Scout.com has confirmed that representatives from the Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos, New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers, who are sending their Director of College Scouting Dave McCloughan, will be in Boulder, Colorado this evening to witness an inner-state rivalry between Colorado State and Colorado.
Visiting Colorado State has only produced a handful of first round picks since the inception of the NFL Draft, and judging from this year’s grouping of Rams, there isn’t a first rounder among the assembled. But if you’re interested in mid-to-late round offensive linemen, who can add depth to a roster and potentially challenge for a starting role down the line, the senior talent will draw a crowd.
The Rams have the most experienced offensive line in the nation; a unit that has 125 career starts among them. The lineman with the most promise and the highest rated prospect on the team is guard Shelley Smith. At 6-foot-4, 300 pounds, Smith is an outstanding athlete who possesses quick feet and good technique. He does a nice job of sealing the interior, uses his hands well and doesn’t allow the opposition to get in on him. Entering his third year as a starter, Smith had a great junior campaign where he didn’t allow a sack and graded out over 90-percent in every contest. He was bothered by an ankle injury all year, but he didn’t allow it to disrupt his game and helped pave the way for Gartrell Johnson to amass over 1,000 yards.
In addition to Smith, the Rams have three more linemen that will receive attention from NFL scouts; center Tim Walter, guard Adrian Martinez and tackle Cole Pemberton. Of the three, Walter is the only one that appears in Scout.com’s NFL Draft Rankings; he’s rated as the 20th best center in the class.
The home team in this contest, Colorado, has only two senior prospects that are on the scouts radar, FB/TE Riar Geer and linebacker Jeff Smart. At 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, Geer is a versatile offensive weapon who possesses good blocking technique and has the ability to be an effective pass catcher. Last season, Geer caught 13 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns. At 6-foot, 225 pounds, Smart is an instinctive, undersized defender who gives an all out effort every time he’s on the field. The team’s leading tackler in ’08 finished with 118 tackles, two for a loss and a sack.But the player scouts will be most intrigued with and want to get a good look at is 6-foot-9, 305-pound Nate Solder. An athletic freak at the offensive tackle position, Solder is quick off the line, has excellent technique as a pass blocker and clears out the opposition with his long wingspan. He has to get stronger and improve his run blocking, but entering just his junior season, Solder could very well be a first round pick in 2010, if he declares and shows steady improvement.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. Steuber’s features are published across the Scout.com network and on FoxSports.com. If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.