So I've been storing up my prospect list on my computer. I need to start clearing these out so let's go after Tackles first.
Jake Matthews LT Texas A&M
The ultimate technician. Great base, great hands. Always seems to be in the right place at the right time. Gets a moderate push from the line. Can move when needed and finds his assignment at any level. My one concern is that he doesn't look to have the typical agility and arm reach of a LT. Looks like he has an above average ceiling there, but an elite ceiling anywhere else. I wouldn't be surprised if he could go AllPro at every position on the line. At the very worst he's a stud RT. He is the safest bet in the draft.
Cedric Ogbuehi LT Texas A&M
A great athlete. The guy can really move. Can pull from the right to the left of the line with little effort. Is a bit raw, which might lead to him going back to school. Locks in well enough, but needs to learn to position his body through the whistle. Top notch lateral movement. Gets a decent push on the line. Won't overpower his man, so he really needs to harness his technique. A great prospect at LT, but not completely ready right now. Ironically might play LT in the NFL while Matthews might play RT.
Cyrus Kouandjio LT Alabama
Big and strong. Pushes guys around. Decent lateral movement. Dominates on the run and against power rushers in pass prot. Tends to not finish plays though. Once he locks in, guys don't get by him. Arms are his greatest strength and weakness: strong with hands, but tends to try to use arms instead of legs to prot. Got eaten alive by Va Tech no name speed rusher (J.R. Collins). Enough to make me very concerned for him at LT. With some strong commitment to using his legs more, he could be a very good LT. Otherwise he will be a very good RT.
Cameron Erving LT FSU
Plays off balanced, but it doesn't diminish his production by a lot. Needs to gain technique with his feet or vet Dlinemen will eat him alive. Good push on the move in run blocking, but not phenomenal. He doesn't get there quick, but he does get there. Love that he doesn't give up on any plays, but he overplays every play. Needs to gain control and let the game slow down. He also needs work picking up delayed blitzes on his inside hip. Could use a trim on his waist line, which might balance him out a bit. Needs to go back to school for another year or fall in the lap of a top quality Oline coach.
Taylor Lewan LT Michigan
A solid LT prospect. Solid base. Solid footwork. Solid seals. And a nasty streak. Is good pushing on the run and keeps his man out of position to make a play. Great against power rushers and is above average against speed in pass prot. Needs to be disciplined and not get dumb penalties for unnecessary hits. He is also huge. Fits the mold of the ideal LT. Always looking to hit a guy.
Greg Robinson LT Auburn
The guy can flat out run block. Stays engaged with the block and punishes his man throughout the play. Looks to hit guys whenever he can. Has been known to push DTs to the second level. Gets his body lows and forces even the stoutest guys backwards. WARNING: in Auburn's offense he exclusively ran blocked at LT. When they finally threw a pass, which was rare, he either blocked like it was still a run play (screens), or the TE/RB or pulling LG pass protected the edge while he shifted to LG. On the few plays he was on an island against moderate pass rushers he didn't look good. His base is solid, but he didn't show good lateral adjustment to their edge rush. He got beat too many times. It looks like Auburn did a superb job of hiding his weaknesses. This guy is an NFL G not a T. A monster NFL G that is. And he has to be considered an elite prospect at RG.
Antonio Richardson LT Tennessee
Not the most agile of linemen. But he uses his fully extended arms to fend guys off. Shows some undisciplined tendencies by lowering his head when engaging and loses sight of his man, which results in some off balance issues. Seems to get his body to the right spot and seals well. Explodes off the line and meets his man at the edge. Could be susceptible to inside moves because he launches so fast to the edge. Doesn't always play through the entire play. It looks like he lumbers through and keeps his legs stiff, which brings questions about his knees. Makes really good adjustments on stunts. As long as his man is within elbows reach he can really lock a guy up. Is a very good 2nd round prospect at LT.
