Tuesday, June 13, 2006

What makes a good OG/C

Continuing the series, this article will focus on what makes a good interior lineman. I'll start off with a description of an interior lineman. This site has a somewhat decent description of a LG/RG:

On each side of the center are the guards, which are unimaginatively called the left guard and the right guard. These guys have two different possible jobs to do. If the quarterback has called a pass play, where he will try to throw the ball over a mess of very large guys who are all wrestling and hit a speedy receiver in full flight, then the job of the guards is to be large impenetrable walls and absorb any punishment the defensive guys care to put out. The guards are to form a wall with the center that the quarterback can stand behind, unmolested, while the quarterback tries to get the ball to the right person. If the football team spends most of their time passing the ball, the guards will tend to be very big guys, weighing perhaps as much as 325 to 330 pounds. These very heavy guys can't move as fast as somewhat smaller guys, but they can absorb a lot of punishment.

If the quarterback has called a running play, where one of the players will try to run with the football, the guards have their second job. In this case their job is to bull rush whoever is ahead of them and create a hole in the defense for the runner. The guards which are best at bullying a hole in the defense are just a bit smaller, perhaps 300 to 310 pounds, and a bit faster and more athletic. It's a very different job to run forwards a few steps while pushing a 320 pound defender than to stand more or less in one place and take whatever the 320 pound defender dishes out without moving or flinching.

Again, the purpose of this series is to look at stats to gauge potential recruits. Following the same lines, here is the list of all available data for guards/centers taken in the 2006 NFL draft:


Analysis:
1) There isn't anything in the stats above that really jumps out at you. Speeds and weights are all over the map. There are 2 2-star ranked players as well as a 3-star ranked player but the top 4 above were all 4-5 stars.

2) Most of the above players can be lumped into 2 categories.
a. Less than 300lbs and mobile
b. Greater than 300lbs and not so mobile.

It's interesting to note that the only lineman above with any mention of brainpower in his bio notes ("What he's been able to accomplish on and OFF the field...") was taken the highest in the draft.

Next: CB
Previous: What makes a good OT

Sunday, June 11, 2006

OT follow-up:

Taking a look at the 'What makes a good OT' post below, the end result was that for recruiting purposes, it seems that mobility on a good frame is the thing to look for. Let's take a look at the list of possibles for OT recruiting this year:


[First off, it looks like Darrell Davis-Bundanuro has dropped Michigan from his list of schools according to rivals so I've left him off]

As I seriously doubt that we have a shot at Stroter, the OT's that Michigan should really be aiming for this year are A#1) Ziemba and B#2) Schwartz. Why? Ziemba is easy. Good frame with good mobility combined with a proven track record. Schwartz looks to have improved down towards the 5.2's on his 40 during a recent outing and garnered positive reviews about his mobility. I'm also leaving Elliott out as I'm 98% sure that he will be a OG/C in college. After Ziemba/Schwartz comes Plouhar but at this point there isn't much info to go on for him. That pretty much leaves Vandermeulen and Pepper. Vandermeulen could be a sleeper but if he doesn't impress during camp next week he probably won't get an offer. Pepper wasn't on the initial list of campers that I looked at and might be closer to a 6 second 40 than a 5 second 40 with who-knows what kind of mental skills in the 'ol cupboard. So where does that leave us?

->Praying for Ziemba or Schwartz with Vandermeulen as the last-ditch backup.

Now take worst case scenario and combine that with last year and that gives you Schilling (5-star), Dorrestein (3-star but potential sleeper), and Vandermeulen (~3-star maybe sleeper) for a 2-year OT haul. Oh but wait, Schilling will probably move inside and provide a solid mobile kick-ass LG that can pull/etc.

Ryan Mallett better be hoping for Ziemba or Schwartz or else he's going to be praying for either:
a) Dorrestein and Vandermeulen prove to BOTH be sleepers
b) A 2008 uber-recruit (Sam Young + Josh Oglesby) that (really really) likes Meeechigan

Carr showed us all his recruiting brilliance landing Schilling near the 11th hour so there is reason to believe that things won't turn out as bad as I tend to make them out to be. That and there seems to be the good possibility of new recruits popping up (Dennis Ziegler??) As I said previously, if we get either Ziemba or Schwartz and Vandermeulen then this will be a good OT haul for the year. Actually, make that a great haul.

Friday, June 09, 2006

What makes a good OT

The first of a new series of posts will focus on what makes a good football player for that position. First off is Offensive Tackle. What makes a good OT?:

First, this site does a decent job of describing what OT's are and what they must be able to do:

"On the outside of the guards are the two tackles, again called the left and right tackles. These guys have a very hard job to do. The tackles will often be the biggest guys on the football team - 6'6" or even more, 330 to 350 pounds. The defense is sometimes going to line up 320 pounds guys to try to bowl over the tackles. Other times they will line up a 250 pound speed rusher who will try to push off and run past the tackle. Other times they will line up a 180 pounds safety or cornerback who has near Olympic sprinting speed, and he will try to run around the tackle before he can move. The tackle gets no sympathy, it's his job to keep anyone from getting around the end of the line and to the quarterback, no matter how big and strong or small and fast.

Tackles are chosen to have very long strong arms so that they can reach out and stop guys. They must have very fast feet so that they can quickly slide left, right, or backwards as necessary to protect their quarterback."

However, I'm more interested in hard stats that can be used to gauge/measure potential OT recruits. Even more specifically, what can be used for layfolks like me to judge potential incoming college freshmen recruits? To that end, I've taken a list of all OT's taken in the 2006 NFL draft and listed their prep recruiting stats/bio taken from rivals.com (free information). [Note: rivals only has info on recruits from the 2002 season onwards so not all players drafted for that position will be listed, only the ones that had information on rivals.com.] That list, broken out into [Draft position, NFL team, Name, NFL Position, College Team, College Position, Rivals Rank (their rank for that year in that position), Rivals Stars, Height, Weight, 40-time, Bio notes rated 1-5 depending on notes in their bio that talk about their smarts, general awesomeness, and if they were all-state, all-conference, etc.] is here:


Analysis:
1) Speed
The first thing that jumps out from the data above is speed. Only 3 players were above 5.0
in the 40 and they were 5.1. As well, they were near or at the bottom of the list in terms of draft position AND Rob Sims taken at #128 has "good mobility" listed in his bio.

2) Height
Honestly, I would've thought that there wouldn't be any OT's below 6'5" but there are 3 at 6'4". Sure they could've grown a bit between prep and college but that's unlikely. There really doesn't seem to be any super gauge WRT height other than 6'4" and above.

3) Bio notes
All OT's had some kind of positive notes in their 'Bio Notes' section on rivals. This ranged from the OMG super wingspan note for D'Brickashaw Ferguson to 'Dominant' for Eric Winston, and other notes of effort/speed/god-like abilities. Well DBF had notes about agility, quickness, AND
wingspan.

Even taking a look at future OMG awesome tackles such as Joe Thomas you see speed stand out more than anything. Mobility on a good frame seems to be the biggest factor, from this standpoint, for successful OT's.

Next: OG/C