Although we have already discussed four offensive linemen who could go in the first two rounds, Jamon Meredith and Duke Robinson are so talented that they would be no-brainers in the 2nd Round. In fact, I would not be surprised if the Colts drafted either player in the 1st Round. Both players have ability to play at tackle and guard in the NFL. Robinson is arguably the best offensive lineman in the draft, although he played guard at Oklahoma. Meredith is one of the most solid offensive line prospects in the draft as well. If both of these players should drop to the Colts in the 2nd Round of the upcoming draft, which player would you draft?
Jamon Meredith - South Carolina
6'5", 304 lbs.
4.99 40 Yard Dash, 4.82 20 Yard Shuttle, 8.01 3-Cone Drill
28 Inch Vertical Jump, 31 Bench Reps
SENIOR SEASON STATS:
48 Key Blocks, 5 TD Resulting Blocks, 2 Downfield Blocks, 2 QB Pressure Allowed, 4 Sacks Allowed
2008: Suffered a right ankle sprain when a defender rolled on his leg during a scrimmage in fall camp.
Re-injured his right ankle and also suffered a slight left ankle sprain, missing most of the Louisiana State, Tennessee and Arkansas games in October and November before returning to the lineup.
Strengths: Good height with long arms and an athletic build, typical of top-tier left tackles. Adequate punch, and will extend his arms and get his hands on the numbers to keep defenders at bay. Gets to linebackers at the second level very well and hits the moving target. Able to adjust to oncoming defenders in space. Positions himself to seal the edge using quick feet and good hand placement. Can cut-block ends on his side to give the quarterback a lane on quick throws.
Athletic tackle who plays with terrific fundamentals. Bends his knees, sets with a wide base, and blocks with terrific leverage. Keeps his feet moving throughout the action, and displays the ability to slide off the edge, covering a lot of area. Shows top footwork in space. Stays square, anchors in pass protection, and nicely adjusts the oncoming defenders. Extends his hands into opponents and keeps them away. Displays solid movement skills and effective blocking in motion. Quickly picks up blitzes and works well with teammates.
Meredith is an excellent pass-blocking OL. He has the ability to play both tackle and guard positions. His intelligence makes him an excellent OL prospect as well. If you watch the video on Meredith you will see that he is a capable player and could start quickly in the NFL as a RT or either of the G positions and would offer the Colts excellent depth at the position, with the potential of developing into a starting-caliber starter at LT within a year or two should things not work out with Ugoh.
Weaknesses: A bit slow to move his feet at times, relying on his length too much. Other times he drops back too far, allowing the end to twist inside untouched. Plays a bit tall in pass protection. Struggles to reach down to block to the guard when he doesn't explode from his stance. Could sustain blocks better in space.
Must improve his blocking balance, as he's on the field too much. Does not consistently attack assignments. His passion for the game and toughness has been questioned by NFL scouts.
The biggest question about Meredith is consistency and balance. If he doesn't learn to keep his pad level low he'll be susceptible to bull-rushers. If he doesn't work on his balance, he'll be susceptible to inside spin moves from pass-rushers with developed moves. However, it would appear the Meredith has all of the tools to be an effective player in the NFL and has the intelligence to learn under NFL-level coaching.
PROFESSIONAL SCOUTING REPORT - Dave-Te' Thomas, CBSSports.com
Body Structure: Has a well-proportioned frame, but desperately needs to add more bulk and lower-body muscle definition and power. A big-boned player with good thickness in his chest and shoulders. Long arms, good timed speed and adequate quickness and large hands to grab and separate.
Athletic Ability: Very good knee bend and loose hips, but does not always use them to his advantage due to issues with strength in his lower body. Isn't a good leverage player, but has the functional quickness in his kick-slide and flexibility to mirror. Good change-of-direction agility, but only when he plays with a wide base, but even with his redirection skills, he is sometimes too slow to recover and will get beaten when he "short arms" and lets the defender take a side to escape.
Football Sense: The smartest player on the team and plays with good awareness, but is inconsistent when needed to react with urgency. A keen understanding for the game, which is the reason he has played every position on the front wall except for center. An outstanding student with a 3.7 GPA. Picks things up quickly and has no problem taking plays from the chalkboard to the playing field, but needs to play with better aggressiveness and emotion.
