Basically everything sucks because we lost a playoff game after getting out to a 28 point deficit and now, after what feels like only a few hours since Bowe caught the pass out of bounds and I instantly sprinted to the nearest highway (after going to Hobby Lobby, picking out gray and yellow paint, running back home because I forgot cash, stopping at a busy intersection, paying for the paint, going home, attempting to convince a family member to paint me, running away [because none of them would, because it had been 5 hours and they were over it], enticing a homeless man to do it with a few bucks, then going back home, misplacing my keys [They were in my pocket! Ha!], getting in my car, and driving to the highway) where I fully intended to die an angry soul.
I now place myself into a state of suicidal indifference, categorized by having no inclination to do anything but shovel snow and listen to instrumental music. During my 24th listen to Hans Zimmer's "Aurora" (Which you can listen to here) the words of many AP users from the past few days dawned on me.
As severn58 so famously put it "Sweet, it's mock draft season."
It's mock draft season! My favorite part of football! As a self-proclaimed draft nerd, this part of the year could not come sooner! (Well, maybe not this soon...) However there is a catch.
I don't know jack squat about secondary or wide receivers. This draft is all about secondary and wide receivers.
I'm not going to patronize you good people by trying to fabricate some bullshit about why we should pick one free (and I do mean free, Safety Who Will Not Be Named) safety or receiver over another because, as Clark Gable kinda put it (let's be honest, that movie was old and boring), "I don't give a damn."
No, I'm not that guy. I watch football to observe a certain breed of beast. Much like a zoologist who studies bears or large ungulates or other megafauna I am watching this shit for the big (emphasis on "big") picture, and inconsequential skill position rodents bore me.
As much as I hate to admit it, I'm exactly like my peers. I like to think that I know the game and it's inner workings but I am into this sport for the sheer spectacle of seeing the largest, angriest, strongest, and stupidest monster- in the history of human existence shorten their lives and makes millions of dollars doing it by slamming into each other as hard as they can. I'm in it so I can talk to my friends the next day and say "Dood, did you see what ______ did to______?" Stuff like this:
It's in the nature of our being. We are homo sapiens, we live in predator-free world and are too advanced to toil with hunting our food. But the ape-like hierarchy is still there, we still value a person's ability to hurt others. It's why we like "Predator" or "Rambo". It's why we in inherently want to be with healthy people, and it's why I hate baseball and basketball and love football (real, North American football), rugby and hockey.
That was a long winded way of saying I'm gonna write a post about lineman and you're gonna like it, whether we need them or not.
It's great being under Reid now because i can finally fulfill my desire of confidentially mocking big, power-blocking collossi to our team. It's so awesome to be a Chiefs fan! (*checks ESPN, cries)
I'm gonna mix it up little a go with a ranking system from 1-10 that grades the following categories...
I'm willing to bet you'll pick up on it pretty quickly. Let's start our journey in dixie with your prototypical...
Southern War Daddies
Your massive brutes raised in the hellish flaming sun of the American south
First up we have...
Mason Walters, G/T, Texas
Size: 8/10. 6'6, 322 pounds. He was created to be an offensive lineman.
Power: 7/10. Not quite what you would expect from a big dude. It may be the scheme calls for something else from him but he doesn't seem to get movement consistently. In pass blocking however, his size and strength lead to him rarely giving ground and he has a powerful initial punch at the point of attack.
Explosion: 7/10. Better than i anticipated. Quick out of his breaks, but on multiple occasions he was beaten across his face by defenders. Quick to the second level.
Technique: 8/10. Definitely a coach's pet. Rarely has leverage problems despite his height (although I once saw him get stood up at the goalline. Steps are quick and he's constantly moving up the field with quality gripper-steps. Long arms are used to the full extent that they should be used to keep pass rushers at bay and to snag LB's and DB's. Does tend to drop his head from time to time and hope for the best.
Nastiness: 6/10. Inconsistent motor. On plays that go away from him he can be caught looking back at the play and not finishing. Not always playing to the whistle.
In Space: 5/10. looks a little lost at times. Not exceptionally athletic and he struggles to latch on to second-level defenders and drive them from the picture. Ducks his head occasionally and gets evaded.
Verdict: C+. There's a lot of good here. Size, technique, judging by his interviews he strives to be a leader. Get some good coaches on him and he could be a Geoff Schwartz.
Cyril Richardson, G, Baylor
Size: 8/10. 6'5, 340. They don't make people that big very often. very wide base and powerful arms.
