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Clemmings is one of the many offensive line prospects that could hear their names called on the first night of the 2015 NFL Draft. He’s also been mocked to the Rams frequently, so it’s only proper for us fans to do the due diligence. We can’t have another Alex Barron – I mean Jason Smith – I mean…well, you get the idea.
Clemmings has the make-up of a natural pass protector. He has the size, the wingspan, and the athleticism for the outside; I'd consider him a natural in this regard. Coming out of his stance, he displays consistent footwork and a solid ability to mirror incoming pass rushers. He's more 'functionally athletic' in the sense that he's pretty quick for a guy who weighs 315 lbs. He's a bit jerky, but for the most part, it works (he's the bottom lineman):
What's more is that his hand technique is actually quite solid. He's easily able to absorb defenders as they come to him; those who allow him to get his hands inside the pads will typically find themselves going nowhere. His quickness has limitations - he has trouble laterally when trying to catch up with pass rushers who get a step on him. I also noticed on more than one occasion that his hand placement would get sloppy (read: Holding) if defenders could speed around him, but he's quick enough that on the right side it wouldn't present a big problem.
On screens or runs where he gets into the second level, he shines. He's a guy who has no problems chipping a defensive lineman, getting to the next level and then pancaking linebackers. The same 'inside-outside' caveat applies, but when the train starts moving, you best get out of the way. It's something to keep an eye on, because it can produce grin-like results. Check him out on this run against Duke (he's the guy who destroys the middle linebacker):
Not only does he quickly break off of the blitzer, but he pancakes the linebacker and hits him again when he tries to get back on his feet. That play defines T.J. Clemmings: athletic, smart and relentless. Football intelligence is an underrated perk for lineman; Clemmings does a great job adjusting to the defensive front and has shown more than once he's capable of picking up multiple defenders.
Clemmings is also a capable, nasty run blocker. This is only his second year as an offensive lineman, but his tenacity and ability to open up huge running lanes is obvious:
The things you look for in a big nasty are all present in Clemmings. He's ferocious, powerful and plays to the whistle. His technique is still a bit lacking - he'll get a bit high at times and has troubles with leverage. He also has his limitations when blocking in space, but run blocking is an area of strength for Clemmings and something he could eventually be known for.
I mentioned his football IQ as a pass blocker and that isn't any different here. He's able to pass off defenders and seamlessly pick up another:
Clemmings excelled in Pittsburgh's pro style offense. His athleticism and tenacity are great examples of why he should stay on the outside as a tackle. The true question is as a left tackle, or at his college position on the right side. He struggled in the Senior Bowl as a LT, but a position change out of the gate almost always has its drawbacks. His lack of experience as a tackle is evident, but he's already impressive enough as a right tackle.
He doesn't have elite athleticism, so speed rushers would give him fits. The left side is probably something he could grow into as he progresses, but his best projection is exactly where he's at now. His combination of quickness, ferociousness and motor easily make him one of the best tackles in the draft. If the Rams let Joe Barksdale go, there isn't anyone better they could replace him with.