With their second pick in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft (pick No. 168), the Cleveland Browns selected offensive guard Spencer Drango of Baylor. Drango started at left tackle all four years of his Baylor career, but will most likely play inside at guard during his NFL career. The Browns had a great need for offensive line depth after the purge during free agency; specifically, losing starting center Alex Mack and starting right tackle Mitchell Schwartz, which could make Drango an important pick.
So, what are the Browns getting in their new offensive lineman? Let’s take a look at the film to examine the strengths and weaknesses of offensive guard Spencer Drango.
Strong/Big Upper Body
This clip illustrates Spencer Drango’s strength. In particular, his big upper body is on display, which is his greatest asset. He is able to get off the line quickly and use his strength to drive Michigan State’s star defensive end Shilique Calhoun backwards. Drango’s stands up the defensive end with his strong upper body, forcing Calhoun to retreat. His movement allows the running back to run behind him for a first down. When he can get his hands on a defender, he can move the player where ever he wants them to go. This aspect especially helps him as a run blocker as it opens up holes for the running back. Simply put, Drango is a strong man.
Drango has solid body positioning to make successful blocks. On this play, he is able to come off the line and quickly get into the body of the Kansas outside linebacker. He is able to turn the defender and get in the correct position to seal the edge. The running back was able to run to the outside, completing a big run for Baylor. Drango may not be a perfect blocker, but he has a good knack to position his body to get in the way of the defender from getting to the ball carrier.
This aspect of Drango’s game, pull blocking, will help him transition inside to guard. On this play, it is a designed run up the middle, but Drango is assigned to pull inside to seal the hole for the running back. He is not a super athlete, but he was able to get to the defender in time. As I said, Drango is not a superb athelete, so he is not the quickest man to get to the block. But, he has a lot of experience in being able to pull block. He uses his body positioning to get to his spot and do enough to seal off a lane for the ball carrier. This skill will serve him well as a offensive guard in the NFL.
Athleticism/Change of Direction
This play illustrates Drango’s biggest shortcoming as a lineman; his athleticism and change of direction. On the play, he is facing Michigan State’s star defensive end Shilique Calhoun, which is a tall order. He is overmatched. The defensive end takes advantage of Drango’s slow change of direction by faking outside and then quickly cutting inward across his face. Drango is too slow to shift back inside, which allows the defender to get to the quarterback. Drango struggles with speed on the edge. He can be overmatched by quick edge rushers, which is why he is moving inside in the NFL. His athleticism and slow change of direction will hurt him against the quicker and more athletic rushers in the NFL. It will also limit his ability as a pass protector.
Drango’s hand placement can be a problem for him. On the play, he is once again facing Michigan State’s star defensive end Shilique Calhoun. Drango gets off the line and tries to get a punch on the defensive end quickly. But, he is too early and far away from Calhoun, which causes his hands to get swatted. Then, he loses his balance and allows the defensive end past him. Hand placement is a huge skill for an offensive lineman. Drango is far too inconsistent, causing him to fall off blocks or allow defenders to strip his hands away from their body. His struggle with this skill hurts his ability to sustain blocks and really showcase his strength. Drango must improve this area of his game in order for him to be a better offensive lineman.
One of Drango’s biggest weaknesses as a player is his tendency to lean and miss blocks. On this play, he is pulling to the opposite of the line to seal the hole. But, when he sees the defender he is supposed to block, he gets too anxious and lunges forward. He completely whiffs on the block and falls. Drango has a tendency to lean, which allows the defenders to get him off balance with a quick move. This, along with his hand placement, is a big factor in why he is not a great lineman at sustaining blocks. Also, he can be susceptible in space, as above, to missing blocks because of his eagerness to reach for defenders. Drango must improve his balance and ability to stay upright while blocking.