Power: 9/10. Classic Texan piledriver, the term war-daddy was invented to describe guys like this. He slams into the opposition arms first, gets his arms under the oppositions should pads and just drives them away from the action. Can send smaller guys flying with a head of steam.
Explosion: 8/10. Another shockingly athletic guy. He is the team's resident "pulling guard" and he can startle second-level defenders with the pure speed at which he gets to them. Reaction time is occasionally off but he comes off the ball with splintering force.
Technique: 8/10. Quick feet and strong hands are his game. Constantly moves parallel to the line of scrimmage until he engages and he's always moving forward. Hands are striking and powerful to jolt defenders and get them off balance. Occasional lapses in the leverage battle and occasionally susceptible to a counter inside move are about it.
Nastiness: 8/10. Looks to finish most every play. Willing to do everything to keep his guy from getting to the ball carrier. Looks to crush smaller defenders and off balance opposition.
In Space: 8/10. Good feet and rarely ducks his head. Almost always makes contact and throws defenders off their route to the ball, if not locking on and taking them out of the picture completely.
Verdict: A-. I really like what I saw from the big man who moves like a dancing Bear (haha, Baylor). He plays with authority, tenacity, and just the right amount of technicality that you need to be successful. Very good player, and I could see him dropping like Larry Warford did last year and completely revitalizing his team's run game.
Antonio Richardson, T, Tennessee
Size: 8/10. 6'5, 335. He's been dubbed "Tiny" by his teammates and coaches, which makes no goddamn sense. Because he isn't. He's quite big.
Power: 9.5/10. There's something about this man's strength that cannot be overstated. The was extremely tempted to rank him a 10. He gives off the impression that he knocks the wind out of people each play with the way he seems to move defenders against their will. He blocks them so hard until the point that he eventually falls over on top of them. His pass pro is equally powerful. In one instance I saw against South Carolina a blitzing linebacker came at him full speed and Richardson delivers a blow with both hands that plants the dude straight on his butt.
Explosiveness: 7.5/10. Everything about this guy screams "NFL-ready". He won't wow you with straight line speed or lateral movement but he comes off the ball at a high level and arrives with a lot of thunder.
Nastiness: 8/10. He plays with a very good mixture of quivering rage and cerebral tact... most of the time. He can occasionally come out flat but after he few plays he gets very into the game emotionally. Looks to not only play to the whistle but to finish blocks into the turf, which he is adept at. The emotional side of him does lead to some hot and cold moments, though.
Technique: 8.5/10. Good feet and hands, in pass pro his technique is superb. He can lose control of his surroundings and get lost on the field, which can lead to a QB getting a sack or a LB crossing his face and getting to the ballcarrier (although his QB this year SUCKEDDDDD). Turns perpendicular to the LOS occasionally which never is good.
In Space: 6/10. Struggles to get a hand on second level defenders and his aforementioned awareness can be a problem in the open field.
The verdict: B+. Richardson is a very powerful player who could be a starter from day one with a lot of teams, Reminds me a lot of Cordy Glenn for the Buffalo Bills in terms of size, playing style and NFL-readiness coming out of college.
Greg Robinson, G/T, Auburn
Size: Listed at 6'5, 320. NFL ready size.
Power: 9/10. It's not often when scouting that I run across a dude who absolutely can bulldoze the LOS like Robinson can. A brusing, steamrolling type of OL who piles up pancakes like he's going to IHOP. Defensive ends and LB's can't handle his strength 1-on-1 and DT's can't handle the quickness, and with a goo partner on a double team he can completely collapse his side.
Explosion: 9/10. Very dynamic player, it's like he's two different players in the same body. The beastly run blocker who can take over the run game, and a guy with almost tight end like athleticism to explode off the ball and get into defenders before they even are out of their stance. Auburn's scheme calls for a lot of pulling, and his lateral agility is also very good and smooth.
Technique: 8/10. He looks very smooth and comfortable in his movements. His feet are constantly whirring and stomping upfield, even if he doesn't necessarily get hands on first. Very good with leverage and is almost always the lower man, even against smaller defenders. His hands are not always spot on in pass pro, but his feet often make up for it.
Nastiness: 9.5/10. Finishes every block he initiates, whether he is in pass pro or run blocking he looks to drive ever defender he touches into the ground and he plays to the whistle every time. It does not surprise me how Auburn finished with a top rushing attack despite being in the SEC. His competitiveness will however lead to some pesky holding penalties.
