CFF Overview: OT - Buyer Beware
There is no perfect player coming out in the draft. Everyone has weaknesses that need to be addressed in the NFL. With data from every single play from every single college game we have the unique ability say how often those shortcomings actually affected a player’s performance. The following players’ issues caused them to grade well outside the elite tackles in one area or another and that is why we are wary of projecting them so highly to the next level.
Brandon Scherff, Iowa
After grading all of Scherff’s plays in 2014 and then reviewing those positives and negatives, we just couldn’t see Scherff as a tackle in the NFL. His problems on the edge in pass protection don’t look fixable and he’ll likely never be better than average in that respect. That’s not to say he can’t be a successful player at guard, he has more tools than any other interior offensive linemen in the draft, we just haven’t seen him play there yet. Investing a high pick in a non-premium position for a guy who hasn’t played there in years seems like far too risky a proposition.
Signature Stat: Allowed seven pressures in the Maryland game alone and 24 on the season.
T.J. Clemmings, Pittsburgh
All you need to do is watch the Senior Bowl to understand why Clemmings makes this list. In Mobile he gave up five pressures in 28 pass blocking snaps playing left and right tackle. Even with his 35 1/8” arms he almost never got first contact and looked like he’d never had to deliver a punch in pass protection before. Basically, his pass set is broken and he’ll need an overhaul in that area by whatever team drafts him.
The intriguing thing about Clemmings is that for how poor his pass blocking form was, his work in the run game was the exact opposite. Explosive and fluid in space, Clemmings showed the ability to execute any run block asked of him in Pittsburgh’s varied attack. I could see Clemmings being a guy who starts off as a guard to protect him in pass pro and makes his way out to tackle after he gets more technically sound.
Signature Stat: Was beaten in pass pro four separate times against Virginia. Not by Max Valles or Eli Harold, but by Mike Moore.
Jake Fisher, Oregon
Tackle is one position where ‘winning’ the combine is nearly meaningless. Losing the combine can be a red flag, but all running a fast 40 and having solid drill numbers says is that you’re likely athletic enough for a zone scheme. Fisher’s great numbers in Indy weren’t a fluke.
He is quick on the go and has a natural feel for working off double teams to the second level, but the Oregon tackle often plays too high when moving and wasn’t even as good as the two tackles above at engaging linebackers consistently. Strength in the run game is a serious issue for Fisher as he was not a people mover by any means. He drives through with his chest instead of locking out his arms and can get shed far too easily.
Like Clemmings and Scherff, Fisher also has technical issues in pass protection. He keeps his hands low and his punch too wide causing a myriad of problems for him. Despite his athleticism he opens the gate far too easily and allows defenders to bend the edge on him. 60% of Fisher’s pressures yielded came to his outside. This is extremely concerning considering Fisher pass blocked for just nine seven-step drops (or five-step from shot gun) all season long. Fisher is definitely another guy who could benefit from kicking inside to guard early on in his career.
Signature Stat: Fisher was only graded positively on 10.8% of his run blocks; that figure coming in 107th out of 241 tackles in the NCAA last year.
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