Draftee Analysis Offensive Tackle- 03/14/2001
The 49ers are notorious for ignoring the offensive line come draft day, and putting together a patchwork line as the off-season progressed. In the past this method has been remarkably effective, largely due to the late Bobb McKittrick - who was a wonder at his position. Pat Morris, the current offensive line coach has shown much promise, and created an offensive line last season that allowed the team to put up great offensive numbers, including an extremely low amount of sacks. Still, the 49ers line is aging, and the 49ers will need some help for this position in the coming seasons. The team already has youngsters that are beginning to develop, but landing a top ten offensive tackle in this draft may prove to be an important building block for the future of the team.
This years draft has several promising offensive tackle prospects. The group is lead by Leonard Davis and Kenyatta Walker. The two are definitely the best the draft has to offer, and will likely go rather early in the draft. If the 49ers were to pursue either of them, it would likely mean that they would trade down slightly in the first round.
Leonard Davis…6'5"…335 lbs…5.4/40
Davis is clearly the best offensive tackle in the draft. Formerly a defensive tackle, he made the transition in 1998. The experience on both sides of the ball clearly allowed him to ease his way into the new position. He has good size, balance, and a long reach. Scouts have been impressed with his footwork. Davis is an extremely agile and quick man for his size. About the only worry with Davis are large fluctuations in his weight. Otherwise, Davis could very well go in the top ten of this season's draft.
Kenyatta Walker…6'4"…320 lbs…5.13/40
Known primarily for his pass blocking, Walker is a very promising talent. He is extremely quick for a man his size, and roles well with the defenders. Walkers has played on both the right and left side of the line, thus giving him a very well rounded tackle experience. Walker is not that well known as a run blocker, but when given the opportunity proved to be effective in this role too. The largest knock on Walker is that he does sometimes get lazy and quit on plays, he must also learn to role his hips when blocking. Walker has great potential, especially if he can add ten more pounds to his frame.
Marques Sullivan…6'4"…320 lbs…NA/40
Sullivan is another tackle that has played on both the right and left side of the line. He has nice size, and is quite strong. Sullivan excels as a pass protector, and has good footwork. He does however need to work on using his arms more to block a defenders initial move.
Jeff Backus…6'5"…300 lbs…5.12/40
A student of the game, Backus is a top offensive tackle prospect. He has proven to be one of the most technically sound tackles to come out of college in quite some time. He is quick and agile, and recognizes complex defensive schemes quickly. Backus has shown good balance and would be a solid addition to any team. At only 300 lbs Backus could use a little more weight and also must learn to leg drive in run blocking.
Maurice Williams…6'5"…302 lbs…5.19/40
Williams is an extremely versatile player who started his college career as a defensive tackle. He made the transition in 1998 to the offensive side of the ball, but as an offensive guard. He later moved to tackle. A very athletic player, who reads and reacts well. He is a natural pass blocker, but does need to work on his feet. He could also stand to gain ten to fifteen pounds.
Brandon Wiley…6'6"…300 lbs…NA/40
Wiley is an athletic tackle that plays primarily on the right side. He has really good reach, and uses it effectively to push defenders outside. He also maximizes the use of his hands when run blocking, resourcefully opening up holes. He is a little light for his height, and could stand to put on ten to twenty pounds to really make it as a pro.
Chris Brown…6'5"…315 lbs…NA/40
Brown is a very agile tackle that is effectively used in the run game. His speed and agility allow him to add versatility to an offensive line, giving teams the ability to pull him into lead blocking situations throughout the course of a game. He is quick off the snap and gets good position on defenders. Brown needs some work on his pass protection as he was on a primarily run based offense in college.
Javis Borum…6'8"…330 lbs…NA/40
At 6'8" tall Javis Broum is a massive left tackle. His size allows him to have excellent reach that he uses effectively against oncoming defenders. At 330 pounds, Borum is an achor at left tackle that has showed consistent play and improvement in the position. Borum still needs some work in pass protection and at improving his technique.
Ryan Diem…6'6"…330 lbs…NA/40
Ryan Diem is another versatile player. He has played both the guard and tackle positions. His size allows him to maul defensive on comers. He is quick to the point of attack, but lacks any real speed explosiveness. At times he looks stiff and not athletic.
Omar Smith…6'3"…290 lbs…NA/40
Smith played primarily guard during his college years, but was also used as a tackle. He has good footwork, and can slide with a defender. He is a little small to be a pure tackle. Proof of that is his need to develop his run blocking skills, where he simply can't drive block defenders effectively.
Overall, there is a good bunch of offensive tackles available in the draft. The 49ers could really use the youth at this position even if it is just for depth in the initial season. I would be very surprised to see the team use the ninth overall pick on an offensive lineman, given the teams draft history. I would however be surprised if the team doesn't draft any offensive lineman.
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