In Space: 9.5/10. Very comfortable in space. Able to lock on and move quicker defenders without hesitation because he is confident in his own athleticism. Rarely gets evaded. The only player in the past few years who I would rate as better in space? Eric Fisher.
Verdict: A. I came away very impressed. An insane combo of power, tenacity and sheer athleticism. Reminds me a lot of a young Jason Peters. Only problems are that he occasionally has trouble placing his hands in pass pro and he's a little young.
Daniel McCullers, DT, Tennessee
Size: 8/10. 6'8, 360-370. You normally want your nose guard big, but someone that tall may present problems. However his length does allow him to cover a lot of ground and take up a massive space in the middle. can naturally get into passing lanes.
Power: 9.5/10. About what you would expect from a guy of his monstrous size. It's not often that you see a guy with arms as long as his who can just latch onto a lineman, prevent them from getting inside of him, and then just toss them away when he sees where the play is going. People don't often escape his tackles.
Explosion: 5/10. Inconsistent agility and burst off the LOS, but it's consistently pretty average. At times his feet almost look as though they are cinderblocks with the rate at which they move.
Technique: 6/10. Leverage is a problem for him, as it is for a lot of guys his size, however his size naturally makes it hard to move him at all. Normally doesn't lose the middle of the field, as he isn't required to mvoe down the line much. Pretty solid at splitting double teams. Very heavy-handed and can swat down blockers hands to get into the backfield or into the running lane.
Nastiness: 7/10. Also varies. Plays at an inconsistent emotional level. Drops off towards the end of the game, so conditioning may be a problem.
Verdict: C+. He does what a nose tackle does, doesn't get moved and forces plays to the outside by simply being too big to run into. Kinda like a less agile, lesser Ted Washington who doesn't offer much in the pass rush except for the occasional bull rush that catches a OL off guard.
Gabe Jackson, G, Mississippi State
Size: 8/10. 6'4, 320. Pretty typical build for a guard.
Power: 8/10. His strength in pass pro is where he really makes his money, he just doesn't give ground to any kind of move. He also is powerful in his upper body in run blocking, however his feet are inconsistent because he seems to try to get his hands set first. He does get movement when he gets hands on.
Explosion: 6/10. Not a particularly explosive player. Comes off the ball with adequate speed and is much more technical than explosive.
Technique: 9/10. He is almost flawless in most every category here. His feet are quick and his steps are very deliberate and purposeful. He is heavy handed and he doesn't give ground in the pass or run game because he is so stout. Always works his hands to the play side of the defender and moves his feet to effectively wall off the defender.
Nastiness: 7.5/10. As I've said, a very technical player. He will throw a defender over piles and if he catches one off guard he will attempt to bury him but his main goal is to get in proper position for the block to succeed and for the runner to get by unmolested or for the QB to not deal with pressure.
In Space: 7/10. He doesn't get to do this very much, but in space he looks fine if not unspectacular. Will move the defender from the spot and nothing more.
Verdict: B. Very solid player. i do not see him as anything other than a consistent, solid NFL starter. Will help the run game, will keep the QB clean, but will not lead to a revolution of the offense.
Kelcy Quarles, DT/DE, South Carolina
Size: 7/10. 6'4, 298. Not any kind of giant but a lot of guys get by on that kind of size.
Power: 8.5/10. Really jolts blockers with a thunderous initial punch and bull. Can walk OL into the backfield with a dangerous bullrush and has the power to execute a strong inside move with a punch and a rip underneath. Keeps a wide base and rarely gets moved off the ball. Strong tackler who can yank runners down with diving arm tackles.
Explosion: 9/10. If it weren't for Clowney he'd be the first one off the ball every snap. Very quick to get hands on and his hands are very quick to execute bull rushes, rips, swims, counter rips, almost any move. He's got every technique in the arsenal. Constantly in the backfield terrorizing QB's (second in the FBS in sacks by a DT) or chasing down runners.
Technique: 8.5/10. Very occasional lapses in leverage and occasionally keeping his feet to narrow are his only real complaints. Keeps consistent down the line and most of the time keeps low with a wide base, but if he's pursuing a play from the back he will get a little sloppy which against big nasties (like Tenn's Antonio Richardson) that can end with him on his back.
Nastiness: 9.5/10. Fearsome competitor. Always pumping up the team and getting in the opposition's face. Explosive hitter in space and abuses OL when he gets the chance.
