Cameron Erving, the versatile offensive lineman from the Florida State Seminoles, enters the 2015 NFL Draft after starting 42 games up front during his collegiate career. Before moving to center at the end of the 2014 season, Erving started 37 straight games at left tackle earning First Team All-ACC honors at the position in both 2013 and 2014. During the last five games of this past year, Erving was kicked inside to Center and excelled. He was named the ACC Jacobs Blocking Trophy winner in both 2013 and 2014, an award given to the conference’s top lineman. Physically, Erving is an appealing prospect who possesses the length and girth needed to play on the next level. His body weight is evenly distributed with a thick lower half and a good bubble. Erving displays the kind of strength required to compete versus NFL defensive linemen. He’s a flexible guy who can sit in his stance when anchoring versus power and he generally does a nice job maintaining his ground. When lining up at tackle, Erving shows the kind of quickness and foot speed to get out of his stance and slide effectively versus speed, but he struggles to change direction when reacting to counter moves. He has strong hands and uncoils a good punch to consistently get a good fit; he’s strong enough to drive the bus when his hands are in the proper position. When lined up at center, Erving showcased the kind of quick snap and reset needed to be effective in the NFL; he is almost instantly in proper position to take on the defender in pass protection. His hand play is a real plus when lined up at center, as he is generally protected from the kind of lateral movement that gave him problems at tackle. His initial punch and fit freezes the pass rush and maintains the pockets integrity. When the defender was able to get into Erving’s body, he displayed the kind of anchor and functional strength needed to allow his quarterback time to throw. In the run game, Erving displayed the kind of traits to consider him a top-tier center prospect. He’s an athletic guy who consistently reaches his assignment through a combination of natural athleticism and good angles. His strength and leverage allows for him to lock onto the defender and open clear running lanes.
BOTTOM LINE: Cameron Erving is one of the more interesting prospects for the 2015 NFL Draft. His versatility will be extremely appealing to NFL teams, as at worst, he’s a competent reserve lineman at offensive tackle in a time of need. That said, his film at center has pushed his value into Day 1 consideration. He excelled in the final 5 games of the season and performed like an elite prospect. He is a player on the rise who is capable of starting as a rookie. As a tackle, you’re looking at a late-Day 2, early-Day 3 guy. At center, he should be one of the top 32 names off the board. At the end of the day, that kind of versatility and talent equates to a first-round grade.
GRADE: 8.0 (1st Round)
-Submitted by Bryan Perez (@FirstRoundGrade)