Shutdown Corner - NFL

 

With the 2010 NFL season in the books, the draft edging ever closer (and a lockout battle now headed to the courts) it's time to turn our eyes to the pre-draft evaluation process. We've already done scouting reports of the top 40 players on our board, and you can read all the details on the first Shutdown 40 here. For the second Shutdown 40, players 41-80, we have the advantage of combine performances and that much more evaluation material.

Over the next few weeks, we'll also be adding Pro Day data when relevant. But we're always going mostly on game tape; the proper evaluation formula seems to be about 80 percent tape, 20 percent Senior Bowl/combine/Pro Day. If you see what you expect in drills, you go back to the tape to confirm. If what you see in drills surprises you in a positive or negative sense, you go back to the tape to catch where the anomalies may be.

We continue the second Shutdown 40 with Miami offensive tackle Orlando Franklin. At 6-foot-6 and 316 pounds, Franklin put up the second-best 10-yard split at the scouting combine (1.76 seconds), as well as a decent 40-yard dash (5.11), 26 reps at the 225-pound bench press, and an 8.37-second three-cone drill at his pro day. Though his career with the Hurricanes, Franklin has proved able to steel himself for the biggest challenges, looking good at left tackle against Chris Long(notes), George Selvie(notes), Jason Pierre-Paul(notes) and Da'Quan Bowers.

A Second-Team All-ACC player in 2010, Franklin is still a work in progress on most of his game tape, even after 50 games at Miami. And when you have a tweener prospect with power and athleticism, the best way to figure it all out is to turn on the tape and see where it all lands. He has played at guard and left tackle, but he might be best at right tackle in the end. Where is Orlando Franklin a good fit at the NFL level?

Pros: Agile player who can pull and trap reasonably well from inside and can get out into space effectively. As a tackle, especially as a second outside left tackle in unbalanced lines, Franklin can be dominant at the first and second levels — he sets his base, fires out decisively, and looks for second defenders to hit. Frequently engages with multiple blocks as a tackle; seems to relish the opportunity to display his raw powers. Engages his defender as an outside blocker through the conclusion of a stretch or zone play. Tough guy who played the entire 2010 season with a torn meniscus. Pulling/trapping background at guard plays out well when asked to do tackle pulls and block ends out at an arc.

Cons: As a guard, plays too tall (as you'd expect; this is why the world is not full of 6-foot-6 guards); comes out of his stance late and high and rarely wins the leverage battle. Beats inside defenders primarily through upper-body strength as opposed to pure technique. Will get bulled back and thrown aside by stronger tackles with good hand moves. Tends to grapple and wrestle when pass-blocking inside; technique is very raw. Not always an effective seal blocker -- will start to wall his man out, but has trouble establishing a wide base and using his natural power at times. Decent second-level blocker, though he can get jarred back by his own momentum when going full-speed.

Conclusion: If you're noticed that most of Franklin's debits as a player come at the guard position, that's no coincidence. He played guard for most of the 2007, 2008 and 2009 seasons, but he is absolutely a natural tackle and should be rated as such — in the same way that Mike Pouncey should be seen as a guard more than a center, despite the fact that he's played both positions.

As much as Franklin just destroys speed ends with his combination of acceleration and power, he's not quite up to the challenge of the better tackles in the NCAA (see the Oklahoma tape from 2009), and he simply plays too high off the snap to have a serious effect against the kinds of players he'd have to face inside. At the same time, I do not think that he gets off the snap quickly enough to protect a blind side, which is why I think Franklin projects best as a right tackle — the one position he hasn't played yet. He's a project in that sense, but the team taking the "risk" on Franklin there could reap great rewards.

NFL Comparison: Ebon Britton, Jacksonville Jaguars

More Second Shutdown 40
#41 — Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia | #42 — Muhammad Wilkerson, DT/DE, Temple | #43 — Aaron Williams, DB, Texas | #44 — Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech | #45 — Rahim Moore, FS, UCLA | #46 — Martez Wilson, ILB, Illinois | #47 — D.J. Williams, TE, Arkansas | #48 -- Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina | #49 — Jerrel Jernigan, WR, Troy | #50 — Jabbal Sheard, DE, Pitt | #51 — Christian Ballard, DE, Iowa | #52 — Brooks Reed, DE/OLB, Arizona | #53 — Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky | #54 -- Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada | #55 — Sam Acho, OLB/DE, Texas | #56 -- Andy Dalton, QB, TCU | #57 — Davon House, CB, New Mexico State | #58 -- Jon Baldwin, WR, Pitt | #59 — Marcus Cannon, OT, TCU | #60 — Drake Nevis, DT, LSU | Quan Sturdivant, LB, North Carolina

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