There are some offensive tackles that you look at and say "that guy looks like a Patriots lineman", and John Theus, offensive tackle from Georgia fits that mold perfectly. Theus is listed at 6'6, 313 pounds and he can play right and left tackle, a trait that will make him even more attractive to Belichick, Scarnecchia, and the Patriots.
Considering that Theus played in the SEC for four years, he has played against some of the best pass rushers in the country, and he's more than held his own. Theus had a rough week at the Senior Bowl, getting consistently beat by speed rushers and also straight bull-rushed because he wasn't getting his pad level low enough, a problem seen in many taller tackles like Theus. Theus also appears to be a better run blocker than pass blocker, so lining up at right tackle makes more sense because traditionally that is how it's done.
When you read scouting reports about Theus, it is laughable to see things like "lack of athleticism", because he's an offensive tackle, and most tackles aren't the best athletes you'll ever meet. Theus proved himself as a four-year starter (started 48 of 53 games) for an offense that scored a lot of points in the toughest conference in the country. Yes, there are going to be times when Theus looks like a turnstile and gives up a sack or a run for a loss, but every tackle in the NFL has that happen to them, especially nowadays with real athletes like Von Miller playing defensive end.
One real positive that scouts like to see is that he doesn't bend at the waist, he bends at the knees. Waist benders get worked over in the NFL and tend to have short careers, while knee benders with good technique and work ethic tend to last a long time. Theus may not be a blue chip first round pick, but someone is going to get a very good player with a lot of room for growth, and it will most likely occur between the end of the second to the fifth round. If Theus doesn't attend the Senior Bowl, he is probably a second round pick just based on the tape, combine, and pro day, but he took the chance and exposed some of his limitations.
We got a little cocky covering the Patriots when it came to offensive line play; with Dante, you just knew they would develop well. Over the last two seasons, fans and media alike kept saying that "they'd figure it out", but they never did in '15 like they did in '14. Under Dave DeGuglielmo, the line just wasn't the same and the rookies didn't develop like they had under Dante. Now with Scarnecchia back where he belongs, I have the confidence to say that if the Patriots draft John Theus, he will be coached so thoroughly that his few bad habits will be fixed, and the Patriots will also develop him physically, because he still could add some strength.
If New England does draft the tall tackle from Georgia, they'll most likely take him with their compensatory pick in the third round or their fourth round selection. With the holes New England has on the roster, adding a tackle in the second round doesn't make sense, but drafting one late in the third or early in the fourth does.
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