A Guide To Scouting Prospective Recruits From College Football.
So far in the season the Lions interior offensive linemen play has been up and down. At the start of the season the Lions starting interior linemen were Laken Tomlinson at left guard, Travis Swanson at center, and Larry Warford at right guard. The only change up to this point in the season is that rookie Graham Glasgow has taken over the left guard spot.
Interior offensive line is not necessarily a major need for the Lions. All four of the players mentioned earlier are young and have shown at least some promise. However if the right situation occurs the Lions might try to add a guy who will stabilize the offensive line.
2017 Draft Class- Interior Offensive Linemen Options
This article will feature a few guys who can play guard or center at the next level, however if the Lions did go this direction in the draft they would most likely ask the player to play guard.
Three players that could step in and help stabilize the Lions interior offensive line are Indiana’s Dan Feeney, LSU’s Ethan Pocic, and Pat Elflein out of Ohio State.
Dan Feeney- Indiana
Feeney is a 6’4” 305 pound monster and he is currently playing his senior season at Indiana. Feeney has been the starting right guard in every game he has played at Indiana since arriving from high school.
Out of any of the interior offensive linemen prospects who will be available in the 2017 draft, Feeney is probably the best pass blocker. Feeney gave up zero sacks last season and has only given up one in his 36 career starts. He is a physical run blocker and dominates as a down blocker. The senior isn’t a great athlete but he is athletic enough to do anything he is asked to do.
One thing that Feeney needs to work on is sustaining his blocks. He needs to do a better job of consistently driving his feet after contact. Another negative about Feeney is that he has had to miss some games due to injury in his career. He missed the 2013 season due to a foot injury and has had to miss some games this season due to a concussion. This could make NFL teams a little nervous.
A good opportunity to check out Feeney is November 12th when the Indiana Hoosiers take on Penn State.
Ethan Pocic- LSU
Pocic is a taller than the average interior linemen prospect, he stands 6’7” and weighs in at 302 pounds. He has shown some versatility throughout his college career. In 2014 (his first year getting consistent playing time) he started 9 games at right guard, and started 3 other games at center. The senior has been the starting center in every game last season (2015), and so far this season.
One of the major positives for Pocic as a draft prospect is his above average athleticism. Also he plays with a high motor, he seemingly never takes a play off. He does a great job of getting to the second level to get blocks down field. He is most effective when he is able to get his hands on a defender and extend his long arms. He is a slightly better pass blocker than run blocker however he is pretty solid in both areas.
Because of his height he may end up having leverage issues at the next level. He has shown the ability to bend and keep a low pad level but he will need to do it more consistently to have success in the NFL.
If you want to watch Pocic in action the best game to do so would probably be November 19th when LSU faces off against a talented Florida Gator defense.
Pat Elflein- Ohio State
Elflein could have entered the draft last season and most likely would have been one of the top interior linemen prospects taken. But even after many of his Buckeye teammates decided to enter the draft Elflein decided he wanted to come back to Ohio State for his redshirt senior season because he wanted to graduate, and be a veteran leader on one of the youngest teams in the nation.
Like Pocic, Elflein is a versatile player. In 2014 he started the first 3 games of the year at left guard, then finished the year as the starting right guard. He started at right guard every game in 2015, and this season he has been the Buckeyes starting center for every game.
There are a lot of things about Elflein that will appeal to NFL teams. He has very good upper-body strength and toughness. He is a dominant run blocker, consistently moving players wherever he wants to move them. The reason he moves players around so easily is he does a great job of driving his feet after contact. And he is also a strong pass-blocker that rarely allows opponents to get him off balance or get around him.
The main thing about Elflein that teams might knock him for is that he is only an average athlete for an interior offensive linemen at the NFL level. However, as long as he keeps up his physical style of play and use of good technique he should be fine.
The best game to watch Elflein for yourself is November 26 when the Ohio State Buckeyes clash with the Michigan Wolverines.