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Were the Scouting Reports Right? - Brandon Shell

NFL: New York Jets at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to our series reviewing the predraft scouting reports of previous Jets draft picks. Previously we checked out much-maligned cornerback Juston Burris out of North Carolina State, the Jets’ 4th round pick in the 2016 draft. Today, we’ll check out their 5th round pick in that draft, right tackle Brandon Shell out of South Carolina. Mike Maccagnan traded a future 4th rounder to get Shell. Has it worked out?

Here are Shell’s listed positives, from NFL.com.

Tall with exceptional length. Uses long arms to help him snare sudden inside pass rush moves and redirect edge speed past the pocket. Doesn’t have great footwork for directional change, but finds way to get it done. Patient and relatively accurate on his climbs up to linebackers off of combination blocks. Uses wide frame to his advantage against linebackers. Tape shows natural power and core strength. Functional base blocker in run game but will stalemate more than he wins. Has been a starting SEC tackle for almost entire time at South Carolina.

What seems right?

  • Shell’s frame and athletic tools have certainly been a part of his game early on, and are a part of why he still projects to have untapped potential going forward.
  • “Uses long arms to help him snare sudden inside pass rush moves and redirect edge speed past the pocket” - This note, especially the second part concerning edge speed, is one that I think would very likely show up on the scouting report of a team taking on the Jets version of Brandon Shell. I liked the way he was able to handle the speed rush this year, flashing with some nice moments against rushers like Khalil Mack.
  • This section notes that he is merely “functional” as a run blocker, and I’d agree. He can stand to plow a few more big holes, but he did his job at a fair rate.

What seems off?

  • I won’t doubt his natural power, but it’s the power game that seems to be Shell’s weakness to this point. It’s likely more of a fundamental issue then anything, so hopefully he fine-tunes that aspect of his game to become a more dominant run blocker.

Let’s take a look at his negatives.

Starts with a sound kick­slide, but immediately resorts to a hurried shuffle to try and catch up with edge rusher. Penalties come for rocking pre­-snap for fear of being beaten. Plays with disconnect between hands and feet. Outside foot deadens as he begins to work shoot initial punch in pass pro. More chaser than controlled protector. Too sluggish out of stance to consistently handle stunts inside. Needs better hand placement. Hand strength unimpressive. Doesn’t possess body control of NFL starter.

What seems right?

  • “More chaser than controlled protector” - I can see this being said about Shell in the NFL. He’s got great size and athleticism, and seems to rely on that more than fundamental ability.
  • Some notes about his hand usage, which I can agree with. This could also play into his struggles in the run game.

What seems off?

  • Pre-snap penalties are noted as a negative, but Shell only has one of those thus far in his career.

Poll choice: Choice 1 (Skillset I expected, but beat performance expectations)

I think it’s fair to say Mike Maccagnan got solid value out of his trade for Shell. Two seasons in and Shell has provided 15 starts of decent play at right tackle, arguably the most or second most consistent lineman on the team in that span. We knew he was a project of sorts when he was drafted, needing development despite having interesting tools, but I definitely did not think Shell would be one of the only young offensive starters with even an inkling of promise two years later. As a 5th-rounder, I think his performance has been surprising in that regard, but I wouldn’t label him an above-average starter just yet. He has work to do. However, this is looking like a worthwhile gamble.

Poll

Is Brandon Shell the kind of player you thought he was?

This poll is closed

  • 39%
    Yes, he’s what I expected skillset-wise, and beat my expectations performance-wise
    (207 votes)
  • 8%
    Yes, he’s what I expected skillset-wise, but fell short of my expectations performance-wise
    (44 votes)
  • 24%
    He’s the type of player I thought he was and performed almost exactly as well as I expected
    (130 votes)
  • 25%
    No, he’s not what I expected skillset-wise, but in a good way; he beat my performance expectations
    (135 votes)
  • 2%
    No, he’s not the type of player I thought he was, and he is also worse than I thought
    (14 votes)
530 votes total Vote Now