Word of Muth: Scouting the Draft

Word of Muth: Scouting the Draft
Word of Muth: Scouting the Draft
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Ben Muth

I wanted to mix it up this week, so instead of breaking down a team, I'm going to talk a little bit about some of the prospects in this year's draft. Below is a list of highly-regarded offensive linemen in the order I would draft them if positional need wasn’t taken into account. You may notice that I didn’t include the two Stanford guys, David DeCastro and Jonathan Martin, on this list. I actually wrote them up, but when I read it back it was just too positive. Obviously, I really feel that both DeCastro and Martin will be good pros -- I had DeCastro first and Martin third -- but reading it back, I was definitely in the Jason Whitlock/Jeff George gush-zone. I’ll definitely talk about both during FO’s Cover It Live Draft Chat on Thursday night, but 250 words of (perhaps slightly biased) praise on each seemed a little much.

One reminder: Last year I thought James Carpenter would have the best rookie year of any of the offensive linemen taken, so keep that in mind before you take anything I write below as gospel.

Matt Kalil, tackle, USC

With the exception of the Stanford guys, I have seen Kalil play more than any of the other guys in this column. He has everything you’re looking for in an offensive tackle: he’s big, fast, long, strong, and comes from a football family. He uses his hands well in both the passing and running game. Kalil also does a good job of rolling his hips through on contact to generate power and leverage. I think he’s a top-10 pick.

If I had one technical concern about Kalil's work, it would be that he bucket steps sometimes in the passing game. By that, I mean that rather than keeping his outside foot firm, he sometimes drops it back behind himself and shortens the corner for his pass rusher.

The other thing that worries me with Kalil was a lack of dominance. He played really well throughout the year, but he never really kicked the hell out of anyone. If you watched Jake Long or Joe Thomas in school, there were times when they really wore a guy out. Of course, so did Robert Gallery, and it took him a few years and a position change to be a positive contributor in the NFL. Kalil simply was never dominant in the same way. I still think he’s a top-10 guy, but it’s something to consider.

Riley Reiff, tackle, Iowa

Reiff was the hardest first-round guy for me to get a read on. He obviously does a lot of things well, but there are some definite causes for concern. Reiff is a good athlete, but he's not a natural pass setter. If you watch Kalil or Martin kick step, they almost glide. Reiff takes deliberate steps. When you add that to his short arms, he'll have a hard time altering the lanes of NFL speed rushers. He also struggles to redirect in pass protection, although he has great grip strength, and that really saved him a couple times on redirects.

I love his footwork in the running game. He’s quick and gets to his landmark with minimal wasted movement. The grip strength carries over well to the running game as well. Whether he’s reaching someone or cutting them off, he just looks very fluid and natural. I’d take him in the second half of the first round and hope that his team can translate his run blocking movement into his pass set.

Kevin Zeitler, guard, Wisconsin

Zeitler plays with awesome pad level in the running game. He gets underneath guys and moves them out of the way, and also does a nice job of driving his feet when the defender tries to disengage. That allows him to get late movement and prevent guys from falling off his block to hold the back to short gains. He’s not as good as DeCastro at pulling, but he’s still solidly above-average.

Zeitler has a good initial pass set, but he can get off-balance. He uses too much facemask and not enough hands, so he could be susceptible to the arm over move. Still, that’s nitpicking. I really like Zeitler as a prospect and think he's worthy of being selected in the 20’s.

Bobby Massie, tackle, Mississippi

Massie certainly looks the part. He’s long, fluid, and a natural bender. He keeps a nice base in pass protection once he establishes contact, and also redirects well. He fires out low and with purpose. Massie gets good intial movement on running plays, but doesn’t run his feet when the defender tries to disengage.

Massie is accurate with his hands in the passing game, but isn’t very violent. As a result, he can get pushed around on a bull rush. He also struggles to get his hands on linebackers at the second level. I could see him as a late first-rounder. He's far from a project, and still seems to have some upside. I’m just not sure there are four teams that would take a tackle in the first round this year.

Mike Adams, tackle, Ohio State

Adams moves really well for a guy of his size. He has a very natural-looking pass set, one that compares favorably to even the top guys like Martin or Kalil. Adams can redirect well. He’s incredibly light on his feet for a guy of his size, and also did a good job of putting guys on the ground when he got the chance.

