Spring evaluation: OL preparedness grades

As the spring schedule wraps up, SunDevilSource.com is providing preparedness and long-term potential grades of every player on the Arizona State roster, starting with offensive linemen. We also rank each player in the group in terms of current competency.

1. Nick Kelly (senior) -- This is currently Arizona State's top overall offensive line performer and among the program's least appreciated and undervalued players. He's a bit undersized, at 6-foot-2 and 294 pounds, but has long arms and is quite agile and rangy for a center, which allows him to get to spots on the field others can't. He should have been ASU's starting center two years ago but became a second-team all-league player as a junior in 2014, his first as starter. Kelly is very tough, playing through multiple injuries that would have knocked others out of action last year. He should be a Rimington Trophy candidate (nation's best center). NFL potential. Preparedness Grade: 4.5 / Potential Grade: 4.5

2. Christian Westerman (senior) -- A tough and very physically potent offensive guard who is at his best as as an interior run blocker, Westerman has the most violent punch on the line -- and loves using it -- and is quite stable as a pass protector, well balanced and more than ample lateral mobility on the inside. He's improved as a range blocker, particularly kicking out and getting in outside space. Where he'll have a chance to improve his NFL stock this year is with a little more patience and awareness and better gathering as a pull and second-level blocker. He doesn't have elite agility with the way ASU likes to pull its left guard on power runs but is quite competent in that regard and projects as someone who will get a fair shot at playing at the next level. Preparedness Grade: 4 / Potential Grade: 4.5

3. Vi Teofilo (senior) -- Length and arm span are a bit limiting for Teofilo from an upside standpoint but he's got very good feet and an impressive understanding of leverage and great posture as a run blocker. He locates his hands effectively and only is really limited by a lack of ability to reach and handle longer players. He has improved quite a bit with his patience and timing as a pass protector over the years, but is still a bit better versus the run and it's his preference. He seems to be recovering ahead of schedule with his ACL tear and should start running again in the next month or two. Preparedness Grade: 3.5 / Potential Grade: 4

4. Stephon McCray (Junior) -- On the hoof, McCray isn't really much to write home about. He carries a little more weight through the midsection and has thinner arms than you'd want, at 6-foot-2 and 317 pounds. But he has a nasty disposition, a good operational base and relishes the physical combat inside. He is adept at locking up defensive linemen and not allowing disengagement and gets the most out of his average length. He's functionally quite good for someone who hasn't played a lot, and tends to be assignment sound, with high reliability given his relative lack of experience. Maximization of potential is what really matters and McCray stands a good chance of being able to do this very well. Preparedness Grade: 3 / Potential Grade: 3.5

5. Sam Jones (Redshirt freshman) -- The future is extremely bright for Jones, who has displayed terrific versatility and practice competency for someone who has yet to play in a college game and only arrived on a college campus less than a year ago. Last year Jones worked primarily at left guard -- often with the second team despite redshirting -- and displayed impressive pad level and pop for a youngster, at 6-foot-5 and 290-plus pounds. This spring, with Evan Goodman on the shelf for almost all team periods nursing a hamstring strain, Jones kicked out to left tackle and worked remarkably effectively with the first group. His kick step and overall coordination of movement conveys more experience than he has and the word that comes to mind with Jones is stable. He's a great prospect, one with an all-league future. Preparedness Grade: 3 / Potential grade: 4.5

6. Evan Goodman (junior) -- This was expected to be a big spring for Goodman as ASU looked to demonstrate a competent replacement for Jamil Douglas, but a hamstring injury dramatically limited his participation. Only in the Spring Game did Goodman take second team reps and did so at well less than 100 percent. Offensive line coach Chris Thomsen has said Goodman is more athletic than Douglas, and he has the foot speed and overall mobility to be a very good offensive tackle, but motor, mental toughness and overall commitment level remain unanswered questions. If everything comes together, Goodman is an all-league candidate but right now Jones is pushing hard to be the starting left tackle and this battle will be revealing in August. Preparedness Grade: 3 / Potential Grade: 4.5

7. Billy McGehee (senior) -- The overall arc of McGehee's improvement over the last several years has been substantial. At 6-foot-6 and more than 300 pounds, McGehee always had better movement skills than he was probably given credit for, but was quite unrefined technically. Moreover, he's a very quiet, almost docile type personality by nature and that carries over a bit to the football field. This spring McGehee has started to play with a little more of a chip on his shoulder. He has some power behind his down block and uses his length effectively against the run. In his pass pro, McGehee has synced his movements much better now, less inclined to reach and not as top heavy as he was in the past. He's an average athlete, to be sure, so handling speed in space is going to be the biggest question mark moving forward. Preparedness Grade: 3 / Potential Grade: 3.5

8. Steve Miller (freshman) -- Though he was limited in the second half of the spring with foot soreness, Miller showed more than enough to demonstrate to us that he has a bright future at this level. Miller has bounced between left guard and left tackle. His foot quickness isn't great in pass pro on the edge and as a result probably his better ceiling is at guard, especially because he's such a big man even before being fully immersed in a college strength and conditioning program. Every bit of 6-foot-4 and 315 pounds, Miller is fluid and uncoils effectively for his size, so he's got a chance to be not only an extremely strong and proficient mauler, but someone who can make range blocks, which is a big part of the ASU offense at left guard. Preparedness Grade: 2.5 / Potential Grade: 4.5

9. Quinn Bailey (redshirt freshman) -- From the fall until now, nobody in the position group is more improved than Bailey. He was clunky and slow with his pass pro in the fall but is increasingly smoothing it out and becoming more competent. Now Bailey is able to demonstrate the range to handle even Ismael Murphy-Richardson or Kalen Ballage's edge rush speed in some reps without breaking down fundamentally in order to try to save blocks. Bailey is much more under his feet and with all of this has seemingly come more confidence and that combination is leading to a rapid development. Odds are he's still probably going to be a year away from being ready to compete at this level by the fall, but if he improves as much between now and September has he has in the last in the last five months, who knows. He's 6-foot-5 and a well put together 310 pounds. Preparedness Grade: 2.5 / Potential Grade: 4

10. Devin Goodman (senior) -- Though limited in terms of size and athleticism at 6-foot-1, 280 pounds, Goodman has nonetheless continued to work hard and develop his skills in a way that should be respected. He's not really a BCS grade talent, but might be able to not be a major liability if inserted on a need basis as a guard. Preparedness Grade: 1.5 / Potential Grade: 2

11. Jack Powers (sophomore) -- Currently the least ready to play effectively in the Pac-12 among ASU's scholarship linemen, Powers has nonetheless been diligent about working and trying to develop. At 6-foot-6, he's not a slouch of an athlete. He runs well out in space for his size and bends well enough to play the position. But he still lacks fundamental competency from a technical standpoint and is not yet prepared to play at this level. Preparedness Grade: 1 / Potential Grade: 2.5

Preparedness/Potential Grade Key

5: All-American level performer

4: First/second team all-league level performer

3: Mid-level Pac-12 performer

2: Fringe Pac-12 performer

1: Non-Pac-12 level performer

Editor's note: Players are ranked in terms of overall current preparedness and not based on potential. With this position group, there is a cluster in the middle that includes McCray, Jones, E. Goodman and McGehee. There isn't much difference between these players as it currently stands.


Sun Devil Source Top Stories