3. Justin Blalock, G Texas 6-3,335 (5.3)
NFL Comparison - Derrick Dockery, Washington
Extremely versatile lineman who played tackle while in Austin, but looks much better playing inside in the NFL. Has impressive size and strength and plays with fire. Very celebrated, earning several national honors including AP First Team All-American. Would've been a first-day pick last year, but came back and has started 50 consecutive games. Isn't as fundamentally sound as you'd like. Plays with impressive power and explosion.
Run Blocking -
Size and power make him a formidable opponent. Plays with leverage, but relies too much on brute strength in some cases, which won't cut it in the NFL. Fundamentals will have to improve at the next level. Run blocks like it's personal and constantly moves the pile.
Pass Protection -
Again, needs to work on his fundamentals. Doesn't always use correct footwork in pass protection. Has decent athleticism for a man as big as he is and moves well laterally. Can play right tackle, where he played in college, but looks like a tremendous guard in the NFL. Needs plenty of coaching to reach potential.
Roster Impact for Seattle -
Would be a tremendous interior lineman for the Seahawks, but his ability to play on the outside gives him more versatility than most players at his position. Has the ability to start as a rookie and is the type of road-grading player that Seattle has lacked.
Draft Projection -
He's a bit of an enigma because scouts offer different opinions on him. No one can argue with his size, power or ability to play inside or out, but is he coachable or will he bust like some former Longhorn lineman have recently? Blalock's earning Round 2 grades on my board, but it wouldn't surprise me if he's taken anywhere from Round 1 to Round 3.
Final Analysis -
Blalock has the ability to dominate at the next level. He had a solid week at the Senior Bowl playing both guard and tackle and has the size and strength that teams put emphasis on. The lack of success that recent Texas offensive lineman have had (Mike Williams, Leonard Davis) do raise questions about how well he'll accept coaching in the NFL. Depending on who you talk to, Blalock could be taken anywhere from the first to the third round. However, a player with his ability and versatility are always in demand and he should have a fine career if he's coachable.
See our other previews by clicking on these links...
Auburn G Ben Grubbs
Boston Colleg G Josh Beekman
Tennessee G Arron Sears
As usual, any questions or comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for taking the time to write in.
.NET Draft 2007: Texas G Justin Blalock
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