NFL Draft Breakdown: Offensive Linemen

March 6th, 2010
Might the Bucs sniff this guy in the fourth or fifth round?

Might the Bucs sniff this guy in the fourth or fifth round?

Perhaps the signature of NFL Draft guru Justin Pawlowski’s stellar, in-depth draft coverage for is his position-by-position breakdowns.

Pawlowski not only analyzes potential draftees’ abilities and draft stock, he offers a look at their possible impact on the Bucs’ roster and the player they most resemble in the NFL.

A pure draft-lovers orgasm.

There’s not a hardcore Bucs fan on the planet who wouldn’t enjoy this series, which kicks off today with offensive linemen. Next week: running backs.

So here’s Pawlowski’s 2,500-word look at 15 offensive linemen you need to know about in the 2010 draft.


Offensive Tackles

Russell Okung – OT – Oklahoma St.
6’5’’ – 307 lbs – 5.15
Top 10 pick

Why I’m taking him: Okung’s been one of the top offensive tackles in college football the past couple years. He has very good movement and agility. Okung does a very good job of getting to the next level and helping bust big runs. I’d say he’d be excellent for any team, but mostly for a team that runs a zone run scheme. He also shows great quickness in pulling. In pass protection, Okung shows excellent technique and a strong base.

Why I’m staying away: My worry is whether Okung is worth the money of a top 5 draft pick. In pass protection, I see Okung catching defensive tackles a lot and not getting a good punch on them. He allows the defensive linemen into his chest, and then uses his strength to rebound from that mistake. He reminds me a lot of D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Ferguson is coming into his own now, but it has taken him a few years to start reaching that potential. Despite his 38 reps on the bench at the combine, sometimes it looks like Okung doesn’t put that great strength to work on the field.

Impact on the Bucs roster: Okung would step in immediately at left tackle and move Donald Penn to right tackle. Jeremy Trueblood would be trade bait if that happened. I do know of a general manager for the Redskins who draft Trueblood while he was the Bucs GM that might like Trueblood to upgrade his new pitiful offensive line.

NFL Comparison: Ryan Clady – Denver Broncos

Anthony Davis – OT – Rutgers
6’5’’ – 323 lbs – 5.40
Top 10 pick

Why I’m taking him: Davis is the type of offensive lineman I love. He plays with a mean streak and can be simply dominant at times. He could be the best pass protector in this draft. He’s got great technique in both the run and pass. Davis also seems to show much more strength than his combine results might read.

Why I’m staying away: Character is my big issue with Davis. Davis missed a game in 2008 for violating team rules and showed up to camp in 2009 overweight. There are also times when watching him on film that Davis looks confused. Davis did not have a good combine.

Impact on the Bucs roster: Like Okung, Davis would start immediately at left tackle for the Bucs and move Donald Penn to right tackle. Trueblood would then become expendable.

NFL Comparison: Michael Oher – Baltimore Ravens

Bryan Buluga – OT – Iowa
6’5’’ – 314 lbs – 5.15
1st Round

Why I’m taking him: Buluga is your typical Big 10 offensive tackle. He’s disciplined and very powerful. In pass protection, Buluga shows a very good base and an excellent punch against the rusher, knocking that rusher off balance. Buluga also shows great strength and agility when getting to the next level with power behind his blocks. Buluga has had some minor durability issues, but nothing serious. Also, Buluga played extremely well against Derrick Morgan (DE-Ga. Tech) in the Orange Bowl.

Why I’m staying away: Buluga is solid, but is he flashy enough for a top 10 pick? I’m not sure. I’m uncertain if he can become a dominant tackle in the NFL. Being a solid offensive tackle is great, but not great with a top 10 pick.

Impact on the Bucs roster: The only way I see Buluga in a Bucs uniform in 2010 is if they trade back. Like Okung and Davis, Buluga would start immediately at left tackle.

NFL Comparison: Joe Thomas – Cleveland Browns

Trent Williams – OT – Oklahoma
6’5’’ – 315 lbs – 4.88
1st Round

Why I’m taking him: Williams is another offensive lineman in a long line of them coming from Oklahoma. Williams proved to be durable at Oklahoma and also displayed his team-first mentality throughout his career as well. As for his play on the field, Williams is a very tough player in all aspects of his game. He has a nice punch in pass protection that knocks defensive linemen off their track. Williams also works hard in finishing his blocks and isn’t satisfied until his defender is eating dirt.

