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Ranking potential second-round offensive linemen by ‘advanced’ statistics

Opinions are easier to find than lakes in Minnesota around draft time, but one thing everyone agrees on is that the Vikings need to select at least one offensive linemen in the NFL Draft.

And while many draft analysts have said the crop of offensive linemen is less than impressive, there are 11 tackles, guards or centers who have a second-round grade in either CBS Sports or USA Today’s rankings.

How can we separate the best prospects? One way is through film analysis, but there are many different interpretations of players’ skill sets and potential ceilings. Pro Football Focus’s Draft Pass includes run and pass blocking statistics based on player tracking on tape. Which players come out as the best by the numbers? Let’s have a look:

Tackles

Taylor Moton, Western Michigan

Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Moton is a massive linemen at 6-foot-5, 320-pounds whose sheer power gives him a chance to develop into a good tackle. 


Pass Block Efficiency: 98.6 (3rd) – 0 sacks, 2 QB hits, 6 hurries

Run Block Success: 91.8% (41st)

PFF overall grade: 83.5

Antonio Garcia, Troy

Garcia is tall at 6-foot-6 and has outstanding athleticism, but there are concerns over his technique and ability to stay over 300 pounds. 


Pass Block Efficiency: 98.9 (2nd) – 0 sacks, 1 QB hits, 5 hurries

Run Block Success: 94.1% (7th)

PFF overall grade: 79.1

Roderick Johnson, Florida State

Tall and powerful, Johnson had terrific run and blocking numbers, but his pass blocking technique is lacking, meaning he will need time to develop in the NFL. 


Pass Block Efficiency: 97.3 (21st) – 3 sacks, 4 QB hits, 9 hurries

Run Block Success: 93.4% (18th)

PFF overall grade: 78.7

Connor McDermott, UCLA

Not only is McDermott one of the tallest linemen in the draft at 6-foot-8, the former high school basketball player is a good athlete and can move quick enough to block edge rushers. He has problems with strength and struggles against powerful bull rushes. 


Pass Block Efficiency: 97.4 (18th) – 2 sacks, 7 QB hits, 9 hurries

Run Block Success: 89.4% (71st)

PFF overall grade: 78.3

Cam Robinson, Alabama

In many mocks, Robinson is a first-round pick because of his size, power and athleticism, but inconsistency and struggles with balance may cause him to drop in the draft.


Pass Block Efficiency: 97.8 (10th) – 1 sack, 2 QB hits, 11 hurries

Run Block Success: 88.3% (79th)

PFF overall grade: 74.3

Statistical sleeper: 

Zach Banner, USC

Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Banner isn’t considered a first or second round pick, but he is gargantuan at 6-foot-8, 353-pounds and powerful. Some believe he will ultimately become a guard because he won’t be able to slow down edge rushers. His pass blocking numbers, while playing in the Pac-12, were very good by PFF standards.


Pass Block Efficiency: 97.9 (9th) – 2 sacks, 1 QB hit, 8 hurries

Run Block Success: 90.4% (57th)

PFF overall grade: 80.6

Guards/Centers

Ethan Pocic, LSU

Pocic his been lauded for his versatility and smarts. He’s played all five positions at times in college and made the calls on the offensive line. For a tall interior linemen, he does not have impressive power.


Pass Block Efficiency: 97.5 (34th) – 0 sack, 0 QB hits, 11 hurries

Run Block Success: 90.0% (21st)

PFF overall grade: 82.5

Dion Dawkins, Temple

A three-year starter at Temple, Dawkins is listed as a guard but might develop into a starting tackle. Power is his calling card.


Pass Block Efficiency: 98.4 (4th) – 2 sacks, 2 QB hits, 6 hurries

Run Block Success: 91.8% (41st)

PFF overall grade: 80.4

Pat Elflein, Ohio State

One of Ohio State’s leaders, Elflein is a determined run blocker whose strength has been talked about as a major plus. That could make him attractive for the Vikings. His numbers in pass protection, however, were more impressive. 


Pass Block Efficiency: 97.1 (41st) – 3 sacks, 2 QB hits, 11 hurries

Run Block Success: 90.2% (19th)

PFF overall grade: 80.1

Dan Feeney, Indiana

Credit: Indiana Athletics

Noted for his excellence as a zone blocker, Feeney has quick enough feet to get outside and effectively pull. He’s patient when looking for blocks in space and can hold his own against interior rushers. Being limited to a zone scheme might hurt his stock.


Pass Block Efficiency: 97.5 (41st) – 1 sack, 1QB hit, 8 hurries

Run Block Success: 88.0% (43rd)

PFF overall grade: 77.9

Dorian Johnson, Pitt

Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

A former five-star prospect, Johnson has been called hard-nosed and smart and scored highly in several events at the combine, but he did not have impressive numbers in the run game.


Pass Block Efficiency: 98.5 (12th) – 1 sack, 0 QB hits, 6 hurries

Run Block Success: 93.2% (3rd)

PFF overall grade: 77.2

Isaac Asiata

The cousin of running back Matt Asiata, Isaac plays with a high-level of intensity, which sometimes can be good and other times can get him in trouble.


Pass Block Efficiency: 97.3 (44th) – 4 sacks, 2 QB hits, 9 hurries

Run Block Success: 88.2% (42nd)

PFF overall grade: 77.1

Statistical sleeper:

Chase Roullier, Wyoming

Roullier can play either guard or center and is a powerful blocker. There are some worries about his length not matching that of most NFL interior linemen.


