FanPost

Scouting Reports 2014: Offensive Linemen

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It's that time again!!!!!!!!!!!! Scouting reports are my one of my favorite pastimes, and have been for a very long time, since I was about 15 to be exact!

Scouting reports to me are so much better when you do it yourself rather going by what someone else says and/or a players stats. You learn so much more by taking the time to watch the tape and really study each position and the players that come with it. Remember the film NEVER lies.

Offensive linemen somehow always get the toughest grades come draft season. If you are not one of the top 2 or 3 tackles you usually get overlooked as a top talent. You rarely see a big board with a guard, center, or right tackle in the top ten. Even though in recent years the left tackle value has actually slipped quite a bit (more on that in a later post). So I have decided to group the lineman like the NFL does with tags almost. The franchise tag and transition tag, unlike other positions, has a group rate rather than a specific number for each position. So if you tag a center or guard he will make the same as a tagged left tackle. I view lineman in the same way when I am putting together my big boards, even playing field. This is a very deep draft for the line, and teams with any sort of glaring need on the line will be able to feast on about 15-20 lineman through the first 3 rounds. Just like the other posts, I did not forget "this guy (insert name)" because I didn't list him. I listed the prospects I would not mind seeing in the horns but also would be a nice fit and/or brings something different or extra to what we already have.

Greg Robinson

Auburn 6'5" 332lbs

Greg Robinson vs FSU 2014 BCS Championship (via JPDraftJedi)

GOOD

  • Dominate run blocker
  • Very powerful
  • Drives feet through whistle
  • Athletic
  • Great Get off
  • Physical
  • Very light on his feet
  • Amazing puller
  • High motor
  • Violent/nasty streak
  • Consistent amazing effort

BAD

  • Terrible pass blocker
  • Least amount of pass blocking experience in entire draft
  • Tends to pass block like he run blocks
  • Has what I like to call "Lazy Leg Syndrome"
  • Horrible mechanics

Player Comparison: Jason Peters. The similarities between these two players are scary. From the near identical size, to the scary 40 times and light feet. These two are dangerously similar, in every aspect. Peters ultimately learned to use his size, length, and athletic ability to turn himself into a top 5 tackle and one of the most prized possessions in the NFL. Robinson needs more experience to become a better pass blocker. His effort, strength, motor, and athletic ability suggest that in due time he will become just that. He does have what I like to call "Lazy Leg Syndrome". This simply means when pass blocking once he engages he stops moving his feet. Ultimately relying on his power to try to keep the defender in front of him rather than his undeniable athletic ability. This is a common mistake amongst 8th grade tackles.

Taylor Lewan

Michigan 6'7" 309lbs

Taylor Lewan vs Michigan State (2013) (via Draft Analysis)

GOOD

  • Physical
  • Very good run blocker
  • Athletic
  • Quick Feet
  • Good kick back step
  • Violent/nasty streak
  • Very good strength
  • Good puller

BAD

  • Inconsistent pass blocker
  • Can get over aggressive and whiff
  • Loses focus
  • Awareness
  • Tends to get tall
  • Doesn't always show his athletic ability
  • Needs to polish mechanics

Player Comparison: Jake Long. It is very ironic that the two wolverines can be compared so favorably. But it is justified. Both players have the ability to dominate with run blocking. But both players at times forget their technique when pass blocking. His nasty streak is most intriguing attribute. He does a great job of moving defenders and when locked in his pass blocking can be equally as effective.

Jake Matthews

Texas A&M 6'5" 308lbs

Jake Matthews and Cedric Ogbuehi vs Alabama 2013 (via JPDraftJedi)

GOOD

  • Fundamentally sound
  • Very good kick back step
  • Consistently sinks butt
  • Top of the line awareness
  • Rarely fooled
  • Always uses correct steps
  • Uses hands extremely well
  • Amazingly consistent
  • Smart/ Hi football IQ
  • Probably the best bloodlines in sports

BAD

  • Lacks violent punch
  • Very average athlete
  • Average run blocker
  • Seals but does not dominate run blocks
  • Does not show a ton of power

Player Comparison: Nate Solder. Like Solder, Matthews is that fundamentally sound player that no team in their right mind would not want on their team. When beaten, it is not because he did something wrong, but more because the player is just better. Mathews plays smart mistake free football, and the thing about that, that is the most attractive is that in order to be that type of player you have to have a really good work ethic and understanding of football.

