Normally I love my OL guys and discussing them as part of the Draft process is fun and exciting for me. This year I was hoping that we could generally skip over the OL position since we seemed to have a very successful year with our current group (after we dumped Hue Sucks of course). I was really looking forward to not having to spend any significant time on these Evals so I could focus more on Defense. Per PFF, our O-line was ranked 2nd in the NFL for the 2018 season! What’s not to love? And we’ve got Austin Corbett sitting there playing Fortnite while he’s waiting for playing time…
Well…that all went to shit on me. As soon as the season was over all this chatter about JC Tretter started bubbling up. He played with a significant injury but still finished as one of the Top 5 graded Centers in the NFL. Ok…no problem there, right? But of course the rumors are we need a new stud OC to start grooming. Fine. Hard to find usually, but ok.
Then, we traded Kevin Zeitler for Olivier Vernon and the world started spinning… I love the move, it makes a ton of sense. Zeitler was excellent but also coming into the phase of his contract that was not team friendly, and Dorsey has proven he will dump big salaries where/when he needs to. Since the trade Dorsey has announced that Corbett will get the chance to replace him (no guarantee though), which again makes sense since you drafted him in the 2nd and he likely has solid ability.
And to ensure we don’t completely screw the pooch trying to protect Baker with a rookie, Dorsey went and signed two additional OL: Eric Kush and Kendall Lamm. Neither are big names but both can contribute to the rotation (Lamm at Tackle and Kush at Guard/Center) and not require us to rely on Corbett or other practice squad quality guys exclusively.
I am not 100% convinced that we will take an OL high again, but it’s very possible. Dorsey certainly values the line positions.
So what you’re going to see in my Evals for the OL will be a mix of players who are multiple and could play OG, OC or OT in various combos. I am assuming Austin Corbett is a legit player and can step in for Zeitler when the time comes. I am pretty excited about the OC candidates this year as talent is much better than the last 2 drafts, guys who could be starters by Year 2. The way PFF grades out our Tackles suggests there may need to be an upgrade there too. Someone who could play RT for a year or so (assuming Hubbard becomes a cap casualty next year) and potentially move over to LT later if we don’t get Robinson to sign a long-term contract.
Let’s hope Buddy Boy feels what he did in Free Agency will keep us from spending high draft capital on OL when we need Defense big time. In Dorsey We Trust.