I thought he played a little soft at times. He’s a big guy that plays like an undersized guy, which is great until you actually want to run behind him. Adams plays too high in the running game, and doesn’t roll his hips on contact consistently. Also, his pass set looks more effective than it actually is. He looks light on his feet, and he’s moving fast, but he would still occasionally get beat around the edge. That has to mean something.

Mitchell Schwartz, tackle, California

He’s a smart player with a lot of game experience, but he’s a plodder. I think you have to move him inside to guard. That being said, I think he can play guard, and would excel in pass protection inside. Schwartz is much better moving side-to-side than he is moving backwards. He does a very nice job of sitting down on bull rushes.

I think he’s a good enough athlete to pull on the power play if he has the technique for it. Cal's offensive scheme called for a different kind of pull than he'll be using in the NFL. If he can master that technique, I think he has good upside as a guard.

Cordy Glenn, guard, Georgia

Glenn is very big. He ran a fast time in the 40-yard dash. He played good for one week at the Senior Bowl. He’s strong. Those are the positives. Now for the negatives.

He plays way too high, and the only time he plays with any pad level is when he bends straight over at the waist, which is another awful habit. Why does he do that? Probably because he’s too stiff to bend his knees. In pass protection, he’s a clamper. He doesn’t punch at all, just tries to clamp your shoulders. NFL defensive ends will knock his hands away, NFL defensive tackles will get into his chest, and NFL refs will call him for holding. I do not get how this guy has risen up draft boards. Oh, and he also has the lateral movement of Jabba the Hut. I’m not even sure it technically qualifies as movement.

Glenn is coming into the NFL about 15 years too late. He would have been at home in the mid-90’s, where all you had to do was be big and know how to hold. Lincoln Kennedy, Nate Newton, and their ilk have gone extinct. Who is the best really big offensive lineman in the NFL today? I honestly can’t think of any good ones.

That’s everyone I saw that I think could get picked before Saturday. I put in some work on Ohio State center Michael Brewster and Georgia center Ben Jones as well, but I don’t think either of them is going in the first three rounds. For more analysis, please join me and the other members of the staff this Thursday and Friday in our Cover It Live chats.

As always, we close with a quote. There’s really no way to introduce this week's quote, except to say this is what a former coach of mine once said to player from Minnesota:

"Minnesota, huh? I hear the mosquitos there are so big they can butt f—k the turkeys with their feet on the ground."

I’m not sure what the coaching point was here. Don’t go to Minnesota? There’s always someone bigger and meaner than you? Those are just educated guesses, but that’s all draft analysis is too. It seemed apropos.


64 comments, Last at 02 May 2012, 8:48pm

#1 by BroncosGuyAgain // Apr 24, 2012 - 12:21pm

Nice read, but I'm surprised you didn't evaluate Peter Konz.

Points: 0

#2 by Ben Muth // Apr 24, 2012 - 12:30pm

Saw Konz watching Zietler

Good hands- does a nice job resetting to get inside leverage.
Good quickness- Gets off ball well

Biggest issue is strength. Think he'll get pushed around early, needs to get in the weight room.

Points: 0

#39 by BroncosGuyAgain // Apr 24, 2012 - 7:21pm

Thanks, Ben. I appreciate your responsiveness to comentors.

If, after years in the Wisconsin strength program, Konz is not strong enough for the NFL, I have little confidence he will ever gain that strength. I've seen him projected as late-1 early-2, but if his strength doesn't play, then he should be avoided.

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#3 by Jimmy // Apr 24, 2012 - 12:39pm

Does Peters count as a big guy? Listed on ESPN at 6'4" and 340lbs. That is humpty dumpy shaped (admittedly quite a big egg but still).

What does hip rolling mean? You see it written a lot but never really explained.

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#4 by Thomas_beardown // Apr 24, 2012 - 12:41pm

A glossary of terms could be helpful in general for Muth's articles.

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#40 by Aaron Brooks G… // Apr 24, 2012 - 7:25pm

I've noticed this before. I think PFR uses draft measurements and NFL.com uses the team's last report.

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#9 by sjt (not verified) // Apr 24, 2012 - 12:58pm

I think its pretty much what it sounds like: the ability to roll one's hips forward, thus making use of all the potential power stored in the hips and legs to push the opponent up and backwards.

I think its easier to understand if you imagine what a good form tackle looks like: you wrap up the ball carrier and then lift him up and drive him backwards by bringing your hips forward.

