Developmental O-linemen to groom

Posted April 20, 2012 @ 10:32 a.m.
Posted By PFW staff

This is the fifth in a series of 10 features profiling late-rising prospects from the pro-day circuit or developmental talent that just missed the cut in PFW's 2012 Draft Preview, offering a more condensed scouting report than the 400-plus in this year's Draft Preview. Results from nearly 200 pro days are now featured online in PFW's draft database.

Anonymity long has been synonymous with the offensive line trench mentality. Accordingly, with the exception of franchise blind-side protectors, which are identified and plucked in the first round, history shows NFL teams can find serviceable linemen deep in the draft and beyond. Look no further than Brian Waters, Jeff Saturday, Kris Dielman, Harvey Dahl or Brandon Moore — all were undrafted. The following players, listed alphabetically, could burrow their way onto a roster:

ORG-ORT James Carmon, #77
Mississippi State            PFW grade: 4.90
Ht: 6-5 3/4 | Wt: 331 | Sp: 5.29 | Arm: 33 7/8 | Hand: 9 3/8
Notes: Also played basketball as a Maryland prep. Failed to qualify academically and attended Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College for two seasons, where he played defensive tackle. Recorded 18 tackles and three for loss (all sacks) in 2008 (seven games) and 32-1-3 in ’09 (nine games). Played all 13 games with the Bulldogs in ’10, starting three, and was credited with 8-0-0 and a batted pass. Converted to offensive tackle in ’11 and started 10-of-11 games played (played right guard against Georgia). Hurt his left knee against Auburn and missed two games. Yielded a start to Blaine Clausell against UAB and split snaps with the freshman during the season.
Bottom line: Junior-college recruit and converted defensive tackle with a large wingspan and grip strength to control rushers or wash defenders down the line in the run game. Bends at the waist and spends too much time on the ground. Is slow-footed and struggles to adjust/recover. Concerning character and underacheiver traits — weight has fluctuated and ceded playing time to an underclassman. Raw, unsophisticated, developmental mauler who is probably best-suited for guard.
NFL projection: Priority free agent.

C-OG Gino Gradkowski, #56
Delaware            PFW grade: 5.09
Ht: 6-2 3/4 | Wt: 299 | Sp: 5.28 | Arm: 31 3/4 | Hand: 8 3/4
Notes: Brother, Bruce, is a quarterback for the Bengals. Gino was a two-way lineman and four-year starter who also played basketball as a Pennsylvania prep. Began his college career at West Virginia, where he redshirted in 2007 and saw action in one game in ’08. Seeking playing time, transferred to Delaware and started all 11 games at right guard in ’09. Moved to left guard and started all 15 games in ’10. Started all 11 games in ’11 — seven at left guard, four at center. Team captain.
Bottom line: Smart, tough, competitive West Virginia transfer with NFL bloodlines who played three spots in college, but likely projects as a center or swing backup guard in the pros. Size is just adequate, as he lacks ideal bulk and length, and his athletic ability and play strength rate as just average. Plays hard, shows awareness and vision to handle in-line movement and takes pride in his craft.
NFL projection: Seventh-round pick.

OT Dennis Kelly, #77
Purdue            PFW grade: 5.12
Ht: 6-8 1/8 | Wt: 321 | Sp: 5.37 | Arm: 33 1/2 | Hand: 9 3/4
Notes: Brother, Tim, was a four-year starter and team captain as a defensive tackle at Eastern Illinois and serves as a graduate assistant at Ball State. Dennis prepped in suburban Chicago, where he was a 240-pound tight end who also played basketball. Was slated to greyshirt, but put on enough weight to garner a scholarship and appeared in five games as a true freshman in 2008. Moved into the starting lineup and started all 37 games at left tackle from 2009-11. Team captain and two-time team offensive MVP.
Bottom line: Tall, lean, high-waisted, finesse pass protector still growing into his frame — needs to continue filling out and getting stronger. Tough and durable. Places his hands and can pop and recoil. Plays upright, shows some stiffness and struggles to quickly redirect or cut off fast-flowing linebackers. Experienced, three-year starter with terrific football character and a team-first attitude.
NFL projection: Sixth- to seventh-round pick.

