Southern Cal Jr. OT Matt Kalil speaking to the media on Friday.
Saturday, February 25th at the 2012 NFL Combine featured Tight Ends and two Offensive Line groups in a number of positional and timed testing for the purpose of NFL Draft evaluation. The following are some of my notes strictly on the offensive line workouts.
- The two darlings of OL groups 1 and 2 were Stanford OG David DeCastro (6’4″ 316 lbs.) and USC OT Matt Kalil (6’6″ 306 lbs.), respectively. Both showcased strong athletic ability and managed to truly stand out from the crowd in next to all facets of the workout on Saturday. DeCastro, the Cardinal interior lineman looked comfortable in positional drills, displaying a strong base, quick feet, and nice lateral movement. Kalil, the Trojans’ star-studded blindside protector ran a sub-5.00 time in the 40-yard dash, exhibited proper bend and ideal technique in drills. Both established their draft grades with their workout today; DeCastro, the top guard in the 2012 class, a mid 1st round value and Kalil, perhaps now my 2nd rated player regardless of position, as a near-lock to go No. 2 or No. 3 overall.
- Illinois OL Jeff Allen (6’4″ 307 lbs.), coming off a nice Senior Bowl performance, really impressed me Saturday. It’s safe to say at this point that he’ll be a guard at the NFL level, and his short-area quickness will allow him to pull and get to the second level with ease. I see a scheme diverse player who can contribute in a zone blocking scheme or man-blocking format. Allen holds similarities to another former Illinois guard, Jon Asamoah — a 3rd round draft choice by Kansas City in 2010 — and may be selected in similar range, as well.
- Georgia OL Cordy Glenn (6’5″ 345 lbs.) had a strong day of workouts Saturday. Glenn displayed plus athleticism for someone of his size and continued to make me believe he is an NFL right tackle. Although there may be some Carl Nicks-like ability to his game at the guard position, his footwork and hand usage are notable, as are his lateral movement skills. Regardless, the borderline 1st round projection will have value because of his ability to project to three positions (LG, RG, RT) along the offensive line. Fellow Dawgs lineman, C Ben Jones (6’2″ 303 lbs.) didn’t physically “look the part” or test through the roof athletically, but he’s an experienced interior blocker with an understanding for the game. When the pads come on, he’ll perform better than most of the athletes who outperformed him in timed drills. He holds a 2nd or 3rd round grade.
- Iowa OT Riley Reiff (6’5″ 316 lbs.) didn’t have the type of ideal body build you want and he wasn’t overly athletic, but looked good in the mirror drill, moving well with sunken hips and bending a bit. He was pretty stout when hitting the pad in bending + driving drill. Overall, he performed well in the positional drills and remains a sure-fire top 15 projection with potential to crack the top 10.
- Ole Miss OT Bobby Massie (6’5″ 316 lbs.) looked solid in positional drills. I like what I see from him, as he’s an athletic blocker with nice movement skills. Controlled in his lateral movement and bended well in drive blocking drills.
- The fastest offensive lineman at the Combine was Oklahoma OL Donald Stephenson (6’5″ 312 lbs.), who ran an official 4.94 time in the 40-yard dash. Stephenson flashed impressive lateral movement, sunk his hips nicely with a wide base, and carried himself at his size. Next was Matt Kalil with a 4.99, third was Iowa OG Adam Gettis (6’2″ 293 lbs.), who had perhaps the best all around physical workout of the offensive lineman posting a notable broad jump (9’4″) and vertical jump (31.5″) numbers.
- Physically, Cal (PA) OG Rishaw Johnson (6’3″ 313 lbs.) looked the part of an interior NFL blocker. His technique was a little messy, but he showed quality athleticism and moved well at his weight. Nice thickness to his build and he is someone I suspect a few coaches at the pro level would like to coach up.
- Florida State OT Andrew Datko (6’6″ 315 lbs.) caught my eye during Saturday’s workouts. He was one of the leading second-tier blockers today after elite’s like Kalil, DeCastro, etc., in my evaluations. Fundamentally sound and pretty nice lateral quickness. Keeps hands cocked well and showed some natural bend in pass pro drills. Datko’s a 2nd-3rd round projection who can make a solid NFL right tackle should his shoulder injury hold up. On the other hand, fellow Seminole OT Zebrie Sanders (6’5″ 320 lbs.), coming off a below-average Senior Bowl in my evaluation, didn’t really remedy my concerns. He wasn’t as fluid in movement as I’d like to see him with no pads on. Doesn’t fall into the category of “looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane,” but he needs some work and I don’t see an immediate starter at either offensive tackle spot in Sanders despite the pretty measurables. Sanders is viewed as a slightly better prospect than Datko due to upside, but is also in that 2nd-3rd round range.
- One more player who looked particularly impressive physically was Iowa State OL Kelechi Osemele (6’6″ 333 lbs.). Although I view Osemele as strictly an NFL guard as opposed to a guard/right tackle like UGA’s Cordy Glenn, he has plus movement skills and athleticism for someone of his size, has a filled out frame ready for the pros, and keeps a strong base. He needs to be coached up a bit, but all the necessary talent is there. The ISU blocker is a likely 2nd round pick.
- One of the non-elites who helped himself the most on Saturday was Baylor OG/C Philip Blake (6’2″ 311 lbs.). He surprised with his measurables and came to Indianapolis in good physical form. A powerfully built lower half and nice overall athleticism — 40 yard dash (5.25) / broad jump (8’9″) / vertical jump (29 1/2′) — which surely caught some people by surprise. Good short-area quickness off snap, solid base and understanding of leverage. Surprisingly quick and smooth kick-slide as well. The Toronto, Canada native has carried a 3rd, maybe 4th round grade for much of the evaluation process and he cemented it at the Combine.
- Small school Amini Silatolu (6’3″ 311 lbs.), guard from Midwestern State, didn’t look overly impressive in athletic drills, but held up. In positional drills, Silatolu shined. His movement was solid, compact, and balanced. Although he’s still understandably raw, the natural ability is there and he looks comfortable with his run/drive blocking technique. A 2nd round projection, perhaps early 3.
- Miami (FL) OG Brandon Washington (6’2″ 320 lbs.) displayed some good and bad on Saturday. I see a nice low center of gravity but he occasionally got off-balanced and wasn’t totally smooth in movement. That being said, he has natural athleticism and proper bulk. Still, he’s a talent despite coming out a year too early from a football standpoint. Some offensive tackle experience, but he’s an interior lineman at the next level. I have a 3rd round grade on the Hurricanes blocker.
- Ohio State OT Mike Adams (6’7″ 323 lbs.) had an average workout physically, but his body type and build are still ideal for an NFL left tackle. Positional drills were executed well and with proper technique. Adams could bend a little more in pass pro, but performed well. The Combine didn’t help Mike Adams all that much, but it solidified a likely late 1st round selection.
- A final player who warrants an honorable mention is Utah OL Tony Bergstrom (6’5″ 313 lbs.), who’s coming off a solid Senior Bowl week and continued to display solid overall ability. Good form in kick-slides, has some toughness at the point of attack, and I see a solid potential two guard + right tackle at the next level from Bergstrom, who possesses ideal size and strength to compete early.
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