Tuesday, March 24, 2015

2015 NFL Draft #48 - TJ Clemmings, T, Pitt

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.
T.J. Clemmings, T, Pittsburgh - 6'5, 309 - RS Senior - 5.14 40
Pittsburgh offensive lineman T.J. Clemming talks with reporters during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Friday, Feb. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)
Pittsburgh offensive lineman T.J. Clemming talks with reporters during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Friday, Feb. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)
This is a very interesting prospect that was not on my radar until late in the college football season.  He is a right tackle at the college level which makes him a bit less common amongst "Top 100" prospects, and he also played 3 years of defense (including his redshirt year) before coming over to the offensive side of the ball at Pitt for 2013 and 2014.
Clemmings is one of the athletic stars of the combine, with scores in the 90-percentile for the vertical and broad jumps, the 80-percentile for the 20-yard and his arm length, and then ran the 40-yard dash for a very solid time, too.  So, athletically, he really fits the part, despite being undersized - as goofy as it is to call 6'5, 309 is under-sized - and now we have to crack open his college work and see if he has top level quality.  To examine Clemmings, I watched Duke, Virginia, and Virginia Tech.
Clemmings is playing right tackle and wears #68 in the videos below:
What I liked:  Overall, Clemmings looks like exactly the type of tackle I am seeking.  Quick feet, really long arms, aggressive, and a very athletic build.  He has it all going for him, so finding his spot at tackle has made all sorts of sense.  He is best in show in the open field where he stalks down defenders and will not let them out of his arm radius.  The clip below shows him as the only blocker on a WR screen and it is an athletic show that can't be pulled off by just anyone.  He is a very good leverage player who also seems to have a nasty streak about him where he appears to place a premium on slamming a player when given the opportunity.  Off the snap, his run blocks are done with conviction and effectiveness, and he generally looks in control in pass protection.  There is plenty here to like and without throwing too many roses at his feet, there is a fair amount of Tyron Smith similarities in this prospect.

What I did not like:  When you watch 200 snaps, you are going to find a few that need cleaning up, and the one below is the best example where he gets knocked off balance and never recovers as he is destroyed on a corner rush where he sat too far outside and paid for it.  This, actually, is something Tyron had happen to him in 2011, and I do believe that it is all based on maintaining your stance and balance more consistency to where your man cannot knock you off your stance that comes with technique development.  Again, he has played offensive tackle for about 24 months - despite being nearly 24 years old, he is going to need a bit more work.  That might cause some to move him down their board, but he is not full of flaws at all.  The other small aspect is that I did wonder about was whether that game was in his head for a bit after that sack he allowed, because he had a few poor plays grouped together, then snapped out of it and was great again.

Summary:  I realize there are some things to slow our roll about and that his Senior Bowl was not the greatest showing ever, but despite that, I think Clemmings is very impressive and a player I would have no problem tabbing for the Top 32 picks.  He has all of the tools you want in a tackle and although he still needs to learn as he goes, all of the tools are there in his toolbox.  He shows below that with those arms, sometimes he can hold off an edge rusher just by pushing 1 giant hand into the shoulder of that guy and stopping things right there.  He looks like he will be very good for a very long time with those gifts and skills that he possesses.  I would place him up there with the top tackles, perhaps slightly down based on being a exclusive right tackle.
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