Dallas Cowboys Draft Profile – Baylor DT Siaki “Apu” Ika

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Cowboys have needed a 1-technique tackle for several years now, and while they did acquire Johnathan Hankins, it was a one-year deal and Hankins, approaching 31, is a free agent. With Hankins probably not being brought back, the Cowboys could finally grab a defensive tackle early and help solidify their run defense. Siaki Ika is certainly the type of big-body player the Cowboys could use, and he can flash a pass rush as well.

Formerly an LSU Tiger, Ika transferred to Baylor in 2021 and quickly flashed in the Big 12 to win the Newcomer of the Year award. A promising 2021 was followed by a less flashy 2022, and while some was probably due to the cast around him, there could be questions allowing him to be a late first-round pick. Ika fills a huge hole for the Dallas Cowboys and his ceiling appears to be high.

With the Dallas Cowboys needing to help the defensive line, Siaki Ika is an option that provides some versatility from inside.

Last year the Dallas Cowboys drafted John Ridgeway, but when they released him to sneak him back on the practice squad he was grabbed by Washington and the Cowboys were once again without a young 1-tech. Should Hankins, Carlos Watkins, and Neville Gallimore be allowed to leave, that would mean only Osa Odighizuwa and Quinton Bohanna would remain as the only defensive tackles on the roster. That means there could be a huge need at the position even if they dip into free agency.

Ika provides something the Cowboys have not had at 1-tech in the ability to get pressure. He flashes when allowed to play one-on-one where his power and explosiveness can be fully utilized. In run defense, he can get inside quickly to force runners off course. He is also good at working down the line to chase runners and can be hard to block when he gets to full speed. He has good hand power and a low center of gravity for a guy 6’4″ and 350(ish) pounds.

Ika will need to work against double teams as he can get off-balance and allow offensive linemen to get inside of him. Part of the issue is an obvious lack of length, which could limit his role at the next level. This means he is not really a two-gap player and when double-teamed, does little to free up the linebackers.  His explosiveness and size will help and with the right coaching could develop into being able to eat blocks a little better.

Next. Dallas Cowboys Draft Profile – Rashee Rice a WR target early. dark

Ika has the potential teams will love and while he may be slightly limited early in his career to playing when the defensive coordinator can get him in one-on-one situations. His ability to get pressure from the inside and anchor in these situations will help any defense. Teams will love the ceiling he appears to have and barring a bad showing at the combine, should be a late first-round option for the Dallas Cowboys at defensive tackle.