Offensive Tackles that fit the Bills’ Archetype

Series of articles that will attempt to match the Beane-McDermott archetypes with the players who may declare for this year’s draft.

The Archetype: When Dion Dawkins was drafted, Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane mentioned his qualities in their pressers, which we’ll take as our archetype for the OT position. They like their outside linemen to be versatile, have long arms, be athletic, be a “tough run blocker for this climate who controls the line of scrimmage”, be able to play both OT or OG, and play on the left or right side. I talked to Longball, DraftTek’s O-Line and Cowboys Analyst, about the kind of player the Bills should look for, and he said, “You’d need that hybrid type of tackle that Dallas has been drafting: athletic, with good quick feet, with a good kick slide. And it will depend on how high you are willing to draft them.” Longball specifically mentioned several players, including Hyatt, McGlinchey, Jones, Crosby, and Okorafor.

The Need: While it would seem that the Bills have plenty of tackles on board, one could argue that they are each flawed in some way. Cordy Glenn missed 5 games in 2016 and 6 of 12 preseason/regular season games this year, while playing well when he started (In 69 snaps this year, 1 sack and 3 pressures, and a 3rd-fewest 17 pressures last year). Seantrel Henderson was suspended 10 games for managing Crohn’s Disease pain with marijuana (don’t get me started). Jordan Mills is a turnstile. In 2016, PFF had RT Jordan Mills giving up 8 sacks and 57 total QB pressures over 596 pass-blocking snaps, fourth-worst among NFL Tackles. Mills was also penalized 7 times. Face it: the injuries of Cordy Glenn have delayed the obvious fix of putting Dawkins in Mills’ place. Mills’ performance has only been made worse by the play of RG John Miller. A waiver claim from the Pats in September, UCLA’s Conor McDermott (no relation) is the third string, a 2017 sixth-rounder who has upside. The 2017 draft class was one of the weakest in a decade, but the 2018 crop is much better. The Bills used more “power” or “gap” schemes in 2015 and 2016, and OC Rick Dennison and OL Coach Juan Castillo brought in more “zone” blocking schemes (ZBS), which often use heavier linemen (see Brown or McGloster below). They’ve since reverted to using a mix of blocking schemes, favoring more-athletic linemen. Many teams may reach for OL this year, as the need exceeds value. Thirteen DraftTek analysts report that OL is either a top need or a 2nd-to-top priority draft need, and seven were picked before day 3 last year. It’s math.

Which players in the 2018 NFL Draft are the best fits for The Process? Some Potential Fits:

  • Brian O’Neill  Pittsburgh
    6-5, 300, 5.04
    O’Neill has won SB Nation’s Piesman Trophy for Offensive Linemen, and has two TDs (20-yard screen vs Georgia Tech, and a 5-yard end-around with a dive to the end zone vs Virginia Tech). It helps to have a guy who’s experienced at the “Tackle-Eligible” play, especially since it was on a lateral from Nate Peterman. O’Neill’s excellent agility and wheels won’t go unnoticed at the Combine, and he’s the definition of versatile. Last year he played RT, and he’s moved to the blind side this year. Pro Football Focus gave O’Neill its highest pass-blocking efficiency rating (99.6) last year as a right tackle, and that would be an ideal upgrade for the Bills, particularly if they continue to do less zone blocking. Bills scouts haven’t been officially credentialed for any Pittsburgh games yet, but Pitt travels to Va Tech on November 18 and hosts Miami on Friday, November 24, so those are possibilities. He’s ranked 35th right now on DraftTek’s Big Board, so he may drift into Day 2, but don’t count on using the Bills’ RD2A on him.  Potential Fit For Bills: A

 

