It’s combine season, folks. And with Baker Mayfield in the fold, we finally don’t have to obsess over which quarterback the Browns should pick at the top of the first round. So why not turn our attention to some of the prospects that could end up protecting Baker?
Below are my snap judgments on linemen. But first:
What this article is
- Quick, intuitive judgments
- Based off of one day watching these prospects in their underwear
- An article intended to generate discussion
What this article is not
- A full scouting report on each prospect
- Based on actual football (if I watched these guys play it was “as a fan”, and as a disclaimer I am an Ohio State fan)
- A final judgement of any player or a ranking of any kind
Andre Dillard, Washington State
Simply put, this guys looked the most impressive out of any tackle prospect at the combine in terms of potential. He is huge, long, and the kind of athlete you want protecting the edge and playing in space. If we are drafting a left tackle in the first round, I think this guy is one of few who could become that rock-solid presence to protect Baker for the next 10 years.
However, Dillard got a little sloppy with his technique at times and seemed to get noticeably gassed during some of the drills (which caused him to get even sloppier). He will need time to refine his technique and tighten up his movements before he maxes out his potential.
Cody Ford, Oklahoma
I just don’t think this guy is a tackle in the NFL. Maybe he could protect the right edge, but I didn’t like the way he looked in space. Ford did look powerful and like he would play with good technique, but I just think he’ll be a guard.
Derwin Gray, Maryland
Almost on the opposite side of things from Ford is Derwin Gray out of Maryland. Gray looked absolutely massive, and appeared to have the kind of length and short-area athleticism you want from a tackle. As a bonus, he looked like had the power to shift inside to guard.
However, Gray looked sloppy in his technique at times, allowing his footwork and hands to get away from him. I think Gray is probably a mid-late round sleeper with potential to end up at tackle.
Garrett Bradbury, NC State
Bradbury looked like a clear winner at the combine. He is a Center only in my opinion, but was great in the athletic tests. In his underwear, Bradbury did not appear to have the kind of sheer mass to be a dominant in-line power blocker, which is maybe the one nit to pick in his resume as a prospect. But for a team that asks its C to win with athleticism Bradbury looked like the kind of guy you draft and then rely on for the next decade.
Perhaps more impressive than his physical testing was the technique Bradbury displayed during the drills. His footwork was neat and tight, his hands stayed calm and ready. He was able to maintain a low center of gravity even late into drills, and just made everything look easy.
Erik McCoy, Texas A&M
I’d rate McCoy slightly lower than Bradbury overall, but he seemed to have more scheme versatility. He’s not as tight in his technique, and didn’t seem quite as fluid in his movements. But he did seem more capable of dealing with massive 0/1 technique. There is a chance McCoy could fill in at guard in the NFL, but I think his best fit is at center.
Greg Little, Ole Miss
Little confirmed he is a tackle prospect, and looked like a quick, long player who could play on the edge. Purely based on the underwear olympics, I’d be a little worried about his strength. He also tended to rise up when he slid in the drills, and playing with a high center of gravity makes any player play weaker.
The Wisconsin Trio (David Edwards, Beau Benzschawel, and Michael Dieter)
So, I am definitely doing a disservice to these guys by listing them together. I apologize. But they are all from the University of Wisconsin (known for churning out quality O linemen), they are all blonde, and they are all literally within one inch (6’6”, 6’6”, 6’5”) and one pound (309, 309, 308) of one another. I had a note that one of them displayed excellent technique on the right side of the edge pass protecting drill, but I thought it was Edwards and second-guessed myself after a scouting report knocked his technique.
All of these guys seemed to play with good technique and seem like versatile backup-type prospects (Dieter is probably a C/G, the other two are probably RT/G). None of them looked like maulers, but could be the type of underrated prospect who does well in a zone scheme.
Mike Jordan, the Ohio State University
Jordan looks like a big, thick guard who could probably fill in at center in a pinch. Jordan’s technique wasn’t overly impressive, but he looked like a powerful guy who would do well in a power scheme.
Isaiah Prince, the Ohio State University
Prince is a massive, long prospect who lacks the athleticism to play on the left side. He does have some of the best length at the combine, so I think you have to ask yourself if you think he has the athleticism to protect the right edge. I don’t think he can play guard in most schemes. He did run a good 40 yard dash, but he’ll need short area lateral quickness to stick in the NFL.
Nate Davis, Charlotte
A big, powerful looking guy from a lesser-known program. Davis’s flexibility was very impressive, and he seemed like a fluid athlete. He looks like a guard, and while he could use a little polish in his technique he seems to have a lot of potential.
Jonah Williams, Alabama
I’m probably biased by the NFL Network coverage, but he looked like a poor man’s Joe Thomas (no one is Joe Thomas). He seemed to not be the LT you create in a lab with shorter than ideal arms and without a massive body. But he displayed the quickness and technique to have me believe he could probably play on the left side. I didn’t get to see him as much as I wanted, but he seemed boring, yet good.
This class appears to have a few good line prospects, but appears to lack multiple quality options for franchise left tackles. If we are thinking about the future of that position and potentially moving on from Greg Robinson, the best two prospects at that position looked like Dillard and Williams.
This draft seems to have a number of guards who can succeed at the NFL level in a variety of schemes, but the Browns don’t really seem to have a need there.
And at center, Bradbury stood above the rest to me, with McCoy coming in closely behind. Both seem like quality linemen who might be in the 1st or 2nd round discussion based on one look at them not playing any actual football.
What do you think, Browns fans?