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#11 by Ben Muth // Apr 24, 2012 - 1:11pm

Exactly, think about thrusting your hips forward at the top of a power clean, as well. It's the ability to transfer lower body power into the block.

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#16 by young curmudgeon // Apr 24, 2012 - 2:11pm

This is a GOOD comment on a couple of different levels!

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#53 by TomC // Apr 25, 2012 - 11:31pm

Especially 'cause no one under 40 is going to get it. (It's just a jump to the left.)

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#54 by Mr Shush // Apr 26, 2012 - 5:49am

It's astounding; time is fleeting; madness takes its toll . . . but I'm pretty sure I'm still a fair way shy of 40.

Actually, the interwebs tell me it's been featured on that Glee thing the kids like, so possibly a new generation are aware of it too.

Apropos of nothing, Patricia Quinn came to a show I directed a couple of years ago and had some drinks and a chat with us afterwards, and on a couple of subsequent occasions. She's absolutely lovely . . . but oh boy, does she ever like a drink.

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#42 by Jimmy // Apr 25, 2012 - 9:39am

When I watch linemen tape (which isn't very often) I look for how players use their legs and their core to create movement in their blocks, I just never knew it was called that. Cheers for the clarification.

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#5 by D2K // Apr 24, 2012 - 12:43pm

Fantastic read as always, I never understood the late-rise of Cordy Glenn. He has AVERAGE NFL Guard written all over him. Proponents of Glen oft-refer to his game tape agaisnt LSU as if it justifies his ability to play LT effectively in the NFL.

I am a Bills fan and fought exhaustively against the argument that Glenn should be in play for the Bills @ 10. I am glad that what I was seeing from my less-informed than your eyes was spot on.

If I could wear my Gm hat for an aside, I would say that the best way to build a team through the draft would be to strictly draft Qb's and defense in the 1st round. I have almost ZERO emphasis on 1st round skill positions and Olineman. It seems the greater value would be on day 2 and 3. Am I wrong in assuming this?

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#7 by Thomas_beardown // Apr 24, 2012 - 12:51pm

I think an elite receiver can have a huge impact on games, and creates a synergistic effect with other skill position players.

As for linemen, I think having a cohesive unit working together is more important than having one or two guys who are really talented. That being said, it's harder than it sounds to build a cohesive unit, and having a couple talented guys is better than not having them. Unless you have Peyton Manning at QB, your offense will likely go as the offensive line goes.

So I guess what I'm saying is that team building is hard, and there are sure rules.

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#15 by commissionerleaf // Apr 24, 2012 - 2:02pm

I have a different view on drafting in the first round, and to a lesser degree, with any pick in the first two or three rounds.

1. Do you already have a franchise quarterback? If not, consider taking the best quarterback available.
2. If you already have a franchise quarterback, or if you do not have a prospect you like appropriate for your draft position, consider the best DE, DT, or offensive lineman available.
3. If you are already happy with every lineman you have, or the linemen available look like Scooby and Shaggy rather than Conan the Barbarian, take the best player available regardless of need.

The reasons for this are simple. QB is by far the most important position. Having a franchise quarterback is roughly four times as important as having a star at any other position except DE, left tackle, and maybe DT. If you have not got one, you need one, and even acquiring a long shot who works out one of three times is a better idea than acquiring "a guy" at another position.

After the quarterback position, we can argue about positional value, but the positions which can be best evaluated on draft day are the positions where size and strength are paramount. Linemen are better propositions than other positions. If you see a guy who looks like Ndamukong Suh on tape and in the weight room, chances are he's going to be a decent lineman. On the other hand, you never know if that RB or receiver you like is Darrelle Revis or Aaron Ross.

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#18 by Thomas_beardown // Apr 24, 2012 - 2:22pm

I think you're much higher on DTs than most.

I'd also have to disagree that lineman bust less often than running backs. Of course running backs are simply easier to find so I wouldn't use a 1st round pick on one unless it was in the 2nd half he looked like Adrian Peterson.

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#26 by D2K // Apr 24, 2012 - 3:13pm

I just dont see the value of a LT in the 1st round anymore. I would even argue that Guards are more important in todays NFL, and that a good to great G/C/G combo is more important than either of the OT's.

I realize I am most likely in the extreme minority with this line of thinking, but even with tackles playing in space, if there is a firm pocket for the QB to step into it makes the OT's job essentially to keep the edge-rusher on his outside shoulder, completely negating pressure from the outside. Couple that with the WCO/Spread offenses that are commonplace on Sunday, an 3-5 step drop, get the ball into playmakers hands and create YAC way of scheming, it nullifies the amount of time that the LT has to block.

