Tough-As-Nails Team: The offensive line

Dave-Te' Thomas of NFL Scouting singles out the toughest of a tough group of men, the offensive linemen. Whether it's their style of play or their ability to play through pain, these are the five guys from the 2011 draft class that form his tough-guy offensive line.

Every year, there are players who might not get the recognition that they deserve, but end up becoming fan favorites for their ability to handle the "grunt" work, go out and play the game like a pack of "junk yard" dogs. In order to make my Tough As Nails Team, I want players that perform, no questions asked.

Today, it's the offensive linemen being promoted as Tough As Nails.

OFFENSIVE CENTER
Jason Kelce, University of Cincinnati Bearcats, #60, 6:02.5-282

One look at Kelce's size and he does not exactly fit the mold of big, bruising men in the pivot that will regularly face massive nose guards. Just don't judge a book by its cover, for despite his lack of great size, there is no question that Kelce is one of the most gifted athletes in the draft at his position – and tough, to boot. Just how tough?

At the 2011 NFL Combine in late February, Kelce dazzled professional scouts and coaches with what many regarded as the best performance of any offensive lineman in attendance. He was one of just two linemen to run under 5.0 in the 40-yard dash (4.89), as he recorded the best dash times (1.70 10-yard; 2.83 20-yard), top broad jump (9-2), 20-yard shuttle (4.14) and three-cone drills (7.22) of any center at the event.

What made that performance even more impressive was the fact that he ran the drills with what doctors first thought was a bad case of the flu. Upon arriving back home, it was discovered that Kelce performed in the agility tests with a burst appendix, undergoing surgery on March 9.

One of the most explosive offensive linemen in the collegiate ranks, Kelce's initial quickness and hand placement skills, along with his impressive strength and leg drive, helped him compensate for a lack of ideal size for an interior offensive lineman. The three-year starter joined the program as a walk-on, but his tireless work ethic earned him a starting job at left offensive guard for two seasons before returning to his more natural position at center for his final campaign.

Kelce added All-American honorable mention and All-Big East Conference first-team honors after shifting to center as a senior. The passing game suffered slightly due to inexperience and injuries at the quarterback position, but the center helped open holes for a running attack that averaged 156.67 yards per game while the team again led the Big East in total offense (417.33 ypg).

Kelce started his final 38 games at Cincinnati during a 47-game career – 26 at left offensive guard and 12 at center. He recorded 259 knockdown blocks and 38 touchdown-resulting blocks as a starter, adding five tackles (four solos) after Cincinnati turnovers.

Compares To: OLIN KREUTZ-Chicago. Kelce might lack great size, but he shows very good explosion off the snap and does a very nice job of locking on and jerking down defenders coming out of his rise. Kelce does a good job of extending and anchoring vs. the inside pass rusher. His anchor is strong and firm vs. the bigger opponents, and he has enough punch and slide to stay with his man shooting the gaps. He shows good hip sink to prevent the taller defenders from pushing him back, but could use more strength in his anchor.

When he plays in control and does not try to lunge, he is perfectly capable of sustaining and riding out the rusher. He showed in 2010 improvement in attempts to keep his weight back, stay square and slide and adjust. He can anchor vs. the bull rush and shows great alertness to tricks. The thing you notice on film is that when he keeps his hands inside his frame, he can slide and mirror defenders, using his hand placement to defeat swim moves. He showed a very good base set to pop and drop, quick hand usage upon initial contact and tenacity in his play as a senior. He plays flat-footed with good knee bend to deliver the full force behind his hand jolt, even if it does not always shock the bigger defenders.

Teams Showing the Most Interest: Atlanta, Jacksonville, Miami, New England and New York Giants. Both Atlanta and Jacksonville like quick, aggressive zone blockers from their pivot performers. The Falcons' Todd McClure is still one of the most underrated blockers in the game, but he will be 35 next year and has been in the league 13 seasons.

Jacksonville's Brad Meester has had injury issues, along with seeing his performance drop off noticeably the last three years. It seems that ever since Tim Ruddy retired that Miami has been on an endless search for a center. Signing Jake Grove last year proofed foolhardy, as he was cut before the season got under way.

New England's Dan Koppen has been in the pivot for nine years, but the Pats, with a slew of draft choices, are looking to upgrade depth for the interior line and Kelce's ability to play guard could fill the void created by Steve Neal's sudden retirement. The Giants are greatly concerned that Shaun O'Hara will never return to the player he was after several surgeries to repair leg woes and fill-in, Rich Seubert is needed more at left guard. If he's forced to shift to center in 2011, the team could opt for a left tackle and slide David Diehl over to guard.