Why I’m staying away: Although Williams played left tackle in 2009, I feel he might be best suited as a right tackle in the NFL. He seems to struggle sometimes with speed rushers like Sergio Kindle from Texas. Also, I know it might be a freak thing, but his guy was the guy who injured Sam Bradford against BYU. That’s a no no for a left tackle.

Impact on the Bucs roster: I don’t see Williams being a legitimate pick for the Bucs at all. If the Bucs are even going to sniff offensive tackle, I’d expect them to get a pure left tackle. A good spot for Williams is with the 49ers with one of their two 1st round picks.

NFL Comparison: Levi Brown – Arizona Cardinals

Vladimir Ducasse– OT – UMASS
6’4’’ – 332 lbs – 5.27
1st Round

Why I’m taking him: Ducasse has a massive frame, but has nice athleticism to go with it. I think Ducasse could play tackle or guard in the NFL, making him very versatile. He has nice quickness and a strong base for pass protection. His quick feet also help him as he opens up holes in the run game.

Why I’m staying away: Ducasse has only been playing football for 6 years, so he still has a lot of learning to do. This can be good or bad, but the higher he’s drafted, the more of a risk it is. I’d also love to see Ducasse be meaner out on the football field and finish off his blocks more.

Impact on the Bucs roster: Ducasse could be an intriguing pick if he’s still available in the 2nd round. He is a raw talent that could become great. His excellent frame and good character will help him as he progresses. The Bucs would bid adieu to both Arron Sears and Jeremy Zuttah at left guard if Ducasse is selected. I’d only see Ducasse playing guard for the Bucs.

NFL Comparison: Shawn Andrews – Philadelphia Eagles

Bruce Campbell – OT – Maryland
6’6’’ – 314 lbs – 4.85
1st Round

Why I’m taking him: Campbell has the look of a prototypical left tackle in the NFL. He has the frame, the strength, and the quickness you want from that position. In pass protection, Campbell shows a nice kick back step to prevent speed rushers from grabbing the edge. His long arms prevents defenders from getting into his chest.

Why I’m staying away: You know the saying, “the film don’t lie?” Well, in Campbell’s case, that isn’t good. He does not show up well on film at all. There are some good moments for Campbell on film, but I’ve yet to see anything great from him. Campbell has also had some durability concerns while at Maryland.

Impact on the Bucs roster: I’d pass if I was the Bucs. No need to go into any more detail on this here.

NFL Comparison: Eugene Monroe – Jacksonville Jaguars

Charles Brown – OT – USC
6’5’’ – 303 lbs – DNP
2nd Round

Why I’m taking him: After being converted from tight end, Brown has consistently gotten better throughout his career at USC. He has excellent balance and quickness in pass protection. He also shows a good initial punch. He has plenty of potential as he is still growing into an offensive tackle.

Why I’m staying away: Brown is not physical enough in the run game. He has struggled with his lack of weight since converting from tight end. I’d be concerned that he can keep the weight on. He was pretty good at USC, but I never saw greatness. I’d also love to see more of a mean streak out of him.

Impact on the Bucs roster: I’d pass on Brown if I were Mark Dominik unless Brown was available in the 3rd round. At that point, and that point only, I’d slightly consider him for the Bucs.

NFL Comparison: Joe Staley – San Francisco 49ers

Jared Veldheer– OT – Hillsdale
6’8’’ – 312 lbs – 5.09
3rd – 4th Round

Why I’m taking him: I love the combination of athleticism and strength from Veldheer. I just watched a video of Veldheer doing a hang clean with 425 lbs like it was nothing. He’s an intriguing prospect who could definitely go higher than I have him.

Why I’m staying away: It’s hard to find out a lot about a guy who played at Hillsdale. He did not play against elite competition which is a concern. Another concern is that his arms are only 33’’ long, which is very short for a man his size.

Impact on the Bucs roster: Offensive tackle is not the biggest need for the Bucs, but if Veldheer is available in the 4th round, I’d consider it.

NFL Comparison: Adam Terry – Baltimore Ravens

Selvish Capers – OT – West Virginia
6’5’’ – 308 lbs – 5.14
3rd Round

Why I’m taking him: Like most converted tight ends, Capers excels in pass protection because of his quick feet. He has the ability to match up very well with speed rushers. Capers is also very durable. I think we can all agree as well that capers are just delicious in a dish.

Why I’m staying away: Like most converted tight ends, Capers is not nearly mean enough and needs to find a nasty streak to dominate in the NFL. He struggles in the run game driving defenders off the ball. Capers also plays too high with bad leverage.

Impact on the Bucs roster: I say no to Capers. He would note be an upgrade to Xavier Fulton.

