The Detroit Lions have a lot of work to do in regards to patching up their offensive line. They have until May 3 to make a decision on whether they want to pick up the fifth year on offensive tackle Riley Reiff's contract for $8.07 million, and there has been some speculation of whether they want to move him to the right side. Is it possible that the Lions are simply waiting to draft a left tackle prospect before they decide to move Reiff to RT? I'm leaning toward yes.
Since 2013, the Lions have made it their mission to get bigger, longer and more athletic at almost every position. General manager Martin Mayhew went on record explaining their interest in adding longer defensive ends two years ago:
"We talked about that with our coaching staff and spoke at length with some of our guys about those guys being able to make more plays," Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said. "Actually, I think (defensive coordinator) Gun (Cunningham) did a study on that, on sacks and arm length and height.
"So, it was something that we were kind of focused on. I’m not saying we wouldn’t have taken a guy who wasn’t 6-7, but we like what those guys bring to the table."
The same case can be made with offensive tackles. Since drafting Riley Reiff in 2012 -- known for his below-average arm length (33 1/4 inches) -- the Lions have brought in several OTs with above-average arm length.
Arm length of OTs #Lions have brought in for pre-draft visit and/or UDFA signing since 2013. Pretty clear trend here. pic.twitter.com/qbGiCi816v— Alex Reno (@alex_reno) April 8, 2015
Now I'm not saying that the Lions are going to cross someone off their board because their arms aren't long enough, but it seems to me like they have a specific profile set for the position.
The Lions brought Texas A&M OT Cedric Ogbuehi in for a pre-draft visit on March 30, and there is no coincidence that he happens to have the longest arms (35 7/8 inches) of any OT in this year's draft. Many thought Ogbuehi's stock would take a hit after suffering an ACL tear, but it appears that may not be the case.
After speaking with multiple teams I have no doubt that Ced Ogbuehi's ACL tear will NOT keep him out of the first round. He's going in 1st.— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) April 7, 2015
What I learned from this spider graph:
1. Cedric Ogbuehi has very long arms
2. That's it
I'm not going to waste any time here, so I'll jump right into exactly what I love about Ogbuehi's skill set.
This is far from a spectacular play, but it does a nice job of representing why I like Ogbuehi so much. He has an elite first step and the best feet of this entire OT class. I could probably count the number of times he isn't the first player to react off the snap in every game on one hand. When you pair that with his length, he's nearly impossible to beat off the edge.
It's basically a wasted play for the defensive end. He tries to win off the edge, but Ogbuehi bursts out of his stance and stonewalls him pretty good. He uses the one-arm technique to guide him out of the way and around the quarterback. One arm is longer than two, and while that's normally not the proper technique for an OT, he does a good job of using it here. If you're a DE, you better expect that Ogbuehi is going to beat you to your spot and hit you first on almost every single play.
Unfortunately, Ogbuehi did not participate in the NFL Combine and was unable to showcase his athleticism. But five minutes of watching his tape will give you a great idea of how truly gifted he is as an athlete. Check out this play where he's asked to carry out a cut block on a zone run. I'm not sure if this move is 100 percent legal, but that's an extremely difficult task to fulfill and he made it look easy.
Ask anyone about Cedric Ogbuehi and they'll tell you they love his feet and hate his hands. His hand placement can truly be terrible at times, and he often mistimes his punches. It's a big concern, but it's also something that can be easily fixed with the right coaching.
In the play above, Ogbuehi slaps the defender's outside shoulder, which does absolutely nothing to prevent him from forcing the QB out of the pocket.
It got to the point where you'd think Ogbuehi was more focused on handing out hugs than hitting players in the chest. Typically, you'd like to see your OTs keep their hands low and strike like a boxer, rather than slap like a Carmelo Anthony basketball fight.
Another big concern with Ogbuehi is his lack of functional strength and inability to consistently anchor in pass protection. He punches with pillows for hands and doesn't often knock defenders backward.
Ogbuehi isn't a terrible run blocker, but he's not going to dominate either. He can latch on and turn defenders away from the play and open up some holes, but he rarely plays through the whistle and doesn't display much of a mean streak in the run game.
How He Fits
If the Lions are in the market for a true LT prospect, then Cedric Ogbuehi could be their man. A comparison I've made is that he's basically D.J. Humphries with an ACL tear. He's a spectacular athlete with elite movement skills and the longest arms of any OT in the draft.
With the ACL injury, it may take time for Ogbuehi to get acclimated to the NFL, and he does have his fair share of concerns with his upper-body strength and hand placement, but these are very coachable concerns, and his good traits far outweigh the bad ones.
Ogbuehi's stock is a mystery to me. He's a first-round talent, but I'm not sure how far his injury will knock him down. It's possible that the Lions may have to snag him with the No. 23 overall pick, but if he's there in the second or third round, I'd consider it a steal.
2015 NFL Draft profiles: OT T.J. Clemmings (Pittsburgh), RB Duke Johnson (Miami [FL]), CB Eric Rowe (Utah), DT Michael Bennett (Ohio State), CB Quinten Rollins (Miami [OH]), DT Jordan Phillips (Oklahoma), OT Ereck Flowers (Miami [FL]), DT Malcom Brown (Texas), RB Jay Ajayi (Boise State), DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (UCLA), DT Carl Davis (Iowa), OT D.J. Humphries (Florida), CB Kevin Johnson (Wake Forest), DT Xavier Cooper (Washington State)
Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave any suggestions of prospects you would like to be profiled in the comments below.