OFFENSIVE TACKLES
Orlando Franklin, University of Miami Hurricanes, #74, 6:05.4-316

It is fitting that he plays like a true warrior in the trenches, as tribal tattoos snake up and down his massive right arm. Last season, Franklin was the man most responsible for protecting UM quarterbacks, as no defensive lineman managed to record a sack vs. the Hurricanes blocker.

"Orlando is more ugly than he is mean,'' joked Detroit Lions rookie tackle Jason Fox, UM's left tackle in 2009. "He smiles off the field, but when he's on the field, he's all business - like he should be.''

During his junior season, the Hurricanes amassed 5,199 yards in total offense, which rank fourth-highest in school history. With Franklin taking over left tackle duties in 2010, Miami generated 5,477 yards, the second-best season total in UM annals. He produced 122 knockdowns combined, as a junior and senior, coming up with 29 touchdown-resulting blocks during that span.

Compares To: JEFF OTAH-Carolina. Whether he is placed at left tackle or moved back to his original position of left guard, a team will have a classic mauler in their trenches. Franklin is best when driving forward to knock defenders off the ball for the ground game. When he uses his hands properly to engage, he has good success in attempts to maintain inside leverage. He uses his size well to lean into and push defenders out of the way and if staying in the short area, he has enough power to widen the rush lane. He is not the type that can get out and cut at the second level, but once he gets a piece of his man in closed quarters, the battle is soon over.

Franklin is a raw talent with the frame to simply engulf the smaller defenders, especially when he keeps his hands inside the frame. He shows great competitiveness on the field to finish off blocks, playing with good nastiness, as added experience has allowed him to come off the snap with better aggressiveness than he showed as a junior. He uses his lower body power and size to move defenders off the snap and shows the quick feet in his in his kick slide, along with proper hand usage and the long arms well hold off defensive ends on the edge.

Some teams feel that he lacks the ideal foot speed to play on an island at left tackle, but with his ability to quickly recoil and reset his hands after initially locking on to the opponent could see him earn a starting job quicker at right tackle at the next level. The thing you see on game films is that he is an explosive hip roller, as he shows good body control to generate movement and is best when driving forward to knock defenders off the ball for the ground game.

Teams Showing the Most Interest: Indianapolis, Chicago, Green Bay, Detroit and Buffalo. Everyone from their franchise quarterback to the water boy will tell you that the Colts greatly miss Tarik Glenn, their perennial All-Pro left tackle that retired several years ago. Tony Ugoh proved to be a bust and left offensive tackle is a prime need for the Colts. If they opt to bypass one in the first round, Franklin could get the call in round two, allowing Charles Johnson to shift to his more natural right tackle spot. Chicago is in the same situation as Indianapolis, as failed performances by Orlando Pace and Chris Williams leave them again searching for a left tackle. Green Bay might be best served to continue revamping the offensive line and Franklin will be a perfect fit, whether at guard or tackle. Detroit needs to replace aging Jeff Backes and Demetrius Bell might show promise, but Buffalo can't afford him spending any more time in the trainer's room rather than the football field.

Tyron Smith, University of Southern California Trojans, #70, 6:05.0-307
The first thing a scout is taught when evaluating potential draft prospect is the "look test". Does the player measure up? Is he tall enough? How is his frame? Is he carrying too much weight? Does he need more weight? Does he look good in his pads? Can he play a lick of football? All of these aspects form that first evaluation.

There's a phrase out there that coaches use all the time to describe those that pass the look test, but fail where it counts, on the field: "Looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane." From all appearances when watching film on Tyron Smith, it doesn't take long before scouts can comfortably say that the Trojans offensive lineman can be a "big time" football player.

Even though some scouts might have been concerned when they first saw Smith at 265 pounds last summer, his well-built frame showed the ability to fill out to NFL-caliber proportions. By the time he arrived at the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine, the USC right tackle measured in at an impressive 307 pounds. December knee surgery prevented him from competing in the agility tests, though.

But when Smith lifted 225 pounds 29 times in the weight room, showed off his 36 3/8-inch arm length, 10-inch hands and 83 7/8-inch wingspan, NFL teams were certain to book their flights early and make hotel reservations to attend the Trojans' late March Pro Day. In recent rehab workouts, the offensive tackle appears to be very fluid moving around with his new 300-plus pound frame, eliminating fears that the added bulk would negate his impressive initial quickness.

