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Recruiting - Nature or Nuture, Part 1, Offensive Line


Which is most important - to land highly-ranked recruits or to coach the most out of your players? Those who trust too much in recruiting rankings often have their expectations disappointed. Analysis of different positions may come to different answers to this question.

Here's Drafttek's rankings for four offensive line positions (C, OG, ROT, LOT) for players for the upcoming NFL draft with Rivals' rankings, position and stars for these players coming out of high school.

Center

  1. Peter Konz, Wisconsin - 4*, #30 OT, class of 2008
  2. Ben Jones, Georgia - 3*, #7 C, class of 2008
  3. Mike Brewster, Ohio State - 5*, #4 OT, class of 2008
  4. David Molk, Michigan - 3*, #5 C, class of 2007
  5. Philip Blake, Baylor - 3*, Not Ranked (NR) OG, class of 2009

Only two of this year's top Centers for the NFL Draft were classified as Centers in high school. Center usually receives lower ratings for stars, e.g. Molk's #5 C ranking rated 3*s. Three players were ranked three stars. One player was not ranked.

Offensive Guard

  1. David DeCastro, Stanford - 3*, #11 C, class of 2009
  2. Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State - 3*, NR OT, class of 2007
  3. Cordy Glenn, Georgia - 4*, #16 OT, class of 2007
  4. Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin - 3*, #39 OG, class of 2007
  5. Lucas Nix, Pittsburgh - 4*, #9 OT, class of 2008

Only one of this year's top Offensive Guards were classified as OGs in high school. Nix had the highest ranking at #9 OT. Three players were ranked three stars. One player was not ranked.

Right Offensive Tackle

  1. Mike Adams, Ohio State - 5*, #1 OT, class of 2008
  2. Levy Adcock, Oklahoma State - 3*, NR OT, class of 2009 (out of Junior College)
  3. Bobby Massie, Mississippi - 4*, #27 OT, class of 2009 (out of Junior College)
  4. Andrew Datko, Florida State - 3*, #35 OG, class of 2008
  5. Marcel Jones, Nebraska - 3*, NR OT, class of 2007

Outside of Adams, none of these players were highly ranked by Rivals. Two were unranked. Three had only 3*s.

Left Offensive Tackle

  1. Matt Kalil, USC - 5*, #3 OT, class of 2008
  2. Riley Reiff, Iowa - 3*, #25 Strongside DE, class of 2008
  3. Mike Adams, Ohio State - 5*, #1 OT, class of 2008
  4. Jonathan Martin, Stanford - 3*, #44 OT, class of 2008
  5. Zebrie Sanders, Florida State - 4*, #15 OT, class of 2008

Kalil and the addition of Adams make this look a bit more highly ranked. The other three include the #15 and #44 OTs with a 3* SDE! Kalil, Adams and Brewster were three of the top four ranked OTs that year. Then there's Nix at #9 and Sanders at #15. Where did those other highly ranked OTs for the class of 2008 go?

Of the nineteen offensive linemen ranked in the top five at these four positions, eleven were 3*s. Five OTs moved to the inside linemen positions.

For Offensive Linemen - at least for this year - unless the player was ranked in the top four OTs, the answer is that Nuture (good coaching with strength and conditioning) rules.

Anyone want to tackle analysis of other positions?

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