Jon Dove’s Offensive Prospect Man Crushes

Written by Jon Dove on April 25, 2014



I must have a thing for offensive linemen because three of my five offensive man crushes come from the trenches. Teams especially looking to improve at the guard position will have a chance deep into the draft to find a potential starter.

The quarterback position this year doesn’t really impress me as much as it does others. Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel are the only clear-cut first rounders in my book.
 
Ja’Wuan James — Offensive Tackle — Tennessee

It’s very likely that I’m one of the few that have Ja’Wuan James safely in the first round mix. He is a big-bodied and athletic offensive tackle prospect. Throughout his career, he showed the fluidity to protect the quarterback and the power to generate a push in the run game.

James was overshadowed by teammate and fellow draft prospect Antonio Richardson during his time in a Vols uniform. However, that situation was based more on media hype than the play on the field. James had a greater impact and was far more consistent than Richardson, especially this past season.

It makes sense for James to start his NFL career at right tackle, where he’s most comfortable. However, he’s athletic enough to eventually move to the left side. I currently have a first-round grade on James and would rate him as one of the biggest steals if he’s drafted in the second or third round.

The video below shows James using his long arms to engage the pass rusher while keeping a wide and balanced base.


 
Xavier Su’a-Filo — Offensive Line — UCLA

UCLA’s success this past season had as much to do with Xavier Su’a-Filo as it did star quarterback Brett Hundley. Su’a-Filo provided a versatile and steady force along the offensive line. He started the season at guard but also filled in nicely at left tackle on an injury-riddled line

His play at left tackle really helped his overall draft stock, as he showed good balance, quick feet and the awareness to protect the quarterback. Su’a Filo is someone NFL teams must now consider as both a guard and tackle prospect. That type of versatility is extremely valuable at the next level.

The video below is one of the games where Su’a Filo filled in at the left tackle spot. Notice how he keeps his hands out front with a natural bend.


 
Trai Turner — Guard — LSU

Keeping with the offensive line theme, LSU’s Trai Turner is one of my favorite prospects in this draft. My support of Turner came late in the process because I really didn’t expect him to leave early. However, after reviewing his play, it was immediately obvious that he’s ready to make an impact at the next level.

The first thing that jumps out when watching him play is his massive size. However, the most impressive part of his game is his explosiveness off the ball. This allows him to use his size and strength to generate a push in the run game.

Turner isn’t just a road-grader, as he’s also able to protect the quarterback. He’s committed to keeping his balance, hands out in front and anchoring after contact. It’s also important to note that this is a player who is still developing and will only get better.

This video shows an example of Turner’s quickness off the ball, ability to pull and lay a block on a shifty defensive back.


 
Michael Campanaro — Wide Receiver — Wake Forest

When it comes to measurables, Michael Campanaro doesn’t stack up with most of the wide receivers in the NFL. He’s undersized and his 4.46 40-time, while very good, won’t turn any heads. However, this is a savvy route-runner who has a knack for getting open.

I’m sure you’ll hear plenty of Wes Welker comparisons when discussing Campanaro, but it makes more sense just to label him as a slot receiver. Campanaro is a prototypical slot receiver who has a chance to be really productive at the next level.

It’s Campanaro’s short-area quickness, crisp routes and ability to locate the openings in a defense that make him special. At Wake Forest, he was the team’s top playmaker and someone opposing defenses had to watch. This will be a different story in the NFL as he projects as more of a complementary player who should see a ton of one-on-one coverage.

The video below is an example of Campanaro’s strong route-running and quick burst off the line.


 
Xavier Grimble — Tight End — USC

Like Marqise Lee, Xavier Grimble’s playmaking potential was limited due to USC’s inconsistency at the quarterback position. The fact is that Grimble is an excellent target who has good body control, a big catch radius and solid athleticism.

NFL offensive coordinators and quarterbacks will be able to take full advantage of Grimble’s potential. Don’t be surprised if he’s one of the more productive rookies in this draft class. He still needs to develop more as a blocker, but he shows effort which is an important start.

The video below shows Grimble’s catch radius, body control and strong hands.


Jon Dove

Jon Dove has followed and loved the draft since he was a little dude. His life has been filled with many sleepless nights wondering just how the next draft would shake out. He took that obsession and started working with Dan Kadar at Mocking the Draft. Jon subsequently headed NFL Mocks, where he honed his skills in the areas of SEO, site organization and running a team of writers. Later, Bleacher Report approached him to join their NFL coverage team. See all posts by Jon Dove.