Smith appeared in 34 games at Southern California, starting the final 24 contests that he appeared in at right offensive tackle. He registered 172 knockdowns, fifteen down field blocks and 23 touchdown-resulting blocks in his two seasons as a starter. He was the recipient of the Pac 10 Conference's Morris Trophy, given to the league's top offensive lineman, becoming the 11th Trojan blocker to receive that honor and 15h overall player (also awarded to a defensive lineman).

Compares To: Walter Jones-ex Seattle. Smith is not the wide body that Jones was, but both have outstanding athleticism. While it is rare for a top-level player to also be placed on this team, it was a no brainer. After all, Smith is the best mauler in the collegiate game, hands down.

Smith has outstanding quickness and footwork in his kick slide. He shows the agility and balance to make plays into the second level and shows good lower-body flexibility in attempts to change direction. He has excellent open-field acceleration, moving well and adjusting easily while taking angles to neutralize the linebackers. He is an above-average knee bender who can recover on the rare occasions that he waist bends.

Not only does Smith demonstrate above average quickness, but he positions himself well and gets his hands up quickly on the rise, generating strength with quickness to impact, pop and surge with sudden force. He also displays very good hip and leg explosion, as well as a strong jolt with his hand punch. He plays with good aggression and has the flexibility and power to gain leverage, especially when attempting to create a crease for the ground game.

Teams Showing the Most Interest: Dallas, Kansas City, Baltimore and Cincinnati. It's not like other teams are shying away from Smith, it's just that Dallas has made it known that he is their primary candidate to fill the void created when they dumped Flozell Adams prior to last season. Kansas City would love to snatch up the left tackle, as it would let them shift Branden Albert to left guard or right tackle after two less than inspiring seasons from their present left tackle. Baltimore can do likewise with Michael Oher, who played with a strong base at left tackle last year for the Ravens, but after eight holding penalties, he may be better on the right side, where he won't be left on an island vs. the edge rushers so often.

OFFENSIVE GUARD
John Moffitt, University of Wisconsin Badgers, #74, 6:04.2-319

Gabe Carimi needs to give half of his Outland Trophy to his left-side running mate. Without "Moff" doing the dirty work, Carimi might be exposed for the overrated talent quite a few teams deem him to be.

Having started all but three games during his tenure at Wisconsin, Badgers faithful came to embrace "Moff" as the linchpin to their postseason aspirations. As a freshman, the versatile lineman patiently waited for his opportunity to show his "wares." During the team's first seven games of the 2007 schedule, the Badgers ground attack struggles to establish its presence. The "meat and potatoes" of their offensive game plan was establishing a strong inside running game.

Further evidence of Moffitt's value to the team came in the early stages of the 2009 season. The lineman suffered a pectoral muscle strain in August camp that would force him to miss the first two games of the schedule and see just a handful of snaps upon his return in the third contest. With Moff out of the lineup, UW averaged 170.0 yards per game rushing. With Moffitt returning to the lineup for the final ten games, the Badgers would average 210.0 yards and 2.45 touchdowns per game on the ground.

Moffitt sat out part of the 2010 spring camp while recovering from his hernia surgery. He returned to left guard for the 2010 campaign, producing perhaps his finest season of an already impressive collegiate career. The All-American first-team choice recorded thirteen touchdown-resulting blocks. The Lombardi Award candidate was also credited with 66 knockdowns while leading a blocking effort that saw Badgers quarterbacks get sacked just fourteen times.

Moffitt started 42 of 45 games at Wisconsin, lining up with the first unit at left guard for 22 contests and fifteen others at center. In 42 starting assignments, he was credited with 280 knockdowns/key blocks that included 46 touchdown-resulting blocks and fifteen blocks down field, grading 85.56% for blocking consistency. As an offensive guard, he delivered 174 knockdowns and 28 touchdown-resulting blocks, posting 106 more key blocks, including 18 touchdown-resulting shots at center. On 2,915 offensive snaps, the lineman allowed just two quarterback pressures and 3.5 sacks, as he was penalized only twice during his time with the Badgers.

Compares To: Jeff Hartings-ex-Pittsburgh. As an interior lineman, Moffitt's ability to work in unison with other blockers on double teams has been critical. I really like him better as a center, as he has that forward burst and lower pad level to easily defeat a defender lined up over his head. He is also effective on traps and pulls working the short areas as a guard. He plays with a strong base and has the loose hips and upper body strength to win most one-on-one battles in the trenches. Like Hartings and Jacksonville's Brad Meester, his versatility should be a valuable commodity and speed up the process for him to earn considerable playing time at the next level.