Character: Very quiet sort with no off-field issues. Gets along well with teammates and staff, but is not considered a leader. Shies away from the spotlight, and would not communicate with the media as a senior. Mature and his academic success shows he has good maturity.
Competitiveness: A quiet sort, making it hard to gauge his aggressiveness, as he doesn't show great urgency in his play. Doesn't always work to finish and must play with more emotion and develop nastiness to play at the next level. Does show good effort, but you would just want a player with his athletic ability to show more emotion.
Work Habits: A self-starter who does not need to be monitored, but he needs to dedicate more hours to the training room. Lacks great strength and also needs to add bulk. Frame looks more like a power forward for the basketball team than that of a football down lineman.
Initial Quickness: Very quick initial step and loose hips. Shows suddenness to gain an advantage and is a good knee-bender, but does not always use his burst. Working in space, there are times he takes false steps or makes insufficient moves. When he keeps his pads level, he can reach and scoop to seal shaded defenders. Best asset is his ability to use his light and quick feet to reach an opponent, but as a senior, he struggled often to gain movement off the snap working at guard and needs to improve his lower body strength.
Lateral Movement: Shows the loose hips to work down the line, but has a poor concept for angling in the second level (just six downfield blocks on 1,372 plays the last two years). You can see that he is fluid and can slide naturally, but just needs to play with better control.
Balance/Stays On Feet: Can be slow with his kick slide but he seems to rush his retreat. When he does, edge rushers loop around him to pressure the pocket. With his athletic ability, the hope is that he would stay with his blocks longer. Will finish once engaged, but he does not play with great strength or leverage. Can move his feet and swing his hips to position and wall off. Problems occur because he has a tendency to play high in his stance, as this affects his equilibrium as the game progresses.
Explosion/Pop: Despite good timed speed, Meredith appears a bit lethargic coming off the snap. Does not show the suddenness moving in space and would much rather use his reach to keep defenders at bay rather than fire off the snap and attack with aggression. Quick hands, but lacks much impact with his punch. With his athletic frame and long arms, you would expect him to be quicker getting into position and stay on his blocks longer. Not the type that will stalk into the second level. Good lower-body thickness, but does not display the strong anchor to handle bull rushers. Too inconsistent trying to finish, and can't generate the power needed to sustain. With his hip snap, he should be jolting defenders to get movement, but he loses quite a bit of his effectiveness by playing high in his stance.
Run Blocking: Adequate drive blocker, but proved while playing guard that he does not have the sustained power to widen and maintain rush lanes. Better in pass protection, preferring to park himself at the line of scrimmage and let the action come to him rather than explode off the snap to gain movement. Has the quick first step to get in position, but has to improve his lower-body power and maintain a better pad level. When he stays low in his pads, he flashes decent ability to wash defensive linemen on down blocks and widen the hole, but he is just marginal as a cut blocker.
Pass Blocking: Natural knee bend, large hands and long arms to keep defenders at bay. Good to mirror when he faces up to the edge rusher, but he sometimes retreats so far back, speedy edge rushers are quick to slip underneath. Good slide agility, but needs to be more active with his hands when trying to finish. Not going to shock anyone with his marginal hand punch and until he improves his lower-body strength, he would be a liability with his anchor working in-line as a guard, as he showed in 2008 that he simply can't handle the powerful bull rushers. Has the ability to sink his hips, but that inconsistent hand punch and lock-out ability, along with his late recovery when retreating, get him caught out of position. If he can improve his leg strength to sit down and anchor, he would be able to handle left tackle duties, despite his light frame. Right now, he projects to right tackle.
Pulling/Trapping: A marginal blocker on long pulls. On short traps, he lacks quick-twitch moves and great foot balance. Better served on inside plays, as he does not stay low in his pads or take proper angles to cut down defenders on outside screens. Loose hips, yet struggles to change direction when he overruns a play and because he plays so tall, he lacks the ability to sink his pads and cut block. On straight-line charges off the snap, he can lead block, but if a strong defender gets in his way, the rush lane will soon get clogged. When he hits the defender high, he lands with little pop on contact.
Adjust on Linebacker Downfield: More comfortable blocking at the line than getting into the second level to stalk, despite good timed foot speed. Feet tend to die under him moving in space and his base gets so narrow on the move, he spends a lot of time on the ground by tripping over his own feet. Change-of-direction agility and could improve quickly in this area.
