Rookies in Focus: LaAdrian Waddle
Our offseason rookie breakdown started with the first round edge rushers and now it’s time to take a look at the other side of the line. Offensive tackles came off the board at a furious rate, with the 2013 draft perhaps as unique as any in recent history.
Here’s a look at the first round offensive tackles, with a couple other mid-round starters and even an undrafted free agent mixed in. This is by no means a definitive draft grade on any of these players, just a one-year look at their role and production, and perhaps a look forward to how they might improve.
Undrafted Free Agent: LaAdrian Waddle, Detroit Lions
Role: 8 starts at RT
Much like the Chicago Bears, the Lions found themselves starting two rookies on the right side with Waddle pairing with our Rookie of the Year Larry Warford. He saw his first action at left tackle filling in for Riley Reiff before setting in as the starter on the right side for eight of the last nine games.
It certainly wasn’t perfect as Waddle graded negatively in three of this eight games with extended action, but as an undrafted free agent, he opened some eyes and proved a valuable fill-in on the right side.
Pass Block Snaps: 326
Total Pressures: 25
Pass Blocking Efficiency: 94.0
There’s no doubting that the Lions’ quick hitting pass game helps their offensive line and it likely skews Waddle’s numbers a bit, but it was still an impressive showing, particularly for an undrafted rookie free agent. His performance was comparable to previous Detroit right tackles Corey Hilliard and Jason Fox.
Waddle only allowed eight knockdowns on the season while posting a stellar PBE of 94.0 and grading positively in five of his eight games.
Waddle bull rushed by Elvis Dumervil:
Run Block Snaps: 227
The running game is where Waddle separated himself from his predecessors, Hilliard and Fox, at least in his small 2013 sample. He graded positively in half of his games with extended action, but it was three separate +2.1 grades that put him over the top for the season. Waddle showed well climbing to the second level and more than held his own while blocking inline.
Waddle works off the double team and takes out Bruce Carter at the second level:
Obviously Waddle exceeded expectations in his first season with a strong overall showing. He’s certainly not a lock to continue his strong play after only 553 snaps of action and a pending scheme change, but he’ll likely get every opportunity to prove himself as the Lions’ long-term solution at right tackle.
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