Verdict: A-. Disruptive as an interior presence gets with the strength to hold down the front, I don't see how South Carolina didn't lead the FBS in sacks with creatures like Quarles and Clowney on the DL. Nasty, but with the perfect amount of smart and athleticism. Could be a dangerous DE for us.
Cameron Erving, T, Florida State
Size: 8/10. 6'5, 320
Power: 8/10. Drive blocks fairly well, but is susceptible to bull rushers. Does not get much movement on double teams. Bigger DE's give him trouble, but he can overpower speed rushers and LB's.
Explosiveness: 9/10. As a converted DT, you can see the agility and explosiveness that he has. Very fast off the line of scrimmage and a natural blocker in the open field. Can really take it to LB's at the second level, and some DE's struggle with how fast he hits them off the LOS.
Technique: 7.5/10. Assignments are a pain for him. He misses unblocked blitzers and his footwork gets a little narrow and indecisive sometimes. When he should really sell out and let into a defender, he occasionally will stutter and not get the movement that he could have.
Nastiness: 8.5/10. Does have a very distinctive attitude. He never gives up on plays. Sometimes you can see him holding his block for 9 seconds during broken plays, and it's as though it never even occurred to him that you should stop before the whistle. Finishes blocks in space well.
In Space: 9/10. Deadly for LB's and DB's in the open field. He seriously lights things up sometimes. Delivers some real hammer blows and catches people off guard with the speed at which he gets to them.
Verdict: B. He still needs to learn some stuff about being an OL, but the athleticism and determination is there.
Seantrel Henderson, T, Miami
Size: 9.5/10. Stands 6'8, 358 pounds. If you were making an offensive tackle, he would look like this.
Power: 9.75/10. Completely takes over the line of scrimmage, very tempted to rate him a 10/10 here. When he downblocks, he takes the whole side of the defense with him. When he kicks defenders out of a hole he does it in dramatic fashion. Even the typical after the play shove can send linebackers a few yards back.
Explosiveness: 8/10. Pretty fast out of his stance, and his length helps him to cover ground quickly. Oftentimes into his defender before his defender has time to knock his paws away.
Technique: 8/10. Very good footwork and handwork in the run game. In the pass game he takes good steps but occasionally will either fail to take advantage of his long arms and not get hands on or simply lose focus of where his QB is in relation to him. Gets very low on drive blocks but when pulling he will play tall and narrow.
Nastiness: 9/10. Lots of extra-curricular activity here. Likes to intimidate defenders with shoves after the play and adept at sending opposition hurtling over piles. Senses off balance opponents and will gear up at the prospect of knocking them over. Not against trash talk.
Verdict: A-. If it weren't for a few mental lapses and the suspensions and trouble that he's faced during his college career he would be an A. i like to think Reid can help turn around troubled players and if we get this guy performing at the level he can he's All-Pro material. Reminds me of Leonard Davis coming out of college, with more baggage.
Timmy Jernigan, DT/DE, Florida State
Size: 8/10. 6'2, 292. Ideal size for a 3-4 DE.
Power: 9/10. Not a particularly large man, but very stout and incredibly brutal. Bull rush is fearsome and you often see him throwing blockers to the ground. Strings out plays very well and is strong enough to shed blockers at the POA and get in on tackles for short gains. Known for bodyslamming a 310 pound LSU offensive lineman.
Explosiveness: 8.5/10. Pretty quick off the ball and quick hands, but he's not an explosive finisher like some on this list. Does not have the closing speed you want to make all the plays, but the quickness you need to disrupt them.
Technique: 8/10. Gets turned sideways and backwards from time to time and he can get caught not using hands. Typically he moves down the line of scrimmage well and swats away OL arms well. Stays very low and his center of gravity can only be described as "bowling ball esque".
Nastiness: 9/10. Whether he's tossing a ballcarrier to the ground, bullying a blocker into the QB or generally talking trash, Timothy has a mouth and the play to back it up.
Verdict: B+. Like a lot from Jernigan, although he's not an exceptional upgrade in the pass rushing department I was looking for.
That's it for the south (for now), let's head up North to meet the Southern War Daddy's cousin...
The Northern War Daddy
Neanderthals descended straight from the vikings of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan or other states northern states. Known for having massive beards and eating musk oxen whole.
Isn't it weird how in order for smashmouth football to be the regional brand, it either has to be in the far north or the far south?
