The Patriots have been prepping for the 2015 NFL Draft for some time now, but with weaknesses and strengths pretty much known on a championship roster, New England can address their needs intelligently and still be able to find some solid value/talent picks in the later rounds. The interior of the offensive line is area 1-A that needs to be addressed, pass rush being 1-B. Today we introduce you to Florida State offensive lineman Cameron Erving, who played tackle and center (in 2014) for the team that won 27 straight games over two seasons.
Cameron Erving wasn't always a strong offensive line prospect, mainly because he was a defensive tackle, and a good one too. When Erving was being recruited, he wasn't as sought out as most of the three, four, or five star players. We here at Scout.com had him ranked as a two-star athlete, but that can be tough to gauge with 18 year old kids. Truthfully, anything below four stars is very hard to judge so there tends to be a lot of very good players that aren't considered top tier.
Erving was actually very effective in 2011 (after a red-shirt year in 2010) and played in all 13 games as a rotational defensive tackle. He finished the season with 20 tackles (11 solo), 2.5 tackles for a loss and a sack. Heading into the 2012 season, the Seminoles had some depth issues on the offensive line and they thought Erving was athletic enough to move to offensive tackle; they were right. It wasn't a perfect start for Erving, but as the year went on, he improved rapidly, especially the last six games. When the Seminoles lit up the Boston College Eagles for 448 yards and four touchdowns, Erving had his best game and then followed it up with a monster game vs. Duke.
Following the transition year of 2012, Erving was ready to take his game to another level, as was the entire Seminoles roster, and the offensive line led the way. Erving not only helped lead the offense to establish records (7,267 total yards, 51.6 points per game, 7.67 yards per play, 723 total points scored, 42 passing touchdowns, 42 rushing touchdowns) he also collected a boatload of personal accolades. Erving won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy, All-ACC 1st Team, Sporting News, USA Today and Sports Illustrated 1st Team All America, and he also was honored by the AP and Walter Camp as a 2nd Team All American. The two games that stand out are Clemson and Pitt; Erving shut down pass rushing specialist Vic Beasley vs. Clemson and also held NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Aaron Donald to two tackles vs. Pitt.
Erving could have declared for the 2014 draft and would have been picked in the top three rounds, but he decided to stay for his senior season and improve his technique to help him in the pros. Let's not forget that he was a defensive tackle just four years ago, so he is still learning some of the intricacies of being an offensive lineman. Proving that he is the consummate team player, Erving volunteered to learn the center position during spring practice and it ended up helping the Seminoles during the regular season.
Many scouts see him as a prototypical center and a reach to play tackle, but he could be very valuable as a guard/center, something the Patriots covet in their interior offensive lineman. Erving is currently projected to go in the late first/early second round, right in the Patriots wheelhouse at #32. Cameron Erving is a name New England fans should learn because he may be on the roster in 2015.
Statistics Provided by www.seminoles.com