But as the NFL gathers in Indianapolis for the annual scouting combine, head coaches and general managers don’t expect the draft to be a quick fix for any teams looking to improve their offensive line.
Most of the best college offensive linemen, including multiple players who will be drafted in the first round, are considered NFL projects.
The college game now is just too different, NFL executives said, and players are entering the league with so much to learn.
Jones concludes with an anecdote on the Broncos, who of course were no stranger to poor offensive play in 2015:
For NFL evaluators, so much of what they are doing with offensive linemen is speculative, as many who played left tackle in college will wind up playing right tackle in the NFL. Other collegiate tackles will wind up being moved inside, to guard.
That’s why Denver Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak said he chooses to focus on a prospect’s intellect. Last year, Florida center Max Garcia wowed Kubiak, and as a rookie, the Broncos moved Garcia to guard, where he wound up spending time at both right and left guard and as a bonus lineman in a jumbo package.
“I think that’s really important, their football knowledge and how quick they can help you,” Kubiak said.
I would certainly appreciate if someone (Dubs, perhaps?) could confirm the extent of how problematic this has become. But in the meantime, this observation gives me yet another opportunity to get on my soapbox about my desire in ensuring that Ryan Clady is retained for the 2016 season. Despite the injuries, a veteran lineman who has had proven success in the past could be additionally valuable alongside an already-young line, as opposed to making it younger and more inexperienced.