La'el Collins LT LSU
When he uses his legs to get position he is formidable but sometimes lunges throwing him off balance on the run block and ends up on the turf. Slight questions on his balance when he's engaged in pass prot. Compensates well with his use of hands, although most of the time he should probably get a flag. Still, he disguises his holds well which is all that matters. Shifts his feet well and maintains his position waiting for contact. Gets to the second level well enough, but doesn't always look for guys to hit. He finds himself in no mans land and doesn't help his team. There are many moments in film where he looks really good.
Seantrel Henderson RT Miami
A total physical specimen at 6-7, 350lbs. He moves really well and has decent enough lateral movement. Is above average on the run and average on the pass. He is always looking to hit someone. A real nasty streak to him. His greatest strength is his athleticism. Unfortunately, it's his vice. He plays undisciplined and relies completely on his physical attributes. Needs to become technically sound in all areas. His body looks out of control too often. He also has major off field red flags as he's been suspended numerous times. If he matures he can become dominant.
Morgan Moses LT Virginia
Fits the physical mold of a LT at 6-6 325. Has good movement on the run, but doesn't always use his base to drive his guy backward. He wants to punch and push with his arms. Needs to get lower in his base. Gets to the second level showing good athleticism, but has a hard time finding his target and ends plays with no block attempt. In pass protection, he moves well laterally and uses his length fully to his advantage. Transitions well on blocks and has the potential to be a good pass protector. Has a tendency to not play through the whistle. After engaging blocks he tends to turn his head away from his man to watch what's going on around him, only to let his man make the play unblocked. Doesn't seem to fully grasp the position that well. Makes surprisingly poor decisions at times. Athletically has the skills needed, but questions about heart, weight, and mental skills bring some red flags.
Addendum: as the year progressed, he made great strides on finishing plays. Made good progression at LT, considering he just made the move this year. Showed great skill blocking potential 1st round pick Vic Beasley. He would be a very solid RT prospect at the very least.
Joel Bitonio LT Nevada
A competitor. Always looking to make a hit and help his team. Uses a variety of moves to get the job done. On the run makes good seals and stays with his man until the whistle. Gets a good drive and likes to make his man disappear. Marginal skills in pass protection. He uses cut blocks to slow guys down, which won't always work at the next level. Did a superb job against Anthony Barr. Can't really see him as a LT, but is technically sound enough to hold up at RT. Might be better suited to play LG.
Zack Martin LT Notre Dame
A clone of Jake Matthews only smaller. Absolutely technically sound in all facets of the game. A team player. Excels at locking up man. Excellent seals. Drives man where he wants. Uses hands to keep man locked up. Very good pass protector. However, speed rushers get to the edge and his lack of arm length can be a problem. A solid prospect at any position. A potential stud at LG if he can't hold up at either T position.
Jack Mewhort LT Ohio State
Strong hands. Once he locks up, keeps his body in position by holding his man in place. Gets a good lane seal by positioning his body using his strong hands to make it happen. Doesn't quite get low enough to drive his man backwards, but compensates with arm strength and position. When he gets to the 2nd level, has a difficult time blocking in open space. Struggles with speedy guys. In pass protection will meet his man immediately to play to his hand strength. Could lose out to speed if they beat him to the spot. Maintains good body control and position. Never gives up on plays. His man rarely got to make a play, because Jack commits solely to him. Transitions well by keeping his head on a swivel to look for someone to block. May not have the complete athleticism to be a lock at LT, but could still be good. Great prospect at RT.
James Hurst LT UNC
A solid run blocker. Drives guys back with great base and strong arms. Pounds guys at the second level. Limited in pass protection. Just doesn't have the lateral movement to keep up. Gets beat to the corner and moves inside. Can get driven back by bull rush. Not a good LT prospect, but could be an okay RT. His injury will certainly hurt his value.
