With the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine upon us, Bucky Brooks is ranking the top prospects at key positions. Today's focus: offensive linemen.
Pro comparison: Taylor Lewan.
Strengths: Power player with outstanding technical skills. Ramczyk is one of the few edge blockers in the class capable of moving defenders off the ball while also flashing enough athleticism to climb to the second level. He exhibits outstanding balance and body control in the running game, which allows him to sustain and finish his blocks on defenders down the field. In pass pro, Ramczyk is a polished technician with quick feet and a strong punch. He quickly controls pass rushers off the edge with a short set and solid anchor. In addition, he shows excellent awareness picking up stunts and games off the edge. Considering how well Ramczyk takes care of business as a run and pass blocker, it is easy to envision him as a franchise tackle in the NFL.
Weaknesses: Despite Ramczyk's strong technical game, he is only an average athlete with some movement limitations. This could lead him to struggle against speedy pass rushers with extraordinary first-step quickness and burst. Although Ramczyk rarely lost on the edge during his one season at Wisconsin (having transferred from D-III Wisconsin-Stevens Point), he could have a tough time adjusting to the speed and explosiveness of the NFL's premier pass rushers.
Team fits: Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Minnesota Vikings.
Pro comparison: Nate Solder.
Strengths: Athletic edge blocker with quick feet and exceptional body control. Bolles is a dancing bear on the edge with the athleticism and movement skills that every scout covets in a franchise tackle. As a run blocker, he exhibits outstanding agility, balance and body control snuffing out defenders on the edges. He excels at sealing defenders on outside runs, but also flashes the speed and quickness to pull on counters to the opposite side. In pass protection, Bolles displays outstanding feet, hands, and hips battling defenders at the line of scrimmage. He stymies speed rushers with ease, exhibiting terrific lateral quickness and technique. At a time when most teams are committed to throwing the ball 30-35 times a game, Bolles' excellent blocking skills will make him a hot commodity in meeting rooms around the league.
Weaknesses: Bolles' exceptional athleticism makes him the ideal franchise tackle in most systems, but teams looking for a "people mover" might be a little disappointed in his power game. The Utah standout is a "position" blocker adept at battling defenders at the line instead of creating a push at the point of attack. Although his blocking style is perfect for a zone-based system, Bolles' inability to create a significant push could signal strength concerns for teams intent on playing smashmouth football.
Team fits: Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, New York Giants.
Pro comparison: Ereck Flowers.
Strengths: Big-bodied edge blocker with mauler/brawler style that perfectly suits a power-based scheme. He blows defenders off the ball in the run game, exhibiting outstanding strength and power at the point of attack. In addition, Robinson flashes the ability to climb to the second level to cut off defenders in space. Although he lacks the balance and body control to sustain or finish his blocks in the open field, it is still impressive to see a 6-foot-6, 326-pound blocker snuff out linebackers on downfield blocks. As a pass protector, Robinson shows a solid anchor against power players. He stops edge defenders utilizing bull-rush maneuvers in their tracks and re-routes them around the quarterback.
Weaknesses: Robinson lacks the athleticism, movement skills and body control to play left tackle as a pro. He struggles against speed rushers off the edge due to his slow feet and unrefined kick-slide technique. Robinson's inability to deal with speed makes it hard to envision him playing on the quarterback's blind side in an offense that emphasizes the passing game.
Team fits: Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings, Cleveland Browns.
Pro comparison: Zack Martin.
Strengths: Polished technician with outstanding feet, hands and hips. Lamp is an exceptional "position" blocker ideally suited to thrive in a zone-based scheme. He sticks to defenders at the line of scrimmage, providing runners with just enough room to get to the second level. Lamp's persistence and relentless is impressive on tape. In pass protection, Lamp displays quick feet and terrific body control. He neutralizes crafty rushers off the edge and shows enough lower-body strength to anchor against power. Lamp also possesses outstanding awareness and anticipation sorting through stunts and games on the edge.
Weaknesses: Lamp lacks the athleticism and length to play on the edge in the NFL. Speed rushers can give him problems when he fails to cut down the angles off the corner. In addition, he lacks the power to consistently push defenders off the ball on power plays. Although he wins his fair share of battles, teams looking for a power player might prefer a stouter presence at the point of attack.
Team fits: Atlanta Falcons, Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos.
Pro comparison: Clint Boling.
Strengths: Athletic interior blocker with quick feet and outstanding body control. Feeney excels in a movement scheme that allows him to pull or trap to lead the running back around the corner on sweeps. In addition, he is capable of getting to the second level to seal off linebackers on zone-based plays. In pass protection, Feeney works his hands and feet in unison to neutralize defenders at the line. He flashes a strong anchor against power maneuvers. With the majority of teams employing versions of a zone-based blocking scheme these days, Feeney should carry a nice grade on most boards.
Weaknesses: For all of Feeney's success as a "position" blocker, he lacks the strength and pop to consistently move defenders off the ball. The Indiana product controls defenders with superb body positioning, but he must be able to create space in critical situations (short-yardage and goal line).
Team fits: New Orleans Saints, Jacksonville Jaguars, Seattle Seahawks.
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