As we move forward we move into the O-Lineman drills portion. I focused way to much time on the 40-yard dash aspect of things. But hey I’m new and eager to be doing this so I just got warmed up and kept right on going. I’m running a little bit behind, but I’ll do my best to make up for it. No excuses, just life gets in the way.
The first person to make you go oooo during the O-Lineman drills Jamon Meredith an OT from South Carolina who sinks his hips well, get his hands into the bag and shows a good drive. He keeps his hips underneath getting good leverage in his drive. Meredith is rated in the top-10 overall of OT prospects. Making himself a viable first day option for the Bears. At 6-5 301-pounds he is well buit height and weight ratio wise.
Once you get into the drills and skills portions things begin to even out from the workout warriors. Murtha already shows why he is further down the list draft wise than a Jason Smith. Smith shows a tight wrap around the OTs butt and fires up into the second level. From there they transition into coaches video of Jason Smith showing his great pass blocking ability but how he struggles a bit in the run blocking. It’s pretty easy to see why he struggles as a run blocker because he’s in a two-point stance. Hands on his hips rather than one hand in the dirt it’s easier for him to get his head out in front of his body and he’s an easy push to the ground. Playing to head heavy in run blocking. This is however easily correctable and given Smith’s nasty streak and finishing ability he can be developed into a good run blocker.
Next they transition into the kick slide drill where they kick out and get locked onto a wide moving rusher. This is to show footwork and balance going to your outside shoulder, and showing how well you keep up with speed rushers.
Jason Smith in the kick slide drill gets beat coming out of a three point stance into pass protection. His first couple steps are choppy and then all of a sudden he panics and crosses his feet over in attempt to catch up to the rusher. Crossing his feet leaves him vulnerable to a club move back to the inside and a free path to the QB. So far Smith has struggled getting out of a three point stance. At Baylor they ran a spread offense so most of the time he was in a two point stance. The advantage is always to the O-Lineman when in a two point stance. Being in a three-point stance to help sell play-action pass will be important.
Another OT who could possibly targeted in the third to fourth round range is Fenuki Tupou. The 6-6 330-pounder just made a quick impression on me in the drills. His kick slide was solid, his balance was good moving to the outside, and then when he got in range, his punch was superb. He kept his arms up and in tight and the first chance he got in range of the rusher, he punched him and locked out. Another kid to keep an eye on as a possible RT.
A late rounder in guard prospect category, Maurice Miller looked serviceable in his technique. He kept his hands high instead of dangling them down by his waist and thighs and kept his feet together and balanced.
One of the worst players I saw in this drill to this point was Herman Johnson from LSU. Johnson was way off balance from the start and it flowed through all the way to the end where almost fell flat on his face. Johnson is MASSIVE near elephant sized measuring 6-7 383. A highly rated guard prospect there would be no versatility from Johnson, he would stay inside on the interior and never be asked to move in space.
As expected with Phil Loadholdt who even lines up in a two points stance in pass protection, he easily shows he can’t move his feet. Scouts have said on numerous sites around the web that he can’t move his feet and even from a two-point stance he proves as he gets beaten off the edge pretty easily. Loadholdt is a good RT prospect possibly, but his inability to move his feet well worries me.
Meredith again impressive the second time in this blog I have mentioned him in a positive light. He gets out there and gets his feet working well and keeps himself square on the rusher. He never loses balance and never has to cross his feet over into a sprint. He looks in control the entire time he’s moving in this drill.
Yup perhaps the most impressive of all is Eugen Monroe from Virginia. When he does his kick slide drill he is completely in control the entire time. It’s hard to argue with him as being projected at the top overall OT. I can load up on the cliches right here right now, Monroe looked like poetry in motion in pass protection there. He stays square balanced in control, head up, hands in high and tight. He does everything you look for technique wise and his balance and feet never falter. He is never in danger of getting beat on this rush to the outside, he simply stays square and finishes easily. Mirrored that rusher effortlessly. In all fairness though he is coming out of a two point stance rather than a three point like the drill calls for.
Michael Oher is up next amongst the top prospects. Oher too is coming out of a two-point stance in this drill. He too stays where he needs to be keeping his feet moving and under him, keeps his body square and is never in danger of losing his balance. Oher is who I hope most likely slides to the Bears at 18. He is talked about as the fourth best OT in this draft although with Andre Smith’s problems and continued issues someone might take Oher off the board ahead of Smith whereas they may have gone Smith.
Jason Smith redeems himself the second time around better keeping his feet balanced and his body in control. He does however keep his hands a bit to low for my liking. He needs to improve his technique. He may be Mike Mayock’s number one overall OT in the draft, but to me he has to work on his technique some. He needs some refinement.
That’s the end of the kick slide drill coverage and now we move into the hip flip and twist drill. The lineman start in a back pedal have to flip open their hips in the direction the coach wants them to.
Phil Loadholdt is starting to drop down my draft board a bit. I know he’s a popular big kid form Oklahoma and he may simply be riding the fact that he is an Oklahoma player. He is stiff and not very athletic. I give him major props for better working on his fitness and dropping weight. However you can’t change slow feet and no hip movement.
Based on combine workouts I might be tempted to move Meredith ahead of Loadholdt. I’d like to study Meredith further as he has shown some definite talent and ability in the drills today.