Building your draft board position by position - week 2: Offense, Interior Linemen
Building your Draft Board - Week 2 is set to start. The focus here is the target rich environment of Interior Linemen; Offensive Center (OC) and Offensive Guard (OG). With all the posts begging for a "roadgrader", we should hopefully see a little more participation leading up to the Combine this week. BB's history here is pretty interesting and sparce, he drafted one OG off the Grier board in 2000 and one OC in 2003, both in the fifth round. He also drafted a LT at the end of the first round in 2005, then moved him inside to LG. Everybody else have been free agent hires. Still, this is a strong field with draftnik-rated value in each round, and a couple heavy-weight G's who have surprising mobility for their size. Many of the G candidates are OTs who are expected to move inside, some have done so in their All-Star games the way Mankins did last year, demonstrating their versatility on a national stage.
We started from http://www.gbnreport.com/positionalrankings.htm for the NT boards, and I recently shared http://www.northwestscouting.com/index.html which focuses on linemen, this gives everybody a good starting point. I encourage you to scour the web and your draft preview subscriptions for alternative sources - the more the merrier (and share them!).
There are no rules to building your line, if you want to draft an OT and move him inside do so, but please tell us you did and why you see them succeeding within the Patriots' system.
As noted above, the Combine starts this week, I started the draft board discussions with 3-4 DLs and Interior Linemen as the two areas least likely to be severely impacted by Combine scores. I expect people to revisit their boards as new information changes their assessments, if finding a 320 lb. DT who runs a sub-4.8/40 at the Combine excites you, by all means go back and update your NT board; but please use a color change to make your updates easier to spot, thank you.
Have fun, I must now brave the fickle wind to run the snow blower.
What to look for...
The Pats have a physical and mental profile for interior linemen.
On the roster today:
Billy Yates 6-2 305
Ross Tucker 6-4 316
Ryan Krug 6-4 304
Stephen Neal 6-4 305
Russ Hochstein 6-4 305
Nick Steitz 6-3 315
Gene Mruczkowski 6-2 305
Nick Kaczur 6-4 319
Logan Mankins 6-4 307
Note that they're all "lean" 300#ers: no beer guts or rolls of fat.
I took a look at the Combine results from last year, and for the most part, OG prospects are largely indistinguishable on paper. Here are some stats from 2005: http://2005.draftboardinsider.com/guard.html
One thing that stood out to me, tho, is that of 22 Gaurds at the Combine last year only 6 of them had verticals over 30 inches. And 3 of those 6 (Kaczur, Mankins and Steitz) are now on the Pats roster. Coincidence? Maybe not. The Pats prefer mobile athletic linemen who can move and the vertical jump may be a good measure for how "earthbound" an interior lineman is.
Also worth a mention, both Kaczur and Mankins were in the top third of the Wonderlic at their position... not the best, but both respectable. Steitz was middle of the pack.
After Mankins and Kaczur got to know each other, they remarked on how similar they were in personality. I'm sure that's not an accident.
Prospects at the position should be
1) 6-3/6-4, 305-315-- 340# roadgraders sound nice in concept, but we're a zone blocking team
2) Lean and athletic, with solid footwork
3) I'll be watching the Combine results for OGs who get over 31 inches on their vertical, plus a Wonderlic in the high 20s or low 30s
4) Loves football, dedicated to the team, puts in the work
5) Easy going personality, good teammate in the clubhouse
6) G/C or G/T flexibility is a big plus
7) Small school or conference is neutral, not a negative
Damn that's some fine work you've done rook. I really appreciate what you bring to this site.
Keep up the great work!
I'm intrigued by OT Colledge from Boisie State. I have a feeling that he fits the Pats profile pretty well. I wonder if he could move inside to RG to replace Neal and eventually challenge Light for LT?
Wonderful summary Rook, thanks!
Rook did a nice job of discussing what the Pats look for in on the OL. However I wanted to add a couple of things that are clearly Patriot when it comes to OG and Cs.
As Rook said, the Pats prefer mobile, smart guys that communicate well and work well with others, no free lancers in this group. These guys have to be in shape, no fat space eaters on the OL. Another common theme is strength. BB prefers guys that are naturally strong and have good pop at the snap of the ball. These guys must be able to use their hands well. They also have to be knee benders that can get leverage on the DL. In the Pats system, the interior OL guys don't have to be able to drvie DL off the ball and into the secondary, but the have to be able to create a crease or seal.
After BB drafted Koppen, he talked about Koppen's strength as something that caught his eye. I don't think BB was talking about the kind of strength associated with lifting 225 lbs 40 times, he was talking about natural strength (which some consider a product of leverage to a certain extent.) It's what I call "functional football strength".
