Tuesday, April 26, 2011

2011 NFL Draft Extra: Offensive Tackle

Time to take a look at a few offensive tackles who I missed the first time around:

- James Carpenter. Didn’t see much. Looks solid at first glance, technique is pretty sound, but without seeing more of him I couldn't commit to anything more than a "good" rating.

- Jason Pinkston. Watched a game where the rest of his O-line was terrible and the offense as a whole sucked, but Pinkston was great, a shining beacon of hope for his otherwise distrought Head Coach. Has a great first step which is very important to all O-linemen, solid punch, good understanding of the pass rush he was facing. Committed blocker. Excellent.

- Joseph Barksdale. Run blocking is generally good, pass blocking is pathetic, half the time he doesn’t seem to know who he’s supposed to be blocking.

- Jah Reid. Played Right Tackle. Very stout, run blocking very good, pass blocking pretty good as well. Difficult to beat and holds his ground well. Very good prospect to start at Right tackle and develop, much the same as the approach the Packers are assuming with the guy who's name I can't remember this second to save my life. Bryan Bulaga!

- Chris Hairston. Not bad. Footwork is usually pretty good, run blocking is good, but has a tendency to be a “waist bender” at times. Gets good extension of the arms in pass blocking, overall pretty sound, but needs some work to smooth those rough edges.

- Marcus Gilbert. Quite strong but that’s about it. Unbalanced, bad footwork, not very alert to the defense, beaten easily by speed. I'm sure the fact he plays for Florida has absolutely nothing to do with why people seem to rate him so high.

- Derek Hall. Run blocking is okay, but pass technique is dubious. Doesn’t punch particularly well either.

- Josh Davis. Terrible. Technique is awful, every snap looks like he just woke up and has no idea what’s going on. Really vomit worthy watch. Al Davis and the Raiders are welcome to him!

So, it might seem that was a rather brief foray, but let me just point out that I often have lists with 30 odd names on it, the trouble is finding the film. I've given up mentioning all the people whose names I have but can't find a morsel of game tape to watch.

But something far more interesting has happened today that I need to mention quickly. The lockout is over.

Judge Susan Nelson has ruled that the Leagues 'lockout' of the players is 'enjoined' whatever the hell that means. Essentially 'over' is what I imagine. Anyway, the players can now go back to work at their facilities, the coaches can discuss stuff with their players and the league year can finally kick off.

Sort of.

The draft will go ahead as planned but anyone that thinks unrestricted free agency is about to commence should think again. The most likely outcome is that the league will impose the same rules as last year on the players, starting from some as yet unknown date that is likely to be after the draft has finished.

Then the legal battle really heats up. The owners just lost a huge chunk of leverage which they'll be hoping to get back from an appeals court ruling. As yet I'm not sure the league has appealed, but it most definitely will in due course.

Already the players and their supporters will be cracking out the champagne I'd imagine, but if I were them I would stick it on ice and wait. There is still a long legal war to be fought and that is by no means destined to end in the players favour. The owners, if they're smart, will be working the angle with the poorest end of the player scale, where 80% or so of the players fit, essentially hinting at them that if the legal case goes through and the minimu salary restriction is removed, their paychecks are going to get a LOT smaller.

I'll try and keep you posted on what I find out as when that information becomes available.

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