In the late rounds of the draft, most guards and centers all look the same. They have obvious flaws and for various reasons aren't viewed as immediate impact players.
However, every year a handful of interior linemen selected late in the draft go on to have long careers, and many will eventually end up in the Pro Bowl.
Matt Stankiewitch is among the flawed linemen in this year's class, but there are reasons to believe he may be among those who develop later in his career.
Stankiewitch is an old-school lineman who wins with physical strength. He can excel in the power run game and does an excellent job driving his man off his spot.
Scouts have praised him for his blue-collar work ethic, which will endear him to coaches in the NFL:
While Stankiewitch would fit nicely into a 1970s offensive line, he lacks the athleticism that many teams are looking for in linemen these days. With more teams running zone-blocking schemes and read-option offenses, linemen such as Stankiewitch simply aren't on the radar of certain teams.
Stankiewitch is among the strongest linemen in this year's class, but he lacks the dominant size to make up for his below-average athleticism.
He put up 27 reps on the bench press at the combine but only weighed in at 302 pounds. Teams that do target slower, stronger interior linemen typically prefer them to weigh in the range of 315 to 330 pounds.
Aside from missing six games with mono in 2010, Stankiewitch has otherwise remained healthy throughout his career.
He's an intelligent lineman who was mentored by former teammate and close friend Stefen Wisniewski, who is now with the Oakland Raiders
Stankiewitch will probably be limited to playing in a man-blocking scheme. He will dominate certain matchups due to his strength, but he lacks the athleticism to block on the move.
Elite bull-rushing nose tackles can push Stankiewitch around, but he holds his ground fairly well against the average linemen. He lacks dominant strength to consistently finish off his blocks, and is somewhat of a bend-but-don't-break lineman, but he gets the job done.
When matched up against more athletic interior linemen, Stankiewitch struggles. He lacks the foot quickness to recover when he's beat off the snap.
In short-yardage situations, Stankiewitch is the ideal interior lineman. He plays with excellent leverage and can clear one or two yards of space with ease.
However, he struggles to get to the second level or make any blocks on the move.
Blocking In Space/Recovery
Stankiewitch is at his best in tight quarters. When defensive linemen don't have the space to maneuver around him, he can control them. As soon as the defensive linemen have room to move, however, Stankiewitch loses the battle.
His footwork simply isn't up to the caliber that many NFL teams require in today's blocking schemes.
Stankiewitch made 15 career starts at guard and 12 at center, and he could easily play either position in the NFL. He will always be limited by his athleticism, and certain coaches may never consider him a viable option for their scheme.
However, due to the fact that Stankiewitch has only two years of starting experience and is regarded as one of the more hard-working and intelligent players in this class, there is reason to believe he will continue to improve.
As Stankiewitch refines his technique and learns the nuances of the game, he could develop into a quality lineman in the right scheme.