There are some guys in this draft that have that type of strength, but the one guy that really stands out in this regard is Setterstrom of Minneasota. As far as run blocking goes, he's a technical master and he has the natural strength to back it up. Unfortunately, he can't pass block. I would be petrified if Brady dropped back to pass and this guy was at OG for us as a rookie.
Another guy that I see as having the qualities that the Pats like is Lentz of Michigan. The good thing here is that depending on how is does at the combine, we might be able to wait and bag him on day two and he could possibly step into Neal's spot fairly early. (If Neal takes the trap door out of town.)
As far as early picks go, I remain intrigued with Joseph, he doesn't play smart, so I don't think he gets the BB seal of approval, but he has talent.
I have no serious expectation the Pats will take a G/C on day one (there is plenty of day two talent to like), but with all four of these guys displaying Patriot versatility, they make my day one board.
Charles Spencer 6'5" 330 5.15/40 Pittsburgh: Converted DT, showed good mobility pulling in the Senior Bowl. Starting experience at LT. Great prospect for the Dante Linemen Academy with a lot of upside and flexibility to play G and T. A big plus is his teamwork and his dedication to making the transition to O-line. Played DT and TE in high school. Has the nasty attitude BB likes as well as the willingness to play new positions to help the team.
Concerns: Weight, may be too heavy to last an entire 23 game season in the Pats’ offense. Inexperience on the O-line.
Projected: 2nd round, probably early.
Davin Joseph 6'4" 315 5.12/40 Oklahoma: Played RG and LT in College, G and DT in high school, was also a highly rated wrestler in high school. Has the versatility, mobility, and nastiness the Pats like.
Concerns: Ochmed's comments may affect my final board...
Projected: 2nd round.
Rob Sims 6'4" 310 5.25/40 Ohio State: Showed good mobility in the Shrine Game, took reps at LG and RG, started at LT and LG at Ohio State.
Concerns: Some write-ups felt he didn’t always play up to his potential.
Projected: 3rd round.
Ryan Cook 6'7" 322 5.29/40 New Mexico: Considered too tall for C by some, started cross training at RT his senior season and played RT a couple series in the Senior Bowl. Strong player with decent foot speed and mobility - walk-on who won the starting C job with his hard work. Another Dante Academy prospect.
Concerns: Inexperienced at G and T.
Projected: 3rd round. A better value for the Pats if he slips to the 4th round, but worth consideration in 3rd.
Other players with day one grades:
Nick Mangold 6'4" 296 4.96/40 Ohio State: Consensus #1 rated C, had a good Senior Bowl. Nice prospect, but likely to go too high for my board.
I want to clarify one comment on Joseph. His not playing smart doesn't mean to imply, he's stupid. It's more of an instincts or lack thereof kind as assessment. I think the reason he seemed to get lost at time out there was more a product of playing in several spots on the OL over his career. It may have hindered his mastery of the OG spot from an instincts and reaction point of view.
I'm still very high on Joseph. He has durability and big game experience. If I thought he could project along the lines of a Waters of KC, then I'd be happy to take him in the second round.
PS: Another interesting day 2/UDFA OG prospect/project to consider is Boothe. Not a big time program, but he has the exceptional hand strength that BB loves in OL. He's a few years away at this point, but this is the type of raw material that BB could do something with.
My OG board, I just realized, is totally focused on college tackles...
Daryn Colledge, Boise State
The dominant LT in his small conference, he's a bit small for an NFL LT but could look dominant at guard. An agile athlete for his size, he demonstrates excellent footwork and balance and is very good with his hands. A smart, tough player with strong fundamentals who can run block and pass block. Nope, that's not a description of Daryn Colledge...it's Logan Mankins from last year. But it fits.
Rob Sims, Ohio State
Played all along the line in college, including LT and RT. Great agility and footwork; long arms with good strength and punch. Plays with a nice mean streak. Football family (father played for the Browns).
Tre' Stallings, Mississippi
Not highly rated at this point, but seems to fit the Patriots profile. 6'4" 317. College LT. Outstanding work ethic, character, leadership. Tough, smart, great motor, good agility, good footwork and fundamentals. Football family (father played TE for the Cardinals). Possible issues: speed, strength.
Adam Stenavich, Michigan
An LT equally adept at pass and run blocking, Stenavich is intelligent and technically sound. Hard worker, good feet, plays with good strength and leverage. Possible issue: agility. Could project to either tackle or guard -- at 6'5" 320 5.28, he has *exactly* the same measurables as Kaczur last year.
Travis Leffew, Louisville
This slightly undersized LT (6'4" 305) is universally described as intelligent, coachable and competitive. Excellent athleticism, agility and footwork in pass protection; pulls well. Possible issues: strength, overall run blocking.
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