Marcus Hall, G, Ohio State
Size: 8/10. 6'5, 315. Very prototypical build.
Power: 8/10. Very willing run blocker with a strong initial punch, but most of his success in the run game seem more from tenacity than strength. Can overpower defenders if he gets leverage and move them with his upper body. Often forces defenders to take a step back in the pass game with his initial punch.
Explosion: 7/10. Swift in an out of his stance and quick into defenders, although his feet don't always come with. When pulling he gets to the perimeter of the tackle box quickly.
Technique: 6/10. Inconsistent footwork and occasional misuse of the hands. Too often in run blocking he uses his shoulders when he should be using his hands or at least his forearms. Lunges too much. Keeps a wide base in pass pro and can handle most pass rushing moves.
Nastiness: 9/10. HE FLIPPED OFF THE ENTIRE MICHIGAN CROWD. Very angry player. Has a chip on his shoulder and constantly looks to smash defenders with highlight hits, which leads to either a bad whiff or a sick collision. Very intense and prone to extra curricular activity outside of the whistle. Can get him in trouble.
In Space: 8.5/10. As I said before, he can whiff because he leads with his helmet or shoulder going for a knockout block. On The bright side it means he's very good at kick-out blocks on power plays and can occasionally pump up his team with a glorious pancake block, but he also can be made a fool of and cost his team yards. Although more often than not he connects.
Verdict: B-. There's a lot of good here. The intensity, the size, the physical ability. Technique and discipline will have to be improved but there is good here.
Ra'Shede Hageman, DT/DE, Minnesota
Size: 9/10. 6'6, somewhere between 311 and 322. Very lengthy and covers a lot of ground but is shockingly lean.
Power: 9.5/10. This guy is an absolute freak. Long arms just throw lineman around like ragdolls. It's not his primary move but when used to counter something else he more than once per game can utilize a bullrush that puts blockers to the ground and his leg drive is so good that his rip moves run through even the stingiest of linemen. His arms are so long and strong that he can reach out and snag runners and QB's yards away and not allow yards after contact, and despite his height he rarely gives ground.
Explosion: 9.5/10. Extremely J.J Watt like in his ability to explode out of his stance like a spring and shoot gaps that linemen couldn't possibly get to. So fast out of his stance that he often catches guards pulling and sends them hurtling to the ground. his first step is immeasurably quick.
Technique: 8.5/10. The only real gripe is that he occasionally turns sideways and as such can get removed from the ball, also he can run himself out of the play by shooting the wrong gap (although that's more of a scheme thing). Otherwise he uses his hands very well, his steps are precise and he has relentless pursuit,
Nastiness: 8.5/10. Very tenacious defender who hits hard and beats blocks harder. Plays to the whistle and never gives up on plays.
Verdict: A. Can't help but be impressed by Hageman, he's an absolute destroyer of offenses.Huge, fast, explosive, smart, strong, physical. We take him if we can.
Ryan Groy, T/G, Wisconsin
Size: 8/10. 6'5, 320. Very good starting size.
Power: 8.5/10. Your typical Wisconsin bruiser. Big, white, wooly and strong like his Scandinavian ancestors. very strong upper body makes pass rushing against him a nightmare and he will take defenders downfield with his brute strength. Doesn't give much ground in pass pro.
Explosion: 6.5/10. Not any kind of exceptional athlete or explosive player, comes off the ball with adequate speed and makes his living with what he does after the snap, not during.
Technique: 9/10. I don't know who the OL coach is at Wisconsin but we should hire him. The footwork across the line is simultaneous. His steps are strong and subtle, and his hand placement is perfect. Doesn't often miss defenders completely and is always pushing the opposition back a few yards at least.
Nastiness: 7.5/10. Very blue collar player, looks to make his block, move his man and move on to the next play. 4 yards and a cloud of dust at a time.
In Space: 6/10. He knows what to do in space but he's simply not athletic enough to make every block. People cross his face and he just can't reach them. Can pull around and make a good position block.
Verdict: B-. It's what you get when you draft a Badger lineman. Blue collar, physical, strong, and good at pushing the pile. Reminds me a lot of Andrew Whitworth.
DaQuan Jones, DT/DE, Penn State
Size: 8/10. 6'3, 318. Very stout, good size.
Power: 8.5/10. Stout player who rarely gives up ground face to face. strong initial punch to rock blockers back and force his way into the backfield.
Explosion: 7/10. Pretty adequate off the ball. Closes distances to the ball carrier pretty well.
