The FRG Summer Scouting Bracketology series gets underway in round one of the offensive tackle bracket with a match-up that features two of the most highly-coveted offensive tackle prospects as we enter the 2014 college football season. Both Andrus Peat (Stanford) and Spencer Drango (Baylor) are considered to be early-round draft picks for the 2015 NFL Draft.
Peat and Drango are underclassmen, so there’s a chance that they both return to school at the conclusion of the 2014 season. That said, they are worthy of consideration as the best player at the position and thus, in the bracket.
Peat and Drango were decorated high school recruits who were among the best at their position. Drango was a top-20 offensive line prospect coming out of Cedar Park, Texas and had offers from LSU, Arkansas, Stanford and Texas, while Peat was considered by some outlets to be the top OVERALL high school recruit in the country. He committed to Stanford after receiving scholarship offers from schools like Florida State, USC, UCLA, Notre Dame, Michigan and many others.
They’re young players, with the Stanford product starting only 14 games to date (he saw action in 13 games as a freshman in 2012.) Drango has started each of the last two seasons, but he missed three games in 2013 due to injury. He’s totaled 22 starts since 2012. His injury is a concern, as he suffered a ruptured disc in his back that required surgery. It will be a major red flag as we get deeper into the NFL Draft scouting season.
Tale of the Tape:
Size (estimated and based on listed measureables from college player pages):
Andrus Peat: 6’7″, 312lbs
Spencer Drango: 6’5″, 315lbs
Notes: Peat is the prototype offensive tackle when it comes to his physical make-up. He possesses the kind of size and overall length that is needed to recover against faster pass rushers in the event he’s initially beat out of his stance. He’s well-proportioned, too; he has good overall mass in both his upper and lower body, and he’s still young enough to fill out even more with another 10 lbs or so.
Drango, while meeting the position’s requirements for height and overall mass, has more of an interior lineman’s frame. He’s thick and stout with a wide base, but he appears to be only of average overall length. With his only average athleticism (below), his lacking (+) length is something that is an initial concern.
Advantage: Andrus Peat
Notes: Both Peat and Drango present with good overall strength for tackle prospects, albeit with different ways of using it. Drango is more of a mauling type who uses his thick base and strong hands to fend off power rushers and to win in the run game, whereas Peat is just naturally “big” and he uses his physical advantage(s) well both in pass protection and when leading the charge in the run game. His size allows for him to engulf the defender and render him useless, whereas Drango stuns and drives his opponent.
There really is no clear winner in this category. Drango and Peat utilize different means to reach the same end, i.e., physical
domination of their opponent. Both players need to get a bit more consistent in this area in 2014, as there are times when Drango and Peat “lose” physical battles that they should be able to win with ease.
Since I’ve decided that there has to be a clear winner for each category, I’m giving the nod here to Andrus Peat. And it’s not because I think he’s “stronger” than Drango right now. Moving forward, however, I feel that Peat will evolve into an ov
erall stronger player. Drango’s back injury is a real concern for long-term strength development and maintenance, whereas Peat is without any red flags in that area.
Advantage: Andrus Peat
Movement Skills/Athletic Ability
Notes: This is one area of this player versus player comparison that I think isn’t really close. Andrus Peat is a much better natural athlete than Spencer Drango as it relates to playing the offensive tackle position. Peat possesses quicker feet and a better kick-slide than Drango, and can reach the edge in pass protection at a quicker and more efficient pace than the Baylor Bear. On more than one occasion, I noted Drango’s struggles versus speed in the passing game. He has heavier feet than Peat and, as a result, tends to labor when dropping into pass protection. Peat, on the other hand, is able to cover more ground because of his length (which, in some ways, could cover-up some warts in athleticism) and mirrors defenders like a tackle with far more experience than he has up to this point. I’m much more comfortable lining Peat up against a speed rusher than I am putting Drango out on the island.
