Eric is a very athletic offensive lineman. He shows great aggressiveness to get out in front of screen plays and has the speed and foot quickness to be used in a pulling offensive line system. Eric shows leadership skills through his play on the field and he works well with his left guard on stints and blitzes. Eric has good football instincts and looks on film to be mentally tough. He is a smart player and, although his blocking skills are developmental for the next level, he does not commit many penalties at the college level. Eric has the athletic quickness and lateral agility to handle the speed pass rushes at the next level. Eric should be able to play left or right tackle in a spread offense or a traditional pro style offense. On film, Eric looks like he has the work ethic to improve dramatically in his first year of playing for the team that drafts him. He should be a good one.
Eric has to learn much better hand usage techniques if he wants to play left tackle at the next level. He mirrors his man very well, but when he does get beat, it's all because of poor techniques in his upper body, which is mostly due to inaccurate hand placement. He is tall and will have to learn to bend more and not let those quick pass rushers drop their shoulders and get around him, but that's typical for a player his size. On the move, Eric is an excellent run blocker; however, in line and with a man right on him, he is up too high and loses leverage. Eric should be able to learn quickly and impact for the team that drafts him without too many problems.
You don't pass on athletic offensive linemen if they have good mental toughness, character and football intelligence like Eric looks to have on film. If you do, your team will not be successful. It's really that simple. Is Eric the best offensive lineman in this draft? No, he is not... but he has the potential to be the best left tackle in this draft. Do your homework, interview this kid and then plan on drafting him for the left side of your offensive line. Eric needs some work, but just about every player in this draft needs to improve his technique. Eric reminds me a lot of Patriots 2011 1st round draft choice Nate Solder (see The Huddle Report archives) who everyone told me was not a first round talent. It seems the Patriots thought otherwise and now Nate is their starting left tackle. I'm going to suggest that some smart playoff teams late in the 1st round this year will do the same thing the Patriots did in 2011 and draft Eric. I believe he has the potential and ability to become their starting left tackle in playoff games. See how that works: the smart teams won't pass on this kid in the 1st round, trust me.
Drew "The B.S. Detector" Boylhart