C Chris Spencer
Height: 6-2 7/8 Weight: 309 Speed: 5.24
Notes: Married with a son. Redshirted in 2001 and saw action as a reserve in all 13 games in ’02. Started 5-of-13 games at center in '03. Started all 11 games at center in '04, concluding his Ole Miss career without allowing a sack. Opted to forgo his final season of eligibility and was drafted in the first round (26th overall) of the '05 draft. Appeared in seven games without a start as a rookie. Played guard and center in '06, starting 13-of-16 games. Following the retirement of Robbie Tobeck, took over the center position full-time and has started all 48 games in which he has played from 2007-10. Played right guard the final three games of the ’09 season. Played with a dislocated right (snapping) thumb in late December '07. Underwent shoulder and wrist surgeries prior to the '08 season and dealt with a bulging disc in his back during training camp. In December, went on injured reserve (herniated disc) and missed the final five games. Missed the first two games of the '09 season as he was nursing a quadriceps injury. Signed a one-year, $2.42 million restricted free-agent tender prior to the '10 season.
Positives: Has good size, natural athletic ability and movement skills. Good snap-and-step quickness. Generally plays on his feet. Good balance in pass protection — is able to place his hands, sink his weight and mirror. Can work his hips around and seal running lanes. Locks on and steers defenders to open creases. Good quickness to get out to the second level and in front of screen plays. Is not stressed by speed and is able to run rushers beyond the pocket. Has played guard and center.
Negatives: Is a bit high-cut for the position, and his play strength is just average. Struggles to anchor against widebodies (pushed into the backfield by Broncos NT Jamal Williams). Does not shock defenders with his punch. Average body control and sustain (slips off some blocks). Lets defenders cross his face. Inconsistent fits on the second level — struggles to adjust to a moving target. Has a finesse playing temperament and lacks a mean streak (not a finisher). Durability has been an issue and has struggled to stay healthy.
Summary: An inconsistent, positional seal blocker best suited for a zone system, Spencer was overdrafted and has not lived up to expectations of his first-round status, in part because of injuries, though he has shown signs of improvement despite ace O-line coach Alex Gibbs abandoning ship just prior to the season. Is a better pass blocker than run blocker, as he does not generate power from his lower half in order to create a surge, particularly against massive nose tackles. Spencer is an adequate starter who generally handles average competition, but is challenged when he has to raise his game.