Pauline's Take: NFL Prospect Sean Locklear

<B>NFL Draft Guru Tony Pauline </b>is one of the most respected analysts in the business, and he talked with StateFans about NC State's former players expected to be chosen in the upcoming draft. Today we discuss NFL Offensive Guard prospect Sean Locklear.

Tony Pauline is the top NFL Draft Guru on TheInsiders network and has been judging college/NFL talent for 16 years. He started with local papers and publications in the northeast before beginning his own draft service in 1997. His draft reports can now be found at The NFL Insiders where he's recognized as "TFY Draft Preview."


StateFans: Have you heard anything lately on Sean Locklear?

Tony Pauline: "Well, I think Locklear's one of the most underrated offensive linemen in this draft. He quietly had possibly the best Senior Bowl of any lineman that I saw, and I was there at practice everyday. People were talking about what a great Senior Bowl Darnell Dockett had and a few other guys... well he stoned Dockett on consecutive plays at guard.

He's got the versatility to play tackle although I don't consider him a tackle prospect. He's a guy where if your right tackle gets hurt you can slide him out there short-term, but I think he's strictly going to be a guard in the NFL.

I can see a team that needs a guard like the New York Jets taking him in the third round. I think that would be a perfect fit."

SF: You mentioned watching the N.C. State-Clemson game this past season, and what were your impressions of Sean after watching him live?

Pauline: "I was pleasantly surprised with him against Clemson. I thought he really did a good job. Sean is what you call a 'confined-quarters blocker.' That means he is more effective in a smaller area then in space. He has to work on his fundamentals because he's only played the position for two years. I noticed it when he was playing tackle that he kept getting tall and wasn't bending his knees for an extended period of time. However, that could just be due to not having the repetitions and only playing the position for two years. Little things like that can be fixed."

SF: What do you think of his future as a pro? Do you think he's a player that can come in and help right away or does he have a lot of upside and in a couple of years he can be a starting offensive guard?

Pauline: "I think he's a guy that in the right situation will be starting by the end of his rookie year."

SF: You mentioned Sean making the move to offensive line after being a defensive tackle early at N.C. State. Is there another player in the NFL who has made a similar move relatively late in his college career who went on to have success on the next level?

Pauline: "Ron Stone is a similar guy. He was a former Defensive Lineman from Boston College and moved to Offensive Guard. He was on the New York Giants squad that went to the Super Bowl a few years ago. I think he's with Dallas now, but he's been around for a long time at the offensive guard position and is similar to Sean. He's not real great on the move or overly effective in space, but if you give him a small area to cover he does a real good job of it."

SF: So a team looking for a guy like Locklear could be the New York Jets?

Pauline: "Correct."

SF: Are there any other teams looking for offensive line help in the middle rounds?

Pauline: "The Dallas Cowboys could be a possibility in the third round. San Francisco could be an option. The Carolina Panthers need an offensive guard... that would be a good fit for him."

StateFans: It looks like there are some great options out there for him.

Tony Pauline: "Oh yes, plenty. In fact, it's a weak draft for guards. Basically you've got three guards... Justin Smiley of Alabama, Chris Snee of Boston College, and Sean Locklear who are the only guarantees to be first day picks in the draft.

When you consider that then Sean's going to definitely have some teams looking to pick him up."


Stay tuned tomorrow for our exclusive interview with draft guru Tony Pauline regarding ex-NC State Wide Receiver Jerricho Cotchery and his NFL draft outlook.

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