Moffitt is blessed with good balance, body control, intelligence and leg drive. He is the type that puts forth the extra hours in the weight room to increase his upper body strength and in the film room preparing for opponents. He can play any interior position on the offensive line, but with his lateral range and hand quickness, he has the potential to be a quality center at the next level.

Teams Showing the Most Interest: New England, Philadelphia, Miami, Pittsburgh and Arizona. The Pats lost Steve Neal to retirement and might have a repeat of the long holdout staged by Logan Mankins last year. With New England also looking to upgrade depth at center, Moffitt could fill both needs. Philadelphia also had interior line issues, especially at right guard, where Max Jean-Gilles and Nick Cole failed to impress. The Dolphins want a better center than Joe Berger and "Moff" can slide there with no issues, evident of his performance in the pivot in 2009, but a better fit in Miami would be to put him at left guard and shift Richie Incognito into the pivot. Pittsburgh wants tough, aggressive blockers on the front wall and even though they have more pressing needs at tackle, a guard in the mid rounds to add depth is needed. Arizona has come to realize what the Jets did prior to 2010 - Alan Faneca is no longer able to play even at a journeyman's level.

Danny Watkins, Baylor University Bears, #59, 6:03.3-310
Remember the credo for being a member of this team? True grit and being a fighter are some of those requirements. Then, it only seems natural that a firefighter is included on this team. Watkins served as a part-time firefighter back home in Kelowna, British Columbia and playing football never entered his mind, that is, not until 2007. Butte College has been a haven for some players from north of the border and one that didn't quite know the importance of the position he was playing was their new offensive tackle, Danny Watkins, who had originally enrolled at the school to attend their firefighting academy.

After a solid freshman season, the big man who hails from north of the border started to hear from several four-year programs. "I had never played football before I came down here to play," Watkins told JCFootball.com. "After I graduated from high school, I started working as a fire fighter, but I had always wanted to play football so I started looking into things and I knew a couple of guys who had come down here to play so I headed down as well."

Watkins was one of eleven players to start all twelve games for Baylor in 2009. The team's new left tackle received All-Big Twelve Conference honors as he delivered 103 knock-downs protecting the blindside of QB Robert Griffin III. The Bears' revived passing attack saw the team average 242.33 aerial yards per game, but the ground attack finished 108th among the 120 major colleges with an average of 100.58 yards per game on the ground.

Now a strapping 310-pound lineman, the senior received All-American and All-Big Twelve Conference first-team honors in 2010. He had been selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2010 Canadian Football League draft by his hometown British Columbia Lions, but decided to return to college for his final season.

Watkins recorded 27 touchdown-resulting blocks and 237 knockdowns in two seasons at Baylor. In 20 games at Butte College, he collected 194 knockdowns while coming up with 24 touchdown-resulting blocks. For a player that never played football before attending college, he finished that career with 51 touchdown-resulting blocks 431 knockdowns, an average of 8.62 knockdown blocks per game.

Compares To: LOGAN MANKINS-New England. Watkins is blessed with natural ability with above-average overall strength levels. He has a wide body, very good knee bend, and always seems to get the job done. He has competed against some very good defensive ends and tackles in the Big Twelve Conference and continues to be efficient, even dominant. He is the best pass protector in the Southwest. The thing you notice about him is his intensity. Watkins can be engaged with a defender, and still punch to control a blitzing linebacker. He struggles a bit when getting into the second level, but compensates by taking proper blocking angles.

His quick first step off the ball allows him to gain advantage. He has the size and strength to move the larger defenders off the ball and plays with an almost perfect base and pad level. His active hands prove very beneficial when he works them to switch on stunts.

Another evident factor is his ability to anchor, slide and adjust to the speed rush. He has very good balance, even when he occasionally bends at the waist. His base and foot movement allows him to seal off the edge rush. Watkins looks intense and very athletic when pulling. He may throw his hands at a defender a little early, at times, but is quick to recoil and reset.

