What attributes does Joe Douglas look for in a prospect? Since Joe hasn’t been the decision maker in any Drafts in his career we will have to speculate using some of the previous classes he has been an integral part of, along with his personal makeup.
Since Joe was a major voice in Chicago (2015), then in Philadelphia (2016 - 2019) we will look primarily at those drafts in respect to the skill sets those players selected possessed. Also we will take into account some of Joe’s own beliefs about team building as it pertains to a roster.
Joe himself was a monster as a child. When he was in 8th grade (as he tells it) he was 6’ 2” and 315 lbs. As a senior offensive tackle at the University of Richmond (where he roomed with QB Todd McShay of ESPN fame) he was 6’ 2” and 315 lbs so there was not a lot of growth by Joe after 8th grade.
Joe has grown as a scout and talent evaluator. He has worked long and hard with some of the better GMs in the NFL so he has learned along the way. All the GMs he worked with tried to establish an above average offensive (and defensive) line, The Jets currently have a wealth of talent on the defensive side of the ball but not so much on the offensive side. That is painfully obvious. So let’s examine some of the offensive line prospects that Joe has assisted in drafting over the last 5 years.
In Chicago 2015
Hroniss Grasu- Center Oregon 6’ 3” 301 lbs 3rd round #71 overall/ U of Oregon /2015 draft
Grasu has struggled to stay healthy in Chicago, and his play on the field was poor when he did play. An undersized center prospect out of Oregon, he was so bad in Chicago he is now in Tennessee where he is a backup.
Tayo Fabuluje- Offensive tackle 6’ 7” 353 lbs 6th round #183 overall/ TCU /2015 draft
Fabuluje was a project pick who was 24 years old when drafted who played very little football before college. He came to America later in life from Lagos Nigeria and redshirted at BYU in 2010. He transferred back and forth from BYU to TCU and started 12 games at left tackle. A size- weight pick, he will next play for the Houston Roughnecks in the XFL in 2020.
In Philadelphia 2016-2019
Isaac Seumalo- Offensive guard 6’ 4 303 lbs 3rd round #79 overall/ Oregon st /2016 draft
Seumalo has been primarily a valued backup his first 3 years with the Eagle but recently signed an extension to stay with the team through the 2022 season. He has graded out mostly as a league average guard but is still young and improving.
Halapoulivaati Vaitai-Offensive tackle 6’ 6” 320 lbs 5th round #164 overall/ TCU /2016 draft
Vaitai has been a lightning rod of a player with the Eagles since he was drafted. You could argue that the Eagle don’t win the Super Bowl without him because he was a vital swing tackle for the team with both Jason Peters and Lane Johnson missing time. much maligned tackle has been a reliable if unspectacular player off the bench for the Eagles. He has been a solid 5th round pick.
Matt Pryor- Offensive tackle 6’ 7” 332 lbs 6th round #206 overall/ TCU /2018 draft
Pryor started 31 games at TCU (23 at guard) and has yet to appear in a game. The former college bouncer was another height-weight selection who has been active for only 4 games
Jordan Mailata- Offensive tackle 6’ 8” 346 lbs 7th round #233 overall/ Australia /2018 draft
Mailata is an international selection having never played football before. He has been on injured reserve the last two years so the Eagles have really nothing from this pick. He was a rugby player and a dart throw.
Andre Dillard- Offensive tackle 6’ 5” 315 lbs 1st round #22 overall/ Washington st 2019 draft
Dillard is currently starting for the Eagles because of an injury to Jason Peters. He was supposed to sit this year and take over for Peters next year. He has played fairly well in preseason and took over the left tackle spot midway through the 6th game of the season. He is a work in progress as a run blocker but has done surprisingly well as a pass blocker. Dillard has real good feet but needs more muscle to become an upper echelon tackle. This looks like solid pick by the Eagles.
So what does this all mean?
So if you look at the selections Joe has helped make you can say fairly certainly he likes big tackles and smaller more athletic interior offensive linemen. It appears that Joe models his tackles after a Jason Peters type and the interior linemen after All Pro center Jason Kelce.
Also he likes tackles from TCU or the Pacific Northwest. With that in mind I can skillfully predict that Jolt’n Joe Douglas will select in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft:
Lucas Niang Offensive tackle 6’ 6” 340 lbs TCU
Niang is a massive individual with solid athleticism to play either tackle position. He has quick feet, great length and he is built like a brick wall in the image of Hall of Famer Willie Roaf. He can use some technical adjustments (as do all college players) but he has one of the highest ceilings of any 2020 Draft offensive lineman.
Niang could have come out last year but decided to stay in Fort Worth because he was not graded out as a 1st round selection, which bothered him immensely.
“Man, I’ve got to prove that I’m the best,” Niang said at Media Days for the Big XII earlier this year. “I look at myself as the No. 1 overall pick and I guess I haven’t shown the world that. My pass-blocking is fine. I need to definitely dominant in the run, maybe incorporate some NFL technique in my game.”
“I want to show that I can do whatever is needed of me, whatever is asked. A lot of people ask me, ‘Can I play left tackle?’ I played left tackle my whole life until college.”
Niang became the Horned Frogs’ starting right tackle for the final 8 games of the 2017 season (his sophomore year) after playing 12 games as a freshman in 2016. As a junior (in his first full season as a starter) he didn’t allow a sack and was the highest rated pass blocker in the big 12 by PFF.
I pulled up some video from this year so all these plays are as a senior. He is #77 and is playing right tackle for the Horned Frogs.
In this first GIF he is able to pin DE Delontae Scott (6’ 5” 250) to the inside which allows a running lane for the RB which he takes full advantage of.
