About the Author
Recent posts by Nolan Nawrocki
OLG Ben Grubbs
Height: 6-2¾ Weight: 311 Speed: 5.21
Notes: High school fullback-defensive end who also played four years of basketball as an Alabama prep. Redshirted at Auburn University in 2002 as a defensive tackle before appearing in nine games as a blocking tight end in '03. Made the conversion to left guard and started all 38 games his final three seasons (2004-06) for the Tigers. Was selected 29th overall by the Ravens in '07 draft and signed a five-year, $8 million contract ($5.2 million guaranteed). As a rookie, started the final 12-of-16 games at right guard before moving to left guard. Has started all 38 games since. Was recognized as a Pro Bowl alternate, as well as a PFW Midseason All-Pro in '09.
Positives: Very agile and light on his feet for a 300-plus-pounder. Rolls off the ball flat-backed, gets good fits and can seal defenders in the run game. Good agility to pull, trap and connect on the second level and keeps working to pick off defenders downfield. Has excellent balance, quick feet and is rarely on the ground. Can stop a charge in pass protection. Plays alert and is quick to react to the movement and recover when he gets out of position. Good positional instincts. Has a blue-collar work ethic and brings his lunch pail every day.
Negatives: Grubbs is light in the pants, struggles some handling massive widebodies one-on-one and can be controlled (see the Patriots game against Vince Wilfork). At times, he will let his pads rise on the move — he could play with more consistent leverage. Could become a more consistent finisher and play with more violence in his hands. Does not play with a physical or nasty temperament. Could stand to improve his base, functional strength and create more movement in the running game.
Summary: An agile, athletic, stretch-zone, wall-off blocker on a talented offensive line, Grubbs is best on the move where he can work angles and seal running lanes, and his effort, energy and hustle consistently shows up on tape. Competes hard, is assignment-sound and has been a very football-smart, dependable starter from Day One. He is a bit light in the pants, does not drive defenders off the line and could still become a better finisher, but he consistently gets the job done with great football smarts, balance and recovery speed.