Eric Young OG Tennessee
Eric has good size and strength to be an excellent offensive lineman at the next level. He is a powerful run blocker with solid athletic ability to block for the pass as well. He has great mental stamina and is a smart player. Eric shows leadership skills through his play on the field. He does a solid job as a LT at the college level, but for the next level his impact position will be as a Left Guard and believe me, good Left Guards are almost as hard to find as a good Left tackle. Eric has good balance and uses excellent leverage when run blocking. This kid's talents are tremendous, but he is not a left tackle. Eric is a natural left guard.
NEEDS TO IMPROVE
First of all, he needs to get healthy. Then, Eric needs to learn a new position. It will take some time for Eric to learn how to deal with the stunts that teams will throw at him on passing downs once he is moved inside, but I have no doubt that he will be able to handle them quickly.
TALENT BOARD ROUND 2
If Eric was healthy and did not have to learn a new position, then I would have trouble rating him as a LT to be drafted very high in this draft. Eric may not want to be moved to the guard position and this is a question that needs to be answered before drafting him because, in my opinion, this will affect in what round I would consider drafting him. My talent grade on Eric is with the thought that he would welcome the move into the guard position; however, if he balks and says he does not want to be considered as a guard, then I have to tell you my talent grade on him would be as a fourth rounder. He will struggle at the LT position and be injured all the time because he will be off balance and lunging, which just won't do at the next level. That is the problem with Jonas Jennings (LT 49er's). Jonas did not want to be moved into the guard position because of the difference in money and his career has been full of nothing but injuries and disappointment. The biggest hurdle for a LT to overcome when they are moved into the guard position is on passing downs. Eric will have to get used to passing off his man when the defense runs stunts or they will run the stunt right through the area that he abandons and that will get his QB killed. It is a learned reaction for a LT to follow the man they block to the outside no matter what, because they are covering the blind side of a QB. It takes time to break a learned reaction, retrain yourself and become consistent at that new learned reaction. Some tackles never do it consistently, which signals the start of the demise of their career. Even a smart player will take some time before they are able to consistently pass their man off and have the confidence to stay and control their gap. I believe that Eric will be successful, but like I said, because of his injury and the position change, it will take some time. Eric at the LT position lunges and loses his techniques and balance when blocking on passing downs. Moving him inside will correct all of these issues and the fact that he is a powerful run blocker makes this position move a no brainer for Eric. Draft him, give him some time to heal, get stronger and learn a new position and you will have a pro bowl left guard in the future for your team.