Coming out of Allen High School (Texas), there weren’t many more accolades Greg Little could’ve pocketed. He was named a first team All-American by USA TODAY and Max Preps and displayed his talents in the Under Armour All-America game. The top ranked offensive line recruit in the 2016 class, Little joined Heisman winning quarterback Kyler Murray (graduated in 2015) in bringing home two Texas state championships and posting a 46-1 record during his starting tenure.
Little proved his high-recruit billing in his first season at the University of Mississippi receiving freshman All-America praise. He played in every game and locked down the last five starts of the year. He then started 24 consecutive games in his next two seasons taking home first team All-SEC and second team All-America honors in his final season. Little finished his career at Ole Miss playing in all 36 games stringing together 29 consecutive starts before declaring for the NFL Draft in December.
Little shows glimpses of being a top tier tackle in the class but the glimpses are only a flash in the pan. The former Ole Miss tackle proves his strength is next level worthy having the lower body strength to anchor all levels of power. He is still a work in progress being able to absorb that power and shoot it back into the defender but being able to gather himself and not lose much ground when being power rushed is a step into the right direction.
Despite having enough vigor to play in the sand with powerful defenders, only a percentage is used because of poor hand placement and body technique. Little struggles to consistently hit his target in the chest to gain leverage and extension advantages. The tackle prospect habitually shoots his hands outside the numbers in both elements of the game giving the defender an easy opportunity to win the battle.
Little’s below average hand placement in the passing game mostly stems from a late punch. He doesn’t have a swift initial punch to gain an instant advantage on his matchup. Actually, it’s a trend that the edge rusher will lay hands on Little before he even shoots his out. The left tackle prospect has to result in latching on to the outer part of the defender, giving the rusher an easy task of disengaging and controlling the matchup. This was on display a few times versus Texas Tech.
The very next play the same thing occurs. Little is extremely powerful but loses nearly half of that because of poor technique. pic.twitter.com/pwn3dBIubR— Christian Page (@_ChristianPage) September 13, 2018
Because of poor hand placement (high and wide), Little’s body leverage suffers. To reach his maximum strength and balance, Little must do a better job at dropping his weight and hitting more of a central target with his hands. His poor body technique eliminates mostly all anchoring ability he can demonstrate by having a small dosage of horse power. He also suffers from the occasional false step, once again, preventing him from reaching full power potential in his reps.
Little shows instances of being rushed possibly due to being a tick slow off the snap. He will occasionally display an over aggressive and out of control punch that defenders can quickly identify and counter. Though most coaches want more of an aggressor than a hugger in the trenches, Little’s sporadic placement and timing pave way for the bookend tackle to suffer the consequences of being more of a patient pocket protector.
When Little times the snap well in pass sets, he displays all-star traits. He showcases elite-level hand fighting ability even when dealing with quick hitters at the chest. He has the upper body quickness to counter quick jabs and movements while displaying a calm and balanced pass set.
Three reps versus Auburn that Little (74) looks controlled and comfortable.— Christian Page (@_ChristianPage) January 7, 2019
Does well to fight with upper limbs while also moving lower body. In the last play, shows off his upper body strength in recovery. pic.twitter.com/Ypdcof8e1z
His kick slide can be viewed as choppy and unrefined when working on the exterior but he finds ways for it not to be his downfall thanks to sinking his hips and covering enough ground to seal the edge. Concerning his kick slide, Little will get knocked off his base frequently showing a theme of beginning his steps on his heels throwing off his balance when contact is initiated.
With his 325-pound mass, it’s obvious to note that Little has the potential to be a bully in the run game. Though not on a consistent basis, he shows the aggression and pad level to grind out run defenders left and right. However, again, he shows a lack in consistent pad level and hand technique that will handicap any potential power. Wanting to see more of a mauler in the run game given his stature, Little will disappoint in that regard. The junior will lose the leverage battle, as already noted, as his pads habitually rise through contact while attempting to churn out an effective leg drive.
Despite the current state of being labeled as a top-tier tackle prospect, Little has more than a laundry list of improvements to reach that billing. His sporadic hand placement paves way for unneeded leverage battles. He will partner his below average placement with poor pad level which stagnates any power he can unleash.
Even with his deficiencies, Little shows the potential to be coached up into being a starter with average feet and a handful of power. His power is shown through a strong punch when initiated appropriately, a powerful grip when hitting his target and an anchor to absorb contact.
Gauging Little’s draft projection is tough. The media perception is a first round lock, though, he should not be described to that caliber. The team that takes Little must be patient if wanting to reach his full potential. Little has tools to work with but failed to consistently string them altogether in his three seasons in Oxford. His resume says first round player, but his film says early Day 3 prospect.