Phil Loadholt played only two seasons with Oklahoma due to the fact that he was a junior college transfer. He started 26 of those games at left tackle, though, so he certainly has the skills to succeed against the high level of competition in the Big 12.
He turned heads at the Senior Bowl with his measurables and his ability against some of the best players in the nation, which is where Scout.com's Senior NFL Analyst Ed Thompson first took notice of him.
Loadholt at the Senior Bowl
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Thompson also told ColtPower.com that Loadholt met with the Colts at the Combine and Indianapolis was there to watch him improve upon his numbers at his Pro Day on March 10, according to Scout.com NFL Draft Analyst Chris Steuber.
He only bumped his 40 time up by .04 seconds from 5.49 to 5.45, but he ran the short shuttle in 4.77 seconds versus 5.06 at the Combine and put up 26 reps on the bench press against 23 in Indianapolis.
Loadholt is currently ranked as the seventh-best offensive tackle and the 49th-best player overall, so it will be difficult for him to improve upon those numbers based solely on the improvement in his workout numbers. The biggest improvement was in his short shuttle time, as it shows impressive lateral movement and acceleration for a big man like Loadholt to be .78 seconds faster in the drill than in the straight line 40.
He has the size at almost 6-feet-8 and weighing in at 332 pounds to play offensive tackle at the NFL level, but may lack the footwork and technique to play left tackle at the next level. Since he played two seasons at the junior college level, he is still not a fully developed prospect and, at 23, could be getting a little long in the tooth to learn new tricks quickly, since he'll be asked asked to step directly into the lineup, given his likely draft position.
However, according to Steuber, "He's a strong run-blocker who drives the opposition off the line and finishes his blocks until the whistle blows."
That gives him the size and disposition to project as an exceptional right tackle in the league; someone that a team can plug in at the position and forget about for the next ten years. It is at right tackle where Loadholt projects to have the most value at the next level.
Another right tackle with similar measurements, Gosder Cherilus, saw his stock rise from March to April, as he was originally projected as a second round pick early on, but ended up being taken by the Detroit Lions at 17th overall in 2008.
Loadholt could see a similar rise and it could be that Indianapolis would need to take him at 27th overall — provided he lasts that long — in order to secure his services.
With needs at other positions that are more pressing, Ryan Diem cemented as the starter, and Charlie Johnson possibly waiting in the wings, Loadholt would be a frivolous choice for the pick in the first round.
However, since Loadholt was arrested on suspicion of a DUI in July 2008, that may be enough of a character concern for some teams to pass on him, which may lead to him falling to Indianapolis towards the end of the second round — which is a long shot. If he does fall to that point, then it would be foolish for the Colts to pass up on such a prospect at that point.
Unless, of course, the experience with Ed Johnson has scared Bill Polian's staff away from any players with any red flags in terms of character. In which case, they would pass even in the second round.
That could be a mistake, since Diem can't play forever — especially with a significant cap number through 2011 — and Johnson is a less suitable replacement than Loadholt would be.
Listen to audio from Loadholt on his Pro Day by clicking the link below:
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