Orafor has been receiving a lot of attention as a potential 1st or early 2nd round OT from the MAC. I really don’t see it. He’s clearly a powerful, uncompromising athlete, with the ability to bury DEs and LBs in the running game. When, however, he is up against quick-twitch, nuanced pass-rushers (eg T.J.Watt), he looks pedestrian and confused – specifically, he has a tendency to lunge and play upright in pass protection which, against top tier NFL rushers, will leave him bewildered. He has, I think, the size, strength, power and aggression to shift inside but, should he do so, it would be very much a projection. He is too strong, too physical and too intelligent for MAC edge players but I have my concerns about how he projects to the NFL. My instinct is that, should he be drafted as an OT, he will find himself at OG before the end of his second training camp – he could make it in that position but there is no guarantee that he will. As such, I would see him as an early Day 3 projection at best.
Orlando Brown, the son of former NFL starting OT, Orlando ‘Zeus’ Brown (he of Jeff Triplett/yellow flag/eyeball fame), is a chip off the old, extremely large, block. I love offensive linemen who play with fire and aggression and Brown certainly does that. He plays LT for Oklahoma and, in pass protection, he is technically good. He has excellent length and really quick feet for such a big man, enabling him to mirror and finish very effectively. I thought he put on a bit of a clinic in the Ohio State game last year, when he gave Sam Hubbard a pretty torrid time. In the running game, he seems to view his opposite number through a prism of hatred and rage. Blocking is not enough for Brown; he is set upon humiliating his man and reducing him to a whimpering wreck. Again, I think this is utterly commendable in an OT. So, why do I not have a top 10 grade on Orlando Brown Jr? Primarily because I worry about his agility and flexibility. I think a really good speed rusher could give him problems in the NFL and I think he might ultimately be more comfortable at RT. That transition sounds a lot easier than it actually is, however, and, as a result, Brown might have his struggles in the first year or two. By 2020, however, I believe he will be a good starting OT in the league and, as such, I have a first round grade on him.
Crosby, as a freshman and sophomore, played both tackle spots but saw most action at right tackle. In that position, you can see some promise, particularly in the run game, where he is relentless when it comes to finishing his blocks. When he moved to left tackle, as a junior, however, he looked lost in pass protection. It’s important to contextualise his performance; his junior year was severely truncated by injury and he never got into any rhythm. Nevertheless, as an LT, he brought to mind what I would imagine a bear tied to the stake would have looked like in Elizabethan England; instinctively aggressive but ultimately slow and bewildered, unsure where the next rabid dog was coming from. He simply does not have the athleticism or feet to play LT in the NFL and I have considerable reservations about whether he would be able to cope with NFL rushers on the right side either. If he were to shift inside, however, I can see Crosby fashioning a career at the next level, albeit only within certain schemes. A power-running scheme, such as those operated in Tennessee or Arizona, would suit Crosby well – he could be an old-fashioned road-grader at guard. Overall, though, his lack of a) nimbleness and b) scheme diversity leads me to see him, at this point, as a Day 3 option, although it will be interesting to see how he performs this year, should he be injury free as a senior.