The depth at Tackle isn’t very deep this year and there is a lack of prospects for the left side of the line even then. With Luke Petitgout and Mike Rosenthal both likely to receive long-term contracts, I won’t be devoting a lot of time to watching the top OT’s play. However, the Giants may look to acquire a serviceable back-up as Chris Bober is a starter elsewhere on the line and last years draftee Jeff Hatch has yet to prove anything even on the practice field. The Giants M.O. at OT is to grab players 6’6” tall and around the 300lb mark but those guys are few and far between this year also!
Jordan Gross (Utah) has solid rather than outstanding size at a listed 6’5”, 310lb’s but is rated as the top OT prospect on most Draft sites. I’ve only ever seen him once and then didn’t really study him though he did look like he had everything an NFL team would want, even as a potent run blocker. However, the Michigan game from 2002 is on order so I’ll check him out against solid opposition once that arrives to see how he compares in skills to last year’s top 10 choices Mike Williams (Bills, 4th overall) and Bryant McKinnie (Vikings, 8th overall).
He has experience on both sides of the line having switched from RT to LT as a Senior and has also played some OG earlier in his career so if he looks to have the feet top handle the more difficult blindside assignment in the pro ranks, he could be worthy of a top 10 pick.
Kwame Harris (Stanford) entered the draft early and probably made the right decision as he appears – at least on the surface – to be the only other potential LT starter in the entire group even though he spent his entire career on the right side. He has excellent size and athletic ability (listed at 6’7”, 310lb’s) so certainly fits the mould of what a team envisions an OLT to be. I haven’t seen him as a junior but saw a few games last year and he showed the ability to slide his feet in pass protection (though he did allow some outside pressure at times) and to open big holes in the running game. Despite that being his first year as a starter, he was also pretty consistent.
As with Mike Williams, I’d expect him to remain at RT as a rookie with a shift to the opposite side planned for a little later in his career but no certainty. With no other quality prospects on the Cardinals roster at positions of interest to me, unless the Giants do something silly in free agency like losing their bookend Fighting Irish OT’s I won’t bother to get a Stanford game to watch. I’m pretty sure he’ll be a top 20 pick anyway and probably will go higher still. Anyone who has seen him recently please share your thoughts on the message board.
Brett Williams (Florida State) isn’t particularly defined physically at 6’4½”, 320lb’s but isn’t fat either and could probably add more weight. I’ve seen him a few times over the years and he isn’t overly athletic but is usually very sold in both phases of the game. Very experienced on both sides of the line but projects better to RT because of his athletic limitations.
Against Louisville and noted prospect Dewayne White he had a virtually perfect performance despite leaving the game after a line-mate fell on him at the start of the 2nd QTR and missing a couple of series. Dominated both White and the other DE (an OLB sized guy) from the get go, getting his hands on them quickly in pass protection and wasn’t pushed back or beaten around the outside at any stage. Also picked up the stunts thrown at him. A better run blocker than I had given him credit for previously, he generated movement at the line of scrimmage and was able to drive his man wide or back consistently (especially the smaller DE). Professional attitude – finished the play every time. Didn’t show much range but then wasn’t asked to move much and rarely was asked to get to the second tier and block LB’s. Has had a few knee problems over the years though so must check out medically at the combine.
Other than the Senior Bowl, this is likely the only time I’ll get to see him but I’m satisfied that he’s a solid RT prospect and immediate NFL starter. While a late 1st round choice is not out of the question, I think he’s more likely to go at the top of the 2nd.
Tony Pashos (Illinois) is another player I liked heading into the season but while I haven’t studied him this season, when I saw glimpses of him against Wisconsin and Penn State he looked to me to have become a little thicker in the upper body (muscle not fat) but didn’t have the same range I remember him having as an underclassman, operating more in a 5 yard square and not getting up field at all. At 6’5¾”, 339lb’s he is a pure RT prospect, lacking the athletic ability to switch to the left side and the mobility required in most schemes to do the trapping and pulling required of an OG.
That said, while what you see is very much what you get, what’s on offer is pretty good! He is a very good drive-blocker – certainly the best I’ve seen in this draft so far – getting excellent movement at the point of attack and can power the strong-side running game. Pass protection though isn’t quite as big a strength and he will have trouble at times with speed rushers, especially those with multiple moves though he has never been used as a turnstile. Given a little help every now from the TE and with a little work on angles, I think he’ll do a solid job in the NFL too. Right now I see him as a solid mid-late 2nd round pick but the Combine/personal workouts could hurt his ‘stock’ and he may end up a bargain a round or so later.
George Foster (Georgia) is a player I liked a bit as a prospect heading into the year but one who may not have made any progress as a senior due to a broken wrist suffered in a car crash that forced him to miss half the year and then to play in games with a hugely oversized cast on his hand. A man mountain at 6’5”, 333lb’s he also shows a very mean streak – those who caught the ‘elbow drop’ on an LB in the Florida game will know what I mean! – but is also very flabby (should probably be about 20lb’s lighter) though athletic and surprisingly mobile.
I saw a lot of him as a junior and he switches easily between LT & RT (Georgia play a weak side/strong side system switching the line with the TE), doing a good job in the running game using his size to move opponents off the ball and was decent in pass protection though a very wide outside rush gave him trouble at times because he didn’t always get his angles right as a first year starter and I saw him allow a few sacks. He did pick up stunts pretty well though. I’ll see plenty of Georgia in the coming months – checking out the top prospects on defense in particular – but I‘m not sure what I’ll learn from watching him playing one-handed. If he checks out medically at the combine, he will still have to answer questions NFL teams are sure to have about whether he is ‘willing to pay the price’ and he could be either a bargain. For comparison’s sake, he is a better prospect than former team-mate Jonas Jennings (4th round, 2001) who started for Buffalo last year at LT! If he can prove his health and interviews well, I see him being taken in the 2nd or 3rd round but he is definitely ‘boom or bust’.
