Wednesday, April 26, 2017

2017 Interior Offensive Line Rankings

1) Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Height: 6'4          Weight: 309
40 Yard Dash: 5.00
Bench Press: 34

If you want to see how an offensive lineman can translate to the NFL, watch them play against their best opponents. And when the best opponent you play is Alabama, you know you will see how that player can handle NFL caliber players. Forrest Lamp more than held his own against Bama’s front seven. While playing left tackle, he routinely went up against future first rounders in Jonathan Allen, Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson. The combination of speed, power and technique that Lamp held down was astonishing. He is a tough and nasty player that I can see playing all over the offensive line. He may best be moved to guard but I definitely think he can play either tackle spots. The technique that Lamp plays with is fantastic. His kicksteps are perfects and well balanced. When a player pulls a swim move on him, he resets and balances his body and continues with his blocking. Bull rushing Lamp is not a wise move as the 6’4 and 309 pound lineman does not get pushed around but rather drives players off the ball. I understand that he has short arms, but Lamp is the type of player that you can plug and player anywhere. There is some talk about him playing center. While I haven’t seen him play the position, he is definitely athletic and intelligent enough to play there. Lamp is one of my favorite players this year and I cannot see a scenario where he falls outside of the top twenty. Guards are impact players.

Stat to Know - 34: Number of bench presses of 225 pounds that Lamp did. He was also a top performer at the combine in the forty yard dash, board jump and three cone drill. Athletic and strong.

2) Dan Feeney, Indiana Hoosiers
Height: 6'4          Weight: 305
40 Yard Dash: 5.24
Bench Press: 26

The guard position is a peculiar position. There are so many instances where guards are drafted after the third round and go on to have long and successful careers. That is one of the reasons why so many teams wait to draft interior offensive linemen but there are certain ones that you can’t sit around for. The Dallas Cowboys have begun to dispel this myth with three of their men on the offensive line being first round picks (and La’el Collins should have been one too). When a player is talented, you grab him. Dan Feeney is one of those players. Everything aside, the thing that grabbed my attention was at the Senior Bowl. Feeney was the leader of his team. The offensive line is a brotherhood like no other position on the field. Those men do everything together and Feeney seems like the kind of player that can fit right into that. The former Hoosier is a nasty, put your head down kind of guard that will run you the hell over. He aims to put defenders on their backs and succeeds more times than naught. Feeney pulls very well for a guard. Pulling guards are part a pretty important part of run blocking (depending on your line scheme) and when one is good at it, you keep at it. He would best be suited in a zone blocking scheme, which the majority of the NFL currently runs. Paving the way for current NFL stars, Tevin Coleman and Jordan Howard, was Dan Feeney. Why would you not want this guy on your team?

Stat to Know - 7.52: Feeney’s three cone drill was third at the combine this year. Show his athleticism which translates to his pulling ability.

3) Pat Elflein, Ohio State Buckeyes
Height: 6'3          Weight: 303
40 Yard Dash: 5.32
Bench Press: 22

I am always astonished how undervalued the center position is. The entire offensive line in general is underrated but center and left tackle are the two key positions. The left tackle spot is pretty obvious. The blindside is the blindside but the center is the heart, soul and brains of the entire line. Nick Mangold held down that New York Jets line for years and with him playing it was obvious how indispensable he was. When Mangold was out, that offensive line never seemed right. The reason I bring up the former Jets center is because I see a lot of Pat Elflein in him. The obvious is that they were both Ohio State centers but there is much more than that. The footwork, intelligence, nastiness and grit are all things you want in your center and these two are the epitome of that. Elflein is not as athletic as Mangold but you would still take him on your team. He has experience playing both guard positions and center so you can grab him depending on your offensive line situation. The former Buckeye has a great wrestling background that shows he is athletic enough to move around the line and this shows when he snaps the ball and pulls for a kickout block. Not too often do you see centers pull but Elflein pulls it off extremely well. I’ve watched this year’s Ohio State vs Michigan tape multiple times as there are a wealth of pro prospects and this center always stood out. He holds his blocks and created many lanes for the OSU ballcarriers. This is the type of player that you grab to help gel your offensive line together and he will surely not disappoint.

Stat to Know - 3188: Ohio State’s rushing yards in 2016. This was the year AFTER Ezekiel Elliott left.

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