Technique: 7/10. Turns his body and occasionally gets moved off the ball. Susceptible to getting moved on double teams. Very quick hands bat down blockers hands well. Always gets inside hands.
Nastiness: 8/10. Viscous hitter and strong player. Emotional leader on the field.
Verdict: B-. A strong player with a good bullrush, consistent run defense and superb block shedding ability. Wouldn't mind him as a mid round pick.
Ken Bishop, DT/DE, Northern Illinois
Size: 7.5/10. Stands just 6'1, but weighs in at a stout 308 pounds. For a DL that aint bad.
Power: 8/10. Stout in the middle and very good at shedding blockers. Strong hands and a powerful base makes him tough to move. Gets inside hands consistently and almost always has a leverage advantage to move blockers back.
Explosion: 8.5/10. Very quick off the snap and into his blocker before they have hands up more often than not. Surprisingly quick feet and good, fast hands to swat arms away and duck under blockers during rip moves. Spends a lot of time in opposing backfields.
Technique: 8/10. Always gets inside hands, and stays parallel to the LOS at all times. Movements are quick and deliberate. Consistently stout base to keep from getting moved.
Nastiness: 8.5/10. Plays DT with an offensive mentality. Always forcing the offense to stop him instead of the other way around. Spent time starting as a fullback when NIU's fullback went out last year, and he did well going both ways. Hard hitting defenisve lineman all around.
Verdict: B. Not ideal length but he has exceptional instincts and attitude. Could be a sleeper pick in later rounds.
Aaron Donald, DT/DE, Pittsburgh
Size: 6/10. 6'0, 285. Not a death sentence but it does cause problems.
Power: 7/10. Not gonna wow anyone with a stellar bullrush or ability to force blockers into the backfield, but he can holds his own and his initial punch off the LOS is strong.
Explosion: 10/10. I had to go back and make many 10/10's into 9.5/10's because I need this 10/10 to do Donald justice. He is dynamite off the line of scrimmage, sometimes he's into the backfield before the QB even hands off the ball. His hands are so fast that a simple swim move gets him past the lineman 60% of the time. He's like a rocket shooting into the backfield and is one of the most disruptive players I've ever seen from the inside. Makes sense as to why he won the Bronko Nagurski award AND Outland Trophy.
Technique: 9/10. His hands are devastating at knocking away blockers and he disrupts every play he's in for. He doesn't make his living holding down the LOS but instead by surging through it and making plays turn inside out. His footwork and hands are otherworldly.
Nastiness: 7.5/10. Not an exceptionally emotional guy or fearsome hitter but he hustles and just makes plays.
Verdict: A-. I'm not sure how he translates to the NFL, but a guy who can spring off the ball and terrorize and offense like he can deserves to get a chance at stardom.
Jared Volk, G, Northern Illinois
Size: 8/10. 6'3, 315. Fine size for an OG.
Power: 8/10. A powerful, stout player with unparalleled tenacity. Fights to the whistle and almost always gets movement. Is NIU's regular pulling guard and leads the Huskies in knockdown blocks routinely.
Explosion: 5/10. In no way an explosive player off the ball. He has a wide body and can gets in the way but he doesn't jolt anyone at the LOS.
Technique: 7/10. Keeps a wide base, and has good hands in the open field and in pass pro. very good double-teamer. Occasionally gets lazy feet and is susceptible to inside moves and counter moves from tiem to time so a smart center is important.
Nastiness: 9.5/10. Sets himself apart with his physicality. A real enforcer on the NIU offense. An offense that was top 5 in the FBS in rushing. An offense that features a 250 pound running back and a quarterback that has more in common with Marshawn Lynch than Tom Brady. That should speak for itself.
In Space: 8/10. Despite limited athletic ability is very solid in space. Gets out to the second level and walls off defenders with relative ease. Pulls around and kicks out defensive ends very well.
Verdict: C. A very physical player who led a Husky offensive line that was 3rd in rushing yards per game and top 5 in total offense. Could have solid backup and occasional starter potential.
Corn-fed boys with an appetite for smashin' and crashin'. Welcome to football country.
Good ol' Midwestern beef.
Spencer Long, G, Nebraska
Size: 8/10. 6'5. 315. About what you want.
Power: 8.5/10. very driven run blocker that fits the Nebraska mold of big, athletic and tough. He can dominate in space and if given a little room can really rock defenders off the ball. Plays too tall in the pass game and can get moved backwards.
