Draftnik's Corner - OT Draft Update #1

Kwame Harris (Stanford) was officially measured at the Combine at 6'7", 310lb's and he too reportedly stood out in the position drills, showing excellent athleticism for a man of his size.

With starting ORT Mike Rosenthal's return deemed unlikely due to his contract demands, the Giants can either hope that ‘Mouse' McNally coaches up the players on the roster to fill the gap or draft someone who can do so. There appears to be a few draftees that fit the Giants usual height/athletic requirements who won't require the investment of a 1st round pick…

Jordan Gross (Utah) measured in at the Combine at 6'4.5" and 300lb's which is a little smaller than most teams would like for the OLT spot but reportedly put in an outstanding performance in the position drills and did the full workout – a rarity amongst very highly rated players – and has seen his stock soar to a level where he is widely considered as a top 5 pick. I have yet to see him play (I've lent out the Michigan tape to a fellow draftnik whose team does need an OLT) but as there's no chance he'll be there when the Giants pick, it's not of great consequence.

Kwame Harris (Stanford) was officially measured at the Combine at 6'7", 310lb's and he too reportedly stood out in the position drills, showing excellent athleticism for a man of his size. He is still very young and inexperienced The only real knock on him apart from his youth (just 21 years old) and lack of experience (only really played for 2 years) is that he needs to upgrade his strength as he only managed 21 reps on the bench press at his recent individual workout. With OLT prospects always at a premium price in the draft, I can see someone moving for him in the top 15 picks though I'd definitely be happier drafting him if he were able to serve an apprenticeship at ORT first.

Brett Williams (Florida State) solidified his standing as one of the better OT prospects at the Combine too though he didn't test out as a great athlete. I must say I'd love to have him at RT to bookend with Petitgout but I definitely see him going off the board in the top 40 – some teams may even like him as an OLT which would drive his value that high – and I don't think we would trade up for an OT even if the Giants aren't sure they have someone on the roster who can take Rosey's place.

Though I've seen a few more Bulldawg games now George Foster (Georgia) didn't start in any of them due to the right wrist injury suffered in a car crash. However, he saw plenty of action on both sides of the line and impressed me greatly with his ability to cave in his side of the line to open up big running lanes. Pass protection was pretty solid but he didn't go up against the best of competition and when he did have a problem it seemed to be because he didn't have the use of his right hand to drive them wide. He's still a bit inconsistent in finishing his blocks, at times knocking them over then showing the mean streak to unmercifully batter them but he also failed to sustain at times, especially once he was more than a few yards up the field.

At the Combine, he didn't run for the stopwatch but jumped fairly well (to prove his power coming off the ball). At his recent pro day, he had lost a few pounds since the Combine – was down to 331lb's – and fairly rocketed down the track in just over 5 seconds over 40 yards then improved his jump scores. There was still no recorded bench press score though so his hand may not yet be back to 100% and only the NFL teams can tell us the true story with regard to that. Presuming he's healthy, I can see him being the 3rd OT drafted but he may slip a little on the day as injured players tend to do. It would be very interesting if he were available when the Giants come to pick second time around as he may rate too highly to pass over…

Wayne Hunter (Hawaii) has proven to be somewhat of a workout warrior at both the Combine and the recent Hawaii Pro Day and has elevated his standing to the point where no less than NFL.com's Gil Brandt suggested ‘we could see Hunter in the 1st round'. I don't see it – he has just one years starting experience and has to learn the 3 point stance and run blocking virtually from scratch – but having proven to have all the athletic tools to work with, a team like Miami (with no 1st round pick and no cap room) could very well be tempted in the mid-late 2nd round. Indeed, he actually fits what the Giants look for at OT in terms of height/size and athletic ability!

Jon Stinchcomb (Georgia) looked a little better during his senior year than I remembered him as a junior but he still shows an alarming tendency to get his QB killed even against average prospects! In pass protection, his big problem is that against a speed rush he has a tendency to duck his head, lunge and miss and occasionally he gets beat clean around the outside having got off the ball a step late. Inconsistent in the running game too, he shows the mobility to get out on LB's and push them around but doesn't always manage to wall off plays ran to his side, allowing too much penetration and he ends up creating a barrier for his RB's rather than open holes for them.

Currently, he is enjoying a meteoric rise up the draft ratings having added some 15lb's between the Senior Bowl and the Combine and has continued to work hard in the off-season whilst increasing his strength and retaining his athleticism and speed. What worries me greatly is that the Giants MO when drafting OT's is to choose players over 6'5", around the 300lb mark noted for their athleticism, who work hard to improve their physique in the off-season and he fits the bill quite well solely from that viewpoint. Having positioned himself to be taken somewhere on the first day – most sites see him as a 2nd round pick though I wouldn't rate him nearly that highly – I will be nervously chewing my nails until he is off the board as I still think he's hugely overrated.