Teams Showing the Most Interest: New England, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Oakland. The list of teams that could find a starting job for a player of Watkins caliber is mostly everyone, but like Tyron Smith with his connection to the Dallas Cowboys, the Pats have a busload of choices and unless a team goes for the Baylor blocker before New England first picks, the folks in Foxboro will have an instant replacement for Mankins or Steve Neal. Kansas City has a more pressing need at left tackle than along the line's interior, but Watkins was a collegiate tackle and there is no question he can play there. Pittsburgh is in the same boat as Kansas City – looking for a tackle first, but like versatility from their front wall blockers. If he slides into round two, look for the Raiders to try and trade up to snatch Watkins, as both starters from 2010, Cooper Carlisle and Robert Gallery are not expected to return to the Silver & Black.


Viking Update Top Stories

\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":"Every year, there are players who might not get the recognition that they deserve, but end up becoming fan favorites for their ability to handle the \"grunt\" work, go out and play the game like a pack of \"junk yard\" dogs. In order to make my Tough As Nails Team, I want players that perform, no questions asked. Today, it's the offensive linemen being promoted as Tough As Nails. One look at Kelce's size and he does not exactly fit the mold of big, bruising men in the pivot that will regularly face massive nose guards. Just don't judge a book by its cover, for despite his lack of great size, there is no question that Kelce is one of the most gifted athletes in the draft at his position – and tough, to boot. Just how tough? At the 2011 NFL Combine in late February, Kelce dazzled professional scouts and coaches with what many regarded as the best performance of any offensive lineman in attendance. He was one of just two linemen to run under 5.0 in the 40-yard dash (4.89), as he recorded the best dash times (1.70 10-yard; 2.83 20-yard), top broad jump (9-2), 20-yard shuttle (4.14) and three-cone drills (7.22) of any center at the event. What made that performance even more impressive was the fact that he ran the drills with what doctors first thought was a bad case of the flu. Upon arriving back home, it was discovered that Kelce performed in the agility tests with a burst appendix, undergoing surgery on March 9. One of the most explosive offensive linemen in the collegiate ranks, Kelce's initial quickness and hand placement skills, along with his impressive strength and leg drive, helped him compensate for a lack of ideal size for an interior offensive lineman. The three-year starter joined the program as a walk-on, but his tireless work ethic earned him a starting job at left offensive guard for two seasons before returning to his more natural position at center for his final campaign. Kelce added All-American honorable mention and All-Big East Conference first-team honors after shifting to center as a senior. The passing game suffered slightly due to inexperience and injuries at the quarterback position, but the center helped open holes for a running attack that averaged 156.67 yards per game while the team again led the Big East in total offense (417.33 ypg). Kelce started his final 38 games at Cincinnati during a 47-game career – 26 at left offensive guard and 12 at center. He recorded 259 knockdown blocks and 38 touchdown-resulting blocks as a starter, adding five tackles (four solos) after Cincinnati turnovers. OLIN KREUTZ-Chicago. Kelce might lack great size, but he shows very good explosion off the snap and does a very nice job of locking on and jerking down defenders coming out of his rise. Kelce does a good job of extending and anchoring vs. the inside pass rusher. His anchor is strong and firm vs. the bigger opponents, and he has enough punch and slide to stay with his man shooting the gaps. He shows good hip sink to prevent the taller defenders from pushing him back, but could use more strength in his anchor. When he plays in control and does not try to lunge, he is perfectly capable of sustaining and riding out the rusher. He showed in 2010 improvement in attempts to keep his weight back, stay square and slide and adjust. He can anchor vs. the bull rush and shows great alertness to tricks. The thing you notice on film is that when he keeps his hands inside his frame, he can slide and mirror defenders, using his hand placement to defeat swim moves. He showed a very good base set to pop and drop, quick hand usage upon initial contact and tenacity in his play as a senior. He plays flat-footed with good knee bend to deliver the full force behind his hand jolt, even if it does not always shock the bigger defenders. Atlanta, Jacksonville, Miami, New England and New York Giants. Both Atlanta and Jacksonville like quick, aggressive zone blockers from their pivot performers. The Falcons' Todd McClure is still one of the most underrated blockers in the game, but he will be 35 next year and has been in the league 13 seasons. Jacksonville's Brad Meester has had injury issues, along with seeing his performance drop off noticeably the last three years. It seems that ever since Tim Ruddy retired that Miami has been on an endless search for a center. Signing Jake Grove last year proofed foolhardy, as he was cut before the season got under way. New England's Dan Koppen has been in the pivot for nine years, but the Pats, with a slew