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Raiders Draft: Sean Rhyan, OT, UCLA scouting report

An OL with some position versatility

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 04 LSU at UCLA
Sean Rhyan
Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Sean Rhyan from UCLA has been a popular pick for the Las Vegas Raiders in a handful of mock drafts. There’s little to no doubt that the Raiders are looking to add an offensive lineman in the upcoming NFL Draft, and Rhyan could join fellow Bruins Kolton Miller and Andre James in the trenches.

OT | UCLA | 6’4 5/8” and 321lbs | Ladera Ranch, CA | September 20th, 1998 (23.5)

Overview:

Sean Rhyan came to UCLA as a four-star recruit and the No. 2 guard in the country for the 2019 class, per 247 Sports. In high school, he took third as a shot putter in the CIF State Championship while also qualifying for the high school feeder team for the Olympic USA Rugby Team.

At Westwood, he started as a true freshman at left tackle and held that spot for three seasons. He allowed 61 career pressures and two sacks — 24 and one the last two years combined — and saw a dramatic improvement in his PFF run-blocking grades from year to year, going from 59.5 to 71.2 and 86.1.

Strengths:

  • Has impressive athletic testing numbers with an 8.17 RAS score
  • Fires off the ball in goal-line or short-yardage situations
  • He likes to use 45-degree sets in pass protection with smooth and quick feet to cover ground laterally and he adjusts his set point based on the rusher’s width
  • On quick sets, he gets his hands on the pass rusher immediately and locks them out to stop pass rush moves before they happen
  • Very mentally alert in pass protection, he’s a pre-snap communicator and understands his assignment against unique fronts, has no problems picking up blitzers and line games, he recognizes when regular rushers drop and looks for something else coming and looks for work in general when unblocked
  • Mixes up the timing of his punches in pass protection to keep the pass rusher guessing, and he has pretty impressive placement with his hands, one hand on the rusher’s chest and the other on the bicep to pin the rusher’s arm down. He’s also quick with his hands/punch.
  • Has a strong inside shoulder and decent change of direction to hold up against inside counters
  • Pass blocks with pretty good pad level and knee bend to help anchor, with the lower body strength to sink his heels into the ground against EDGEs
  • His upper body strength and use of hands allow him to get extension and slow the edge’s momentum when they bull rush
  • When the rusher reaches the point of no return — about even with the quarterback — he gets his hand on the rusher’s back and has the strength to ride them past the quarterback
  • His low pad level carries over as a run blocker and he has solid leg drive on base blocks
  • If he can’t secure the edge on reach blocks, he shifts his hands to the defensive lineman’s side and keeps his feet moving to help widen the EDGE
  • On zone runs, he’s able to flip his hips and create rushing lanes which especially helps when taking over defensive tackles on a scoop block
  • He’s physical at the point of attack and gets tight to the guard to avoid creating creases on double teams and combo blocks, and with his strength and leg drive he can create vertical displacement against defensive tackles
  • Can collapse defensive ends inside on down blocks with his leverage and strength
  • Displays good pacing and angles working to the second level, he isn’t going to overrun linebackers and anticipates where they will be post-snap
  • When arc releasing, he sells the first level block to occupy the defensive lineman and then uses a hand swipe to the defender’s hands off him and cleanly climb to the second level
  • Solid speed to get to his landmark on screens
  • Breaks down before contact when blocking in space

Areas of Improvement:

  • Short arms for an NFL tackle — 32 3/8”
  • Seems to forget the snap count often, he had a handful of false starts and plays where he was late off the ball, average get-off at best
  • He has sightly choppy steps on his vertical sets, not terrible but not clean either, and he’ll get caught on his heels when kick sliding
  • Has a habit of turning his hips and opening the gate early in pass protection
  • Against speed rushers while vertical setting, he panics and loses his technique, turning his kick slides almost into a backpedal and he’s even worse bout opening the gate too soon
  • Likes to lean when throwing his punch and will end up with his nose over his toes, and he doesn’t have the balance to recover against push-pull moves
  • Later in games, he stops his feet when shooting his hands and gives up the edge
  • He has sloppy initial footwork on all zone runs, false stepping and bringing his feet together/narrowing his base
  • Poor footwork makes it difficult for him to seal edges on reach blocks and backside cutoffs, his upper body is ahead of his feet. Physical NFL defensive ends will be able to set the edge against him on outside zone runs
  • His hands are late and wide when run blocking, he’ll get reset by physical EDGEs with good leverage and is a risk to get called for holding
  • Not an ass-kicker as a blocker, he lacks the power and explosion to blow defensive lineman off the ball one-on-one. The narrow base hurts him here, too.
  • When blocking on inside zone or on down blocks, he needs to get his head on the inside as that could lead to more penetration at the next level
  • On all run blocks, he struggles to stay engaged with a lack of grip strength and core strength/stability
  • As a puller, he stops his feet before contact and tries to block with his shoulder/side, isn’t going to kick anyone out at the next level
  • A little late to recognize crashing linebackers on combo blocks
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 23 Oregon at UCLA
Sean Rhyan
Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Injuries:

  • None

Projection:

NFL Mock Draft Database consensus big board rank: 81st overall, 3rd round

Rhyan’s draft projection kind of depends on who you talk to. The NFL Draft community is seemingly split between him projecting better as a guard or tackle, and that’s likely why his peak and pit rankings on NMMD’s board are 57th and 102nd overall. To me, water has found its level and Rhyan belongs in the late Day 2 category, and I’d play him at tackle at least initially.

Schematically, the UCLA product’s best fit also depends on what position he’ll play, but he’d best in an offense that uses a lot of zone runs and has a quick passing attack. He’ll have some technical flaws to overcome as a zone run blocker, but his body positioning and overall athletic ability should be enough to get by in the short term. In pass protection, he doesn’t have a ton to work on and he’ll be able to use more 45-degree and quick sets in that type of offense.

What do we need to know?

Are his feet quick enough to hold up against NFL speed rushers, and can he overcome the short arm stigma?

Rhyan’s technique versus speed rushers is the biggest concern I have with him in pass protection and is probably part of the reason why some people see his future at guard. Hopefully, his flaws are rooted more in him just panicking instead of lacking the foot speed because the former is easier to fix than the latter. As far as the arm length goes, he does have the hand placement to help overcome that issue, it’s just a matter of it that gets more exposed when the competition level rises.

Fit with the Raiders:

This one is pretty easy. The Raiders need a tackle and/or a guard and the former Bruin could be a solution at either spot. Obviously, it will depend on what the actual board looks like on draft day but with his current projection, Rhyan could easily become the 86th overall pick of the draft.

My only hesitation with Rhyan’s fit in Las Vegas is Josh McDaniels used a lot of gap runs in New England, which could lead to some early struggles for the soon-to-be rookie. Then again, McDaniels is known for being versatile and flexible with his offense, so I don’t know how much of a deterrent this would be if the coach likes the player.

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