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Scouting the OTs: Ja’Wuan James and “Tiny” Richardson, Tennessee.
- Updated: January 14, 2014
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Strengths: Power, Hands, Experience, Technique
Weaknesses: Feet, Reaction time
James presents as a big, powerful tackle prospect capable of coming into the NFL and contributing sooner than later…Possesses an ideal frame; built thick and solid from the shoulders through his calves… A powerful player at the POA, James consistently creates a jolt on contact that stuns the defender and pushes him backward…Does a nice job getting inside hand position and extending his arms to control the action when engaged with the defender… While possessing only average feet, James does have enough athletic ability to play on the right side of an offensive line…He is a long player who uses his length to recover versus faster defensive ends…Possesses enough athletic ability to get to the second level and complete a block versus smaller, faster linebackers…Plays with a good, wide base and is constantly keeping his feet moving through contact in the running game…Better suited for in-line blocking; he’s tough and physical, playing from the snap of the ball until the whistle is blown.
James needs to do a better job at getting out of his stance quickly at the snap of the ball; He is consistently one of the last offensive linemen moving after the ball is snapped…Struggles versus speedy defensive ends; can lose balance versus spd to power pass rush…While generally displays good hand usage, at times he will absorb the oncoming pass rush instead of initiate contact.
Ja’Wuan James is a tackle whose name doesn’t get mentioned quite enough when discussing the top offensive linemen available for the 2014 NFL Draft. It’s rare that a tackle prospect enters the NFL with 49 career starts (and in the SEC nonetheless), and that experience will be highly coveted on Draft weekend. But it’s not just the fact that James has 49 starts at right tackle; he’s a very, very sound prospect. James is big, he’s physical, he plays with good hands and a solid base, and is constantly driving and battling his opponent through the whistle. While he might not possess the most gifted pair of feet, he certainly has the length and overall technique to win on the right side of an NFL offensive line. James is one of those plug and play prospects that you can rely on as early as his rookie season, either through his ability to win a job outright in camp or to serve as a valuable backup on game day. There’s a lot to like about this Volunteer and it wouldn’t shock me to see his name as a starter on his employer’s depth chart.