  • Mitch Hyatt  Clemson
    6-5, 295, 5.05
    Hyatt protected the blind side of Deshaun Watson (Texans) in his sophomore year. He’s an elite run blocker who started 35 of his 36 opportunities over three years. That’s going to sit very well with McBeane, given the Bills’ OT situation. Hyatt’s improved in many areas in the last three years, but especially noticeable are his kick slide, use of hands in pass protection, getting out of his stance faster, and “sitting in his chair” to combat the better edge rushers, although he can get overpowered if the QB hangs on too long (a potential non-fit). The other reservation is that he has one more year of eligibility. Hyatt’s RD2#51 on our board, so he’s in the RD2B range if he declares. Bills scouts have been to a Clemson game. This is one of Longball’s recommendations.
    Potential Fit For Bills: A-

 

  • Mike McGlinchey  Notre Dame
    6-7, 310, 5.22
    I hesitate to put McGlinchey on this list of fits. He sure has the personal and physical attributes, but there is disagreement about his pass protection fit at LT. For this reason, I’ve seen McGlinchey in mocks from RD1 to RD3. The RD1 argument: McGlinchey received a first-round grade from the NFL aleady, but chose to come back to try to win a national championship. On the RD3 side, Tony Pauline was quoted as saying, “I struggle to see him holding down the left tackle spot on Sunday”. It’s plays like this that have scouts scratching their heads (of course, Bradley Chubb can do that). McGlinchey’s comp is the Ravens’ RD5 pick Ricky Wagner, who just got paid $9M a year to play for the Lions. McGlinchey has the McBeane leadership merit badge, and he’d definitely be a locker room and community gem. He’ll go to a team who employs a strong run game — another McDermott requirement — but his pass pro is inconsistent, despite better-than-good OL coaching at Notre Dame. But if you watch #68 McGlinchey and #58 Quenton Nelson together, you see players working in tandem. That’d be nice to see in Buffalo. We’ll call McGlinchey a right tackle with eventual LT upside.
    Potential Fit For Bills: A-

 

  • Jackson Barton Utah
    6-6, 310, 5.14
    McBeane looks for players with a great work ethic, and here’s one. Barton’s been on the PAC12 Team of the Week more than once, even when his team lost the game. He plays to the whistle and uses effort and technique, in addition to strength, to neutralize his man. He redshirted his first season, he has an athletic mom (volleyball) and dad (football, baseball), and his brother is a LB on defense, so the DNA’s there. The Bills haven’t scouted Utah yet, even for the Utes’ near-upset at Darnold’s USC and Utah’s rout of UCLA 41-17. He’s not on many mocks.
    Potential Fit For Bills: A-

 

  • Jamar McGloster Syracuse
    6-6, 330, 5.33
    The Bills could go right down the thruway for Syracuse redshirt senior right tackle “Moo” McGloster. For a majority of the year, he and junior LT Cody Conway have been rated highly in Pro Football Focus’s weekly work (Conway 81.0, McGloster 77.2). McGloster shows flexibility in position, even splitting out as a WR in a Five-Wide package, and has played successfully at varying weights from 302 to 330. He’s a locker-room favorite — another box checked. Moo needs a heavy dose of Juan Castillo in run blocking, but he is a strong Day-3 value. Would the Bills take a flyer on a local prospect with upside in addition to an earlier D-Lineman? You bet.
    Potential Fit For Bills: A-

 

  • Brendan Mahon  Penn St
    6-3, 315, 5.06
    Versatility will be a calling-card for Mahon as it was for Dawkins; he may end up as a RT, RG, or C in the pros. Opening holes for Heisman front-runner Saquon Barkley, Mahon has shown a vector of consistent improvement and could move way up this list if healthy. He’s an ideal blend of size and athleticism. He’ll pass the leadership test at One Bills Drive, as Mahon and linemate Andrew Nelson showed it with the Nittany Line. Watch recent games or early games in 2016 for a true taste of Mahon’s ability, as his season ended due to injury last year in week 10. He has the level of toughness McDermott’s mentioned, and Penn State head coach James Franklin remarks,”When he hits ya it’s like getting hit with two cinder blocks. It really is.”  Mahon is a redshirt senior, and mocks have him in RD5-7 right now. Expect earlier after the Combine.
    Potential Fit For Bills: A-

 

