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NFL Combine: Scouting the Offensive Linemen

Posted Feb 22, 2014

An in-depth analysis of the offensive linemen who worked out at the NFL Scouting Combine.


Ricky Henne’s Take: The O-Line prospects were divided into two groups alphabetically, and while some in the first session were impressive, I found myself waiting for group two to take the field as it consisted of some of the bigger names.   They didn’t disappoint and in my eyes showed why they are considered the cream of the offensive line crop.  Jake Matthews and Greg Robinson lived up to their billing and their race to be the top lineman chosen in 2014 will be neck and neck up until draft night. Coming into the Combine I probably favored Matthews ever so slightly, but Robinson’s speed at 4.92 for a man his size was insane.  I may need to rethink my position! I’m a big fan of Taylor Lewan from Michigan, who is 6’7, 309-pounds and is nasty on the field, playing to the whistle.  While the majority of offensive linemen turned in 40 times over 5.00, he was below that with the fastest 40 of the day – 4.87.  In fact, he was near the top of the group in most metrics, including the broad jump with a 117.0 inch leap.  Personally, I’m a fan of the broad jump metric for an offensive lineman because it is indicative of the lower body power they can generate at the line of scrimmage. I was intrigued by Seantrel Henderson out of Miami, who is over 6’7 and 331 pounds.  He is definitely a physical specimen, but was a bit inconsistent today on the field, which is representative of his career with the Hurricanes.  One guard I thought passed the eye test was Gabe Jackson from Mississippi State. He’s a road grader, a mountain of a man, and someone I will keep my eye on.  I like Zack Martin from Notre Dame, too.  His versatility is a huge asset as he could play outside or kick in to guard.  I had heard rumors that Travis Swanson might be the top center prospect, but he needs to add strength as he finished with the fewest reps on the bench press for a lineman with 20.  

Jordan Beane’s Take: Few things in the world that Ricky Henne likes more than the big guys running the 40 yard dash at the Combine, and the maulers up front did not disappoint as the first guys on the field. Auburn’s left tackle Greg Robinson continues to show why he’s one of the top prospects in the draft with a ridiculous 40 time of 4.92, which was the second fastest of all linemen.  He showed quick feet during individual drills for his 6’5, 332-pound frame, and displayed strength earlier in the combine by repping out 32 times at the bench press.  That ranked seventh among all linemen while his 113 inch finish in the broad jump ranked third.  The other big name at tackle is Jake Matthews, who was graceful on the field as well.  The battle between Robinson and Matthews for the first tackle chosen in the draft should be a good one, but I think I give the edge to Robinson right now.  Meanwhile, the player that I was most intrigued by, Cameroonian-American Cyrus Kouandjio out of Alabama, disappointed.  I think he is more impressive on film and in pads than he was today on the field. He looked a bit stiff at times and turned in the slowest 40 time of the day at 5.59. All in all though, the tackle group continued to show why the position is considered so deep by many draftniks. As for the interior linemen, we probably won’t see any come off the board early like in 2013 (when four went in the first round) but Stanford’s David Yankey and UCLA’s Xavier Su’a-Filo might tempt some talent evaluators into pulling the trigger to pick them sooner than expected. Finally, I always think it’s worth noting each year the offensive lineman who reps the most on the bench press, and this year that distinction belongs to North Carolina’s Russell Bodine.


TOP PHOTOS OF THE OFFENSIVE LINE PROSPECTS WORKING OUT

HEAR DIRECTLY FROM SOME OF THE TOP OFFENSIVE LINE PROSPECTS


TOP FIVE PERFORMANCES

40-Yard Dash

1. Taylor Lewan, Michigan – 4.87
2. Greg Robinson, Auburn – 4.92
3. Trai Turner, LSU – 4.93
T-4. Joel Bitonio, Nevada – 4.97
T-4. Matt Patchan, BC – 4.97

Bench Press

1. Russell Bodine, UNC – 42
T-2. Matt Feiler, Bloomsburg – 36
T-2. Tyler Larsen, Utah St. – 36
T-2. Corey Linsley, Ohio State – 36
T-2. Antonio Richardson, Clemson – 36

Broad Jump

1. Taylor Lewan, Michigan – 117.0 inches
2. Joel Bitonio, Nevada  – 114.0 inches
T-3. Jonotthan Harrison, Florida – 113.0 inches
T-3. Greg Robinson, Auburn – 113.0 inches
5. Wesley Johnson, Vanderbilt– 111.0 inches

3-Cone Drill

1. Game Ikard, Oklahoma – 7.30
2. Jake Matthews, Texas A&M – 7.34
3. Joel Bitonio, Nevada – 7.37
4. Taylor Lewan, Michigan – 7.39
5. Wesley Johnson, Vanderbilt – 7.40

 

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