Scouting the tackle position in the NFL requires evaluating a player's size, athleticism, technique, and versatility.
Below is a list of critical components we use to grade the OT position during the NFL Draft process. Every OT receives a grade on a scale of 1-10 for each of the below components during the scouting process. Once each player component is graded, we attach a final grade to indicate where the player stands before entering the NFL Draft, and then we attach a ceiling grade based on future potential.
Here are some key factors to consider when scouting a tackle:
Size and Strength: A tackle must have the strength to hold their ground against powerful defensive linemen. This includes their ability to generate power at the point of attack, maintain leverage, and finish blocks.
Athleticism: A tackle needs to be athletic enough to move well and adjust to the speed and quickness of pass rushers. This includes their ability to move laterally, recover quickly, and execute proper footwork and hand placement.
Pass Protection: A tackle needs to be able to pass protect effectively. This includes their ability to anchor against bull rushes, slide their feet to maintain balance, and use their hands and arms to keep defenders away from the quarterback.
Run Blocking: A tackle needs to be able to execute a variety of run-blocking techniques, including drive blocking, zone blocking, and pulling. This includes their ability to identify their blocking assignments, maintain proper pad level, and create running lanes for the ball carrier.
Versatility: A tackle needs to be versatile enough to play on either side of the offensive line and in different offensive systems and schemes. This includes their ability to execute different blocking techniques, adjust to different quarterback cadences, and work effectively with different offensive linemen.
Football IQ: A tackle's football intelligence is important to make quick decisions and adjustments on the field. This includes recognizing defensive fronts, communicating with their teammates, and adjusting their blocking assignments as necessary.
Durability: A tackle's durability is essential, as they will be taking a lot of hits on the field. This includes their ability to stay healthy and recover quickly from injuries.
When scouting a tackle, it's important to evaluate all of these factors and the player's overall performance on the field. It's also important to consider the team's specific needs and whether the tackle's skills and attributes match the team's offensive system and style of play. Additionally, it's important to consider the tackle's penalties and mental mistakes, as these can be a liability for the offense.