I would cite David Diehl as my defintive proof that you dont need to over-value the LT position.

If we were to do the excercise of positional importance, I would have LT/RT pretty far down the list.

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#31 by Dean // Apr 24, 2012 - 4:22pm

To me, I still buy into the LT as the second-most important player on the offense, but I have long since held the belief that on the line, after the LT, the most important job is actually that of the Center.

Admittedly the Center can get help from either/both guards, but ultimately he's being asked to make all the line calls (usually), then pass a ball backwards beween his legs while either firing forward off the line or while fending off an onrushing interior lineman. The Center is crucial largely because he is the apex of the pocket. If he gets pushed back, the pocket collapses, DL can more easily get their hands up into the passing lanes, and the QB has no place to step up to avoid DEs.

With the recent proliferation of 3-4 defenses, the position becomes even more important. Suddenly he's doing this with a 350 lb earth mover lined up six inches away from his helmet. And again, he has to pass a ball between his legs before he can worry about dealing with such a beheamoth.

The more effectively your center can do all this, the more free the guards become to engage linebackers and/or help out potentially overmatched OTs.

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#51 by ChicagoRaider // Apr 25, 2012 - 6:13pm

Certainly the Raiders appear to subscribe to your theory. It may be because they have been a run-first team, and may stay with that next year. Trying Veldheer at center, and then moving Wisniewski from LG to C this coming year certainly shows a valuation of players with talent and more than one option to be more valuable at center than guard.

I keep hoping the Raiders will put together a Shell-Upshaw-Otto thing ('68-'74) again, even if writ small.

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#38 by BroncosGuyAgain // Apr 24, 2012 - 7:14pm

Well, the entirety of the NFL vehemently disagrees with you. Free agent salaries suggest that LT is (at worst) the third most important position on the roster. Five-step drops do not obviate the pass rush; lots of sacks occur on five-steps drops. In fact, almost all of them do (of course, the vast majority of pass plays are built on five-step drops). I have no idea why you are combining West Coast and Spread principles into one idea; they are vastly different ideas.

When pass rush becomes a primarily interior power phenomenon, your G-C-G theory will be legitimate. Today, edge speed is the biggest pass rush weapon. An elite LT is the biggest deterrent.

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#6 by justanothersteve // Apr 24, 2012 - 12:48pm

"... has the lateral movement of Jabba the Hut." Almost spewed my apple on the computer screen there.

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#10 by baba blacksheep (not verified) // Apr 24, 2012 - 1:10pm

I read another analyst's take on the OL in this draft, and he consistently referred to each player's "anchor" being strong or weak. What does that mean, exactly?

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#22 by Dean // Apr 24, 2012 - 2:54pm

I'm pretty sure the anchor is the same as the bubble.

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#24 by Ben Muth // Apr 24, 2012 - 3:12pm

Anchor is the ability to hold your ground, particularly on a bull rush.

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#25 by Ben Muth // Apr 24, 2012 - 3:12pm

Anchor is the ability to hold your ground, particularly on a bull rush.

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#12 by TomC // Apr 24, 2012 - 1:14pm

I'm sorry, I just can't parse all these clearly stated opinions backed up with concrete examples. Can't you just tell me whether a guy is a character risk or takes plays off?

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#13 by ChaosOnion // Apr 24, 2012 - 1:30pm

You pointed out flaws for each, but are these fixable? Obviously, Reiff's arms are not getting any longer, but can he translate his good run blocking skills into decent pass blocking skills? Is Kalil's "lack of dominance" due to lacking the nastiness a player like Jon Runyan brought to the field? Same thing for Mike Adams. Can he learn to maul and maintain his athletic footwork?

Sorry, I know this question is really broad. I really enjoy and appreciate the information and insight these articles bring and I am still learning how to digest all of it. I understand much comes down to dedication and willingness to work and become a better player. I am interested in which flaws can be fixed versus which can be worked around versus which are just flat out deal breakers.

Points: 0

#27 by CaffeineMan NV (not verified) // Apr 24, 2012 - 4:01pm

Yeah, I'd love to know this as well. How much does O-line coaching matter at the NFL level? I personally think that Dante Scarnecchia is the most valuable Pats assistant at this point, but I'd love to see Ben's opinion. Maybe I'm over-valuing him.