Explosion: 8.5/10. Comes off the ball hard and fast, his acceleration for a lineman is top notch. Very quick to deliver blows in run blocking.
Technique: 7/10. Drops his head and lunges too often. Doesn't always bring his hands up from his hips like he should and sees his arms knocked away too often. Quick feet and very good in pulling.
Nastiness: 8.5/10. Very physical player who gets a lot of knockdown blocks. He can really get up to speed and punish defenders who want to get to his running back.
In space: 9/10. Very good at locking up with defenders and kicking them to the sideline when he pulls. Very natural athlete in space who has a search and destroy mentality on screens.
Verdict: B-. He would be higher if he didn't miss most of 2013 with a knee injury. Reminds me a lot of our RT Eric Fisher in the way that he is exceptional in space and at run blocking, but struggles with lunging and dropping his head.
Ryan Carrethers, DT/DE, Arkansas State
Size: 9/10. 6'3, 325. Very solid size.
Power: 9.5/10. Exceptional strength, never gets driven off the line. Even in the midst of being held he can push linemen off of him and throw them off to the side to make a tackle. Almost unstoppable bullrush that if given a few seconds will get to the QB. Reminds me of Star Lotulelei in the way he manhandles linemen.
Explosion: 8/10. Inconsistent off the ball, but he covers ground in space and occasionally will get a very good jump off the snap and really take over the LOS. Can catch guards in the act of pulling and disrupt the entire play by shoving them to the ground.
Technique: 9/10. So good at everything. Doesn't let linemen into him, keeps a wide base, has quick hands to swat away blockers and his reaction time and ability to dissect plays (screens, counters, etc.) is phenomenal.
Nastiness: 8.5/10. Explosive hitter who will rock QB's or RB's if he gets a running start. His play seriously elevates around the goalline and makes a number of goalline stops, like the Marcus Allen of DT's, almost.
Verdict: A-. Didn't enter this one too positively to be honest considering the school he plays at but he's very impressive in almost every facet of his game. Also plays fullback on offense in short-yardage situations, and even scored a rushing touchdown this year!
David Yankey, G, Stanford (so not middle America)
Size: 8/10. 6'5, 313. Pretty solid size.
Power: 8.5/10. Gives no ground in pass pro and is a goalline blocking maniac. Adept at getting movement in tight quarters when both sides know what's coming. Always knocks LB's a few yards back at the second level.
Explosion: 8/10. Quick into his stance and very quick moving laterally. Accelerates fast into the hole when pulling and is rarely in the way. Not exceptionally explosive into drive blocks.
Technique: 9/10. Aside from the occasional ducking of the head or lunge not much to complain about. Good feet and heavy hands makes him give up next to nothing in pass pro, and he always gets leverage in the run game.
Nastiness: 7.75/10. Hits hard and gets his fair share of knockdown blocks. Not always into finishing blocks and can get caught standing around before the whistle blows. More of a 4-second player.
In Space: 8.5/10. Pulls around quickly and accelerates into his blocks like a man on a mission. Not too great at locking up with second level defenders but always knocks them off their path and a few yards back. Ideal for the Stanford power run game that goes 5 yards at a time.
Verdict: B. I like a lot of what I see. Strong, smart, technically sound. Should be a safe pick for someone. NFL comparison? Brian Waters.
Cornelius Lucas, T, Kansas State
Size: 9/10. Stands 6'8, weighs 338. Oh, mama that's big.
Strength: 9/10. Lots of power in this guy, especially in pass pro. He gets those huge mitts on defenders with that massive wingspan and it's game over. Such a colossal frame that he can base block defenders into next week on run plays.
Explosion: 7.5/10. More than you would expect from a guy his size. Very quick in and out of his stance to the second level and into pass pro. Gets in position for blocks nicely.
Technique: 8/10. Leverage is the only real issue. Otherwise he has heavy hands and very good feet so he can handle defenders and not even look like he's trying. His head always rocks back on contact so he knows where he's going with his defender. always gets inside hands to compensate for leverage.
Nastiness: 8/10. Blocked for Optimus Klein's (almost) Heisman season, and blocked for a downhill Kansas State run game this year. Against smaller defenders it's almost like he lifts them off the ground and tosses them sometimes.
In Space: 8/10. Better than you would expect once again. Huge frame helps him in sapce because you can't hardly get around this giant. Always in position and always keeping his man away from the back.
