Offensive Line Interests: Part III

There was little doubt that the Vikings were scouting offensive linemen hard at last week's Senior Bowl, and one highly ranked prospect still has room for improvement.

The Vikings showed interest in a number of offensive line prospects at last week's Senior Bowl practices, and the final one that Scout.com spotted them talking with was Auburn guard Ben Grubbs.

Grubbs, who measured in at the Senior Bowl at 6-foot-3, 315 pounds, was talking with Vikings Director of College Scouting Scott Studwell.

TFY Draft Preview dubbed Grubbs the best of the guard bunch attending the Senior Bowl.

"Grubbs solidified himself as the second-ranked player at his position in this draft," TFY said in its final analysis of Grubbs at the Senior Bowl. "The one area of concern all week was with his footwork, which was coached up often. His strength at the point of attack and with his punch will make him very good in a power running attack."

Despite presently being the second-ranked guard in the draft, it would seem Grubbs still has some upside as he could be still learning the position. He started his collegiate career at Auburn as a defensive lineman before moving to tight end. He finally settled at guard in 2004.

His technique is still being developed.

The coaching staff of the San Francisco 49ers, which was in charge of the South squad at the Senior Bowl, was trying to rework his stance in the first few days in Mobile last week.

"The first day of practice we were working on our stance," Grubbs told autigers.com. "I got in my normal stance and Coach Warhop (OL coach George Warhop for the San Francisco 49ers) just changed it completely. I guess it depends on the coaching style. Everyone has a different way of teaching their players different stances. At Auburn, my stance was fine. Then I come here and it's wrong. I believe if I go somewhere else they might want to change the stance I have now to another one. It just all depends on the coaching style."

The lineman says he has enjoyed his week in Mobile both on and off the field.

"It's always good when the best players from around the country can get together and compete," he told autigers.com. "We're athletes and we love to compete so whenever we can go one-on-one we take advantage of it."

Grubbs' ascent up the college ranks stared when he was finally able to settle in at guard before the 2004 season, and he was quickly named most improved offensive lineman on the Tigers. He has been starting ever since that move. Previously, he was tried at tight end and defensive end, and in high school he played offensive line, fullback and linebacker. He made all-state in Alabama as an offensive lineman, but also all-county and all-metro as a linebacker. In addition, he was a four-year starter on the basketball team.

Success stayed with Grubbs in college, where he started 37 straight games and was named first-team All-SEC by the Associated Press and second-team by the coaches, but, while TFY Draft Preview has him highly ranked, it also pointed out in its daily practice reports at the Senior Bowl how his footwork is in the refinement stages.

Monday Practice Notes: Footwork was an issue throughout the day. Often got too wide in his stance, and followed through by staying wide when engaged in blocks. Did show ability moving in space today. Much like his Auburn teammate, he struggled with overall technique.

Tuesday: A trend is starting to appear with Grubbs' footwork and the coaching staff trying to correct it. Plays with his base way too wide at times. Also led with his head at a few points in the running game today.

Wednesday: Very solid performance this afternoon. Grubbs especially exhibited a very strong initial punch. While his footwork has been a concern all week, Grubbs did improve on his ability to recover after getting too wide a base. Still struggled slightly with getting to the second level on a consistent basis. One time he whiffed on his block, while he sprung a big run up the middle by reaching the middle linebacker.

Thursday: Moves well out in space and threw a few nice blocks on screens.

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