BBD Assistant Editor: Joe Marino
Texas A&M has had at least one player drafted among the top 10 picks in each of the past three drafts, including two offensive linemen. Another lineman, senior offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi, could extend that streak in 2015.
NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah, a former NFL scout, has ranked Ogbuehi as his top senior offensive tackle entering the season. NFL.com’s Gil Brandt has already stated that Ogbuehi should be Texas A&M’s next top 10 pick.
After starting all 13 games for the Aggies at offensive guard in 2012, Ogbuehi started every game at right tackle as a junior in 2013. Ogbuehi will be playing his third position in as many years in 2014 as he moves to left tackle.
Why You Should Watch Ogbuehi in 2014
Ogbuehi has a silky smooth skill set for an offensive tackle with good movement skills and length. He has solid athletic ability and mirrors pass-rushers excellently. With his balanced kickstep and overall quickness combined with his length, Ogbuehi is able to handle speed rushers off the edge.
When pass blocking, Ogbuehi displays good footwork and agility. He uses his length to ride pass-rushers past opposing quarterbacks, and naturally stays in front of his man. His upside as a pass blocker is what teams should find most appealing in his game; in a pass-happy league, that will elevate his draft stock.
Protecting for Johnny Manziel, a mobile quarterback who likes to improvise, has increased Ogbuehi’s ability to sustain blocks and mirror. He is adept at getting to the second level and blocking down the field. His natural athleticism allows him to break down in space and block smaller, quicker players.
A technician, Ogbuehi can absorb contact and position his body to seal off defenders. He displays excellent technique when executing hinge blocks.
What Ogbuehi Needs to Prove in 2014
Despite having quick feet and movement skills, the same cannot be said for Ogbuehi’s hands. He is slow to shoot them and struggles to win with inside hand position to control his man. His hands are often at his side and he is not prepared to engage his opponent.
In the following play against Auburn in 2013, Ogbuehi allowed a pass-rusher to get the separation he needs because of his slow hands and poor placement.
Making his hand placement even more troubling, Ogbuehi’s game lacks a power element. He is unable to generate push off the line as a run blocker. His lack of power and inability to win with inside hand position makes it easy for defensive linemen to maintain their gap and close running lanes.
When offensive linemen don’t have great power and don’t win with leverage and technique, it’s too simple for defensive linemen to control the line of scrimmage and disengage from blocks.
Projecting Ogbuehi’s Draft Stock
Ogbuehi has enough talent to be a high first-round draft pick, but he is not nearly NFL-ready at this point. Playing his third position in as many years causes greater concern into whether he will be able to contribute early in his NFL career at any spot. That said, he is finally getting the opportunity to play left tackle this season, which will certainly increase his draft stock if he performs at a high level.
Considering his flaws, Ogbuehi does not grade out as a first-round player right now. His impressive upside and movement skills are reasons for excitement, but his on-field performance has been more indicative of a late Day 2 selection.