NFP Prospect Focus: Ereck Flowers and D.J. Humphries
Offensive tackles are always worth a premium in the draft. Clubs used to line up with their best pass blocker on the left side, and the right side would be manned by a big run blocker. That isn’t the case anymore, as NFL teams are playing more from spread formations, and with that, both tackles have to be strong pass blockers.
Many prospects who were left tackles at the college level end up playing on the right side or at guard to start their career, and after they get acclimated to NFL play, some are moved back to the left side. That said, today we will profile two top tackle prospects who both played on the left side while in college. It remains to be seen where they line up in the NFL.
Ereck Flowers – Miami
Flowers is a third-year junior entering the draft. He is a huge man at 6’6 – 329 with length (34.5” arms). He has been a starter since midway through his freshman year and has played on the left side the last two seasons.
Flowers is best as a run blocker. He comes off low, and with his size, he can engulf opponents. He has some snap on contact and is able to generate movement. He is athletic enough to get to the second level and make a productive block.
In the pass game, he can set with good quickness and plays with adequate bend but does have some tightness in his ankles. He shows a strong punch to try and jolt his opponent. His lateral movement is good, and he shows he can cut off wide speed, but he doesn’t recover as quickly as preferred versus a counter move back to the inside. With his bulk and power, he does a good job anchoring against bull rushes.
Overall, at this stage of his career, he is best as a run blocker. While he is a good pass blocker, there is room for improvement. He needs to do a better job with recognition of stunts and blitzes. I see him better suited to play on the right side and might even start out at guard while he learns. He’s a guy who could very well go in the late first round.
D.J. Humphries – Florida
Humphries has steadily climbed draft boards since the season ended. Evaluators are looking at what he can be, not what he is. D.J. is a third-year junior entering the draft. At 6’5 – 307, he has good tackle size and the frame to easily carry another 10 pounds without it hurting his athleticism. He is one of the more athletic tackles in this draft. He ran 5.12 and had a 31” vertical jump. He is light on his feet with good change of direction and balance.
While he weighed in at 307 in Indy, he played at under 300 pounds during the season. He has good natural strength, but he still needs to improve his functional strength on the field.
In pass protection, he shows very good foot quickness, and he is very good with his slide and recover. He is a natural knee bender who keeps his back straight and generally keeps good position when pass blocking. He needs to improve his lower power, and he can give some ground to a strong bull rush. He also has to do a better job keeping his hands inside.
In the run game, he shows some snap in his hips on contact, but again, lacks the lower body power to consistently gain movement. He is athletic in space and can adjust on the move
Overall, Humphries is more talented than his production shows. He is still somewhat raw and is developing his game. With his athleticism and natural traits, he has as much upside as any offensive tackle in this draft. Give him time to develop, and he could become one of the better left tackles in the league, but he is quite ready to be a day one starter.
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