This article is the third installment of the February edition of the 2014 Pass Blocker Rating.
In the first post, I went over some of my observations and recollections from the process of grading the offensive tackle prospects. But besides introducing the PBR chart, only six players were discussed in any detail. The second post covered next five prospects on the chart. The third article will discuss the final 6 players on the chart.
Like before, peek at the data if you need to refresh.
2014 Pass Blocker Rating (PBR)
|Zack Martin||Notre Dame||1/70||1.07|
|Jack Mewhort||Ohio St||9/182||3.85|
|Billy Turner||North Dakota St||5/88||4.55|
|James Hurst||North Carolina||8/113||5.53|
|Jake Matthews||Texas A&M||30/341||6.96|
|Cornelius Lucas||Kansas St||6/53||8.49|
Picking up where we left off before, another college right tackle, Michael Schofield, struck me as a powerful run blocking tackle for the Michigan Wolverines. He handles power very well, but got into some trouble at times against smaller, quicker rushers. Can this be attributed to his almost 6’7″? Perhaps….Yet, when he lined up opposite larger ends, he seldom had trouble (see game against Michigan St). Of this class of linemen, he gets among the highest marks for versatility, having lined up both at left and right tackle this season, then again at guard early in his career at Michigan. Such a trait is quite useful in the modern NFL, since teams often carry so few linemen on game day.
Speaking of power blockers, Greg Robinson, the Auburn left tackle is a road grader if I have ever seen one. The Tigers operate a run-heavy scheme that features his ability to plow ahead and pancake all day long. This makes evaluating his pass blocking consistency something of a challenge, since his sample size is more limited than his peers.
In the process of publishing these three posts on the PBR, I continue to evaluate and collect data for these players. And I want to update Greg Robinson’s PBR score to 5.45, which is a 1.4 point improvement from the data on the chart. Nevertheless, this score is one of the more volatile ones at this stage because his smaller data sets lead to larger swings in PBR from game to game.
Pardon the digression.
Robinson, a former guard is a very, very powerful man with preferable size and decent foot speed. Such is his power, that for the briefest moment, I felt like I was watching Larry Allen. The way he snaps and explodes into defenders and moves them is something special. Remarkable as he is in the run game, he simply is not asked to pass protect all too often in the Auburn scheme.
Moving over to the Western United States, Joel Bitonio, LT for Nevada, offers something different than Greg Robinson. Comparably speaking, his skills match those of Zack Robinson. He won’t be able to offer teams great size or length (6’4″/ 33 inch arms), but he has pretty sweet feet. He performed well against Anthony Barr, timing his punches well, but it appeared to me that Barr’s length got the best of him on a few occasions. Zone blocking teams will fit him best.
Now here’s the metaphorical kicker. Texas A&M left tackle, Jake Matthews, is widely regarded one of the top 2 offensive linemen in 2014. Yet, his PBR score does not reflect this status. The question is why?
I have watched and studied 10 of his 13 games this season, more than I have studied any other offensive line prospect in this way. He has many things going for him: sweet feet, NFL family members, versatility, and has played against top competition. All these things are to his credit. Although he displays many of the qualities of an NFL caliber lineman, the thing that eludes him is consistency.
Against three of the top pass rushing units that A&M faced this season (Ole Miss, Auburn, Missouri), he allowed 14 pressures, 2 of which were sacks, on 94 countable passing snaps.
What this score suggests is that other closely rated prospects by scouts, such as Greg Robinson and Taylor Lewan may be see a slight rise in relation to Matthews. I am not saying his score is bad, since Luke Joeckel, last year’s #2 pick had a very similar score. But such a rating is not going to do him any favors.
Similarly, another wonderfully athletic tackle, Antonio Richardson suffers an average PBR. He looks the part, and moves like you’d expect a top tackle to move, but he is raw. On a give game he will deliver an outstanding performance (2 pressures against South Carolina). Yet, I cannot emphasize this enough, consistent quality is the key. It is truly rare to find a guy who can deliver on a play-to-play and week-to-week basis. This is ultimately how linemen are viewed.
Finally, Cornelius Lucas, is one of those very tall tackles. Bless his heart, he works hard for Kansas State, and did a good job for them. But from an athletic standpoint, he would have trouble on the edge in the NFL. It is tough to know exactly how capable he is in protection since I didn’t see the offensive line pass protecting too much, and not for any length of time due to scheme.
Overall, about 85 games were watched in the development of this rating system. I like how the process allows me to see these players in a variety of situations and over a course of time. I’ll admit that it isn’t a substitute for scouting players, but I hope that it will become a valuable aid in the process.
Hope you enjoyed, and God bless you.