Use of Hands/Punch: Biggest problem vs. physical defenders is that he lacks the hand punch to shock and jolt. More of a reach blocker with decent hand placement, but has to put more force behind hits. Likes to grab and lean into his opponent too often and because he gets reckless with his hands outside his frame, a strong surge by a defender will see him rocked back on his heels or have his opponent get a good piece of his jersey to jerk and control him. Doesn't have the raw power to flash enough punch and lock out ability to shock and jolt, but he does show good hand quickness to recoil.
Reactions/Awareness: Very smart picking up games and twists up front. Mirrors his opponent when he does not retreat too far in his slide and when he keeps his feet shuffling. Better reacting and adjusting to the defender's second move when he keeps his feet active. Has the vision and lateral quickness to pick up stunts and is not the type that will get fooled by the defender's multiple moves.
Compares To: JORDAN BLACK, Jacksonville -- Meredith can match up to Black in terms of athleticism, but lacks the "sand in his pants" to anchor vs. the bull rush and showed in 2008 that he is not a pro guard prospect. He needs to improve his overall strength, add bulk and play with more aggression. Look for this player to be drafted much earlier based on his athletic skills than his production would indicate, but the "boom or bust" label applies.
Meredith is a bit of a work in progress, needs to spend more time in the weight room, and some work on staying disciplined in his technique. However, I believe that with proper coaching and work with the Colts training staff, Meredith could develop into an exception OL talent with the versatility to play every position on the OL but C.
ANOTHER SCOUTING REPORT - MockingtheDraft.com
Duke Robinson - Oklahoma
6'5", 329 lbs.
5.32 40 Yard Dash, 4.90 20 Yard Shuttle, 8.09 3-Cone Drill
31.5 Inch Vertical Jump, 20 Bench Reps
SENIOR SEASON STATS:
117 Key Blocks, 14 TD Resulting Blocks, 5 Downfield Blocks, 0 QB Pressures Allowed, 0 Sacks Allowed
2009: Didn't lift at the Combine due to a hyperextension and a right hip flexor prevented him from him from doing jumps, shuttle and cone drills.
Strengths: Massive player who can engulf defenders and physically dominate his opponent. Good initial quickness off the snap to get out and block on the move. Good drive blocker with excellent size and strength. Plays with good leverage despite his height. Can generate movement at the point of attack in short-yardage situations. Plays with some nastiness and has the raw power to turn and pancake his opponent. Quick, strong hand punch to jolt the defender in pass protection. Natural knee-bender who plays with good leverage and balance in pass pro. Long arms and strong hands to keep the defender at bay.
Explosive, small area blocker with a large amount of upside. Gets into blocks, bends his knees, and keeps his feet moving throughout the action. Jolts defenders at the point of attack, displays power, and gets movement run blocking. Stays square, effectively fights with his hands, and shows good upper body strength. Always looking for someone to hit, and easily controls opponents once engaged in a block. Keeps his head on a swivel, and works well with teammates.
Duke Robinson is a mauling OL who projects to be the best guard that has come out of the NFL draft for a few years. He has the athletic ability to be moved outside as well, with the hand punch and vision to keep opponents from pushing the pocket or getting to the QB. Has impressive size and strength, often generating a great deal of push in the running game, even getting out to the second level to get blocks on linebackers, allowing runners to break through to the deep second level. A blocker with Robinson's ability would do wonders for the Colts running game and allow a player like Addai to get back on track.
Weaknesses: Only marginal balance and lateral quickness to block at the second level, and spends too much time on the ground when trying to block on the move. Lack of great quickness shows in pass protection, as he struggles to adjust if his initial punch doesn't slow the defender.
Sets with a narrow base, lacks balance, and falls off blocks. Not fluid moving on his feet, and lumbers about the field. Struggles the further away from the line of scrimmage he's required blocker.
Robinson could use some work on his agility and lateral movement. Speed rushers on the inside who have the bulk to withstand Robinson's initial punch and the speed/moves to get pressure on the QB could give him trouble (Ziggy Hood ring any bells?).
PROFESSIONAL SCOUTING REPORT - Dave-Te' Thomas, CBSSports.com
Athletic Ability: Has good straight-line quickness for a player his size, but is a bit stiff and shows just marginal foot speed working into the second level. Great strength and leg drive to run through defenders and open rush lanes. Grame is also a great asset when he is asked to create movement off the snap. While he might struggle to mirror quicker edge rushers, he uses his arms well to engulf the smaller opponent. When he plays on his feet, he can do a good job mirroring vs. edge rushers.