OLG Nick Mondek, #62
Purdue            PFW grade: 5.20
Ht: 6-5 3/4 | Wt: 304 | Sp: 4.86 | Arm: 33 3/8 | Hand: 9 1/4
Notes: Prepped in Illinois and was recruited as a defensive lineman, redshirting in 2007. Appeared in all 12 games in '08 (wore jersey No. 99) and recorded seven tackles without a tackle for loss or sack. Played 11 games in '09, tallying 8-3-2. Did not play against Michigan State (leg). Converted to right tackle and started all 12 games in '10. Started all 12 games at right guard in '11.
Bottom line: Big-framed, well-proportioned, converted defensive tackle and terrific foot athlete — ran the 40-yard dash in the high 4.8s at 300 pounds, including an unheard of 1.59-second 10-yard split, and recorded elite times in the short shuttle (4.55 seconds) and 3-cone drill (7.3 seconds). Has good feet and stature to position, lean and seal. Explosive pulling and leading through the hole. Is relatively raw — has only two seasons at guard under his belt and is not instinctive or anticipatory. Power and violence elements are lacking and he needs to get stronger in order to improve his ability to sustain and finish. Will require patience, but is draftable late based on size and workout numbers and has clear developmental value.
NFL projection: Sixth- to seventh-round pick.

C-OLT Jason Slowey, #54
Western Oregon           PFW grade:
4.90
Ht
: 6-2 1/2 | Wt: 303 | Sp: 5.07 | Arm: 33 1/8 | Hand: 9 3/4
Notes: Also participated in basketball and track and field as an Oregon prep. Redshirted in 2007. Played nine games in ’08 and made three starts (two at right guard, one at left tackle). Started all 32 games at left tackle 2009-11. Also was a standout thrower on the Western Oregon track-and-field team.
Bottom line
: Good-sized, long-armed, athletic Division II left tackle who engages quickly, works his hips and can slide and mirror. Shows foot speed, balance and body control to project to center in the pros, though he will have to answer questions about anchor strength and sustain ability. Is smart, plays aggressively and flashes some nastiness. Has moldable physical ability as a developmental conversion project.
NFL projection: Priority free agent.

 

Other notable pro-day standouts:

ORT Steven Baker, East Carolina
Ht: 6-3 | Wt: 306 | Sp: 5.22 | Arm: 32 3/8 | Hand: 10 5/8
Tall, heavy-footed, waist-bending, short-area right tackle-only with an 83½-inch wingspan who depends on his upper body to keep rushers in check. Despite starting for only one season, posted a 32-inch vertical leap at his pro day and will get a chance to earn a backup job.

OT Chandler Burden, Kentucky
Ht: 6-4 | Wt: 315 | Sp: 5.07 | Arm: 33 1/2 | Hand: 9 3/8
A strong, hardworking, determined, converted defensive end, Burden who loves to play and it shows, as he brings his lunch pail to work and seeks the extra block. Intelligent, tough, competitive, team-first player with enough athletic ability to consider his intangible makeup and give him a shot to earn a job.

OG Justin Cheadle, California
Ht: 6-3 | Wt: 306 | Sp: 5.22 | Arm: 32 3/8 | Hand: 10 5/8
Adequate-sized, mobile zone blocker with good feet and hips who can combo-block, work to the second level and pull. Lacks ideal length and bulk — needs more sand in his pants and can be overpowered by big bodies.

C Grant Garner, Oklahoma State
Ht: 6-3 1/4 | Wt: 301 | Sp: 4.96 | Arm: 33 1/2 | Hand: 9
Smart, quick, light-footed center from a finesse, zone system. Plays with urgency and balance and is light on his feet to advance to the second level and seal linebackers. Is leaky in pass protection and needs to improve hand use.

C Tyler Horn, Miami (Fla.)
Ht: 6-3 5/8 | Wt: 297 | Sp: 5.31 | Arm: 33 | Hand: 9 1/2
Light in the pants and slow-footed, Horn competes, positions adequately and can execute combo blocks, but is short on length and functional strength. High character — praised for his dedication, work ethic and leadership.

ORT Jarvis Jones, Oklahoma
Ht: 6-6 1/2 | Wt: 304 | Sp: 5.19 | Arm: 36 3/8 | Hand: 9 7/8
College career was derailed by transfer from LSU and injuries, but sheer size and length will earn him a look — has extremely long arms and an enormous 87-inch wingspan. Competes and is coachable, though he is upper-body-dependent and bench-pressed 225 pounds only 18 times.

ORT Jon Opperud, Montana
Ht: 6-6 7/8 | Wt: 302 | Sp: 5.37 | Arm: 33 | Hand: 9 3/4
Tall, slow-footed, FCS blocker who played tackle and guard as a three-year starter. Relies on positioning and technique to control defenders, as he is not strong enough to generate power on his own. Is intelligent, tough and competitive, though his intangibles outpace his athletic ability.