TAW's Big Board 1st Edition: Tackle

Most Super Bowl winning franchises have been built through the draft while many great franchises that come close go through other avenues.  New England in the early 2000's was built from drafting the likes of Tedy Bruschi from Arizona's Desert Swarm Defense, Georgia's favorite son, Richard Seymour and finding arguably the greatest steal in draft history in the Bearded Lady aka Tom Brady.  I believe like the Rat before him, Belicheat got a little too cocky and forgot the recipe for a dynasty as many of his key components of this year's team were undrafted such as Wes Welker, Danny Woodhead, and Ben Jarvis Green-Ellis.  If you recall the Baltimore Ravens became a great defense by finding greats in the first round much like the Tampa Bay Bucs who unfortunately defeated our Raiders in 2003.  Last week, I decided to start a big board series on all need positions for the Oakland Raiders franchise.  I will break down all of the positions that look like they need to be upgraded from what I believe most important to least.  I will conclude with a mock draft of many of those you are reading about. 

Anthony Costanzo - BC OT



I watched film of him versus a top-ten talent in Robert Quinn - DE - UNC.  It could be the fact that maybe Quinn who I will be breaking down later in the week as part of my D- line feature was just that much better than I thought but on several pass plays looked to be out-classed.  Costanzo seems to lack good footwork, particularly in his back pedal when he is going up against speed rushers which allows those with great wingspan to turn the corner on him and get hits or on occasion even force fumbles.  He reminds me a bit of Bulaga out of Iowa last year who has either short arms or looks like he is short-arming the pass rusher.  On a positive note, when he does fully engage the defender he will hold his ground as a top OT prospect should.  He does this particularly well on run plays and can drive his opponent back with authority.  I would like to see a player like this on the right side allowing a talented speed-back of Darren McFadden's caliber to get around the end for 10+ yard pickups.

Demarcus Love - Arkansas OT


I'll be honest.  I didn't watch a lot of film on this guy and didn't get a good look at him in the Sugar Bowl against the freakishly talented Cameron Heyward.  However what I did see didn't blow me away or really make think the Raiders drafting this guy would be a bad move either.  Going up against the Bama defense, he rarely was matched up their man among boys, Marcell Dareus as he likes lining up against the opposing offense's right side usually.  Love did not make too many mistakes and seems like he's rarely caught out of position.  He makes it seem almost as if he is not really trying on some plays, not sure if that's a bad thing.  I would like to see a player with his size be a little more active on run plays.  The only bad play I saw was him going for the DE as he completely negated the safety blitzing untouched.  Most NFL offensive linemen should be able to read that sort of play prior to the snap of the ball otherwise it is usually a negative play for the offense.

Gabe Carimi - Wisconsin OT


This guy has to be my favorite ot prospect in this year's draft as he is a mauler in the run game and although he started all his career on the left side projects to be the most NFL-ready RT in this year's draft.  Against the top run defense in the nation (Ohio St.) I did not see him pushed back once.  All of Cam Heyward's highlight's came well passed the line of scrimmage.  In the passing game he uses such great technique getting so low he does not allow the defender to get any leverage against him.  On one play he and the left guard both were double-teaming Heyward and it was useless as Gabe was literally pushing off on the defender with one hand.  He didn't the same kind of success in the passing game against possibly my favorite player on film in this year's draft, (Adrian Clayborn - Iowa DE).  He did own him for the most part in the run game other than the few times Iowa loaded the box expecting a run against the Badgers' predictable offensive play-calling.  The fact I am gushing over how great this guy is means he will be long gone by the time we draft at number 48.

Ben Ijalana - Villanova OT***Son's pick!!!***


It's a rarity to find a lot of film on a kid out of a school known more for it's NCAAB prowess than it's football production but I was able to find footage of the Division 1 championship versus number 1 Montana in 2009.  Ijalana rarely got beat and really made it impossible as he seemed to have a huge size advantage to his man.  I would like to see if his O-line coach is available because he was shown to be in perfect position on almost every play and seems to be the anti-Langston Walker meaning he isn't a false start machine.  Unlike in my assessment of Arkansas' Love he recognized the blitz coming from his side and shifted out to pick it up.  He is currently rated in the top 115-10 overall in most draft rankings and possibly the 10th best O-line prospect however I actually like him better than a few others ranked ahead of him such as Nate Solder or twiggy aka Tyron Smith.

Lee Ziemba - Auburn OT


The National Champion Tigers' best lineman by far.  He is slow-afoot however compensates with his high football IQ and technique.  He will be beat by faster NFL pass rushers as was the case against the talented Les Miles' led- LSU defense.  He didn't give up any bad plays but a lot of that could be the cause of Cam Newton's marvelous ability to buy himself time and either take off with the ball or make something out of a broken play.  He is an excellent drive-blocker in the run game which if drafted will provide this team with excellent value in the 3rd round while addressing a need.  By the way, the kid looks like a Raider.
Here are some more to consider and will note the other will not make it to pick number 48 being Derek Sherrod as he is projected to go anywhere between Miami at 15 to possibly the Pats at 28.

Nate Solder - Colorado OT

Originally rated as top OT prospect but has fallen with poor senior season.  Huge at 6'9 but will fill out as he is still getting stronger.  He can be a steal if developed properly.

Danny Watkins - Baylor OT

 A coach's dream at the tackle position.  He will engage on his man and will stay engaged well after the whistle.  He is also a great fit for the Raiders as he will frustrate the opposition to the point of possibly forcing a penalty.

Marcus Cannon - TCU OT

The man makes Jamarcus look like Lance Armstrong standing at 6'5 350+ LBs.  He looked very good against 1st round talent JJ Watt in the Rose Bowl.  He needs to lose weight though to improve lateral quickness as well as use of hands as he will be caught out of position against more-talented pass rushers such as Elvis Dumerville or Tamba Hali.  He may be a better guard prospect if he can't get his weight down.

Let me know who you would like to get if any of these or in the comments let me know of any that I may have overlooked.  Also in the comments, for those that seem to be high prospects such as Carimi, Sherrod, or Castanzo explain a possible trade scenario to land one of these franchise bookends.



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