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2007 Draft Recap: Justin Blalock

Justin Blalock

Height: 6-3
Weight: 320
College: Texas
Birthday: December 20, 1983
Hometown: Plano, TXAGILITY TESTS & MEASURABLES

40 Speed: 5.10
20 Yd: 2.96
10 Yd: 1.73
Bench: 40 reps
Vertical Jump: 28.5 inches
Broad Jump: 8’5″
Short Shuttle: 4.72
3 Cone Drill: 7.75
Arm Length: 33 1/8 inches
Hand size: 10 1/8 inches
Wonderlic score: 41


NFL Draft Countdown
by Scott WrightStrengths: Outstanding size and bulk…Good athleticism, quickness and balance…Very strong and powerful…Stout at the point and does not get pushed back…Will overwhelm defensive linemen at the point…Has a great initial punch…Moves well…Smart and a hard worker with top intangibles…Terrific run blocker and a road grader…Nasty and plays with a killer instinct…Is versatile…Durable and has a lot of experience.Weaknesses: Does not have great feet and his footwork needs refinement…Needs to play with more consistent leverage…Is not yet a great technician and still relies too heavily on his natural talent…A better run than pass blocker…His range is only average.Notes: Was a four-year starter…Played right tackle for most of his career but saw some action at guard as a senior…Will probably move inside to guard at the next level but he could potentially play tackle as well…One of the better prospects to come along at his position in a while and he is the rare guard with first round potential.Grade: First Rounder


SI.com
by TFY Draft PreviewPOSITIVES: Stout, wide-bodied blocker who dominates the opposition. Possesses big, powerful hands, turns defenders off the ball and opens holes for the running game. Quick off the snap, jolts defenders at the point and engulfs them altogether. Stays square.NEGATIVES: Lacks lateral blocking range. Marginally effective in motion.ANALYSIS: A versatile strong-side blocker, Blalock has immediate starting potential at the next level. Better off at guard, but offers possibilities at the right tackle position.PROJECTION: Early Second Round

GRADE: 4.00 — First-Year Contributor


NFL.com
by NFLDraftScout.comPositives: Has a very thick frame, especially in his hips and bubble … Shows good initial quickness and lower body strength to clear the rush lanes blocking in-line at guard … Plays with very good balance, agility and foot quickness … Has good knee bend and kick slide to mirror and does a nice job of adjusting and taking proper angles on pulls and traps … Maintains body control when changing direction and has quick hands to lock on and sustain … Comes out of his stance at a proper pad level and is quick to recover working in-line … Seemed to be more effective as a drive blocker working inside, taking advantage of his power and hand punch to clear the rush lanes … Self-starter who is usually the first in and the last one to leave the weight room … Does a great job of surprising the defender with his quick burst off the snap … Stays low in his pads with arms properly extended to gain advantage and comes off the line with strong leg drive … The thing you notice on film is his nimble feet and stride to gain position and get to his reach point in pass protection … Has the lateral range to slide down the line and the chang-of-direction agility to get out in front on pulls and traps … Stays square in his base and moves from side to side with very good footwork and agility … Has the upper body strength, hand placement and punch to lock on and control the defender … Shows good retreat-and-slide agility to mirror edge rushers and gets his mitts on his man with force to jolt or drag down … One advantage of him moving to guard in 2006 was that he demonstrated that he has the ability to unlock his hips and explode into the defender more often than he did at tackle … Generates very good hip roll coming off the snap … Uses his leg drive and strong hands to push the pile and has that sudden first step to gain control of his opponent … Comes off the snap with his pads down and arms active to lock on and control … Has the power and leg drive to gain leverage and uses his huge mass to gain movement on drive blocks … Moves his feet well to sustain, demonstrating proper knee bend to mirror and is quick in his kick slide to neutralize backside pursuit … Has quick moves to the outside and shows flexibility and body control in his anchor … Extends his arms and keeps his hands active to gain proper placement in attempts to lock on and steer … Can stab and punch with force, using his hands effectively to gain inside position … Has the lateral movement and agility to slide and recover when changing direction.Negatives: Has a soft midsection, adequate muscle definition and high-cut calves … Lacks the ideal arm reach for an offensive tackle … Plays with very good field awareness on the edge, but seemed to struggle some locating schemes when blocking in-line at guard … When he gets high in his stance, he can be walked back into the pocket, but that only happens when his feet cross over … After a few games at guard in 2006, Blalock settled down and showed better movement coming out of his stance to work down the line … Will sometimes over-extend working towards the edge as a guard (did not do this at tackle) … Had better success getting into the second level to neutralize the linebackers when he lined up at tackle rather than guard, as he struggled a bit to get through trash past the line of scrimmage when working in-line.Compares To: Jammal Brown — New Orleans … Brown is taller than Blalock, but both combine nimble feet, great lateral range and excellent upper body power to generate consistent movement off the snap. Blalock has the loose hips and leg drive to flush the defender out of the rush lanes and shows a quick kick slide and hand placement to mirror in pass protection.

