SERIES: Road to Chicago
Position by position breakdowns as the 2015 NFL Draft nears
The combine has wrapped up and we are now in the fast lane headed towards the NFL Draft starting on April 30th. Before we get there though we will be releasing a six part series, chronicling our top five players at each position, culminating in our final mock draft. This article is going to focus on the big fellas, the interior offensive & defensive linemen.
Interior Offensive Linemen:
- Brandon Scherff – Iowa
Scherff has been my top interior offensive lineman since the beginning of the season, and he has done nothing but solidify his spot throughout this season, and the combine process. He has prototypical size with top notch fundamentals. He’s a complete beast in the run game, light feet & stays on balance. Also has the ability to get to the second level and pass protect. He will be able to step in and contribute on day one, Scherff is a top 10 talent.
- Laken Tomlinson – Duke
Tomlinson is very thick in the hips, I mean you look at him and he is the prototypical looking NFL offensive guard. He put up 25 reps on the bench at the combine, plays with a very high motor, plays very instinctual, and very hard to move up onto his heels. From what I have heard of the kid, he seems to be very high character as well. Some of the knocks on him are his mobility and that his feet stop too often. I think all of the can be coached up and to be frank I’m not too worried about my right guards mobility.
- Cameron Erving – Florida St.
Cameron Erving is a freak, He was able to run a 5.15 in the 40 yard dash, get 30 reps in at 225 lbs, 30 ½ vertical, 9’4” broad jump, okay, you get it. Some analyst have him pegged as a lower end offensive tackle due to his athleticism, I on the other hand think due to his less than average footwork, that he can use that athleticism and turn that into a long term career as an offensive guard. He plays very smooth and quick, has the ability to get to the second level. Much better as a run protector, as opposed to the pass, another reason why he’ll make a living as an interior linemen.
- AJ Cann – South Carolina
Maybe I’m a victim of the moment, when you have heard about a guy for so long and you have seen them play so many times, sometimes they begin to underwhelm you, and that is what I feel here with this kid Cann. He’s been very consistent in his days with South Carolina, he started all but one game at left guard over his four seasons in college. I think he’s an early second round selection, I think his limited agility & speed leave him vulnerable, and he’s only played left guard, makes me question if that’s only where he can fit.
- Tre’ Jackson – Florida St.
What a line Jameis Winston got to stand behind! This is the second Florida St. interior linemen inside my top 5 and this one is all based on size & potential! This kid, much like his counterpart Cameron Erving, looks the part. He is actually quick considering his size, and he does get to the linebackers at the second level. He does though rely too heavily on his size and doesn’t rely on his technique as much as he should. He’ll need to work on keeping his feet moving at the next level.
Interior Defensive Linemen:
- Danny Shelton – Washington
If we’re talking about freaks, then look no further than Danny Shelton out of Washington. This kid is 6 feet & 2 inches tall, weighs 339 pounds, ran a 5.64 40 yard dash, oh and yeah, he also repped 225 pounds 34 times at the combine! I mean the kid looks like a Pepsi machine with a head on top. He does everything well, he can bull rush thorough the center and get to the quarterback, or he can use his quickness and feet and get to a ball handler in the backfield. Reminds me a lot of Aaron Donald of the St. Louis Rams, Shelton is my early pick for next year’s defensive rookie of the year.
- Leonard Williams – USC
Many people are going to disagree with me placing Williams at number two at his position, but this is no knock on him he is a great talent, it’s just that I believe that Shelton is a better player. Williams is exceptional, if he does go ahead of Shelton I really couldn’t argue, the kid is a talent. Very long arms, so he is very hard for blockers to defend against, and he has rare speed for the position. His only knock is that he has trouble with his leverage, but that can be coached up at the next level. Williams is a great talent, I just think Shelton will be elite.
- Arik Armstead – Oregon
A lot of people have this kid as a pass rusher because of his weight being a little under 300 pounds, but after his running a 40 yard dash over 5 seconds, it all but solidified him as an interior guy. That’s not knock on him either, the kid is very raw because he also played a lot of basketball while at Oregon, so he hasn’t had the amount of coaching as most guys, but that does speak volumes of his potential! He’s naturally strong, very good with the bull rush, and can even drop back into coverage. Lacks the quick athleticism to be a pass rusher, but can make a living on the interior.
- Malcolm Brown – Texas
This is another big guy, 6’2″ and 320 pounds, he moves so well considering his size. The only words I can think of are natural athlete. Some of these big guys you look at and they use their size well, but they don’t look as smooth as this kid Malcom Brown does. Very quick off of the ball, plays with a very high football IQ, gets into the backfield and stuffs the run, all while getting his hands up and tipping balls at the line of scrimmage. His best football is still ahead of him, and it should be fun to watch him grow after a little coaching at the next level.
- Eddie Goldman – Florida St.
To call Eddie Goldman big, would be an understatement! He is a grown man at 6’4″ and weighing 336 pounds! He does play very well at that weight and he moves very well at staying on balance and he is a very good tackler when he gets his hands on a ball carrier. My only worry with the kid is his inability to be a pass rusher. Because of his limited agility he isn’t able to get through some gaps due to his sheer size. I have a late 1st or 2nd round grade on him, could go earlier though, considering on a team’s needs.