Tony Pashos (Illinois) put on a great show of strength at the Combine – notched a staggering 38 reps on the bench press, the most of any top prospect regardless of position – but did not participate in the running & jumping sections in Indianapolis, waiting instead for Pro Day. It wasn't worth the wait – he didn't prove to be particularly fast or nimble in the runs and he jumped poorly, likely leaving scouts wondering whether he has the necessary quickness/athleticism to match up effectively with the speed rushers at the next level (bearing in mind he also had some trouble with the better ones in college at times). One thing that worries me is that he has continued to get bigger in the off-season – was 342lb's at the recent Pro Day – when he needed to prove his athleticism. I don't believe he fits in with what the Giants like their linemen to be able to do and though a great run blocker I think they'll grade him down because he's a ‘pure' RT prospect with marginal athletic ability. He's certainly a first day pick but I can now definitely see him lasting into the 3rd round.

Giants scouts were in attendance when Ben Johnson (Wisconsin) worked out at the recent Badgers Pro Day but I don't think he has improved his draft status with his performance there or at the Combine – where he didn't run due to hamstring trouble – and still rate him no higher than a 4th round pick. Unless the better prospects at the position have been taken off the board by the end of the 3rd round – and we have a compensatory pick there – I wouldn't want to draft him and even then I'm sure there will be better players available at other positions of need.

I got to see Will Ofenheusle (Tennessee) go one-on-one in pass protection with Alabama's solid DE prospect Kindal Moorehead but while he seemed like he had improved some in pass protection, he didn't show great balance or range when blocking for the run – was asked to get up the field onto the LB's or block down on the LDT – and frequently went to ground having lost his balance and fallen off of blocks. He also didn't prove to be particularly nimble or athletic in his movements at the Combine and I don't think he'd be a good fit for the Giants accordingly though he will likely be drafted at some point, probably the 5th/6th round area.

Jeremy Bridges (Southern Mississippi) looked fairly light on his feet when I saw him recently against Oklahoma State and showed great hustle to get to the sidelines to make blocks out in front of the play on screens but didn't appear to have the size to play OT in the pro's and has plenty of work to do before he can challenge for a starting spot. He's not a particularly good run blocker – he had a lot of problems sustaining blocks – and he was also beaten for a sack and a few QB hits by some of the smallish Cowboys DE's and he doesn't seem to use his hands that well. To me he's a very late round pick and not one I see appealing to the Giants.

While Jordan Black (Notre Dame) proved to be a lot stronger and more athletic at the Combine than he appears in games, the consensus of opinion from the East-West Shrine Bowl was that he ‘screwed the pooch' in pass protection against a quality speed rusher (FSU's Alonzo Jackson) and a draftnik pal tells me the same player ate him for breakfast when the two Universities met earlier in the season. Some teams may be willing to overlook his showing in the East-West game after he had a decent week of practice that but I would be very nervous about drafting him and hope he's not made a future Giant even if he is available in the late rounds as expected.

Todd Williams (Florida State) did unexpectedly well at the Combine, shockingly proving a better athlete than his highly-rated team-mate Brett Williams (though no-one suggest that he is anything like as good a player). He showed surprising speed (5.07 over 40 yards) for a man weighing in at 340lb's and after reading a report from Ourlad's Guides that he played quite well at ORT in the East-West practices, he is worth another look playing for his college. I've asked a pal to lend me the Bowl game against Georgia and if he can block players with the speed the Bulldawgs have on their front seven, I'll be happy to re-evaluate my earlier opinion of him and re-assess his draft rating. Who knows, maybe he lost weight as the year went on because he certainly looked a lot fatter than his 330lb OG colleague Montrae Holland when I saw him early season against Louisville

Tim Provost (San Jose State) comes from a lower level of competition but Ourlad's Guides reported he improved his stock at the East-West practices, having a solid week against some quality opponents from his ORT spot and their pen portrait of his play leads me to believe he'd fit the Giants system. At 6'5" and 301lb's, he also has the height/size that the team looks for at OT and though he didn't stand out at the Combine, Boomers Draft.com reported recently that he improved greatly on his runs there, clocking in the low 5 second range. I'll take a good long look at him when I get around to watching the tape of that game as I won't see him playing anywhere else unless he makes it to the NFL.

Marques Ogden (Howard) wasn't invited to the Combine but is notable purely because he's the younger brother of probably the NFL's best Tackle, the huge and dominating Jonathon. Little brother Marques (he's 6'5" and 300lb's) has experience at a number of positions, logging most of his time this year at OC I believe. I'm not likely to see him until he gets to the NFL and I'm not sure where he rates overall but his recent Pro Day workout highlighted that he is a pretty good athlete he's a prospect whose versatility, athletic ability and bloodlines may attract the Giants. I have no idea where he rates overall so will give a consensus view nearer the draft.

Wade Smith (Memphis) had a good showing at the Combine too and may merit some consideration. A bit short than the Giants usually like at OT (he's 6'4" and 296lb's), he has the athleticism required to play inside as a pulling Guard in the pro's and that may also appeal to the Giants. Again, I have no idea where he rates overall so will give a consensus view nearer the draft.

Seth Wand (NW Missouri) is another smaller school prospect with the height/size and athleticism that would appeal to the Giants. Standing at 6'7" and 321lb's and with experience at OLT (though he may project better to ORT in the NFL), Ourlad's Guides pen portraits of his play at the Senior bowl suggest that he may have some potential and he showed enough athletic ability at the Combine to suggest he could be a decent late round project. I'll take a look for myself and let you know.

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