Pass Block Efficiency: 98.7 (5th) – 0 sack, 1 QB hits, 7 hurries

Run Block Success: 91.6% (6th)

PFF overall grade: 81.8

  • Tony Rossi

    Good info M.C. It would be interesting to read, of the tackles, which ones scouts think have the best chance to develop into left tackles. With the draft, it is a blend of college performance & projection, for example arm length(Garcia) & foot speed(Banner). I’d be surprised if Banner, for example, could match up with speed rushers on the left side

    A good left tackle prospect is what the Vikings need most for the long term(outside of clarity at QB).

    Riley Reiff is fine for now, but could play RT, & Remmers could move inside to RG. We know Clemmings is “better” on the right & Sirles can be depth there as well. Remmers was forced to play out of position at LT last year, so you don’t want to have to use him as your depth at LT. PFF has all of Berger numbers at guard, when, most of the year, he was a center. Nick Easton’s numbers at center, were about as bad as Clemmings at LT.

    Finding a good LT is like finding a 1st line center in hockey. It pushes the other players down to where the are not asked to do more than they should. Asking Clemmings to be your LT(no other choice) when he had only played on the right side, & on offense at all for just a few years, was not fair to him. He was never supposed to be the answer at LT, so don’t be mad when he’s not.

    I want the Vikings to draft the best left tackle prospects they can at 48, & then take 1 of the guards with,preferably, their 1st pick in the 3rd rd.

    I hear the argument for building up the pass defense, but IMO, they just got run down, mentally & physically, by the end of the season. If the Vikings can control the clock & keep the defense fresher, the defense will benefit more than by adding depth there. The inability to keep drives alive by converting 3rd downs is my biggest problem with Bradford.

    • linus

      Lots of people are saying that Reiff would be better at RT, but PFF’s numbers indicate otherwise; he was rated higher as an LT in 2015 than at RT in 2016. Some of that could be because 2016 was his first season on the right side, but the primary concern about him seems to be power, and that would be less of an issue at LT.

      • Tony Rossi

        I agree that Reiff is better at LT. The thought was, IF the Vikings can get a LT prospect that could become a better option, the trickle down effect could solve depth problems in other places. I hope Reiff is great, but better “talent” is needed on OL. Lots of high picks on def when they were talent poor. Now it has flipped. Was Fusco the last OL the Vikings developed? Maybe cuz the high picks were used in def. You’re right that Reiff moving may not improve his play.

    • linus

      I agree with your analysis of Johnson, but he’s probably the only one in the list who actually has a chance at LT. The others all project to RT or G (based on the reviews I’ve read, anyway).

  • GriffRobMike

    I have a bad feeling Spielman is going to take someone like Roderick Johnson (who even FSU fans were happy he left early). I hope he doesn’t take any “projects” in the 2nd round. Go get the best interior lineman available at 48 (Feeney/Elflein) then go BPA. If they are confident they can wait til 3rd round for Pocic/Dawkins/Dorian Johnson then i’m more okay taking non-lineman for 2nd round. Hard to justify any pick other than lineman at 48 unless someone really unexpected drops

  • Andre Esters

    Excellent break down Coller, primers like these are always enjoyable once the draft is about a week out.
    My one big hope is the Vikes avoid getting too cute by scooping up some underdeveloped Junior who started only one season, and likely was surrounded by other super talents. Focus on a guy who can hold his own, preferably some beefcakes in the trenches.

  • Mark L

    Banner Could be a good middle round pick with lots of potential Does he remind anyone else of Loadholt giant strong from a school known for producing good lineman (plus a heck of a family tree)

    And you could pick one of the good interior lineman (Elflein/Dawkins) earlier on

  • Gordon Guffey

    Nice breakdown Mr. Matthew Coller ~ Hard to say what OL above or even those on the roster now will fit into the blocking scheme that Pat Shurmur and Tony Sparano come up with ~ After the season Zimmer said he ask Shurmur to come up with a plan that would get the most out of the talents on the roster then and that plan was the reason the Vikings didn’t interview anyone else ~ I think this came out when he was being interviewed by the guys over on KFAN ~

    So I dont think anyone can safely say they know the blocking scheme the Vikings plan to use and how the talent on the roster now will be used ~ Nor did I believe anyone can safetly say they know for sure that the short passing games is what will once again be the staple of the 2017 offense ~ Both Zimmer and Spielman have said that Reiff and Remmers are a little better run blockers than pass blocker so that might lead one to believe they are looking for another strong run blocker who is a the very least good at pass blocking ~ However they both said in that same interviews that Remmers can also move inside to OG so could that mean they are planning to draft a RT if a good one is there at 48 ??? ~ I read when he first got signed that Boone was said to be better on the right side and played well at right OT when ask too while he was with the 49ers ~ If that’s is indeed the case wouldn’t it be really nice if they move Boone to right OG and drafted someone who has played at a high level at left OG instead of drafting another OL who can play good anywhere but great nowhere ~

    I love draft time ~ Some many thing can fall so many different way ~ Lots of fun to think about ~

  • badzeitgeist

    To get Dawkins or Moton may require that 2nd round pick. I’d like to see us get 2 OLs from among Dawkins, Moton, Pocic, Elflein, Feeney (although his injury history is a bit of a concern) and Orlosky (Cam Robinson will be gone before we pick). That may require 2 of our first 4 or even 2 of our first 3 picks.

  • Jason Wisneski

    Moton all the way as my top choice. Can’t go wrong with Feeney, Dawkins, Johnson or Elflein either.





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