Detroit Lions 2012 NFL Draft: Who Would You Rather? Offensive Line Edition
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No, I don't mean the juvenile (yet entertaining) game played by virtually every teenage boy in America. Instead, this will be my attempt at objectively scouting players and giving Detroit Lions fans an outlet for expressing which prospects they like better.
In this first article, we will look at offensive line prospects that the Lions might look to take with the No. 23 overall pick.
Among this group will be T/G Cordy Glenn, OC Peter Konz, LT Jonathan Martin and OT Mike Adams.
I chose these four gentleman, as I am under the assumption that players like David DeCastro, Matt Kalil and Riley Reiff are likely to be gone when the Lions are on the clock. I'm also assuming that fringe first-round players like Bobby Massie, Amini Silatolu and Kevin Zeitler are not in play unless the Lions move back in the first round.
Let the debate begin!
Disclaimer: I use YouTube footage for my analysis. This will be heavily scrutinized I'm sure, but I don't frankly care. This is for fun and if you don't like it, don't read what I have to say.
Jonathan Martin, LT, Stanford
Jonathan Martin #55, OT, Stanford
Jeff Backus has been a rock at LT for the Lions over his long career, but he is clearly in the twilight of his career and a successor is not likely to appear on the roster unless Jason Fox can somehow end his injury streak.
Jonathan Martin did line up at times at RT for Stanford, but is clearly better suited on the left side at the next level.
- Martin is very athletic in the run game and consistently gets to the second level and finds linebackers. In addition he's quite good in space on screen passes (check out the play at 4:13... pretty nice to have LT be your lead blocker on a bubble screen).
- He's great with his hands in pass protection and doesn't allow pass rushers to get their hands on him to use as leverage very often.
- Anchors well against bull rushes.
- Finishes his blocks and plays to the end of the whistle. Even when it's a stretch to the opposite side, Martin doesn't allow his man to pursue up field. It may seem like a trivial thing, but defenders coming from the backside are what turn potential home runs into singles.
- Is a natural knee bender (as opposed to a waist bender) which keeps him from overextending and getting beat.
- Is extremely quick off the snap and is often the first lineman to make contact with a defender.
- Good footwork in pass protection.
- Versatile enough to line up on the right side if necessary.
- Isn't all that powerful in the run game. Is often forced to wall off defenders instead of driving them down field.
- Doesn't look like it comes naturally to him sometimes. Seems to be more of a technician than a natural athlete in pass protection.
- Smaller speed rushers are an issue (example at 4:53). He has the athletic ability to recover from mistakes, but speed rushers can get him out of position.
Martin is never going to overwhelm people in the run game and is not exactly an elite pass protector at this point, but has the athletic ability to become one with some work. He is a perfect candidate for Detroit because he could compete with Cherilus on the right side from day one and has the skills to be Backus' eventual replacement.
Cordy Glenn, OT/G, Georgia
Cordy Glenn playing LT, #71
The entire right side of the Detroit Lions' line has been less than stellar the past few years.
Gosder Cherilus flashes games of brilliance, followed by "WTF?!"-type games. Stephen Peterman, on the other hand, has been consistently below average as a RG the past two seasons. Either or both of these men could be upgraded with Glenn as the pick at #23.
If the Lions were serious about wanting to run the ball more effectively in the coming years, Glenn would be an awesome addition.
- Is just a massive human being. At 6'5" and right around 350 pounds, you're not going to find many in the league who are bigger than this man.
- You also won't find anyone who can push him around consistently. He's strong as an ox and moves players around with ease.
- Surprisingly agile and athletic for someone his size. Shows good ability to get to the second level in the run game.
- Finishes blocks and plays with the mean streak you want to see in offensive linemen.
- Good luck trying to bull rush him.
- Not LT material, but is versatile enough to play RT/G effectively.
- His pass protection skills are just good enough to play outside.
- His feet look very sluggish at times and gets beat by speed on the edge.
- His height will allow shorter players to get leverage on him occasionally.
- Needs to improve his footwork.
- Lunges at defenders sometimes when trying to block in the open field.
If the Lions want a big, road-grading type offensive lineman to help in the run game, they should look no further. Glenn lacks a little polish but has the ability to start at RT or OG right away and shows an elite level of athleticism for a man his size.
There is definitely enough on upside to think that Glenn could be in the top five at his position someday.
Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
Adams playing LT, #75
As with Jonathan Martin, Mike Adams could be the eventual replacement for Backus. With his size and skill set, he could also be an ideal fit at RT.
- Ideal size for the position.
- Shows really good leg drive and technique in the running game and flashes dominance in this area.
- Finishes his blocks and plays to the whistle. The mean streak is definitely there, also.
- Is very athletic for his size and can get to the second level consistently.
- Gets really good leverage even against players who are much shorter.
- Mirrors pass rushers extremely well and rarely gets out of position.
- Quick feet for someone his size.
- Wide base and strong lower body make up for (perceived) lack of upper body strength.
- Character concerns. Suspended for 7 games total from 2009-2011 resulting from two different events.
- Bends at the waist sometimes, overextends himself and gets beat in pass protection too often.
- The talent and production don't quite match up. Inconsistent for his level of talent.
With the exception of Matt Kalil, Adams may have the most potential of any offensive lineman in this year's draft. He's got all of the physical skills you want in a pass protector and has already shown the ability to be a dominant run blocker.
However, he is widely regarded as having a high bust potential because of the incidents in college and a perceived lack of work ethic based on his poor showing on the bench at the combine. His interviews with the Lions will be key in determining their interest in this very talented prospect.
Peter Konz. OC, Wisconsin
Peter Konz #66, Center, Wisconsin
Dominic Raiola is another offensive lineman that has been a constant for the Lions over the last decade. He's a smart, tough leader who consistently gets the rest of the line in the correct position.He has been knocked (quite publicly, I might add), however, for years for his size and lack of strength.
This would just not be an issue with Peter Konz, who is 6'5" and 315 pounds. Konz would be able to play guard for a season or two while learning the ropes behind Dom.
- Extremely powerful in the run game, a true Big 10 and Wisconsin Badger lineman.
- Athletic enough to pull extremely well (2:18)
- Not easily bull rushed.
- Finishes blocks and plays to the whistle.
- Better athlete than you'd expect.
- Shows proper footwork in all facets.
- Has a very nice initial punch in pass protection to keep defenders at bay.
- Allowed very little pressure up the middle to keep Russell Wilson clean.
- Has he reached his ceiling?
- A tall center prospect and thus has the potential to lose leverage.
- Minor health concerns.
Konz was the anchor to Wisconsin's incredible run game the last few years. He's a polished and reliable player who could start at OG/C immediately and may be one of the safest picks in this year's draft as long as he doesn't have any health issues moving forward.
The question at #23 is whether position dictates he shouldn't be taken quite that high.
Who Would You Rather?
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Now it's your turn to play Martin Mayhew for the day.
Does positional value matter this high in the draft? Who do you think is the best prospect or the best fit for what the Lions do (or perhaps don't do so well) offensively?
Tell everyone in the comments section who you'd rather see in a Lions uniform next season!