
If Short falls lower in the second round, he would make sense for both the Bucs and Panthers. Both teams need to upgrade their defensive tackles and he would be a really good value for either squad.
The Rams and Seahawks have excellent talent on the defensive line, but each could use more interior pass-rusher prescence. Both teams have tough, sturdy run-defenders on the inside, but a penetrator like Short could finish off either team's dangerous front.