Cyrus Kouandjio   OT   Alabama

TALENT BOARD ROUND 1

STRENGTHS
Cyrus has the athletic talent to be an excellent left tackle for the team that drafts him. He has quick feet and long arms that make it tough for those speed rushers to get around him to make a sack. He is quick out of his stance, which means he can play more than one position on the offensive line. Cyrus might be one of the best tackles in this draft going out to the second level to make his blocks on linebackers. He shows the lateral agility needed and change of direction skills to make his blocks in open space with ease and fluidity of a tight end. When Cyrus fires off the line and engages, he does an excellent job of moving his feet and staying with his blocks. He has solid upper and lower body strength and has very good mental stamina to improve. To me, all of these things together mean Cyrus has the potential to be a franchise left tackle.

CONCERNS
Cyrus has excellent athletic talent that covers up his lack of consistency when pass blocking. In his defense, most of the time, he is covered up in obvious passing situations in a two tight end scheme. Cyrus is in for a little shock at the next level when he will be expected to be abandoned on the “Left Tackle Island” by himself without that help. He must become more consistent with his pass blocking techniques and not be lazy with his lateral agility. Also, because of the two tight end scheme that his college team uses, throwing stunts at Cyrus is very confusing to him and he struggles with his decision making on who he is supposed to block. This hesitation will be magnified at the next level and his quarterback will feel the brunt of that hesitation until Cyrus upgrades his football intelligence.

BOTTOM LINE
Cyrus will have to be moved to the right tackle position until he understands “mentally” the true responsibilities of the Left Tackle position at the next level. He needs to mature on the field and understand that athletic talent alone does not make you a great player at the next level like it does on the college level. Cyrus is in great shape so I don’t believe that work ethic is an issue but I do believe he needs more time in off the field study, learning his responsibilities. The problem is that I feel the only way he will improve is if he is thrown on the field and plays right away. The problem with that is if you play him at Left Tackle you might need more than three quarterbacks to get you through a 16 game schedule. That doesn’t mean that Cyrus doesn’t have the potential to be an excellent Left Tackle in the future. He has all the skill and talent to succeed; he just will need time for growth in on-field maturity. Once Cyrus gains this on the field consistency and maturity he should be a very special franchise left tackle for the team that drafts him.

Drew Boylhart
FEB/2014