NFL Comparison: Xavier Fulton – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 Rodger Saffold – OT – Indiana
6’5’’ – 316 lbs – 5.20
3rd – 4th Round

Why I’m taking him: Saffold is a solid player and balanced in both pass protection and run blocking. Saffold has pretty good size and moves well for his size. He plays with very solid technique.

Why I’m staying away: Saffold is not overpowering or dominant at all. He has to find a way to be more aggressive and finish off blocks.

Impact on the Bucs roster: Mark Dominik should not draft Saffold.

NFL Comparison: John St. Claire – Cleveland Browns

 Interior Linemen

Mike Iupati – OG – Idaho
6’5’’ – 331 lbs – 5.30
1st Round

Why I’m taking him: You kidding me? His guy is one of the most dominant players this draft. His film is fun to watch. For weighing 331 lbs, Iupati carries it extremely well. Iupati reminds me of Ndamukong Suh on the offensive side of the ball. He can dominate in run blocking. He’s tough, aggressive, and mean. I’m not sure what else you’d want from a guard.

Why I’m staying away: The one weakness for Iupati is pass protection. He can deliver a nice punch, knocking the defender off track, but his feet need to be quicker to be a dominant pass protector as well. Iupati also needs to do a better job against stunts, twists, etc…in the NFL.

Impact on the Bucs roster: I’d love to see Iupati in a Bucs uniform, but the 3rd pick is too early to draft him, and he won’t be around in the 2nd round.

NFL Comparison: Alan Faneca – New York Jets

Maurkice Pouncey – C – Florida
6’4’’ – 304 lbs – 5.15
1st – 2nd Round

Why I’m taking him: Pouncey’s by far the top center in this draft. Consistency is a good word to associate with Pouncey. He has been the same solid player since he was playing for the Lakeland Dreadnaughts. He’s a solid center who’s equally good in run blocking as he is in pass protection. I feel Pouncey has a bright future ahead of him and could be a tremendous leader in the NFL. Pouncey can play center or guard in the pros.

Why I’m staying away: Pouncey isn’t overly aggressive and could stand to get a tad meaner on the field. He can struggle at times against bigger more powerful nose tackles. Pouncey is good, but not dominant.

Impact on the Bucs roster: I wonder if Mark Dominik asked Maurkice Pouncey how it felt to “desert” his brother at Florida. Oh wait, they only ask Myron Rolle how it feels to “desert” something.

NFL Comparison: Jeff Saturday – Indianapolis Colts

Jon Asamoah – OG – Illinois
6’4’’ – 305 lbs – DNP
2nd Round

Why I’m taking him: I really like Asamoah’s intelligence and feel for the game. I think that’s important for a guard to have. He also excels in run blocking and goes from the snap of the ball to the whistle. He does have a mean streak in him and will put a defender on his back. He is active in the community and has never missed a game due to injury.

Why I’m staying away: Pass protection is not Asamoah’s strong suit; however, it’s not as if he is the worst at it. Pass protection is just his weakness.

Impact on the Bucs roster: Asamoah has the potential to be a very good pro, but I don’t see it being with the Bucs. They just have too many other needs.

NFL Comparison: Ben Grubbs – Baltimore Ravens

Zane Beadles – OG – Utah
6’4’’ – 310 lbs – DNP
2nd – 3rd Round

Why I’m taking him: Once again, Beadles is the type of guard I love. He is nasty, physical, and always finishes his blocks. He excels in the run game. Durability is not an issue at all with Beadles and he was an excellent student at Utah. Watching him on film, Beadles seems to do an excellent job against stunts and blitzed, displaying excellent awareness.

Why I’m staying away: Beadles doesn’t have the greatest footwork, and sometimes that shows up in pass protection.

Impact on the Bucs roster: For the Bucs, I wouldn’t consider him until the 4th round if he’s there.

NFL Comparison: Jahri Evans – New Orleans Saints

Mike Johnson – OG – Alabama
6’5’’ – 312 lbs – 5.35
3rd Round

Why I’m taking him: All the intangibles go in favor of Mike Johnson. He has played multiple positions well at Alabama, he’s smart, he’s got great character, and he’s very durable. He’s also a good football player. Johnson knows his assignment on every play and does it well. Like most guards, he is much better in run blocking than pass protection.

Why I’m staying away: One thing I’d like to see from Mike Johnson is for him to be more aggressive. He gives good effort, but does not dominate. He also has some issues in pass protection.

Impact on the Bucs roster: I wouldn’t look at him until at least the 4th round.

NFL Comparison: Justin Smiley – Miami Dolphins

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