Football Sense: Needs to do a better job of reading the snap cadence, as he is prone to jumping offside quite a bit. Whether it is a lack of foot speed or motivation, he will coast for several series and has big problems when speedy blitzers or bull rushers charge through the inside gaps. A smart player, but at times, he does not show great awareness or alertness.
Character: The jury is out on Robinson, as he does not have major off-field issues, but is the type that needs to be monitored. Suspended for part of the 2008 Texas Christian game due to a team rules violation. You just wonder if a big contract will make him stay hungry and if he will mature on and off the field. Had temper issues on the field and those personal foul penalties have proven costly.
Competitiveness: A mean, aggressive player who would rather punish his opponents rather than out-technique them. Does place a lot of demands on himself, but must learn to control his emotions on the field, as his penchant for taking illegal tactics will put his team in serious trouble. While most coaches promote aggression in their blockers, he must play with a more controlled demeanor. Still, he is a classic trench battler who is always looking to deliver a crunching block.
Work Habits: Needs to have his offseason program monitored, as he does not show great work ethic. Must keep his weight in check, as he has speed and stamina issues when he weighs more than 340 pounds. Will never be known as a great practice player and needs a "kick in the pants" every now and then.
ATHLETIC REPORT: GRADE: 7.00
Initial Quickness: Above-average timed speed for a player his size, but needs to fire off the ball with more explosion, as he does not do a good job of staying low in his pads, which lets quicker bull rushers bounce off his blocks. Because of poor balance on the move, he is not a likely left offensive tackle candidate. Has a hitch in his running stride, as he will hop on his heels and get too tall, failing to open his hips quick enough to look fluid changing direction. When he does sink his pads properly, he can get off the line of scrimmage and into position to make reach blocks in the second level.
Lateral Movement: Has that outstanding upper body mass and natural power to jolt the defender and stop their surge into the gaps, doing a nice job of taking on defenders trying to come over his side. Does not have good lateral agility to sustain and finish blocks, but uses his frame well to gain leverage.
Balance/Stays On Feet: Shuffles his feet well and does a fine job of protecting the inside when working with his offensive tackle to prevent inside penetration. There are times where he will waist bend and get his feet too wide apart on the move, but he knows how to use his body mass to lean and push when working in the trenches. When he plays on his feet, he shows enough balance to mirror his defender. There are times when he will play tall and struggle to sink his weight, but when he brings his feet and keeps his hands inside, it is very hard for even the physical defensive linemen to push him aside. Has much better balance at the point of attack than when required to move into the second level. Still, defenders love when he tries to reach block, knowing that an effective counter move will knock him off balance.
Explosion/Pop: A very aggressive battler who is always looking for targets to hit working at the line of scrimmage. While not always consistent, he is combative with his arm swipes, and when he uses his hands effectively to gain inside position, he shows the agility to mirror and adjust to his man. Generates tremendous pop and explosion off the line, consistently maintaining contact on the defender. Only problem occurs when he will lower his head before delivering a hit, causing him to miss his target. Does not have good recoil ability when his hands are outside his frame.
Run Blocking: Easily gains position to sustain blocks working in-line, but must improve his balance on the move. Shows good explosion on initial contact and plays with good leverage, especially when he gets his pads down to drive the defender out of the hole. Displays the functional initial quickness to get into position as a drive blocker, but when he over-extends, he is marginal at sustaining blocks. A physical drive blocker with the ability to pin and steer the defender. Despite his size and girth, he can generate good knee bend to hunker down in the trenches, doing a good job of driving the defender off the ball in short yardage situations. As a drive blocker, he is a good road grader, but getting into the second level, he does not keep his head on a swivel or hands inside his frame, doing just an adequate job of angling. Angles are good in the short area, but he gets too high in his stance moving in space and stalking linebackers. But with his body mass and upper body strength, he easily drives smaller defenders out of the rush lanes.