Jawuan James RT Tennessee
Played RT opposite Richardson, but has some of the skill sets to play LT. Hustles through each play. Gets a good push off the line and seals his man well. Will get down field with some ease, but doesn't always find his target in the open field. Good step off line in pass coverage. Uses extended arms well to fend off man. Strong enough to maintain base and lock in. Good enough agility to fend off rushers. Held up very well in limited time against Clowney. Transitions well on stunts. A very good prospect at RT and a good prospect at LT. I'd bet he'd be a top LT prospect if he took over for Richardson next year.
Billy Turner LT North Dakota State
Don't let the small school prospect fool you, this guy is legit. At 6-6 315, he has elite NFL size, elite agility, and elite NFL heart. This guy should fly up the boards as May approaches. Will absolutely maul his man on the run. Locks in and drives him back. Swiftly gets to the 2nd level and makes contact with his target. Hits big slows guys and knocks them back, and finds little guys and destroys them. Will race down the field yearning for someone to hit. Even when he's seemingly completely out of the play, the guy guns it to try to help his team. Has a mean punch to his blocks. In pass protection has some footwork issues, but will still keep his man at bay. Transitions well with stunts. Will double well and break assignment when help is needed elsewhere. Tends to drop his head upon contact and can lose sight of man. Twists his body sometimes and turns his back to the play losing sight of potential targets. Recovers ferociously however. Did not play elite talent, but played elite in the victory over Kansas State (a respectable 8-5 team). This guy has only a slight touch of rawness to him, but more than compensates with heart. A great RT prospect for this year, and a very good LT prospect for years to come.
Justin Britt LT Missouri
Decently consistent. Gets a moderate push on the run. Plays through the play. Moderate talent in pass pro. Feet are a bit slow to the edge, but compensates with full extension and push of his arms. That won't work in the pros. A poor LT prospect, decent RT prospect, looks to be a back up.
Michael Schoefield RT Michigan
Athletic enough to be a good prospect. However he has strength issues. Gets okay push off the line but doesn't blow anyone away. Has a difficult time locating target and making contact. In pass protection his feet move okay, but when he goes to meet his man he misjudges his timing and allows his man to gain advantage on his outside hip. He appears to have depth perception issues, or just doesn't have the "it" needed to play the position.
Wesley Johnson LT Vanderbilt
Got man handled by Clowney. Doesn't use his feet well enough to maintain contact. Needs to gain fluidity with his feet and hands to play through the play. Has balance issues upon contact. Strong enough to drive a guy sometimes, but at 290 he's going to need to be technically sound. Doesn't show that soundness yet. He is in on every play though. Needs to gain strength and technique to play at the next level.
Sunday, January 19, 2014
First of all, I should clarify that I’m separating the Ts into their best fit. Some of these guys just don’t look like good pass protecting LTs. And the fundamental difference between LT and RT is LT guards the blind side against the elite pass rushers. So if they don’t have the lateral skills to guard the blind side, they shouldn’t be considered to play there. But, since there is such an advantage at RT because the QB can see the rush, RTs ideally have more power to benefit the run game. So here’s my list of the top Ts in this draft.
Taylor Lewan (Behemoth with elite skill set. Starts at LT day 1)
Billy Turner (Has the greatest potential of the group due to freak athleticism and heart)
Jake Matthews (Looks to have capped his potential, but that’s a high cap. Starts day 1)
Zack Martin (Undersized, but a technician)
Juwuan James (Athletic, but a 1 year project)
Antonio Richardson (Stiff, but gets the job done)
Morgan Moses (A work in progress. Needs 2 years, but has great potential. )
Seantrel Henderson (Bigger Behemoth. Bigger bonehead. If he matures then he’s elite)
Greg Robinson (Pure power on the run)
Cyrus Kouandjio (A bit slower, but strong)
Jack Mewhort (A solid all around T)
Joel Bitonio (Probably more G than T, but still good)
James Hurst (Needs lots of refinement. Project and injured)
Cameron Fleming (Stanford)