Ja’Wuan James OT Tennessee #70
Size/Athleticism: Good height, but that’s about it. Appears a little soft and clearly lacks the dominant strength to win simply by overpowering. Mobility is below average. Doesn’t have the speed to get downfield and agility on the line is shaky.
Pass Protection: Inconsistent awareness. Seems to still be learning how to read the defense and anticipate when/where the pass-rush is coming. Late to react and doesn’t always put himself in the best position to be effective. Slow off the snap—consistently beat by more athletic edge-rushers. Reasonably quick feet and can slide outside smoothly, but gets choppy when trying to stay with the most athletic edge-rushers. Extremely inconsistent hand placement. Strong power body gives him a sturdy base to hold his ground against bull rushers, but he isn’t a true finisher.
Run Blocking: Flashes a mean streak as a run blocker and can finish off blocks when he gets proper hand placement and stays balanced. But he struggles with consistent hand placement and pad level and will slide off blocks. More experienced and technically sound linemen can easily take advantage of his lack of technique and shed blocks. Takes poor angles and struggles to quickly diagnose his assignment.
Intangibles: Four-year starter.
Durability: Sprained knee during senior bowl practices.
Comments: James has decent physical tools but his lack of fundamentals and awareness on the field raises some serious red flags considering the fact that he’s a four-year starter. With so much experience, how does a player continue to make the same technique mistakes? How does he fail to develop on-field awareness? I worry about his ability to handle the complex defenses he’ll see in the NFL. Too many NFL teams do a great job disguising blitzes and making late adjustments which will throw him off.
Taylor Lewan OT Michigan #77
Size/Athleticism: Prototypical height. Arm length is only average but shouldn’t be a concern. Shows quick footwork on the line and moves very well when getting to the second level. Has experience at left and right tackle—primarily played on the left side, but would occasionally rotate to the right for certain plays/matchups.
Pass Protection: Swallows up defenders once he get his hands on them. Rarely gives up ground once he’s fully engaged with a pass-rusher. Strong lower body allows him to anchor against bull rushers. Quick off the snap and does a nice job sliding outside to stay with faster edge-rushers. Does tend to lunge at edge-rushers when they get a step on him and will fall off balance occasionally.
Run Blocking: Powerful run blocker who, at worst, holds his ground and is often capable of driving his assignment back to create gaping holes. Impressive mobility for his size. He moves smoothly to the second level, quickly diagnosing his assignment and taking efficient angles to get there. Explodes off the snap and gives a quick, powerful initial punch. Great footwork when working to slide over to see seal an edge.
Intangibles: Character needs to be investigated by teams. Arrested for his role in an altercations after the 2013 Ohio State game. Also allegedly threatened to rape a girl who had accused teammate Brendan Gibbons of raping her. Public reports certainly shouldn’t be taken as gospel, but with multiple accusations against a player, teams will dig deep to learn as much as they can about his personality and character.
Durability: Four year starter with no significant injury concerns.
Comments: Lewan’s character concerns need to be looked into, but from a talent standpoint he’s close to a can’t miss prospect. In pass protection, once he locks onto a defender, it’s over. And he’s strong enough to consistently clear space in the run game and finish off his blocks. He has the prototypical blend of size and athleticism and should be a quality starter from day one.
Morgan Moses OT Virginia #78
Size/Athleticism: Prototypical height. Long arms. Could benefit from adding some strength, especially in the lower body. Athleticism is adequate but not at the elite level of the game’s best left tackles.
Pass Protection: Gets beat off the snap a lot against faster edge-rushers and has to recover. He doesn’t shut down Does a nice job using the pass-rushers momentum to his advantage and directing them away. Impressive initial punch and can throw a small edge-rusher off his path with one pop. Seems to lack ideal lower body strength and it shows up in his struggles against the bull rush. Plays too upright at takes and gets knock off balance by the bull rushers who gain leverage on him.
Run Blocking: Mobility is average adequate but he doesn’t always move with a purpose. He has the speed to get to the second level, but gets lost in space and doesn’t always take the angles necessary to meet his assignments. Gets the job done but isn’t a mauler in the run game. Lacks the power to drive defenders backward and finish them off. Typically quick off the snap and gets into position to initially win the battle, but will lose balance and slide off his blocks.
