It’s no mystery that Carolina needs offensive tackles, and with a very weak free agent class or the idea of the Panthers gambling starting money on a guy like Roos or likely a career right tackle in Brian Bulaga, just doesn’t seem like the Dave Gettleman way.
Let’s look at the draft lets see what kind of stud Gettleman will grab for us! Let me start by breaking down what each major combine drill outside the sidestep and footwork means to me and what they can show us about offensive linemen.
40 yard dash means nothing to me! I really don’t care how fast the fat men run down the stretch. If your back can’t outrun your tackle at 40 yards, get a new back! Ideal sub 5.40s
10 yard split shows explosiveness and how a guy can come of the ball to set the run and screen game. Ideal sub 1.80s
Bench press displays how much energy is in the arms plus power output, particularly needed to get push. Ideal 25+ reps
Vertical and broad jumps show quick burst, explosive power in legs. There will be no jumping in a game for these guys, but leg-power means a lot in blocking! Ideal +30” vertical & +96”’ long
Body measurements: Size is more about how guy plays, but overall I want a player over 6’4. I’m ok with a player being only 300 but you have to own that 300 and be very quick on your. Arms I want over 33 inches to create some separation with paws around 10 inches to latch on and not let go.
Here's a list of five offensive tackles I would draft in Round 1, minus La’el Collins and Brandon Scherff who will be long gone by #25. Varying on the evaluations by teams before Carolina, there's a real chance any one of these guys could be there at #25.
5) Cameron Erving
I know people say he is a center or an inside man, but I don’t buy it. What he is to me is a very good tackle who was never on the losing end of a football game when playing the left side. At the combine, he tested as followed: 6’-5” 313lbs, 10 3/8 hands, 34 1/8” arms. He repped 30 on the bench and his 10 yard split was a little slower than my ideal at 1.82s. He jumped 30.5 inches up and 112 inches far. It is all there. He plays well and can play all five spots on the line. I think he will play very well on the left side in the NFL.
4) Jake Fisher
A very talented athletic OT, who looks very similar to Panther great Jordan Gross. At 6’6” and 306 lbs, he better play his weight very well. Added to his athleticism, Fisher knows what he is doing and knows how to win. He's very good run blocker and kicks well in the screen game. He may need to bulk up a bit more and will benefit from an NFL strength and conditioning regimen.
3) Andrus Peat
This is one big thick boy. Standing 6’7 313 lbs, he cannot be pushed back easily! He’s got strong arms that don’t tire and bear trap hands. He looks the part for sure. He needs to play a little lower and keep his technique more consistent, but you can teach that a hell of a lot easier than you can teach his tree trunk like legs and vine-like arms. No info found on his split but I assume it was about average being as he isn’t the quickest, but he does have solid footwork overall.
2) Ereck Flowers
This big boy's arm and hand size haven't been reported, nor his vertical and broad jump. Nothing suggests, however, they are disproportionate. He had 1.78 split, so we know he can get up quick and block. He also had the best bench press of the combine, putting up the bar 37 times, which is just insane. He may have sick power, but his kick out drill was a little sickening. He struggles versus the speed rush. Not to say that can’t be worked on, but it does hurt his stock and raise concerns about his fit as an left tackle.
1) DJ Humphries
The hometown kid comes in at number one on my list. He sizes up with the best of them. 26 reps on the bench isn’t the best but one cant have it all. His vertical and broad jumps are simply absurd for such a big man! He can move too, running a 1.76s split. Both shows he can generate tremendous power from his legs, lending to some real road grating in the run game. The big knock on Humphries in college was his hands placement, which can be coached up. One scout after watching him play one of his best games against Shane Ray noted, if you can block Ray, you can play in this league! That is a good thing to know considering Ray may be very high both the Falcons and Saints draft boards.
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