Wednesday, April 22, 2015

DMN Print: Top Offensive Linemen

LSU offensive lineman La'El Collins runs the 40-yard dash at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Friday, Feb. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
LSU offensive lineman La'El Collins runs the 40-yard dash at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Friday, Feb. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
There are many strong offensive line prospects in this years class at the top (Rounds 1-2), but once that dozen or so get picked over, the next wave is actually quite ordinary. Therefore, this top-heavy class is the type that if you need a starter who has a chance to be special, you better get it while you can. We are looking for the combination of the size to protect with the mobility to match footwork with elite edge rushers.

Bob Sturm's Top 10

Rk., player College Height Eight Noteworthy
1. La’el Collins LSU 6-4 305 Wonderful combination of skill and attitude
2. Brandon Scherff Iowa 6-5 319 May have to move inside, dominating run blocker
3. Ereck Flowers Miami 6-6 329 Fantastic upside with absurd strength
4. Andrus Peat Stanford 6-7 313 Gifted player who will be a solid pro
5. Jake Fisher Oregon 6-6 306 Athletic prospect, but needs more nastiness
6. DJ Humpheries Florida 6-5 307 Still a project, but already very solid
7. TJ Clemmings 6-4 309 Issues in present, but tools for future
8. Cedric Erving FSU 6-5 313 Converted to center, prospects improved
9. Laken Tomlinson Duke 6-3 323 immovable guard candidate
10. Cedric Ogbuehi Texas A&M 6-5 306 ACL and poor 2014, but still promising

Spotlight Player

Ereck Flowers, Miami
Flowers is without question as mobile as I have seen from a prospect at that weight of nearly 330. He has agility and mobility and is a massive man, but at times, he looks like he weighs 305. He is a strong, bully run-blocker who blinds you from the sun when Duke Johnson is running behind him into space. He moves to the 2nd level with ease and seldom loses on a run block at all. In pass protection, he isn’t bad. He looked comfortable in the games against Florida State and Nebraska, and even when he gets knocked off balance, he is able to recover and re-anchor his stance before his man can get around him. What is most impressive to me is his effectiveness as a Left Tackle against edge rushers, despite perhaps having some real technique deficiencies at this stage of his young career. He has a great demeanor and battle about him. He is engaged mentally in the fight.
To imagine him in 3 years is a very exciting possibility that he might be a very strong left tackle. He is as strong as you can imagine with 37 reps on the bench press. This one might come down to your coaching staff and your faith in them to bring him along. Ideally, you would not start him at LT in year 1, but all some low-pressure settings to get everything squared away in his rookie season. There is plenty here to get excited about and to invest in for the future. You almost have to run around a mountain to get to the QB with Flowers.

The Best

La'el Collins, LSU
He is a competitive, physical bull-dozer with a mean streak. He is “a finisher” - a guy who is not interested in blocking you for 3 seconds when he can mess with you for 6. He has very strong zone blocking skills in the running game and comfortable in pass protection and gets centered with the edge rushers very well with a kick-step that beats his man to the angle. He will face an adjustment if he is drafted into a passing offense from what he dealt with at LSU. He gets better as a game goes along. Good disposition and good competitiveness.


Rob Havenstein, Wisconsin
Another Wisconsin linemen that appears to follow the familiar path of a college tackle who will likely project more to a guard in the NFL. At 6’7, 320, it is never smart to qualify a player for the next level because of where he has gone to school, but Havenstein seems perfect for the NFL’s infatuation with the zone running scheme that Wisconsin teaches clinics on. Needs more strength development but has a chance to really grow into something relative to where he is selected.

Best of Texas

Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M
At one point, Cedric was projected to be one of the first picks of this draft, but has had a very difficult 2014 that included a positional change from right tackle to left tackle that did not go real well (he was eventually moved back) and then a blown ACL in the Aggies bowl game. Still, he has impressive physical traits including the longest arms in this group insure someone is going to get value and potential when his name is called.

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