of draft choices, are looking to upgrade depth for the interior line and Kelce's ability to play guard could fill the void created by Steve Neal's sudden retirement. The Giants are greatly concerned that Shaun O'Hara will never return to the player he was after several surgeries to repair leg woes and fill-in, Rich Seubert is needed more at left guard. If he's forced to shift to center in 2011, the team could opt for a left tackle and slide David Diehl over to guard. It is fitting that he plays like a true warrior in the trenches, as tribal tattoos snake up and down his massive right arm. Last season, Franklin was the man most responsible for protecting UM quarterbacks, as no defensive lineman managed to record a sack vs. the Hurricanes blocker. \"Orlando is more ugly than he is mean,'' joked Detroit Lions rookie tackle Jason Fox, UM's left tackle in 2009. \"He smiles off the field, but when he's on the field, he's all business - like he should be.'' During his junior season, the Hurricanes amassed 5,199 yards in total offense, which rank fourth-highest in school history. With Franklin taking over left tackle duties in 2010, Miami generated 5,477 yards, the second-best season total in UM annals. He produced 122 knockdowns combined, as a junior and senior, coming up with 29 touchdown-resulting blocks during that span. JEFF OTAH-Carolina. Whether he is placed at left tackle or moved back to his original position of left guard, a team will have a classic mauler in their trenches. Franklin is best when driving forward to knock defenders off the ball for the ground game. When he uses his hands properly to engage, he has good success in attempts to maintain inside leverage. He uses his size well to lean into and push defenders out of the way and if staying in the short area, he has enough power to widen the rush lane. He is not the type that can get out and cut at the second level, but once he gets a piece of his man in closed quarters, the battle is soon over. Franklin is a raw talent with the frame to simply engulf the smaller defenders, especially when he keeps his hands inside the frame. He shows great competitiveness on the field to finish off blocks, playing with good nastiness, as added experience has allowed him to come off the snap with better aggressiveness than he showed as a junior. He uses his lower body power and size to move defenders off the snap and shows the quick feet in his in his kick slide, along with proper hand usage and the long arms well hold off defensive ends on the edge. Some teams feel that he lacks the ideal foot speed to play on an island at left tackle, but with his ability to quickly recoil and reset his hands after initially locking on to the opponent could see him earn a starting job quicker at right tackle at the next level. The thing you see on game films is that he is an explosive hip roller, as he shows good body control to generate movement and is best when driving forward to knock defenders off the ball for the ground game. Indianapolis, Chicago, Green Bay, Detroit and Buffalo. Everyone from their franchise quarterback to the water boy will tell you that the Colts greatly miss Tarik Glenn, their perennial All-Pro left tackle that retired several years ago. Tony Ugoh proved to be a bust and left offensive tackle is a prime need for the Colts. If they opt to bypass one in the first round, Franklin could get the call in round two, allowing Charles Johnson to shift to his more natural right tackle spot. Chicago is in the same situation as Indianapolis, as failed performances by Orlando Pace and Chris Williams leave them again searching for a left tackle. Green Bay might be best served to continue revamping the offensive line and Franklin will be a perfect fit, whether at guard or tackle. Detroit needs to replace aging Jeff Backes and Demetrius Bell might show promise, but Buffalo can't afford him spending any more time in the trainer's room rather than the football field. The first thing a scout is taught when evaluating potential draft prospect is the \"look test\". Does the player measure up? Is he tall enough? How is his frame? Is he carrying too much weight? Does he need more weight? Does he look good in his pads? Can he play a lick of football? All of these aspects form that first evaluation. There's a phrase out there that coaches use all the time to describe those that pass the look test, but fail where it counts, on the field: \"Looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane.\" From all appearances when watching film on Tyron Smith, it doesn't take long before scouts can comfortably say that the Trojans offensive lineman can be a \"big time\" football player. Even though some scouts might have been concerned when they first saw Smith at 265 pounds last summer, his well-built frame showed the ability to fill out to NFL-caliber proportions. By the time he arrived at the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine, the USC right tackle measured in at an impressive 307 pounds. December knee surgery prevented him from competing in the agility tests, though. But when Smith lifted 225 pounds 29 times in the weight room, showed off his 36 3/8-inch arm length, 10-inch hands and 83 7/8-inch wingspan, NFL teams were certain to book their flights early and make hotel reservations to attend the Trojans' late March Pro Day. In recent rehab workouts, the offensive tackle appears to be very fluid moving around with his new 300-plus pound frame, eliminating fears that the added bulk would negate his