Intangibles: Struggled with weight issues in college.
Durability: Three-year starter. Missed one game in 2012 with an undisclosed injury.
Comments: Moses has the tools to start at the next level but he’s inconsistent and doesn’t dominate as often as you’d like to see for a guy of his size at the college level. There seems to be a combination of lack of power and lack of a desire to dominate, which could really hold him back at the next level. His issues with controlling his weight in college also raise some concern about his work ethic, although he seemed to have this under control in 2013.
Cyrus Kouandjio OT Alabama #
Size/Athleticism: Prototypical size. Has the size and strength to overwhelm defensive lineman. Athleticism is a notch below elite, but he’s well
Pass Protection: Lacks elite agility but is quick off the snap and looks fluid sliding outside to stay with quicker edge-rushers. Extremely long arms and elite upper body strengths allows him to recover when a faster edge-rushers gets a step on him off the snap. His length and strength allows him to win even when’s not able to get into ideal position. Has a tendency to overextend and will fall off balance at times. Dominant against bull rushers and would be an elite prospect as a guard if a team wanted to move him inside.
Run Blocking: A bulldozer in the run game. Stays low off the snap and uses great leverage to drive defenders backward and finishes off a high percentage of his blocks. Capable of getting to the second level although he doesn’t always take great angles and occasionally finds himself lost in space.
Intangibles: Nothing positive or negative of note.
Durability: Suffered a season-ending knee injury in 2011. Underwent shoulder surgery prior to 2013 season. Knee injury reportedly raised concern among teams at the combine, which has been refuted by his agent. Dr. James Andrews sent report to all 32 teams regarding his knee, saying that he is fine.
Comments: After the combine, the biggest concern with Kouandjio was his healthy by Dr. James Andrews has addressed that in a memo to all 32 teams and it now appears to be a non-issue. Kouandjio lacks the elite athleticism that many left tackles possess in the league today but he has shown steady improvement in his fundamentals throughout his career. His physical style of play will make him more attractive to certain teams, but can succeed in any system. All of biggest flaws relate to mobility and athleticism, and if it doesn’t work out at tackle he should be able to shift inside to guard and be an elite talent.
Jeff Matthews OT Texas A&M #75
Size/Athleticism: Looks the part of an NFL left tackle. Strength is a little underwhelming. Only 24 reps on the bench press at the combine and that lack of power shows in his play. Moderate athleticism, but definitely a notch below the elite left tackles that can slide out and mirror the league’s best pass-rushers.
Pass Protection: Very polished in terms of his fundamentals when he has time. If a pass-rusher doesn’t challenge him with speed off the edge or throw him off balance immediately, he gets into position and generally will hold his ground. However, he’s sort of a bend-but-don’t-break lineman. He holds his ground most of the time, but he’ll get walked back a few steps and rarely finishes anyone off. Struggles with balance at times. Doesn’t always stay low enough to play with leverage and gets knocked back on his heels too often. Does a nice job diagnosing the defense and making late adjustments based on delayed blitzes, etc.
Run Blocking: Capable of getting to the second level but quickness and agility are limited and doesn’t always get to his assignment. Has a tendency to get lost in space and takes too long to pick a direction. Doesn’t have the power to finish guys off. Technically sound and clearly has a strong grasp of his assignments. Does a nice job using his assignment’s momentum to direct him away from the designed direction of the play.
Intangibles: Comes from the most successful NFL family in league history. Son of Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews. Cousin of Packers linebacker Clay Matthews.
Durability: Extremely durable. 45 consecutive starts.
Comments: Matthews is among the most technically sound linemen to enter the draft in recent years, but he’s somewhat limited in terms of his physical tools. He’s built to be more of a power blocker than a finesse lineman, but he lacks the strength to dominate. He may have already maxed out his potential, giving him very little upside. If he’s already playing at or near his peak, he’s still a quality starter in the NFL but clearly below the elite level.