I have never been a scout or a NFL General Manager, but I am willing to watch a ton of football. By watching about 200 snaps of each prospect, we can really get a feel for a player and then know what we are talking about a bit better. It is no exact science, but the NFL hasn't quite figured out drafting either, so we are going to do the best we can. Find all the profiles here.
Andrus Peat, LT, Stanford - 6'7, 316 - Junior - 5.18 40
Now, we move to start diving into the Offensive Line group for the 2015 draft, and I randomly decided to start with one of the players that has been in everyone's projected 1st round for a long, long time. It is Peat, who comes from a football family (as it seems most every Stanford player does) and from a school that has given us more than a few offensive linemen to look at over the last several years. He is a junior who started pretty much every game his last two years he played after being the highest touted OL prospect in his recruiting class as well. Needless to say, he is a household name in the football world and is one of those prospects that sort of starts with perceptions of invincibility and then is knocked down the list, rather than the players who fly under the radar and rise up as the draft approaches. In the end, it doesn't really matter how it happens, but it is interesting to note how people approach a certain prospect with preconceived notions. For his study we looked at 2014 meetings with Notre Dame, Utah, Oregon State, and USC.
What I liked: There is nothing more enjoyable to my football eye than a pulling tackle out in space looking for something to destroy. Peat has pretty decent mobility and athleticism in open space and also seems to fit nicely into your zone blocking schemes (combo and then release to go clean up a LB) as you want guys who can get to the 2nd level and not get in the way too much. He is very impressive in that regard. But, what you want from a left tackle is the feeling that your QB1's blindside is going to be secure, and that is what will make or break Peat. I am happy to report than in most of his 200 snaps, he looks the part perfectly. He gets centered on his man, and that edge rusher generally gets shut down quickly with Peat's massive hands and once he gets his meat-hooks on you, it is game over. He moves and shadows his man well and looks confident and in control. He does not get help and he doesn't need help. He faced many top rushers and held his own almost all of the time. He looks for a chance to show a streak of aggression and will throw his man aside from time to time as well. There is plenty to like.
What I did not like: If you are a fan of boxing, you hear the phrase "styles make fights" to explain why Fighter A can beat fight B, and Fighter B can beat Fighter C, so why can't A beat C? Well, when Peat, who handles so many with ease faces Utah's Nate Orchard twice in consecutive seasons, it sure seems that Orchard was Peat's kryptonite. Below is one of the 3 sacks that Peat conceded to Orchard in those 2 meetings, and there was just something about the 251 pound rusher that gave Peat all he could handle. It seems from time to time, he just gets too top-heavy and leaning, and Orchard would sense that and then exploit it. Again, I loved so much of Peat that I don't want this match-up to be a deal breaker, but it was weird to see his performance brought down so far by one guy. But, Orchard is a really impressive prospect, himself. This happens. Beyond that, Peat is on the ground a bit too much and can improve his strength, but he is very young and will develop into something better than what he currently is.
Summary: He is not a perfect prospect and doesn't appear to be that variety of tackle that is earmarked for the first hour of the draft, but there is no doubt he goes in the first round because he plays the highly-coveted, under-supplied spot of left tackle. He has traits that reminds me of someone who I undervalued back in 2011, but has really shown me the error in my ways, Boston College's Anthony Castonzo (Colts). Big, not really as strong or mean as I like, but agile and seemingly perfect for the zone scheme/pass attack that seems to look for the prototypical power forward body. Peat is not quite that, as his size at nearly 320, makes him even more desirable than that 300 pound group, but I can see that with those hands and natural agility as well as a real understanding for what he is doing puts him pretty high on the list. I would feel pretty good if my team landed Peat. A solid prospect without too many concerns at all.