Tuesday, February 27, 2007

MSD NFL Combine Report: Offensive Line

It’s that time of year again! Time for a bunch of old men with clip boards & whistles to gather around and poke, prod, touch and ogle young athletic men standing around in their underwear. That’s right. It’s the NFL Scouting Combine! And it’s here that we’re going to scout the NFL’s future. The MSD takes a look at the Dolphins needs (in no particular order):

Combine Report: Part Two, Offensive Line:

Wisconsin left tackle Joe Thomas is the class of this year’s class of O-linemen. Most experts have him going second to Detriot. But even if the Lions pass on him, he won’t last past the 5th pick. Thomas weighed in at 311 pounds and was measured at 6’6 5/8. He recorded 28 reps on the 225 lbs. bench press and showed his athletic skills by clocking in 33” in the vertical jump and 9’2” in the broad jump. He also clocked in an impressive 4.92 in the 40.

The one guy the Dolphins have a real shot at landing will be Penn State tackle Levi Brown. Brown measured in at 6’5 and 323 pounds, and is considered the second best offensive lineman in this year’s draft class after Thomas. Brown recorded 31 reps in the 225 lbs. bench press and with his impressive size and height, Brown is projected as a top 10 pick. He’s a sound blocker and very athletic for a man his size. The Dolphins need to fill the left tackle position and it seems that there’s a good drop off after Thomas and Brown. Brown’s stock rose after a monster Senior Bowl and it seems that his strength lies in his run blocking. But a man with his size and strength, you feel pretty good about him protecting the quarterback as well. Personally, my feelings about taking Brown with the first pick have fluctuated. But I wouldn’t be terribly disappointed if he came to Miami. He would fill a huge and immediate need for an offensive line that was terrible last year.
Other Offensive Linemen of note:

Tony Ugoh out of Arkansas could be a second-round offensive tackle to consider. He measured a 9’9” broad jump, a 32 ½” vertical and a 5.06 40. He also recorded 32 reps in the 225 lbs. bench press. While he’s nowhere near the athlete or prospect that Joe Thomas is, Ugho’s combine numbers were very similar to – and in some cases, better than – Thomas's. Ugho measures in at 6’5, 301 lbs. He’s got room to grow as far as his bulk is concerned but he’s a solid lineman to consider with Miami’s 2nd pick.

Stephon Heyer of Maryland weighed in at a whopping 330 lbs. and also measured the longest wing span (36 3/8”) and the largest hands (10 ¾”) from among the tackles. There are a number of tackles that could project to go before Heyer but if the Dolphins choose to address the position in the later rounds, I think Heyer would be a steal.
USC center Ryan Kalil had a solid combine. He’s a bit small, measuring in at 6’2, 299 lbs. but he seems to be very athletic, ran a 4.96 in the 40, and should be the first center taken in the draft.

Conclusion: There really weren’t too many surprises at the combine with the O-linemen. Should Levi Brown be available at No. 9, I can see the Dolphins taking him. He’s the second best OT in this class and would plug in a huge hole for Miami. However, if the Dolphins go another route with their first pick, there are some solid second-tier linemen the they can consider. I think the Dolphins will explore their O-line options through free agency but should also address the position sometime in the draft.

Up Next: WR, then LB, then DB/DL


Thanks for the report MSD. The only linemen I knew coming into the draft were Thomas and Brown.

I really think the Phins should take a shot with Levi Brown. I don't think either Russell or Quinn will still be there at #9 and we need to start building a winning offense through the foundation of pass protection/run blocking. Brown is the man for the job and I think he should be the guy we target in the 1st round.

This has got to be the next pick after QB if they go that route...you know my feelings about the O-line. I'm fluctuating too. Sturdy O-line first or Brady Quinn (yeah, yeah I know Dude) :)

Levi, Levi he's our man, er, unless someone takes a stupid pill and let's Joe Thomas fall (yeah, yeah I know Dude)

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