The 2020 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Big Board will be rolled out over the course of four weeks by position, featuring players to watch and a breakdown of what NFL scouts look for through the eyes of Collegiate Bowl Director of College Scouting, Dane Vandernat.
Today, we feature offensive tackles:
THREE TO WATCH
Trey Adams, Washington: A starter since his freshman year, Adams came back from a devastating back injury last season and played at an extremely high level. He consistently keeps his legs driving through contact, while his hand placement and technique stifling rips/swims are outstanding. Adams has excellent balance, bends very well for his height, and has the athleticism to get into the second level and tee off on backers in his path. He possesses exceptional movement skills for his size and plays with a real nasty streak that shows up on game day.
Victor Johnson, Appalachian State: Known for his relentless work ethic and high character, Johnson has brought a level of accountability to the Mountaineers program, guiding them to an 11-2 record last season. A four-year starter at left tackle, Johnson has been an anchor on the blindside. His film against Penn State, Georgia and Tennessee during the past few years bodes well for his resume and draft prospectus.
Kyle Murphy, Rhode Island: A versatile lineman who has started at left tackle since his junior season, Murphy previously started at right tackle, left guard and has filled in at center when needed. He understands angles when sealing the hole in run blocking and is very strong with powerful legs and quick feet— which amounts to really good leg drive and a better opportunity for pancakes. Murphy’s ability to mirror in pass pro, along with his run-mauling tenacity are two areas that will be sure to catch pro scouts’ attention, while his nastiness will endear himself to teammates.
As the main player tasked with protecting the quarterback, being an effective tackle at the next level is about more than just size and strength. Teams are looking for someone who can quickly get out of his stance, cover ground in his pass set, use his long arms to widen the rush path, shut down power rush moves (like a bulrush) with his lower body, and plant while quickly changing direction. A great deal of hand and foot coordination goes into protecting the edge, and those in college who understand punching while utilizing their length have a leg up on their peers as they prepare for potentially playing in the NFL.
Most colleges place their best offensive lineman at the left tackle position to serve as the quarterback’s blindside protector. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to continue to serve in that role. With all of the coordination and muscle memory involved, switching from the left side to the right side is not as easy as just switching stances. Oftentimes there is an additional learning curve, which is where football IQ comes into play.
NFLPA COLLEGIATE BOWL BIG BOARD: OFFENSIVE TACKLES
|First Name||Last Name||School||Position||Height||Weight|
|Liam||Eichenberg (R-Jr)||Notre Dame||OT||6-6||308|
|Zack||Johnson||North Dakota State||OT||6-6||316|
|D’Ante||Smith (R-Jr)||East Carolina||OT||6-4||295|