Pass Blocking: Just marginal lateral agility, but uses his size well to occupy gap defenders. When he does not waist bend, he is able to slide his feet better. As a senior, he appeared more comfortable in his kick slide, using his hand strength to lock out and replace with a strong punch. More of a retreat than a fluid kick slide in pass protection, but can cut off the rushers when he keeps his pad level down. Sometimes will try to compensate for being late off the snap by lunging and over-extending, especially vs. defensive linemen with quality double moves. When he gets too tall in his stance and fails to sink his weight, he will also drop his hands, leaving his jersey exposed for a strong bull rusher to lock on and ride him back into the pocket. Very good at picking up stunts, but must show better awareness of his center. When he does miss a hit and over-extend, he is athletic enough to recover and maintain position. In 2008, he seemed to do a better job of communicating with his line mates and have a keener understanding of protections.
Pulling/Trapping: While he shows drive ability at the line of scrimmage, Robinson is not asked to pull much. Despite his size, he is functional with his speed and acceleration on pulls and traps, getting much better balance when he plays on his feet when working in space. Shows good short-area speed to adjust and be in position to cut or wall off his man. Adequate ability to adjust to a moving target, but developed a better concept for angling in 2008.
Adjust on Linebacker Downfield: Because of his girth and soft mid-section, he struggles to redirect and looks sluggish when having to move laterally. Did do a better job of angling into the second level and improve his running stride, but there are times when he lumbers in the open field and is on the ground quite a bit in space. Has the instincts to locate second-level targets, but when he plays tall, he leaves his feet some in attempts to make contact.
Use of Hands/Punch: Has a good hand punch, but needs to use it more regularly, as he sometimes tries to lean into the defender to gain leverage. When he stays low in his pads and comes off the snap with his hands inside his frame, he shows a good pass set, extension, punch and jab on the pass rusher. Gets good inside hand position to get solid pop on contact when he stays in control. Uses his hands and upper body well to widen the rush lanes. Once he gets his hands on a defender, the battle is quickly over; his lock-out ability was the best of any guard in the Big 12. Does get too wild with his hand placement on the move and needs to keep his hands inside the framework so his punch would impact better there. Despite his massive size and natural strength, he is inconsistent shooting his hands. Based on his obvious size mismatches vs. defensive tackles, you would expect him to dominate and maul more often. With his outstanding playing strength and quick hands, a patient coach can teach him how to play under better control. With his massive size, he simply explodes behind his punch, but only when he keeps them inside his framework.
Reactions/Awareness: Understands protections and showed some improvement communicating with his other line mates as a senior. Needs to show better field awareness, as his mind tends to wander late in games and must do a better job of maintaining concentration, as he is not always alert to twists. When he plays under control, he keeps his head on a swivel and does a much better job of picking up action along the edge.
Compares To: SHAWN ANDREWS, Philadelphia -- Like Andrews, Robinson is a massive road grader with a nasty demeanor. However, he will get overly aggressive at times, putting his team in a hole with his costly penalties (see BSC game vs. Florida). He can be a very good drive blocker, thanks to his body mass and ability to create movement, but to put him into the elite of this class, he needs to keep his emotions in check better, improve his work and eating habits and mature. He has the size you look for in a possible move to left tackle, but his poor kick slide and inability to mirror vs. speed rushers will make him a liability there. Robinson might have been born two decades too late, as he has the look of a classic Washington Redskins "Hog" and might not be a fit for an offense that relies upon their down linemen for gap containment and space blocking.
Unfortunately, the biggest concerns for Duke Robinson regard concentration, consistency, and the ability to keep a cool head on the field. False starts, personal fouls, and generally showing inconsistent effort on the field will not impress Colts scouts or the front office. A player can have all the athletic ability in the world but if he doesn't do what it takes to make effective use of it, he won't be able to excel in the NFL or have a long career on any team. These intangibles might be why a team like the Colts will pass on Robinson and stick with the three solid young C/G prospects they drafted last year.
ANOTHER SCOUTING REPORT - MockingtheDraft.com
Meredith and Robinson both have the physical gifts to be NFL OL. Meredith may be a bit more versatile, in that he can play all positions on the line except C and Robinson is problem limited to G and RT. Robinson was more productive in college but also displayed his share of flaws, not winning against elite speed rushers as often as a man his size should on the inside of the OL and showing on-field character concerns with his personal fouls. Meredith was not flawless but has the athletic ability and intelligence to make the most of coaching and develop into a solid contributor in the NFL, with the ability to potentially start at RT as a rookie. Having to pick between these two young talents would pose a tough decision but I would probably give Meredith the nod for his intelligence, coachability, and versatility. Of course, Robinson could develop into one of the most punishing guards in the NFL. Who knows?