impressive initial quickness. Smith appeared in 34 games at Southern California, starting the final 24 contests that he appeared in at right offensive tackle. He registered 172 knockdowns, fifteen down field blocks and 23 touchdown-resulting blocks in his two seasons as a starter. He was the recipient of the Pac 10 Conference's Morris Trophy, given to the league's top offensive lineman, becoming the 11th Trojan blocker to receive that honor and 15h overall player (also awarded to a defensive lineman). Walter Jones-ex Seattle. Smith is not the wide body that Jones was, but both have outstanding athleticism. While it is rare for a top-level player to also be placed on this team, it was a no brainer. After all, Smith is the best mauler in the collegiate game, hands down. Smith has outstanding quickness and footwork in his kick slide. He shows the agility and balance to make plays into the second level and shows good lower-body flexibility in attempts to change direction. He has excellent open-field acceleration, moving well and adjusting easily while taking angles to neutralize the linebackers. He is an above-average knee bender who can recover on the rare occasions that he waist bends. Not only does Smith demonstrate above average quickness, but he positions himself well and gets his hands up quickly on the rise, generating strength with quickness to impact, pop and surge with sudden force. He also displays very good hip and leg explosion, as well as a strong jolt with his hand punch. He plays with good aggression and has the flexibility and power to gain leverage, especially when attempting to create a crease for the ground game. Dallas, Kansas City, Baltimore and Cincinnati. It's not like other teams are shying away from Smith, it's just that Dallas has made it known that he is their primary candidate to fill the void created when they dumped Flozell Adams prior to last season. Kansas City would love to snatch up the left tackle, as it would let them shift Branden Albert to left guard or right tackle after two less than inspiring seasons from their present left tackle. Baltimore can do likewise with Michael Oher, who played with a strong base at left tackle last year for the Ravens, but after eight holding penalties, he may be better on the right side, where he won't be left on an island vs. the edge rushers so often. Gabe Carimi needs to give half of his Outland Trophy to his left-side running mate. Without \"Moff\" doing the dirty work, Carimi might be exposed for the overrated talent quite a few teams deem him to be. Having started all but three games during his tenure at Wisconsin, Badgers faithful came to embrace \"Moff\" as the linchpin to their postseason aspirations. As a freshman, the versatile lineman patiently waited for his opportunity to show his \"wares.\" During the team's first seven games of the 2007 schedule, the Badgers ground attack struggles to establish its presence. The \"meat and potatoes\" of their offensive game plan was establishing a strong inside running game. Further evidence of Moffitt's value to the team came in the early stages of the 2009 season. The lineman suffered a pectoral muscle strain in August camp that would force him to miss the first two games of the schedule and see just a handful of snaps upon his return in the third contest. With Moff out of the lineup, UW averaged 170.0 yards per game rushing. With Moffitt returning to the lineup for the final ten games, the Badgers would average 210.0 yards and 2.45 touchdowns per game on the ground. Moffitt sat out part of the 2010 spring camp while recovering from his hernia surgery. He returned to left guard for the 2010 campaign, producing perhaps his finest season of an already impressive collegiate career. The All-American first-team choice recorded thirteen touchdown-resulting blocks. The Lombardi Award candidate was also credited with 66 knockdowns while leading a blocking effort that saw Badgers quarterbacks get sacked just fourteen times. Moffitt started 42 of 45 games at Wisconsin, lining up with the first unit at left guard for 22 contests and fifteen others at center. In 42 starting assignments, he was credited with 280 knockdowns/key blocks that included 46 touchdown-resulting blocks and fifteen blocks down field, grading 85.56% for blocking consistency. As an offensive guard, he delivered 174 knockdowns and 28 touchdown-resulting blocks, posting 106 more key blocks, including 18 touchdown-resulting shots at center. On 2,915 offensive snaps, the lineman allowed just two quarterback pressures and 3.5 sacks, as he was penalized only twice during his time with the Badgers. Jeff Hartings-ex-Pittsburgh. As an interior lineman, Moffitt's ability to work in unison with other blockers on double teams has been critical. I really like him better as a center, as he has that forward burst and lower pad level to easily defeat a defender lined up over his head. He is also effective on traps and pulls working the short areas as a guard. He plays with a strong base and has the loose hips and upper body strength to win most one-on-one battles in the trenches. Like Hartings and Jacksonville's Brad Meester, his versatility should be a valuable commodity and speed up the process for him to earn considerable playing time at the next level. Moffitt is blessed with good balance, body control, intelligence and leg drive. He is the type that puts forth the extra hours in the weight room to increase his upper body strength and in the film room preparing for opponents. He can play any