AnalysisErving, like T.J. Clemmings, is a converted defensive lineman. The south Georgia standout was terrific in Tallahassee when he transitioned to tackle. In 2014 he made a virtually seamless transition to center. He’s the consummate team player who made the move because the Seminoles needed him there. Erving excelled and became the first ACC offensive linemen to ever win the Jacobs Blocking Trophy (most outstanding linemen) award twice at two different positions. Erving will give one NFL franchise unbelievable value because of his ability to play multiple positions on the offensive front.
Dave-Te' Thomas Player Evaluation
Cleveland head coach Mike Pettine loves to players that can bring versatility and play multiple positions. Look at his last draft in Cleveland. Offensive lineman Cameron Erving brings that kind of versatility. He’s a converted defensive lineman. The south Georgia standout was terrific in Tallahassee when he transitioned to offensive tackle. In 2014 he made a virtually seamless transition to center. He’s the consummate team player who made the move because the Seminoles needed him there. Erving excelled and became the first ACC offensive linemen to ever win the Jacobs Blocking Trophy (most outstanding linemen) award twice at two different positions. Erving will give the Browns unbelievable value because of his ability to play multiple positions on the offensive front. He can line up everywhere.
It does not matter where you play Cameron Erving, just as long as you have him as one of your eleven guys on the field. While others in this draft class have garnered more attention, if Erving is not the “Perfect Patriot” on draft day, somebody either took a wide receiver for New England or locked Bill Belichick in a closet on draft day.
The back-to-back winner of the Atlantic Coast Conference Jacobs Blocking Trophy, he is just the fourth FSU player to win the award multiple times. The left tackle at the start of the 2014 campaign, he made the first start of his career at center vs. Miami, helping FSU put up 419 yards of offense and was named ACC Player of the Week for his performance vs. Louisville. He recorded 88 knockdowns and 18 touchdown-resulting blocks, as a senior after producing 80 knockdowns during his junior campaign.
Those are impressive numbers for a player who was actually recruited as a defensive tackle before growing into the league’s top blocker. As a junior, no opponent recorded a sack vs. Erving, twice shutting down Clemson pass rusher Vic Beasley (no tackles or sacks combined for both the 2012-13 contests). However, his move to center might have been a draft stock saving move.
Like most of the FSU front wall, there were flashes of the success they had in the trenches in 2013, but on the whole, the Seminoles offensive line was the most underachieving unit on the team until the staff used Austin Barron’s injury to shuffle the squad. Erving had huge problems vs. speed rushers, with Vic Beasley exacting revenge with two sacks vs. the left tackle in 2014.
All in all, Erving gave up five sacks and five other tackles behind the line of scrimmage until the move to the pivot. As soon as he took over at center, he excelled, improving his 84% grade as an offensive tackle through nine games to walk away with an 87.36% grade by the end of his senior season, thanks to four solid performances in his last five games.
As a pass protector, Erving might have good timed speed, but seemed to struggle with speed moves. He generally plays with a wide base, but as a tackle, there were times when he did not get into sets quick enough to stave off the edge rushers (see Clemson, Wake Forest and Louisville games). He has that strong initial hand punch that is more suited as a center, where he won’t have issues with speed moves from nose guards, rather using his hands to combat rather than making reach blocks.
You can see that Erving appeared lighter on his feet working in closed areas as a center. He did not flash the ability to recover when caught out of position on double moves, but with his strong lower frame, he did not have any problems stalling any powerful initial bull rush, as he showed better ability to sink hips and regain leverage working in-line than out on an island. He is not as adept with the shot-gun snap and will need better accuracy firing the pigskin back when the quarterback is aligned in this formation.
His quick and accurate hand placement and impressive strength as a center generated good success when handling the bull rush, as he appears big and strong enough to handle the nose guard one-on-one. He has good lateral agility and balance to handle quicker defensive tackles, as he keeps his head on a swivel and looks to help his team-mates working in the pivot.
On running plays, Erving has that quick first step needed to gain proper hand placement and initial position. He is generally balanced and did a much better job keeping his feet underneath him working in the middle than at left tackle. He plays with leverage and possesses a strong in-line power base to get adequate movement. However, if he gets upright in his stance, he can be stoned and occasionally overpowered by bigger and more massive interior linemen.
Erving will need time to learn center technique, but he displays enough lateral agility to hook the 3-technique or cut off shade from the backside. He works to sustain blocks, but needs to do a better job of finishing when lined up at left tackle. He can get down the line quickly when asked to pull and shows some open-field capabilities. Still, he needs to do a better job of adjusting on the move to cover up targets. As an interior blocker, he demonstrated the ability to makes a smooth transition when climbing to the second level to cover up linebackers.
Erving’s overall instincts are solid enough to grow into his role as an NFL center. He shows good patience in pass sets when operating inside and keeps his head on a swivel to recognize pressures or defensive line movement. At center, he stayed disciplined vs. defensive line twists and did a nice job of handing off rushers. He is quickly to identify and locate linebackers when coming up and through the line of scrimmage on short pulls.
Erving keeps his eyes up when working combo blocks and comes off in a timely manner to cover up defenders at the second level. He possesses good overall playing strength (30 reps in the 225-pound bench press at the Scouting Combine) and plays with an aggressive attitude, along with working to the whistle. He can flash a nasty side and is not afraid to mix it up. As an offensive tackle, he will finish on occasion, but you would like to see more consistency in this area.
The senior was not asked to pull from the center position in this offense, but was asked to do this some as an offensive tackle. He was quick enough out of his stance and has the straight-line speed and balance to get out in front of the back. The thing you see, whether at center or tackle, is that he has good recognition to find his target and has the body control to adjust to the smaller opponent. At center, he can be a punishing trap blocker, as he has good quickness and explodes into his opponent to knock him out of the play.
Cameron Erving NFL Scouting Combine measurables
6-5/313 (5.15 forty)
34 1/8-inch arm length
10 3/8-inch hands
30.5-inch vertical jump
112-inch broad jump
7.48 3 cone drill
4.63 20 yard shuttle
Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.
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