Originally Posted by p8ryts
Wilfork needs a competent backup that can take regular turns. The OL needs somebody that can create a hole for a back to run through. Generally our line only provides much running room on draws. The previous couple years we ran a few good holes off the "wham" with Graham trapping inside but with his injury and new players, I didn't see that work this year.
Yup, that has been an challenging area to dissect.
Based on limited research - NT: I'm not sold on Gabe Watson (Michigan) unless Pioli sees how to activate his "on" switch. For a late round consideration Antwan Burton (Temple) drew a lot of double teams in the Shrine game, not very athletic, but what I saw and read noted how he played his role within the TEAM very well. Mayock of the NFL network listed Montavius Stanley (Louisville - tired with brain freeze today so everything I type looks mispelled and probably is!) as his 8th best NT candidate, Stanley has the right size and I read one blurb that sounded good. Steve Fifita (Utah) looses track of the ball, he's short and strong, but can't see the action, he's a desperation pick based on the Shrine game.
3-4 DE: Manase Hopoi (Washington) needs another 10-15 lbs, but he looked good in the Shrine game at the point of attack and drew a lot of double teams - he also pushed the pocket well and was one of the 4 DL in the goal line stand that won it for the West (All-Star rules, only a 4-3 on short yardage). Barry Cofield (Northwestern) was also good at the point of attack and pushing the pocket in the Shrine game. Johnny Jolly (TX A&M) was a decent penetrator and fair at the point of attack, he needs more consistency, but he was another of the 4 DL sent in for the goal line stand.
OT: Jabari Levery (South Carolina) looked to be the strongest pass blocker in the Shrine game, but his run blocking is suspect. Andrew Whitworth (LSU) was the best all-around player at OT in the Shrine game. Rob Sims (Ohio State) did very well at G in the Shrine game, he has started at LT for Ohio. Kevin Boothe (Cornell) also looked good at G in the Shrine game and has played OT. Jeromey Clary (Kansas State) looked good at RT in the Shrine game. Eric Winston (Miami) has a bum knee that needs to be checked out, but he reportedly has been consistently good in the Senior Bowl practices. Daryn Colledge (Boise State) has people all over the board on his ability - they all love his attitude - I saw one play where he tackled Kiwinuka, but one to watch as a possible Mankins knock-off inside.
In the 'who replaces Neal and Gorin' debate, I'd move Gorin inside (he's strong and nasty) and put Kaczur at RT with his better feet.