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Rob Havenstein, the starting right tackle for the Wisconsin Badgers, enters the 2015 NFL Draft after having appeared in the most games in Wisconsin school history (52). Of those 52 appearances, he’s made 42 starts at right tackle, starting every contest over the last three years. At the conclusion of the 2014 season, Havenstein was named to several All-American teams as well as First Team All-Big 10. In 2013, he was named a Second Team All-Big 10 performer. Physically, Havenstein is one of the bigger tackle prospects in the 2015 class. At 6’8” and over 330 lbs, he’s truly a massive and imposing player. His frame is wide and his length is adequate. His lower half is not as developed as you’d like, as his trunk lacks a true bubble. That said, he has a very big and naturally powerful style that suggests the ability to hold up against NFL bull rushers despite his less than ideal butt. Athletically, Havenstein moves like you’d expect a guy of his size to; He’s not going to win any races to the second level and he’ll need help on the edge when facing a true speed rusher. It should be noted, however, that he handled Randy Gregory for most of their contest this past season. Havenstein gets out of his stance quickly, but his feet are only average. However, his length and savvy style has made up for his athletic shortcomings to this point. In the running game, Havenstein displayed very good technique and effectiveness. He possesses a strong punch that jolts the defender on contact and he has the kind of power needed to extend his arms and really drive the bus. Defenders struggled to work themselves free. Havenstein won’t be a guy that wins in space or on the second level, but he’s very effective as a step and seal player who can spring a lot of big runs. He’s an ideal fit for an in-line power scheme; He’s a fighter that often comes out on top when in a phone booth. In pass protection, Havenstein is a competent player who displayed the requisite skill set to suggest NFL starter skills. He gets out of his stance quickly, uncoils, and uses his large frame to prevent bull rushers from penetrating. He’s also good enough when reacting to cross face counters and won’t be beaten by power conversion moves all that often. HIs biggest struggle will be against speed to the edge; he’ll need help from the running back or a tight end to compete against some of the elite NFL pass rushers.
BOTTOM LINE: Rob Havenstein’s experience, power and sound technique suggests that he can start in the NFL early in his career. His longevity will be determined by his ability to compete versus speed, but even if he struggles to the point of no return, he can be kicked inside to guard and pave the way for a strong power running game. I put a lot of stock in reps at the tackle position, and Havenstein has them. Guys with his size, experience, power and overall technique are hard to find even when there are some warts in his game. At the end of the day, Havenstein is a good Day 2 value pick who should come off the board sometime in the early part of round 3.
GRADE: 7.0 (3rd Round)
-Submitted by Bryan Perez (@FirstRoundGrade)