It may be way to early to be talking about the draft. However, it is the bye week for the Rams, and I have nothing much else to do. I plan to write a post, maybe once a week, on every position of Rams need , which is pretty much every position. I will even do one on Quarterbacks, as Quarterbacks are the most fun to evaluate, as you can never tell whether they will become a bust, or the next great thing, and every year, some team needs a Quarterback. I don't watch much college ball, but I do watch youtube clips on each player. Therefore, I am definitely not as informed as others, such as 3k, who devotes their life to college ball. But I feel I can evaluate talent to a certain degree, and I want to test myself, and see how well I do, so that after a couple of months, I can gloat in front of all your faces, saying how I predicted this, and predicated that. Anyway in this post I will do the arguably position of most need, Offensive Tackle.
Oh, One more thing. The prospects that I will look at are ones that the rams have a good chance to get. Therefore, I won't look at a first round LT, first round Wr and a first round safety. Its not possible for the Rams to get all of them. So instead, I'll look at Say a first round LT, a first round Safety, and second round WR, second round Guard, second round tackle. This way, at the end of the year, I can have a reasonable mock, that has all the players I looked at.
Now, I am just looking at LT, as I think Saffold can become a great RT.
Luke Joekel, TAMU-( I watched the Florida game) Luke is a great LT prospect, he has the size one wants in an LT, and the feet. He plays whit some ferocity, and can run block as well as pass block. It is a good sign when the other team doesn't send any blitzers onto your side, it shows the Defense expects him to stop them. And mind you, it wasn't like they were overload blitzing to one side, they just blitzed at the LG, leaving Jokel have no one to block. His stance is perfect against pass rushers who use finesse move. He leaves no room for the defender to beat him. I have only seen him beat three times in pass protection, and that was when they sent a corner blitz, and another was a good move by the defender ( The QB still had 3 seconds or so) He isn't perfect, one, two, maybe three plays, I have seen him get shoved down by the defender. One play he fell right on his back, with just one good push by the defender. His stance is not always wide enough, making his center of gravity to high, causing him to be knocked over easily by a defender. It doesn't happen all the time, but in the NFL, with these power rushers, you don't want your LT to be flat on his back within a second. However, with some coaching, and power training, that can be a non-issue. Another thing is that he may be susceptible to the quick pass rusher ie, Quinn-esque pass rushers. This only happened on one play, but its something to look at.
Ryan Matthews, TAMU - (again, this was the Florida game) Matthews is another great prospect. He is slightly smaller then Jokel, but is still a great size. Now I was watching Jokel a bit more, but I liked what I saw from Matthews. He did get beat a little more, especially on exotic blitzs, he didn't seem to have the awareness of Jokel. Matthews seems to be better against power rushers, and is dominant force in the run game. He is like the opposite of Jokel, good against power rushers, but not as great against finesse pass rushers.
P.S- It seems that I have seen a game where both of them performed below par, however, it is still nice, as I got to see them at their worst, and if this is their worst then they are very, very good.
Taylor Lewan, Michigan - I have seen tape on Lewan, and I have to say, I am not really high on him. He plays in an offense that has a running back at QB. The whole offense is option. Therefore, I think his pass blocking is not what you want in an LT. His run blocking is good, but since that is all he does, his pass blocking is bad as a result. I see him as a Jason Smith type player, someone who is good at run blocking, but not pass blocking, and shoudn't be drafted as a LT. If Lewan fell to the second round, I would say maybe, but I don't think he is our answer at LT. He seems more of a fit as a guard, as his strength and speed are ideal for a guard.
As Fisher may not draft an O-lineman in the first, or maybe we just want to double dip, here is a second round choice.
Eric Fisher, Central Michigan- I have seen only one game, against Iowa, and I have to say, I am extremely impressed. He had almost perfect feet placement, and used his arms effectively also.He is a dominant pass protector, sealing of his guy completely, the only problem is that he sometimes get pushed back, but he still keeps the defender sealed, and he doesn't draw any holding calls. His run game is quite good also, as he has enough power to push the defender, but uses his feet more to set the edge, giving big holes, and basically not allow the guy he is on to get off him. He probably needs to build a bit more strength for the NFL. The biggest problem I see, is that he is playing against inferior players/ lower talent. How he would produce in the NFL is a question mark, he could become a project with high upside. But I think he could become a starting LT, as Bourdeau made a player, who had never played a snap of competition NFL football into serviceable LT within two weeks. With someone with as much talent as Fisher, Bourdeau has got to be happy. Also, his last name is Fisher, how can Fisher say no to Fisher?
Ricky Wagner, Wisconsin- He is available in the third. He is from Wisconsin. What else do you need to know?
Well there you go, some prospects for the NFL draft in 2013 at the Offensive Tackle position.