One more Beaver is looking to improve their visibility heading into draft season.
Senior center Gavin Andrews has officially accepted an invitation to play in the 92nd East-West Shrine Game on January 21st. Andrews will be joining his teammates Treston DeCoud and Sean Harlow as Oregon State players currently slated to participate.
A three-year starter with 29 games played to his credit, Andrews started in 2013-2014 before missing the entire 2015 season with injury. He came back with a fury in 2016, however, showing off some very underrated but essential skills as Oregon State’s center. His pass protection was on point, and he was an absolute road grader in the run game. The Beavs opted to run the majority of plays right behind Andrews simply because he created huge lanes. Just ask Ryan Nall, who ran for four touchdowns in the Civil War behind Andrews.
The loss to Washington, although sad, is another perfect example of why Andrews was a great lineman for OSU. Beyond one botched snap to start the game, he didn’t make any mistakes or commit any penalties. In fact, Andrews was phenomenal in pass protection as he kept pressure out of Marcus McMaryion’s face. Washington’s hurries and lone sack all came from the edge defenders.
As a run blocker, Andrews constantly opened up lanes for Tim Cook and Paul Lucas, who were starting in place of Ryan Nall and Artavis Pierce. Cook had a productive day running against a good Washington defense with 108 yards on the ground and one touchdown. His fourth quarter touchdown scamper was a thing of beauty as Andrews just pushed Washington defenders aside and gave Cook room to race right up the middle for a late score.
Given his productive college film, it only makes sense that Andrews is playing in the Shrine Game. Plus, accepting the invitation is brilliant on his part. NFL teams are constantly in need of productive offensive linemen that can keep their quarterbacks upright and can help push the pile on short-yardage plays. The Minnesota Vikings know the value of a good lineman seeing how they have lost three offensive tackles for the year, their center for three games, and another guard for two games. These injuries along the line destroyed Minnesota’s ability to run the ball (last in the NFL with 73.4 yards-per-game) and protect Sam Bradford (29 sacks allowed). Andrews would be a perfect fit in Minneapolis as a blocker for Adrian Peterson, especially if he also provided extra pass protection.
Of course, Minnesota wouldn’t be the only potential suitor. Seattle, Arizona, Indianapolis, and Cleveland are all teams that desperately need offensive line help. The Colts have given up 40 sacks this season, and Cleveland has gone through five starting quarterbacks--plus a dual threat player in Terrell Pryor. The Browns’ line is a mess, and they have shown a propensity for utilizing former Oregon State players. Andrews could very well end up donning orange once again as Hue Jackson looks to protect whoever is starting behind center each week.
The 92nd East-West Shrine Game is the perfect opportunity for Gavin Andrews. He could turn a productive practice week and solid game performance into an eventual third or fourth round draft pick. Hopefully he takes full advantage and impresses the NFL coaching staffs.