I'm really curious to see whether Scarnecchia can get any improvement out of Gallery, for instance, or whether he is what he is at this point.

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#17 by AJ (not verified) // Apr 24, 2012 - 2:12pm

Im curious, if you don;t mind ben, can you rank the top left tackles over the last 4 drafts. That includes guys like jake long, joe thomas, monroe, jason smith, trent williams, tyron smith, and then now kalil. just off the draft as prospects.

Every year its hard to get a gauge because theres always some tackle that has to be taken early.

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#20 by Vicious Chicke… (not verified) // Apr 24, 2012 - 2:40pm

I would love it if DiCastro somehow fell to the Steelers, but that is a pipe dream. I have been hoping they get Zietler and this reinforced that. "Solidly above average" is something the Steelers havent seen in a guard since Faneca's younger days.

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#57 by DGL // Apr 27, 2012 - 2:23pm

Fairy tales can come true
It can happen to you...

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#23 by AJ (not verified) // Apr 24, 2012 - 3:05pm

How valuable is guard really? I mean, the two guards that seem to really jump out in my mind currently are mankins and nicks and both played with or are currently with elite qbs. Simply put, is guard really more valuable than even a 3rd corner or 2nd wide receiver at this point? I think guard is being lumped with tackle because its a relatively safe pick, but i really question how valuable it is.

Think about it from the steelers perspective. They've managed to be a real competitor- going to two sb's and winning 1, with a severely below avg offensive line. Now, it won't take much to make their o line go from horrendous to just mediocre with later round picks and given their success, do you really need to invest in guards?

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#28 by trill // Apr 24, 2012 - 4:01pm

Depends on how you build your team, and it changes as your key players get older. In the case of the Steelers, they've got a uniquely large, strong, and durable QB, and they've done well without investing a lot in keeping him protected. That sort of strategy is not sustainable, however.

In order to revivify the run game and give Ben more security in the pocket, the Steelers should definitely invest at least one high draft pick in some interior OL help. They do have other needs, chiefly NT, but those can easily be addressed later in the draft. If they end up with an extra 1stRd pick as compensation for Mike Wallace, drafting two OL in the first two rounds wouldn't be a mistake.

Points: 0

#30 by AJ (not verified) // Apr 24, 2012 - 4:20pm

I disagree...the steelers need help at nose tackle and the rest of their dline for that matter. Another interior lb and even corner are all very much up in the air. Not too mention an adequate safety backup for polamalu. Oh, and their tackles absolutely suck. As for o line, they've already invested a high pick in the interior- pouncey. I also don't get how nt can be drafted in later rounds but interior o line can't. The vast majority of guards come from lower rounds and really, how many teams actually have a great interior o line to begin with? Very few and im not sure how easy it is to build nor how valuable it really is over great corners, receivers, or pass rush.

the steelers really need dline help and cb i would say. Maybe if decastro fell i could see it, but taking an interior guard imo would be a mistake.

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#34 by Theo // Apr 24, 2012 - 5:23pm

We only need Dline for depth and the future. Yes, we need another linebacker - but we need offensive line more since Ben isn't getting any more mobile and starting Gilbert, Foster, Legurski and Colon is ehm... asking for trouble to say the least.
Any other position is really for depth and future.

Points: 0

#36 by Vicious Chicke… (not verified) // Apr 24, 2012 - 7:00pm

Agreed. We have capable (if not spectacular) players to step in at LB, CB, and even NT. But guard is not looking good right now.

Points: 0

#37 by AJ (not verified) // Apr 24, 2012 - 7:13pm

But the payoff i would argue of those areas is much higher than guard. Again, you don't need to spend high draft picks to turn a horrible weakness into a mediocre one. the steelers are better off trying to develop elite defenders than trying to develop an elite o line. Thats my take, but i understand where you guys are coming from.

Points: 0

#41 by dryheat // Apr 25, 2012 - 8:02am

It seems the NFL as a whole has given more attention to guards. 10 years ago we never saw guards taken in the first 50 picks of the draft. Every year though, we see some drafted higher, and more in the first 2-3 rounds. It wouldn't surprise me in the least to see DeCastro go in the top 12.

Of course, depending on your offensive line scheme and the ability of your center, guard is also a place you can hide a below-average guy, or plug in an failed or faded tackle.

