You didn't think that we were finished doing podcasts with our buddy Greg Cosell of NFL Films and ESPN's NFL Matchup just because the NFL season is over, did you? Well, if you did, fear not -- we're back in the saddle (and Greg's now writing for Shutdown Corner as well) to do a new series of podcasts in which we evaluate the draft prospects by position. We've already discussed the quarterbacks, running backs, receivers and tight ends in this year's class, and how it's time to talk about a very intriguing group of offensive linemen. Greg has taken his decades of experience, and oodles of coach's tape, and transferred both to the college side just in time for the pre-draft process.
A few words of wisdom from Mr. Cosell:
On Texas A&M LT Luke Joeckel: "The strength of his game is repetitive execution, snap after snap. Not elite athleticism and movement. He's not unathletic, but ... I think he does everything right on almost every snap. I would say he's a smoother mover than Jake Long with Long came out of Michigan, but he's not as fluid as, say, Ryan Clady when he came out of Boise State. I think he'll be a perfectly good NFL left tackle, and if you draft him, you'll be fine at the position. If you look at him solely as a prospect, you wouldn't put him in the Orlando Pace/Jonathan Ogden/Walter Jones category, but he'll be a really good NFL left tackle.
On Central Michigan LT Eric Fisher: "You can make the argument that he's a little bit better as an athlete than Joeckel. His feet are a little quicker, and his lateral movement is a little more fluid. I thought they were very similar in that they were rarely off balance. Fisher shows excellent athleticism and movement as a pass-blocker, and pulling in the run game. You can talk about the level of competition and all that -- it's not the same -- but when you look at Fisher's skill set, it translates really, really well. I would not be surprised if some teams had Fisher rated higher than Joeckel."
On Oklahoma LT Lane Johnson: "It was evident watching him through the season -- and I try to watch them with the right chronology, so I can get a sense if they're improving or not -- but because he doesn't have a lot of experience at left tackle ... early on, you saw the athleticism, but he wasn't that great a player. It didn't translate. As the season went on, it started to translate much more, but the main concern is to get him to play to that level snap after snap."
On Alabama RT D.J. Fluker: "To me, he's clearly more of a physical right tackle. His best attribute is clearly run-blocking. He's a strong and powerful man, and he's outstanding as a run blocker. Now, I think he can be a little stiff and slow-footed as a pass protector. But at the end of the day, his size and overall movement combination is hard to find."
On Oregon LT/LG Kyle Long: "He has the athletic ability to play left tackle, without question, though he played a lot of guard for Oregon. He's got really quick, athletic feet. It's funny -- we talk about these players, and I'll be the first to admit that I don't know everything about the technical side, and the hand movement and the foot placement of the offensive linemen, but wen you watch Kyle Long, it's clear that you're watching an athletic mover. Not only did he show that in pass protection, but I think he really showed it in the run game."
As with everything involving Greg Cosell, this podcast is a must-listen for those fans of advanced tape analysis. Subscribe to the Shutdown Corner iTunes link. You can also use the link below to either left-click and listen, or right-click to save to your computer.
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