David Yankey, OG, Stanford, (HT: 6’5⅝”; WT: 315 lbs)
Fifth Round: 145th Pick
+ Prospect with elite size who plays with excellent pad level.
+ Has good feet and keeps his head up through plays.
+ Phone-booth fighter in close spaces with nasty hands.
+ Stanford's first two-time football All-American since 1991.
- Can allow upfield penetration to low-anchoring, head-up defensive tackles in the run game.
- Hand and punch placement needs refinement.
- Many dominating run-block efforts came on double-teams, combos or "easy" down-blocks due to the nature of Stanford's man-power scheme.
- Lacks elite or even above-average athleticism in testing.
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Yankey has a quick first step upfield and can often resemble a cherry bomb popping out of his stance. Yankey's ability to keep a low center of gravity while remaining relatively balanced despite his height is a credit to his feet. Yankey stays on the balls of his feet in the run game and keeps pumping them through when he is in position to.
Yankey lacks straight-line speed as evidenced by his fourth-worst 40 time among offensive linemen at the 2014 NFL combine, but still exhibits consistently above-average feet on tape in functional football settings.
The angle in this .gif gives a good vantage point for examining the feet of David Yankey (LG No. 54) on a typical pass play. While the assignment is relatively easy on this slide-protection concept where Yankey knows he will have inside help from the center, Yankey still shows some good things with his feet.
He sets to proper depths and keeps his upfield. Evaluators will also notice that Yankey's feet give him the ability to keep his power base lowered and less vulnerable to being ripped under or through on conversion moves from opposing pass-rushers.
MOTOR, TOUGHNESS, EXPLOSIVENESS AND POWER
In the power department, Yankey threw up a few red flags with his relatively disturbing 22 bench reps that the NFL combine. Yankey improved this number to 25 at his pro day per the Stanford Athletic Department, which would still land him well in the bottom half among offensive line participants at the NFL combine.
There were no tests in which Yankey showed off a high level of explosion within the combine and/or workout setting. What evaluators will take solace in, though, is that on tape, Stanford would run behind Yankey at an alarmingly high rate in must-get "to-go" situations. Here we see Yankey showing excellent leg drive and power to get an anchored-down 3-technique off of his spot and driven upfield in a situation where the opposition knew exactly what was coming and still couldn't hang.
QUICKNESS, AGILITY AND BALANCE
Judging by his combine numbers, it would be hard to expect Yankey to possess traits like agility and balance the way he seems to in the review of his film.
Here we see Yankey pulling into free space to kick out the end on this designed power concept. Yankey gets out of his stance with a low, quick step as usual and gets to his spot in plenty of time to execute his assignment. He engages with good positioning and balance. One negative evaluators will notice on this play—that is the main knock on Yankey's otherwise-good feet—is that he quits moving them once the play has passed.
RUN BLOCKING AND PASS BLOCKING
Yankey comes from a noted and historic power-running program at Stanford. Despite poor testing through the 2014 NFL draft evaluation process, he has put on film not only the ability to drive defenders off of their spots in close spaces, but also to serve as a functionally agile blocker in free space and at the second level. Yankey keeps excellent pad level and generates a significant amount of explosion with a great first step upfield.
Here we see some of Yankey's best attributes coming through as a pass-blocker. Yankey absorb initial contact from the defense like a tree stump and keeps his hip pointers lined up with the opposition. As he moves his feet and slides, evaluators will see Yankey is also successfully combatting hand punches and slaps from the defensive tackle in his attempts to gain position. Yankey is settled in nicely and showing once again that he is an extremely tough competitor to get off of in close spaces.
Alex Dunlap is an NFL Featured Columnist. All quotes and information gained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow Alex Dunlap on Twitter - @AlexDunlapNFL