Fourth Round, 107th Pick
As NFL offenses evolve, so too does the way teams scout prospects at certain positions.
Massive interior linemen such as Larry Allen are no longer the prototype for certain schemes. With more teams using a zone-blocking scheme and elements of the read-option, athletic interior linemen such as Brian Schwenke are becoming more valuable than ever.
Schwenke's best asset is his athleticism, which may be more valuable to NFL teams now than ever. More teams are running a zone-blocking scheme and some form of the read-option, both of which fit Schwenke's skill set perfectly.
It's tough to find a glaring weakness in Schwenke's game, but his limited strength is what holds him back most. In certain matchups, Schwenke simply lacks the ability to anchor against the bull rush and requires help, which may or may not be available depending on the situation.
Schwenke posted some eye-popping numbers at the combine, ranking among the top interior lineman in both agility and strength drills. His speed was expected, as it was clearly a strength of his on the field at California.
However, Schwenke's strength—he put up 31 reps on the bench press—came as a mild surprise. Based on how he plays, Schwenke appears to have more weight-room strength than functional strength.
Schwenke saw significant playing time throughout his four years at Cal, and started 36 games over his final three seasons at guard and center.
He has remained durable throughout his career, missing only one game due to illness once he earned a starting job.
By switching positions multiple times throughout his career, including a rare switch prior to his senior season, Schwenke demonstrated his willingness to do whatever it takes to help the team.
Schwenke is entering the league at the right time, as his ability to get down the field is a strength of his. Any team incorporating the read-option into their offense should strongly considerSchwenke at both guard and center.
While he will be particularly intriguing to teams running a read-option, he also possesses the more traditional skills of an interior lineman and should be able to excel in any scheme.
His experience in the zone-blocking scheme at Cal should allow for a smooth transition into the same system at the next level and he should definitely be viewed as a candidate to start immediately.
Schwenke's best asset is his athleticism, but he also has the strength to hold up against more physical interior lineman. He often needs help against nose tackles, but he can hold his ground in one-on-one matchups in short spurts.
His ability to quickly drop back and get set after the snap helps him tremendously in pass protection. Schwenke lacks the elite size and strength to recover, so his ability to consistently get set before engaging with a defensive lineman is key to his success.
Schwenke lacks the overall strength to dominate against the run, but he gets the job done. While his testing numbers are impressive, his functional strength just doesn't match his performance at the combine.
He's far from a liability as a run blocker, but he also isn't a guy who can be relied upon to consistently blow open holes in the interior line.
On the move, however, Schwenke is an asset. He gets down the field quickly and can pick up multiple blocks on a single play.
Blocking In Space/Recovery
Schwenke isn't overpowering, so he will get pushed around at times. However, his athleticism allows him to move with the defender and hold him off, even if he struggles to control the direction of the pass-rusher at times.
Schwenke is extremely active and physical when engaged. However, sometimes he gets a little overaggressive and his technique gets sloppy.
When Schwenke falls off blocks, it's often due to his overaggressive tendency. He tries to do too much, and sometimes needs to be content to simply hold his ground. He doesn't need to finish off every block in order to be successful—sometimes simply holding ground is more than enough.
Schwenke started at least eight games at each of the interior line positions in college, and can play any of the three at the next level. He actually has more experience at guard than center at this stage of his career, but his athleticism makes him an ideal candidate to remain at center in zone-blocking scheme in the NFL.
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