Zack Martin

Notre Dame 6'4" 308

Zack Martin (OT Notre Dame) vs Stanford 2013 (via Aimal Arsalla)

GOOD

  • Versatile
  • Strong
  • Good run blocker
  • Good pass blocker
  • Smart
  • Very good mechanics
  • Plays very balanced and under control
  • Rarely allows defender to disengage
  • Moves his feet well

BAD

  • Below average athlete
  • Lacks ideal size of any position
  • Struggles against bigger defenders
  • Struggles with speed

Player Comparison: Barrett Jones. Like Jones, Martin can play any position on the line. Unlike Jones, Martin already has NFL caliber strength, which happens to have been the biggest knock on Jones. Also like Jones, Martin does not have the ideal size that fits any position in particular. Neither player is a good athlete but both play smart with excellent fundamentals to help overcome any physical disadvantages.

David Yankey

Stanford 6'6" 315

David Yankey vs UCLA (2013) (via Josh DB)

GOOD

  • Quick feet
  • Consistent motor and effort
  • Uses hands well
  • Gets to next level in a hurry
  • Drives feet
  • Shows very good strength
  • Aware in traffic
  • Violently strikes with hands
  • Size

BAD

  • Gets to tall
  • Mechanics needs work
  • Drops head often upon contact
  • Falls off blocks
  • Lazy leg syndrome

Player Comparison: Jahri Evans. Yankey's biggest issue is he lacks technique with both run and pass blocks. Like Evans though, he has a helluvae mean streak, and can dominate the interior competition when the light comes on. The biggest knock on Evans coming in was he played off of pure strength and athleticism but lacked the fundamentals of a top prospect. Yankey is not quite as raw as Evans was, and actually flashes the fundamentals of a dominate NFL guard, but has to show this ability more consistently.

Xavier Su'a-Filo

UCLA 6'4" 307lbs

Xavier Su'a-Filo 2013 UCLA Football Highlights (via GRangelsfan)

GOOD

  • Best puller in draft class
  • Very Quick
  • Amazing effort
  • Physical
  • Moves defenders off the line
  • Very good strength
  • Plays fast
  • Gets to the next level quickly
  • Very good pass blocker

BAD

  • Could add 10-15 lbs
  • Slips off blocks sometimes
  • Needs to be a more consistent pass blocker
  • Could brush up on technique
  • Lacks length

Player Comparison: Roger Saffold. He compares to Saffold the guard not he tackle, obviously. Su'a-Filo absolutely dominates the interior line. He moves extremely well and shows a knack for disrupting defensive of game plans. He is a guard that you have to build your defensive approach around. Wherever the ball goes he goes. UCLA loved running behind him and for good reason. And even when they did not run behind him he showed the ability to pull like a Roger Saffold. He gets around the edge very quickly never losing balance or power and rarely ever getting tall in the process.

Gabe Jackson

Mississippi State 6'3" 336lbs

All-American Left Guard Gabe Jackson - Mississippi State University (via mstateathletics)

GOOD

  • Big body
  • Strong
  • Hard to move
  • Good run blocker
  • Violent hands
  • Ideal length
  • Comes off the ball with urgency
  • About as powerful as he looks

BAD

  • Not a very good pass protector
  • Slow getting to second level
  • Not a good puller
  • Gets too tall
  • Slow feet
  • Slow to react

Player Comparison: Ramon Foster. Jackson has the skill set to develop into one of the premier run blockers in the NFL. His size, strength, and violent streak allows him to move defenders and stop them at will. He does struggle in space and is not the most mobile guy you will see, making him an ideal fit for a power run scheme. He will probably never be a good puller as he lacks later agility and quickness, but if you put him in front of someone and tell him to move him out of the way, well then now you are talking his language. He is an immediate upgrade to any teams run game but leaves a lot to be desired with his pass protection.

My top ten lineman (entire class) are:

  1. Jake Matthews
  2. Xavier Su'a-Filo
  3. Greg Robinson
  4. Taylor Lewan
  5. Zack Martin
  6. David Yankey
  7. Gabe Jackson
  8. Cyril Richardson
  9. Morgan Moses
  10. Antonio Richardson

Most Pro Ready:

Jake Matthews

Most Potential:

Greg Robinson

Most Explosive:

Greg Robinson

Biggest Bust Potential:

Cyrus Kouandjio

Sleeper:

Cornelius Lucas, Seantrel Henderson, and Jon Halapio (Halapio has the most breakout potential, but Lucas and Henderson both have the size and physical skill set to develop into unbeatable NFL tackles, figuratively speaking of course)

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