  • Orlando Brown  Oklahoma
    6-7, 340, 5.44
    Although he’s at 196 on DraftTek’s Big Board, Brown sits atop my “Castillo McBeane Leaderboard” with PFF’s highest run-block grade. He fits the “nasty” moniker, and “long arms” is an understatement (an almost-7-foot wingspan makes it hard to get downtown around Brown). At the time of this writing, Brown hadn’t allowed a QB pressure in 124 pass plays, so he’s not just a run blocker. He has the DNA working for him, too, as his father, ‘Zeus’ Brown, started at LT for 11 years for the Ravens and Browns. He’s versatile. He’s a RT prospect who is a Pro Bowl Guard, at worst. The Bills need one of those, too. Having fallen from “top draft pick” in September (too high to begin with), to #3 OT in October, to RD1#27  a couple of weeks ago, Brown’s stock is all over the map. It may be a moot point, as Brown has one more year of eligibility. He’s not the most athletic, and not consistently intense, both of which don’t raise the needle on the “Castillo McBeane”-o-Meter. Bills scouts saw Brown recently at the Oklahoma-OK State game. Here’s a thorough Scouting Report.
    Potential Fit For Bills: B+

 

  • Chukwuma Okorafor  Western Michigan
    6-5, 333, 5.39
    “Chukes” Okorafor hadn’t played the game of American football when he arrived in the USA from Botswana seven years ago. In 2016, though, he’d learned enough to be a backup OT, and worked hard to become the starting right tackle this fall. This would be the biggest sleeper pick the Bills could make, as he’s still a huge project — low floor, but very high ceiling. Longball says he has very good footwork for a 333-pound guy. The effort is a definite fit, and sometimes O-Line coaches like projects because they haven’t the muscle memory for doing something wrong. The Bills’ need for OT, like Beane always says, is for now as well as later. DraftTek has him as the #15 OT prospect, #253, so he’d be the second lineman taken by the Bills, not the first. Western Michigan hasn’t been scouted, to our knowledge.
    Potential Fit For Bills: B+

 

  • Tyrell Crosby  Oregon
    6-5, 310, 5.29
    Crosby is most likely a guard in the NFL, and at worst a better RT than Mills. While he’s a four-year mainstay on the Ducks’ offensive line, giving Crosby an uptick on the Fit-O-Meter, he missed all but 2 games in 2016. Healthy once again, Crosby has assumed a leadership role on the line, as he’s playing with 4 sophomores. Stock up again. He has long arms (check), an affable demeanor (check), and lots of tackle experience (check).  Watch #73’s push and leg drive on this goal-to-go play. Here’s a Scouting Report that’s more dismal than Crosby really is. Bills scouts have been at one Oregon game. Looks like RD3 to me, and if the Bills take a guard earlier, then this may be about right. 
    Potential Fit For Bills: B

Other Potential Fits:

  • Geron Christian LT / RT Louisville
    6-5, 314, 5.33
    Geron’s brother is TE Gerald Christian, a recent Bill. Started Fr year at LT, now 3rd season at LT. A “flip” scheme has him playing LT and RT, he’s a pre-business major, Aca All-ACC, HM All-ACC on field. He has body control, a nasty streak, and athleticism (basketball). The Bills have scouted Louisville twice.
  • Austin Corbett OG/ RT Nevada
    6-4, 300, 5.15
    Wicked smart, has Bachelor’s degree, working toward surgeon, married to volleyball star, started 37 of 38 games at LT, one of Nevada coaches was Brian Polian (Bill’s son)
  • Joseph Noteboom OT / OG TCU
    6-5, 322, 5.00
    Getting attention with each win TCU has put up. Has great flexibility for position and scheme. Has quick feet and kick slide, good movement skills, athletic-looking when he pulls. Decent skills in pass protection, but needs NFL weight room, as he’s lacking in functional power for the run game.
  • Cody Conway  LT  Syracuse
    6-5, 295, 5.04
    Perhaps a better candidate than McGloster if Bills stick with varied blocking schemes. Has another year of eligibility, and will likely take it.

 

 

 

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