Points: 0

#29 by Xao // Apr 24, 2012 - 4:18pm

So, this is going to firmly fix my position on the geek-jock axes, but while I can tell you that Jabba's a Hutt, I couldn't figure out what you meant when you said Zeitler "uses too much facemask and not enough heads", Mr. Muth. If you'd be willing to elaborate on that, I'd appreciate it.

Speaking of appreciation, your scouting articles have become one of my favorite features at FO. As a former grunt, I tend to pull for the guys in the trenches in any endeavor, but really had little idea what to look for in football line play. Thanks for helping enlighten those of us whose primary experience with football is on the TV!

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#43 by gtliles82 // Apr 25, 2012 - 10:20am

I didn't see many Stanford games so I'm curious if there's any similarities between Martin / DeCastro and Backus / Hutchinson? As a Lions fan, I've seen all the good and the bad from Backus and, while he's always been adequate, I'd rather have a better LT. Is Martin substantially better? Is it possible playing next to DeCastro helped him look good the way Hutch may have for Backus?

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#46 by Tomlin_Is_Infallible // Apr 25, 2012 - 12:03pm

was hoping to see info on


Velvet Sky fan

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#48 by Tomlin_Is_Infallible // Apr 25, 2012 - 1:15pm

teehee, how cute and clever

I'd be willing to wager that both of them are drafted before Saturday

Velvet Sky fan

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#58 by Tomlin_Is_Infallible // Apr 27, 2012 - 8:38pm

well, 1/2 so far with about 40 picks left to see the other one ...

Velvet Sky fan

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#59 by Tomlin_Is_Infallible // Apr 28, 2012 - 1:03am

both in fact taken before Saturday

how's that for an answer for ya, captain blowhard?

Velvet Sky fan

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#60 by LionInAZ // Apr 28, 2012 - 10:40pm

Yes, the other guy gave you a wise-guy response, but you missed the bigger point -- Ben evaluated OL prospects in the order that *he* would pick them (other than the Stanford players). And guess what? Of the two you were interested in, only Solitalu was picked high enough to have been considered on his list. But it was his list, not yours or the other "experts". Satisfied now?

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#62 by Tomlin_Is_Infallible // May 02, 2012 - 5:36pm

both people I mentioned were taken prior to Saturday (in the first 3 rounds)

try to pay attention next time.

Velvet Sky fan

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#63 by DisplacedPackerFan // May 02, 2012 - 6:16pm

You again missed the point.

Player, round-pick, (order taken for O-line players), it's possible I missed a player here or there, I did this quickly.

Ben's list in his evaluation order
Matt Kalil: 1-4 (1)
Riley Reiff: 1-23 (2)
Kevin Zeitler: 1-27 (3)
Bobby Massie: 4-17 (19)
Mike Adams: 2-24 (10)
Mitchell Schwartz: 2-5 (4)
Cody Glenn: 2-9 (6)

Your two players
Silatolu - 2-8 (5)
Brandon Brooks - 3-13 (14)

Other players taken high that he didn't look at.
Jonathan Martin - 2-10 (7)
Jeff Allen - 2-12 (8)
Peter Konz - 2-23 (9)
Kelechi Osemele - 2-28 (11)
Josh LeRibeus - 3-8 (12)
Donald Stephenson - 3-11 (13)

So he missed on Massie big time and your top guy was taken ahead of 3 of the guys he evaluated. Your next guy was taken after all but Ben's big miss and 6 other guys he didn't evaluate at all as well.

So it seems pretty clear that Mr. Muth wasn't too far off in the order he would pick players. The guys you were hoping to hear about were also good players and worthy of discussion but there were six other players based on where they were drafted that appear to have been worthy as well that Ben didn't talk about either (well Konz got a mention in a comment).

So while JonFrum's comment was probably needlessly snarky it did convey the message I just tried to illustrate here, Ben didn't think they were good enough to be in his top 7. This is also the message that LionInAz tried to get across that you seemed to miss and responded to with needless snark as well.

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#49 by FrontRunningPhinsFan // Apr 25, 2012 - 1:26pm

When you wrote about Kalil: "he’s big, fast, long, strong, and..." I thought for sure the next phrase was going to be "...is down to get the friction on."

Fire Jeff Ireland.

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#52 by BlackKnight (not verified) // Apr 25, 2012 - 9:41pm

I have a question about Jonathan Martin. I realized that you are going to talk about him tomorrow - but I felt that this was significant. He played LT at Stanford. Does he have the lateral movement to play RT? Some LTs translate well onto the right side as everything is the opposite of the left side. Some do not.