interior position on the offensive line, but with his lateral range and hand quickness, he has the potential to be a quality center at the next level. New England, Philadelphia, Miami, Pittsburgh and Arizona. The Pats lost Steve Neal to retirement and might have a repeat of the long holdout staged by Logan Mankins last year. With New England also looking to upgrade depth at center, Moffitt could fill both needs. Philadelphia also had interior line issues, especially at right guard, where Max Jean-Gilles and Nick Cole failed to impress. The Dolphins want a better center than Joe Berger and \"Moff\" can slide there with no issues, evident of his performance in the pivot in 2009, but a better fit in Miami would be to put him at left guard and shift Richie Incognito into the pivot. Pittsburgh wants tough, aggressive blockers on the front wall and even though they have more pressing needs at tackle, a guard in the mid rounds to add depth is needed. Arizona has come to realize what the Jets did prior to 2010 - Alan Faneca is no longer able to play even at a journeyman's level. Remember the credo for being a member of this team? True grit and being a fighter are some of those requirements. Then, it only seems natural that a firefighter is included on this team. Watkins served as a part-time firefighter back home in Kelowna, British Columbia and playing football never entered his mind, that is, not until 2007. Butte College has been a haven for some players from north of the border and one that didn't quite know the importance of the position he was playing was their new offensive tackle, Danny Watkins, who had originally enrolled at the school to attend their firefighting academy. After a solid freshman season, the big man who hails from north of the border started to hear from several four-year programs. \"I had never played football before I came down here to play,\" Watkins told JCFootball.com. \"After I graduated from high school, I started working as a fire fighter, but I had always wanted to play football so I started looking into things and I knew a couple of guys who had come down here to play so I headed down as well.\" Watkins was one of eleven players to start all twelve games for Baylor in 2009. The team's new left tackle received All-Big Twelve Conference honors as he delivered 103 knock-downs protecting the blindside of QB Robert Griffin III. The Bears' revived passing attack saw the team average 242.33 aerial yards per game, but the ground attack finished 108th among the 120 major colleges with an average of 100.58 yards per game on the ground. Now a strapping 310-pound lineman, the senior received All-American and All-Big Twelve Conference first-team honors in 2010. He had been selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2010 Canadian Football League draft by his hometown British Columbia Lions, but decided to return to college for his final season. Watkins recorded 27 touchdown-resulting blocks and 237 knockdowns in two seasons at Baylor. In 20 games at Butte College, he collected 194 knockdowns while coming up with 24 touchdown-resulting blocks. For a player that never played football before attending college, he finished that career with 51 touchdown-resulting blocks 431 knockdowns, an average of 8.62 knockdown blocks per game. LOGAN MANKINS-New England. Watkins is blessed with natural ability with above-average overall strength levels. He has a wide body, very good knee bend, and always seems to get the job done. He has competed against some very good defensive ends and tackles in the Big Twelve Conference and continues to be efficient, even dominant. He is the best pass protector in the Southwest. The thing you notice about him is his intensity. Watkins can be engaged with a defender, and still punch to control a blitzing linebacker. He struggles a bit when getting into the second level, but compensates by taking proper blocking angles. His quick first step off the ball allows him to gain advantage. He has the size and strength to move the larger defenders off the ball and plays with an almost perfect base and pad level. His active hands prove very beneficial when he works them to switch on stunts. Another evident factor is his ability to anchor, slide and adjust to the speed rush. He has very good balance, even when he occasionally bends at the waist. His base and foot movement allows him to seal off the edge rush. Watkins looks intense and very athletic when pulling. He may throw his hands at a defender a little early, at times, but is quick to recoil and reset. New England, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Oakland. The list of teams that could find a starting job for a player of Watkins caliber is mostly everyone, but like Tyron Smith with his connection to the Dallas Cowboys, the Pats have a busload of choices and unless a team goes for the Baylor blocker before New England first picks, the folks in Foxboro will have an instant replacement for Mankins or Steve Neal. Kansas City has a more pressing need at left tackle than along the line's interior, but Watkins was a collegiate tackle and there is no question he can play there. Pittsburgh is in the same boat as Kansas City – looking for a tackle first, but like versatility from their front wall blockers. If he slides into round two, look for the Raiders to try and trade up to snatch Watkins, as both starters from 2010, Cooper Carlisle and Robert Gallery are not expected to return to the Silver & Black. 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