Over the past few months, we’ve been taking an in-depth look at each of the Jets’ rookies. We continue today with offensive lineman Grant Hermanns.
The 23-year old Hermanns is listed at 6’7” and 300 pounds and was a four-year starter for Purdue. He was an honorable mention all-Big Ten selection in 2020.
Hermanns was a three-star high school recruit who initially committed to Iowa State before ending up at Purdue. He redshirted his first season with the Boilermakers in 2016.
In 2017, Hermanns won the starting left tackle role and started the first six games before suffering a season-ending injury. 2018 also saw him miss time with an injury but he was able to make nine starts.
2019 saw him remain healthy as he started a career-high 12 games and then he also started all six games in 2020’s shortened season. He was voted as an all-Big Ten honorable mention.
At the end of the season, Hermanns was selected to the East West Shrine Game although the event was ultimately cancelled. After a solid pro day, he wasn’t selected in the 2021 draft and the Jets signed him as an undrafted free agent.
Now let’s take a look at what Hermanns brings to the table, divided into categories.
Despite being tall, Hermanns has a short wingspan and lacks bulk. He was only 265 when recruited and scouting reports suggest he lost some athleticism when he bulked up.
At his pro day, his numbers were about average across the board apart from his broad jump (107 inches) and short shuttle (4.58) which were both above average. He ran a 5.29 in the 40-yard dash and posted 26 bench press reps.
Hermanns played his entire Purdue career at the left tackle position, although he did line up at tight end in some unbalanced formations and once lined up in the slot on a gadget play.
During his redshirt season, Hermanns worked at right tackle and he said NFL teams told him they were looking at him as a possible swing tackle option. However, with his lack of length, he might project better to a move inside and he has said he’d be open to a move to guard.
Hermanns’ pass blocking numbers aren’t too bad as he never gave up more than 20 pressures in a season and, having given up four sacks in six games as a freshman, didn’t give up more than two sacks in any of his last three seasons.
However, Purdue’s offensive system generally had the quarterback getting rid of the ball early and they employed strategies like moving pockets or leaving extra blockers in to mitigate edge pressure.
When he is left on an island to block someone one-on-one Hermanns often looks overmatched. Edge rushers are able to beat him to a spot and gain a leverage advantage to get around the corner. You can see that on this play (although the right tackle gets beaten even worse to give up the sack).
He can be susceptible to power, as shown on this play where the defender is able to drive him back to create an angle to the quarterback.
Hermanns is generally consistent as a run blocker and had a good year in 2020. He is particularly effective at blocking down to set the edge or create a running lane and displays some power coming out of his stance.
In space or at the second level, he can locate a target on the move and displays an ability to patiently line up his target and angle them off.
There are times when he will get stood up at the point of attack or allow his man to fight off his block to get back in on a play.
Purdue seemed to have mixed results in short yardage situations but Hermanns’ does a functional job on the edge and can bring some power coming out of his stance.
The Boilermakers had some success on screen passes. Hermanns shows good athleticism and hustle to get out and make this block to create a big play.
Hermanns is an experienced wrestler, which obviously gives him some natural experience in terms of leverage and hand fighting. However, the main impression you get from watching his film is that he will battle to gain and maintain control of his block rather than just controlling it from the start.
He’ll often overextend himself by bending at the waist rather than keeping his feet under him and this can cause him to fall off blocks.
Pad level can also be an issue for Hermanns, although this is perhaps not surprising given his 6’7” frame.
In terms of his hand placement and techniques, he packs a decent punch but needs to be more aggressive in terms of making the first contact rather than allowing his man to get their hands inside and fight him off.
Hermanns had 18 offensive penalties in 26 starts over his first three seasons, but showed better on-field discipline in 2020 with just one penalty in six starts.
He has primarily seen issues with committing false starts and holding penalties during recent seasons.
Hermanns had made most of his special teams contributions as a blocker on the placekicking unit, although he also has played on the punt protection unit at the tackle position. He has false started twice - once on an extra point and once on a field goal - in his career.
Over the course of his career, Hermanns has shown an ability to deal with and pick up stunts while in pass protection.
However, he seemed to mess up his assignment on this play as a linebacker dropped and he blocked the same man as the left guard while the defensive end came off his edge unblocked.
As noted, he can occasionally be guilty of losing focus and committing pre-snap penalties.
Hermanns has always been an excellent student who was a four-time all-Big Ten academic selection.
Hermanns is yet another Jets rookie with outstanding character. He was a team captain and won the Kawinis Citizenship award for his on and off-field leadership after doing plenty of community-based charitable work.
He is a dependable hard worker with outstanding toughness and leadership traits. Hermanns is married and has a young child.
In 2017, Hermann suffered a torn MCL but decided to play through it for a few weeks only to then also tear his ACL. Incredibly, he still finished the game in which the ACL tear occurred.
He also injured his knee in 2018 but this was less serious as he was able to return and play in the team’s bowl game after missing three games. He started all 18 games in 2019 and 2020.
As a high school senior, Hermanns had a health scare as he was dealing with a staph infection and had to have surgery to remove a cyst. He reportedly lost 100 pounds as a result of the ordeal and it took him a long time get get back to 100 percent.
Hermanns played in multiple offensive systems with Purdue and, although he said he preferred a spread offense, there should be aspects of the Jets’ system that he is familiar with.
The main questions for Hermanns are whether he’s athletic enough to excel in the Jets offense and what his best position might be.
Hermanns would appear to be a major long-shot to make any meaningful contributions for the Jets in 2021 but a more realistic goal for him would be to win a spot on the practice squad so that the team can continue to develop him.
He’s a player who needs a lot of technical refinement but could respond well to some pro-level coaching that can iron out some of the issues that affect his consistency.
Being such a high character individual likely means that Hermanns will be a solid addition to the training camp roster and, even if he doesn’t make the team, he can still contribute by working hard and adding to the positive culture.