Verdict: B+. Massive man with inhuman strength and pretty reasonable athletic ability. Great project taht kinda reminds me of Marcus McNeil.
Travis Swanson, C, Arkansas
Size: 9/10. 6'4, 318. For a center he's very big.
Power: 9/10. Not often that you see a center who is expected to single against DT's almost every play. He's as big as a tackle and it shows. He gets a lot of movement on nose guards and 2-techniques whether he's doubling or taking defenders on by himself. Rarely gives ground in the pass game. One of the biggest reasons as to why Arkansas' running game was #3 in the SEC despite some of the worst QB play in the country.
Explosion: 7.5/10. Not an exceptional athlete, although he's often one of the first out of his stance. His hands are explosive and strong, but he's not a lunger or explosive blocker.
Technique: 9.5/10. This is where Travis Swanson shows why he's an Outland Trophy finalist despite playing on one of the worst offenses in the country. His footwork is flawless. In the run game he is constantly moving up the field and his hands are constantly inside, knocking away defenders hands then locking his facemask in the oppositions chest, lifting up on their head, shoving them straight perpendicular to the ground and driving them all along to the first down marker in a matter of seconds. His footwork while pulling and in pass pro is the perfect blend of wide to stand against bull rushers and natural to move around if he needs to make a block across the pocket or speed up to kick out a second level defender. Very tempted to list him as a 10/10.
Nastiness: 8.5/10. A known leader in the locker room and huddle, he takes it upon himself to get the rest of the offensive line hyped and spearhead a physical, downhill running game that will really suffer with him leaving. Intimidation is a major factor in his game with the way his demeanor projects an almost serial killer-y vibe.
In Space: 8.5/10. Not too athletic but very smart in space and never out of position. Always makes the blocks that are needed of him and rarely gets evaded.
Verdict: A-. A very physical and decorated Razorback, Swanson will immediately help to solidify whatever line he is on. Reminds me of Tim Grunhard in his size for a center and attitude.
Will Sutton, DT/DE, Arizona State
Size: 7/10. 6'1, 290 will get you somewhere but it's a little short.
Power: 8/10. Very strong out of his stance and has powerful arms, if not a little stubby. Good bullrush can be used to counter other moves.
Explosion: 9/10. Very fast out of his stance and his initial punch that jolts blockers only is there to benefit a very fast rip or swim move. In 2012 he lead all DT's in TFL and was 3rd in the nation for all positions. In 2013, he was keyed on for much of the season but his impact was still felt. Spends a lot of his time in opposing backfields stirring up trouble.
Technique: 7.5/10. His leverage is naturally his best attribute. He does occasionally get a narrow base and can get turned sideways, so being driven out of the play or onto his back is not insanely uncommon. Gets very skinny to squirt through holes in the OL.
Nastiness: 7/10. Not an exceptionally explosive hitter, but he does get his team pumped up with big plays.
Verdict: B. Wouldn't mind seeing him in red come draft time, as he has a lot of potential to be a havoc-wreaker.
Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
Size: 9.5/10. 6'9, 350. Such big, wow.
Power: 9.5/10. Serious mauling power. He's got pythons for arms that snag defenders and lock on until the whistle blows. Puts his length to full effect when blocking at the LOS by getting a full extension after locking up, sending his opponent skyward and backward. Very powerful in the pass and run game.
Explosion: 8/10. Deceptively athletic for such a big man. Comes off the ball pretty hard and surprisingly quick. Very natural lateral movement going parallel behind the LOS. Gets to the second level and the perimeter much faster than you would think, and his length gives off this sense of being everywhere at once.
Technique: 8/10. Very consistent footwork, though sometimes a little lazy. Stays very low despite his height. Hands are heavy and when he gets full extension on a defender he has absolute control over where they are going. Such a huge frame that getting around him in pass pro is almost impossible coupled with his long arms and fast feet.
Nastiness: 7.5/10. He's got a mean streak to him. He gets pancakes regularly but that's almost a given. Not exceptionally tenacious.
In Space: 8.5/10. Easily the most surprising thing about him is his ability to get out in space and take on guys half his size and not get juked out of his tights. Keeps a wide base and takes deliberate gripper steps at the second level so linebackers can only go through him. Has a very in-depth knowledge of angles of attack in the open field to take people out of the play.
Verdict: A-. Very interesting, exciting project. Massive, athletic, smart. Could be an interesting pick for us if we were to take him.
Oh, the wonder of draft season!