Saffold now in the mix?

One guy who continues to impress every time I see him this year is Indiana offensive tackle Rodger Saffold. Saffold is a 6-4, 316-pound prospect with 33 5/8 inch arms and has the versatility to play either the guard or tackle spots at the next level.

Saffold possesses a unique skill set as he has the athleticism, range and footwork to hold his own on the edge in space as a pass protector, but also showcases the natural flexibility to sit into his stance and anchor on contact. He was one of the real standouts this year at the East-West Shrine game, looking like by far the best offensive lineman in attendance. And to be honest, he could have been one of if not the best lineman at the Senior Bowl if given the opportunity.

Now, Saffold didn’t drum up a ton of attention for himself at this year’s combine because he isn’t a guy who will ever be confused with a workout warrior. Nevertheless, he was still one of the top performers in the vertical and broad jump, as well as the three-cone drill and short shuttle, showcasing impressive natural lower body explosion in both jumps and above-average coordination in the two change-of-direction events.

However, what stood out to me even more about him at the combine was his ability to keep his base down, back straight and head up consistently during position drills and fluidly slide his feet laterally when asked to mirror. He’s such a smooth, coordinated lineman and is able to really maximize his strength on contact because of his flexible anchor.

Therefore, when I evaluate him as a prospect, I not only think he has the ability to play as a left tackle in the NFL, but, because of his ability to keep his base down and redirect quickly through contact, I could also see him generating a lot of interest as a right tackle or even a guard prospect, as well. Nevertheless, the guy has the versatility to play all over an NFL offensive line, which in turn will only enhance his draft stock.

Now, in terms of draft stock, how high do I think he can go? Well, that all depends on the run of offensive linemen that go in the top half of the draft. But, if the likes of Bryan Bulaga, Russell Okung, Anthony Davis and Bruce Campbell all come off the board early on draft day, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see Saffold make a run at the later portions of round one.

Overall, he’s a talented kid that grades out fairly high in just about every aspect of his game. And to be honest, from a physical standpoint, he reminds me a lot of Baltimore Ravens 2009 first-round pick Michael Oher.

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