He just basically uses his size to overwhelmingly push a player in the same direction he is going to take him out of the play. As long as he can push him past the hole quick enough for the back to run by it’s a successful block. He will do the same thing on the next play in the game, only in a different direction.
The play was blown dead at the 3 yard line where the runner stepped out of bounds. Niang is able to get to the inside shoulder of Scott in this 2nd GIF and push him outside. Scott in turn uses that push to get himself around the corner which essentially allows him to take himself out of the play. A great block doesn’t have to be a bone crusher. The ability to influence a player to take the wrong route is as good as a pancake block.
Niang is not a finished product and needs better play especially as a run blocker. The best thing about that is that Niang knows it as well. “I need to learn how to measure up my block with the running backs’ angles,” Niang said. “Just pay attention to where they are behind me before the ball is snapped. Just little stuff like that is more next level.”
Here he makes a nice trap block on a linebacker who is filling the hole. Niang’s job on the play is to lead the back through the hole and take out the linebacker, but the linebacker does him a favor by filling the hole which made for a much easier block with all Niang’s momentum and the limited space in the hole.
Even though the linebacker did half the work for Niang, you can still see the movement skills by him to get to the hole quickly. This is a 6’ 6” 340 lbs man who is showing fluidity in his movements and still learning how to play the position. A quality offensive line coach will have a lot to work with when Niang is signed and in camp.
As a pass blocker Niang grades out very well with good fundamentals for the position. On this GIF TCU is down big in the 4th quarter after a few turnovers and a punt block for a TD. The defense knows they are going to pass so it’s pin the ears back and rock the QB time.
This is really good work by Niang. In this situation the tackle will sometime set outside too quickly to avoid the speed rush. By doing so he leaves the inside move open which is a straight shot to the QB. Here you see him lean inside first and then come back outside to engage the rusher. Niang uses his great length and a wide base to thwart any potential rush; this leads to a clean pocket and a TD throw by the QB.
In this game Iowa st DE JaQuan Bailey gave high marks to Niang, “He is really damn good,” Bailey said. “That dude will definitely play on Sundays. He’s one of the best in the nation. Last year I thought he was going to leave, but he came back, which is great for TCU and great of this conference.”
This next clip shows some good patience by Niang. There is a DE to his outsidem but Niang is worried about possible stunts and blitzes by the defense. The rule for a tackle is to block inside out which means you block the player closest to the QB which would be a defender rushing in the lane between the guard and Niang.
You can see Niang with a nice fluid backpedal while carefully watching the inside. When no defender flashes inside, he picks up the outside rusher and gets smacked in the chops for it. He uses his length to easily keep the DE at bay while the QB throws into double coverage and gets rewarded by the receiver who makes a better play on the ball than the two DBs.
On this next play Niang picks up a T/E line stunt easily on a nice nice gain by an open receiver. The pocket is clean because the line works well together.
This is a basic line stunt that has been played poorly by the Jets offensive line all year. A T/E stunt just means that the defensive tackle goes left towards the outside as the defensive end comes behind him to engage the guard. The tackle is the first to go and tries to get a step against the offensive tackle if he follows the defensive end inside. If the end were to go first and the defensive tackle were to go behind the end then it would be considered a E/T stunt. he terminology is really simple. It’s just an adaptation of the same play.
This next play is a corner route by the slot receiver who is able to cross the face of the defender. This is a quick throw on a corner route, but you can see Niang get up on the defender, not allowing any penetration and pushing the DE to the outside.
The QB is in shotgun which makes the defenders wary for all kinds of route combinations. When he takes a short set and throws the offensive linemen try to engage the defenders early; no slide steps. If the QB were under center the plan for Niang would be to cut the DE so he could get his hands down. Since this was a corner route there was no need to do so.
This last GIF shows some quickness on the part of Niang. TCU uses a spread offense which uses very wide line splits. It creates huge running lanes for the RB but a lot of space to cover for the offensive linemen.
Here Niang has to get inside the gap of a much smaller player off the snap. DE Derrick Barnes is a 6’ 1” 245 lbs player who is obviously much quicker than Niang. Yet Niang gets a super quick jump off the snap and gets in perfect position against Barnes. One reason for this is Niang uses the same setup for running plays as he does passing plays so the DE never knows what is coming. His indecision allows Niang to get the jump on him and keep him completely out of the play.
So there you have it, the Jets’ first round pick. Niang is quickly moving up many boards to rival the Andrew Thomas’s (Georgia) and Tristan Wirfs (Iowa) of the world. The season is only half over but the positioning of Draft prospects has already started.
Niang is smart enough to know he needs work, which is the 1st step in the right direction to be great. “I’m definitely not where I want to be,” Niang said. “When I watch film, I get embarrassed. I guess you could say I graded out well, but it didn’t look as good as it could’ve been. I’m a little disappointed in myself. I think I still have a long way to go before I’m an NFL talent and No. 1 overall.”
There are a few quality offensive linemen in this years draft so far and maybe a surprise or two. Most savvy college football lovers have heard of Thomas and Wirfs but there are others as well. This is a total guess of a draft selection but I wanted to show you a quality player you might not have heard about.
There is a long way to go in the process, but things are taking shape. It will be Combine time before you know it. Lucas Niang and others will be poked and prodded. Things will change I assure you. We will have to wait and see how things unfold. Until then I will keep showing you some interesting prospects that may be on the Jets’ wishlist. As always I will keep my ear to the ground for you.
The Jets need quality players and coaches so, Joe, we are counting on you.
Don’t let us down.
What do you think?