By Larry Zierlein
April 16, 2012
Editor's Note: Author Larry Zierlein was a college and NFL offensive line coach for 32 years. His career is highlighted by a Super Bowl win in 2008 with the Pittsburgh Steelers under Mike Tomlin. We asked Coach Zierlein to take a look at several offensive line prospects from this year's draft and share with us what he saw.
He watched multiple cut-ups for each prospect listed, but wants to remind the reader that for a final evaluation, it takes even more film work, interviewing the player to get a feel for his character, checking on the player's background and working linemen out whenever possible. Coach Zierlein gave us the order that he would rank each of the tackles and guards based on what he saw from each prospect. The only player's he evaluated are the ones listed.
Coach Zierlein is retired and working Under Armour's "Football University" camps along with other former NFL coaches. This was also his first year working out offensive line draft prospects in preparation for the Senior Bowl and Combine. If you are an agent interested in contacting Coach Zierlein for work with future clients, please email us and we'll pass the info along to him.
Overall: Good athleticism and foot quickness. His ability to re-direct on the second level and move laterally make him a great fit for a team running outside zone, but he should be able to play in any system. His intangibles and mental makeup need to be checked out since he comes from smaller school and played less competition but has terrific upside. Looks like an early 2nd round pick.
Arms: 32 3/4"
Overall: Didn't see him as much in pass protection as I would like but he's an outstanding run blocker. He's tough and nasty. Could be a first rounder depending on what the back end teams are looking for, but he's no worse than a second rounder.
Arms: 35 3/4
Overall: Good strength and anchor, but stiffness will limit him inside at guard. His best position might end up being at right tackle. Not crazy about his upside in the NFL at guard as stiffness and inability to play with lower pad level could limit his ability to utilize his power. Looks like a second round prospect.