Points: 0

#55 by DisplacedPackerFan // Apr 26, 2012 - 5:30pm

There have been a few comments on the value of positions in this thread instead of replying to one of the several sub threads I'm going to put this information here.

ESPN had an Insider bit that actually had data on how many many players at each position were taken in what round for the last three years on the offensive side of the ball. I think this helps illustrates what teams feel the value of certain positions are.

Since the O-Line seemed to be the most debated here is a copy paste with a bit of search and replace to get a bit of a table format.

OT Market Trends
Round . 2011 . 2010 . . 2009 . Average
1 . . . 5 . . . 4 . . . 4 . . . 4.3
2 . . . 2 . . . 2 . . . 4 . . . 2.6
3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . 1 . . . 1.3
4 . . . 2 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . . 2.3
5 . . . 2 . . . 2 . . . 6 . . . 3.3
6 . . . 2 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . 1.6
7 . . . 4 . . . 4 . . . 1 . . . 3
Total . 19 . . 17 . . . 20 . . 18.6

OG Market Trends
Round . 2011 . 2010 . . 2009 . Average
1 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . 0 . . . 1
2 . . . 1 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . 1.3
3 . . . 2 . . . 4 . . . 2 . . . 2.6
4 . . . 2 . . . 2 . . . 2 . . . 2
5 . . . 2 . . . 4 . . . 2 . . . 2.6
6 . . . 3 . . . 1 . . . 1 . . . 1.6
7 . . . 2 . . . 2 . . . 5 . . . 3
Total . 14 . . 16 . . . 13 . . 14.3

C Market Trends
Round . 2011 . 2010 . . 2009 . Average
1 . . . 1 . . . 1 . . . 2 . . . 1.3
2 . . . 2 . . . 0 . . . 1 . . . 1
3 . . . 0 . . . 1 . . . 1 . . . 0.6
4 . . . 0 . . . 0 . . . 1 . . . 0.3
5 . . . 0 . . . 1 . . . 0 . . . 0.3
6 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . 0 . . . 1.6
7 . . . 0 . . . 0 . . . 2 . . . 0.6
Total . 6 . . . 5 . . . 7 . . . 6

Quick analysis shows tackles are valued about twice as much as centers and centers about twice as much as guards in the first two rounds. You only have one center vs 2 guards and tackles so you expect them to be selected half as frequently.

While the sample size is limited it looks like based on drafting that guard seems to be being valued a bit more heavily as there were 3, 7, 5 taken in the first 3 rounds, though 09 may have just been a really weak year for the position. Tackles were 9, 7, 9 and center was 4, 2, 3 which both seem a bit more "stable" but yeah it's a small sample size. But still about half of the tackles and centers taken are in the first 3 rounds over the last 3 years.

Percentage of total picked rounds 1-3.

2009 . 2010 . 2011
45% . . 44% . 47%

2009 . 2010 . 2011
23% . . 43% . 36%

2009 . 2010 . 2011
57% . . 40% . 50%

Now some tackles become guards in the NFL (rarely does it go the other way).

So I think the NFL still feels they get more out of a elite tackle, centers have a higher barrier to entry (you need to be at least this good but being a lot better than that doesn't give as much of a return on value) and that guards are easier to find though with more picks earlier that the value of great guard over just a guy is increasing.

I'd need to look at more data, but the ESPN quick digest seemed to have value ( http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/draft2012/story/_/id/7845004/nfl-draft-2012-breaking-offensive-line-class ) for source and for Insiders that want to see the whole article.

Points: 0

#56 by Dan // Apr 26, 2012 - 6:49pm

Use Pro Football Reference. They're still missing positions on a lot of guys in the 2011 draft, but other than that their searchable database is awesome. I linked to a search of all the offensive linemen drafted in the first 4 rounds, 1997-2010. You can set your own search terms, and sort by year, pick, or position.

Points: 0

#61 by BaronFoobarstein // Apr 28, 2012 - 10:50pm

Any thoughts on Massie going so late?

Points: 0

#64 by BaronFoobarstein // May 02, 2012 - 8:48pm

As a Steelers fan complaining* about their o-line the last several years, I'd be interested in reading your gushing on DeCastro.

*I know certain other fans have more reason to complain.

Points: 0

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