Raiders UDFA John Wetzel Player Profile

Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

The Raiders signed Boston College offensive tackle John Wetzel as an undrafted free agent. Does he have a shot at making the squad?

in recent years, Boston College has produced several NFL-caliber linemen. Marc Colombo, Gosder Cherilus, and most recently Anthony Castonzo have all been very high draft picks within the last decade. Castonzo was a first round pick of the Colts in 2011. Castonzo's understudy his junior and senior year was John Wetzel, who took over the left tackle position in 2011 and then switched to right tackle for the 2012 season.

Wetzel is a mammoth of a man, standing 6'7" and weighing a solid 315 pounds. He uses his size and strength well, as he is able to get leverage on defensive linemen easily and keep them at bay in pass protection or "road-grader" in run blocking. He is very good at redirecting defenders out of rushing lanes.

With Wetzel at right tackle last season, Boston College had their finest pass offense in many years. He paved the way for some record-breaking rushing efforts as well, including a 372-yard performance against Maryland in 2011.

Many scouts had Wetzel pegged as a mid to late round selection based on his college production, but the rest of the league passed on him. The main flaw Wetzel has is a lack of speed or quickness on the outside, and he has trouble with elite edge rushers. He was able to get by in college but could have trouble with defensive ends in the NFL. His best shot in the pros is probably to move inside to the guard position, where he can use his strength against defensive tackles rather than dealing with edge rushers.

While it's hard to say if Wetzel has enough athleticism to succeed in the NFL, the Raiders will come to value his versatility- he started 12 games at LT and 12 at RT in consecutive years with equal success. If the Raiders choose to move him inside, he would be able to play any guard or tackle position and provide quality depth at each position. Considering Reggie McKenzie drafted Tony Bergstrom in the third round last season based on much these same attributes, that versatility will be key to having any chance of making this team.

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