Another man mountain is in Ben Johnson (Wisconsin) who weighed in at the Senior Bowl at an impressive 6’5¾”, 334lb’s. An OLT in college, I don’t see any way that he will remain at that spot as a pro and I’m not sure that he would be a suitable candidate for ORT in every NFL offense. He gets a strong push with his hands for the run – is the man to run behind on short yardage plays – and can make the block on LB’s to seal the back side but is better off taking on what is in front of him where he uses his size to engulf his opponent. In pass protection, his long arms and quick enough feet allow him to push his man around the corner but he looks too stiff and upright and doesn’t have the flexibility to adjust to moves, losing his balance too often and lunging (and missing) too often.
I’ve watched him intently already this season against Iowa and he had a very good game and gave his QB all day to throw as well as getting some movement in the running game. If he does well at the Combine, he could lift his rating by a round or so but right now I see him as a 4th round pick.
Will Ofenheusle (Tennessee) is one that may interest the Giants because of his size (listed at 6’8” and 305lb’s) and experience at both ORT and OLG. I don’t think he could be an OG in our current system though as he isn’t mobile enough to pull and lead and will probably be marked down as a ‘pure’ ORT type. I must admit that I haven’t been that impressed with him when I’ve seen him as an underclassmen Certainly, he is strong and can get a lot of movement at the point of attack but he had tendency to lunge and get beat by the wide outside rush and give up sacks in pass protection despite his long arms. Going into the year I had considered him a late round type but he could elevate himself if he had a good senior year and I’ll take a look and see how he progressed before offering an opinion on where he might go.
I haven’t seen Jeremy Bridges (Southern Mississippi) play at all as yet but will watch him in action against Louisville in the future to see how he fared against a prospect like Dewayne White. He started at OLT in college but at 6’4”, 294lb’s seems a bit undersized for the position in the pro’s and it is believed that he will have to convert to OG if he is to make it. Reports from the Senior Bowl practices indicate that he needs to add a lot more strength before he can compete for a starting job in the NFL but he may be a decent prospect. I’ll give you my view once I’ve seen him.
Jon Stinchcomb (Georgia) was the bookend opposite Foster but at a pumped up 6’4¾”, 288lb’s he doesn’t really have the natural size or strength to be a pro OT. As a junior, I thought he was one of the most overrated players in the Nation. While his footwork isn’t too bad, he couldn’t hold out a strong bull rush, lost his balance too easily and went to ground in pass protection and was beaten for too many pressures & sacks in big games. As a run blocker, he played too high and didn’t get the leverage to drive anyone off the ball and ended up on the ground frequently. He may be seen as an OG in some systems as a pro but I can’t see him being successful going against even bigger players than he is now. To be honest, unless I see a marked improvement from him as a senior (I have many Georgia games to watch), he’s not one I’d want the Giants to even consider drafting.
The Giants like Notre Dame players but I don’t see Jordan Black appealing to them very much. He has the size and height the Giants look for at Tackle (listed at 6’6”, 305lb’s) and having started at both OLT and OLG he has that all-important versatility factor the Giants like in their linemen. However, he’s definitely not an OLT prospect as he lacks the quickness for the position and doesn’t have good balance so I can’t see him at ORT either. I also can’t see him as an OG in our system as he doesn’t move particularly well and doesn’t have the strength to keep the top DT’s at bay in pass protection. I think he’ll be drafted by a team that doesn’t ask their OL’s to move much, but it will be very late on if at all and hopefully not by the Giants.
Seth Wand (NW Missouri State) has the size the Giants typically look for at 6’6¼”, 315lb’s and played against top competition at the Senior Bowl. I haven’t really seen much on how he got on though so can’t tell you any more than he is seen as an RT in the pro ranks and of potential interest as a back-up because of that.
OLT Wayne Hunter (Hawaii) entered the draft as a 3rd year junior but I don’t know why as he is far from the finished product. A product of the run ‘n’ shoot, he has the sort of height the Giants look for in a prospect at his listed 6’6” but is too light right now at 278lb’s and needs to log serious time in the weight room before he’s ready to compete in the NFL. Watching him against Alabama, he didn’t go up against the well-known senior lineman for more than a few downs – and then he faced, Kenny King, the least impressive of the trio – but whilst he showed good athletic ability and quick feet, it was evident that he needs to keep up his intensity during a play.
For 3 QTR’s of the game, he did a good job of driving his man wide and mirroring his movements without really looking for that second shot and he fell apart a bit in the 4th QTR allowing a pair of sacks. The first, he his man wide but then let up allowing him back to the QB (who held on too long). The 2nd time he got smoked by a great inside-outside-inside move, getting without making contact. Hawaii barely even attempted to run so I can’t say how good he is as a run blocker but he is certainly athletic enough to get out on LB’s. To me, he looks to have made a mistake entering early and I don’t think he’ll be ready to help as a rookie even in an emergency though he has some talent to work with.
Anyone suggesting that Todd Williams (Florida State) is a prospect because of his size – listed at 6’6”, 315lb’s in the TSN College Preview – and ability to play both ORT and OLG hasn’t seen him play! Against Louisville he looked fat (as in about 50lb’s more than TSN pegged him), incredibly slow, had zero range, zero stamina and was poor in pass protection. I’d say he’s undraftable.