Both players show the ability to get good movement in the running game, and this is where Drango’s combination of adequate athleticism and plus strength is really on display. While he might not be the most fleet of foot, he does take “good” steps when getting to the second level or when blocking down the line of scrimmage. Once he reaches his assignment, his heavy hands and overall core strength create enough of a jolt to open up lanes for the back. Peat, too, can reach the second level, but he’s a bit over-aggressive in his attempt to reach his assignment and can “whiff” at times. But keeping this aspect of the analysis to just the athletic ability of each tackle in the run game, I think they’re pretty much on par.
That said, the clear athletic advantage that Peat showcases in pass protection gives him the nod in this category. And while you want a tackle that can be equally effective in the run game as they are in the passing game, I’d prefer my left tackle to be a better athlete and capable of holding up against speed when they enter the NFL. Peat is just that.
Advantage: Andrus Peat
Notes: As you can probably tell from the breakdown in the athletic ability category, Andrus Peat is my clear winner when compared to Spencer Drango when protecting the passer. And, again, it’s not to say that Drango is not adequate or capable of being a very sound offensive tackle in the NFL. It’s simply clear to me on tape that Peat’s upside as a left tackle is much greater than Drango’s, as he is more capable of protecting the blindside versus both speed and power. Drango has a very strong anchor and will hold up against the strongest of bull rushers, but his heavy feet have me concerned.
Peat does have some work to do, though, in order to become a blue-chip prospect and a top-of-the-first round player. He can over-extend at times which I think is a result of his lacking experience and overall need for reps. As he gets more comfortable with the pace of the college game, he’ll put himself in better position to comfortably sit into his stance with a straight back and win at the point of attack. He tends to play a bit over-eager at times with a “want” to win like a player who only has 13 starts. Once he begins to let the game come to him, his upside is unlimited.
Drango does an excellent job stonewalling pass rushers once he gets his hands on them. He’s smart and is rarely beaten with anything outside of speed. On the reps where he gets a good first step and is on neutral ground with the defender, he mirrors well and keeps his quarterback clean. He keeps his back straight, sits deep into his stance and presents as a very difficult obstacle for the pass rusher to get around. It’s just those moments when he’s trailing off the first step that scare me to death. He’s simply not athletic enough to recover, and that’s a very dangerous reality for the quarterback.
Advantage: Andrus Peat
Notes: In what was almost a clean sweep, Spencer Drango managed to take the nod here over Andrus Peat as a power player in the run game. I am slightly hesitant, however, to feel absolute confidence in Drango’s ability to hold up as a mauler in the NFL because of his back issue, but his 2014 tape should put any of those concerns at ease. He’s simply better than Peat when it comes to run blocking, as he plays with better balance and uses his hands well to get a good fit and control the defender. His powerful legs keep churning on contact and he shows a knack for getting the defender to the ground.
Peat, while a willing blocker in the run game, is still a work in progress. He’s off balance too much and tends to lunge at his assignment (putting himself at a serious disadvantage when facing a quality athlete.) He whiffs too much on the second level and needs to take a solid developmental step forward in this aspect of his game in 2014. I don’t doubt that he will, as (like I previously stated) he should really make major strides in his second full year as a starter.
Advantage: Spencer Drango
Both Andrus Peat and Spencer Drango are appealing prospects, each with unique strengths and assets. Drango is more likely to be a player that fits in a power scheme, where Peat is the kind of natural talent that should succeed regardless of the offensive system. In addition, I’m not quite sold on Drango being an NFL tackle. He could potentially be a dominant guard where his power and effective technique can thrive in a phone booth. As we get through the NFL Draft scouting season, this could become a bigger and more prevailing theme (note: his arm measurements will go a long way in shaping this narrative; if they measure-in longer than what they appear on film, then I’d be more comfortable with him giving it a go at tackle.)
Peat, on the other hand, is the prototype offensive tackle for the NFL game. I have little doubt that after another season of development (and assumed improvement in overall technique) that NFL general managers will be hoping for a chance to select him. He’s the kind of player that I can see rising into the top-5 of next year’s NFL draft (assuming he stays healthy.)
Andrus Peat is the clear winner when matched up against Spencer Drango as a potential NFL offensive tackle at this stage in the preseason scouting process.