Mike is a big, strong, powerful offensive lineman with good quickness out of his stance. Mike has solid abilities blocking in the running game against a 2-gap system with a defensive tackle right in front of him. He does a nice job against nose tackles. He never stops moving his feet when he is run blocking and will bury his man until the whistle blows. Mike has been playing center this year and has improved, which will show his versatility to play more than one position. He works well with his other line mates and looks to be an excellent teammate. Mike shows leadership through his work ethic on the field. The team that drafts Mike should get a solid offensive lineman.
Mike struggles at center when pass blocking because he lacks that first step lateral agility the really good centers need to be successful. Because of this, he is slow to help out guards on double teams and cut off blitzing line backers that come up the middle. Mike also will struggle at the guard position against teams that use a 1-gap defense and in most passing downs unless he gets help.
Mike can be a very good right guard for the team that drafts him with the ability to fill in at center in emergency situations. If you are expecting any more than that from Mike and you draft him high, I think you are expecting too much from him. At the right guard position, he can dominate on running plays and get help on passing downs and against 1-gap teams. If you draft Mike with the expectation that he will fit and play the right guard position right away, I can see a team drafting Mike higher then I have him rated. If you are drafting Mike thinking he is going to be your next center or left guard, I just think that is expecting too much. The Steelers offensive line struggles because all of the interior linemen lack the lateral agility when pass blocking. That includes their first round pick from last year. They struggle running the ball because the interior linemen can't make the reach blocks quickly enough to give the running back the cut back lanes needed to break a big play. They all do a decent job pulling because they can get their shoulders turned and they all have good speed once they turn their shoulders. It seems like every year we get one of these centers or guards that has the straight line strength and quickness to fire out and man-handle the player in front of them and everyone (but me) goes crazy for them. Blocking at the next level is not just about having the talent to man-handle and pancake block the player in front of you. Players that play guard and have that kind of talent are what I call stop-gap offensive linemen. You see this type of offensive lineman in free agency all the time, so why would you draft one unless you needed a good right guard? Personally, I would not draft a right guard in the 1st round, but that's just me. So no matter where Mike is selected in this draft, as long as your team is drafting Mike as their future right guard, then your team has drafted a keeper!
The BS Detector
Drew Boylhart Feb/11