What I like about Lance Zierlein’s pre-draft work at NFL.com is the breadth of it. He writes detailed assessments of hundreds of prospects, and those assessments become essential sources for football writers over the next month. While I remain unconvinced the Bears will succumb to need and select an OT with the ninth pick in the draft, Zierlein’s analysis makes it clear there will be very good options available should they go that route.
Peter Skoronski, Northwestern
Comp: Zack Martin
Skoronski spent his college years manning the quarterback’s blindside at tackle, but the body type and skill set are begging for a move to guard, where he can play his best football as a pro. He’s broad across his upper and lower body, but he has short arms. Skoronski plays with a deft blend of technique, feel and power as a run blocker and is capable of thriving in any run-blocking scheme. His lack of length can be a problem against stab-and-charge bull rushers and edge speed, but a move inside would mitigate those concerns. If Skoronski can get his protection anchor sorted out, he has the run-blocking talent to become an instant starter and a top-flight guard.
- Sets out with explosive kick-slide into his diagonal sets.
- Uses proactive hands to attack first.
- Excellent footwork and hand usage to counter and collect twists.
- Arches back and unlocks hips to access his rush anchor.
- Comes off the snap with low pads and explosive lift into contact.
- Races out of stance and into position for reach-block success.
- Base stays wide and balanced throughout the rep.
- Clear understanding of positioning and angles at the point of attack.
- Textbook leg drive on double teams and kick-out blocks.
- Washes down run defenders looking to shoot gaps.
- Throws punch a tick late and from outside angles.
- Needs to alter his pass sets and hand attacks to become less predictable.
- Beaten by long-arm rush moves and driven into the pocket.
- Average adjustments to second-level movements.
- Can be beaten by side-stepping defender at point of attack.
Broderick Jones, Georgia
Comp: Andrew Thomas
Ultra-athletic tackle prospect with the size, length and potential to develop into a plus starter on the left side. Jones’ frame and technique both are in the developmental phase. His entry into block fits can be a little disjointed. He needs to improve his punch accuracy and timing to make the most of his length in pass protection. Jones is very talented at working into space and landing a block to help spring the running game. He has the nimble feet to mirror or recover against the rush. Jones isn’t a finished product, but the physical and athletic gifts allow for a projection as a good, long-time starter.
- Former high school basketball player with premium athletic qualities.
- Drives hands into defender with upward strike.
- Rips outside hand through pads to corral and move opponent.
- Should be able to make all the blocks for zone and power.
- Body control to adjust to moving targets.
- Has length necessary to improve punch timing.
- Recognizes twist attempts quickly.
- Possesses loose hips and quick feet for recoveries.
- Less than two full seasons of starting experience at left tackle.
- Needs to keep his chin tucked and back flat in protection.
- Punch comes from outside angles and is slow to stick the rusher.
- Gives early ground when challenged by power rush.
- Doesn’t fit up run blocks in one, fluid motion.
- Will need to improve play strength as a pro.
- Tends to duck head and lose sight into first contact.
Paris Johnson Jr, Ohio State
Comp: Brian O’Neill
Long, athletic tackle in need of additional technique work but possessing the traits to become a long-time starter on the left side. Johnson is still filling out his frame and he should get stronger. He’s much better as a move blocker than man blocker but he can bridge that gap with more coaching. He’s loose and quick in pass protection but will need to add core strength and get better with inside hands to prevent edge defenders from bypassing his anchor. Johnson’s athletic tools and position versatility are advantageous but the going could be a little bumpy early on before he settles in.
- Versatility to play guard or tackle.
- Rhythmic diagonal slides in pass sets.
- Shuffles feet and rides rusher around the arc.
- Inside hand thumps and gathers counter moves.
- Athletic talent to make recoveries at a variety of angles.
- Opens hips and accelerates to find back side cut-off angles.
- Fluid with accurate radar to strike as pull blocker.
- Decent timing/consistency working to linebacker on combo blocks.
- Not much pop on contact.
- Below average securing the first block on combo blocks.
- Bends at the waist and lacks ideal leverage as run blocker.
- Has a wide-hand hitch in his pass punch.
- Very average body control through rush contact.
- Power displaces his anchor.
- Forward lean makes him susceptible to spin moves.