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NFL Combine 2012: 5 Offensive Linemen Better Than Their Numbers

Vincent FrankCorrespondent IFebruary 25, 2012

NFL Combine 2012: 5 Offensive Linemen Better Than Their Numbers

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    Offense line is one of the hardest units to judge at the NFL Scouting Combine. You really don't get a great understanding of their ability with the generic drills like the 40-yard dash and 10-yard split.

    Instead, you have to look further into their performance in regards to the position-specific drills.

    For the offensive line that includes the kick slide drill, which emphasizes protection of the quarterback and lateral quickness on the outside. While this is a major focus for tackles, it is also important for pulling guards like David DeCastro.

    This article is going to focus on five players along the offensive line that performed much better than their numbers would indicate.

5. Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State

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    I could care less that Mike Adams ran the 40 in the mid-fives, that really doesn't matter to me. He showed above-average technique in the offensive line drills and showed why many have him skyrocketing up the draft boards.

    To much emphasis is placed on speed at the combine, which takes away from other factors that scouts look at when grading a player.

    His 19 reps in the bench press and pedestrian 28.5" vertical really doesn't bother me either. Adams got underneath the opposing defender in skills, showed great balance and was solid all day long.

    He is a first-round pick, without question.

4. Jeff Allen, OT, Illinois

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    Jeff Allen doesn't do anything great, but he doesn't really struggle in any single aspect of the game either. He is one of my favorite senior offensive linemen in the entire draft. With experience has come a much better technique as compared to other players at this position in the draft.

    He ran a relatively pedestrian 40, didn't lift worth much in the weight room and even struggled in the three-cone drill.

    With that said, Allen showed a great ability to get outside and protect his quarterback at the point of contact. He probably is only a mid-round pick at this point, but I am quickly becoming a fan of Allen. 

3. Kevin Zeitler, G, Wisconsin

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    Not as physically gifted as some of the top offensive line prospects in the draft, Zeitler sure does have NFL-ready technique at this early stage in his career.

    He has shown a strong ability to sidestep to the outside and pull on sweeps to both sides. These are two things that are rare when it comes to interior line prospects, and you can bet that scouts are taking notice of this in Indianapolis.

    The Wisconsin alum ran a 5.39 40-yard dash, but was more than decent in the 20-yard shuffle. He also showed an extensive ability to maul along the interior of the offensive line, continually pushing opposing defenses players back at the point of contact.

2. Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin

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    Much like his linemate at Wisconsin, Peter Konz isn't going to blow you away with generic measurements. He didn't lift well in the weight room, struggled a great deal in the 40 and wasn't strong in other aspects. 

    It is extremely hard to gauge center prospects at the combine. You really don't get a great feel of what they do great and what they struggle with.

    I will say that Konz was strong in regards to position-specific skills, showing great leverage up top and sticking on spot following immediate contact. There is a major disconnect between what we see on television as it relates to the combine and what scouts are looking for on the field in Indianapolis. They had to be impressed by Konz.

    Still the consensus top center in the draft.

David DeCastro, G, Stanford

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    The consensus No. 1 guard in the 2012 NFL draft, David DeCastro looked like he was struggling running the forty. By struggling, I mean that he was labored halfway through the drill.

    This only has an impact if you are asking him to follow a running back down field 50 yards, which just doesn't happen a lot in the NFL.

    DeCastro is simply a mauler, nothing less. He continually took bull rushers and threw them off the line in position specific drills today. In short, DeCastro looked darn dominating at times.

    He didn't do well in the broad jump or any other generic skills, but DeCastro just just had the look of a NFL ready guard on Saturday.

    The former Stanford All-American cemented his status as a top 10 pick.

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