The Huddle Report
by Drew BoylhartSTRENGTHSJustin is a very powerful offensive lineman. He shows excellent leadership skills and mental toughness. He also shows good foot movement and knows most – if not all – of the offensive line positions. He has played at tackle and guard and, although I have not seen him play center, I have no doubt about his ability to play that position also. In fact, for the NFL level, I would think that the center position would be an impact position for Justin to play once he is drafted. Justin is one of the few O-linemen in this draft that blocks evenly well in protecting his QB or blowing holes in the defense for his RB. He is an excellent pulling O-lineman and has no problems firing out and attacking a linebacker. Justin can play more than one position in any style of offensive system.NEEDS TO IMPROVE: Justin’s techniques are a bit sketchy at times because he has been moved around so much along the offensive line. This is normal and he should improve very quickly once he has settled in to one position.OVERALL: Justin might be the best O-lineman in this draft. He might not be the first one picked, but he certainly could be and it would not surprise me. I’m not sure Justin has the lateral agility to play Left Tackle at the pro level; however, I bet if you put him at that position, you wouldn’t be sorry. He can play any of the other positions on the line and before long, you will see him in the Pro Bowl — sooner rather than later. Justin LTI is very short. He will get on the field and help a team right away. He has first round talent to play more than one position. I really hope that at the combine, they test this kid out as a center because I think in the near future he could be a good one. Justin reminds me a lot of LeCharles Bentley (C – Cleveland Browns). He is bigger, but just as tough. I call him Justin (Time) Blalock because the team that drafts him will be getting one hell of an O-lineman (just in time) to go to the Super Bowl.UPDATE 2/6/07

Justin, with all his talent, has been a big disappointment the last part of the college season and now during the Senior Bowl practices and game. He still has the talent to play more than one position but, as you all know by now, it takes more than talent. Justin has gained too much weight and has lost his quickness and strength; I know I would no longer think about drafting him in the first round because of this. Work ethic is one of the key characteristics needed to be successful at the next level and even if Justin goes to the combine and returns to form, I would not move him back up to the first round. He has shown his true self just in time for me to rate him out of the first round and to rate Manuel Ramirez (OG Texas Tech) as the first pure guard that should be taken first off the board in this draft followed by Ben Grubbs (OG Auburn), then Justin. Maybe Justin will get a clue someday and realize how much money he lost out on simply because he did not consider putting his best foot forward at a job interview!

TALENT BOARD ROUND: 2


On The Clock DraftJustin Blalock has a great deal of experience against top competition, having started the past four seasons primarily at right tackle for the Texas Longhorns in the big twelve conference. During that time he has proven to be one of the most durable players in the nation, having not missed a single start due to injury since taking over as a redshirt freshman in 2003. Justin is a big, strong lineman who has developed into one of the most dominating run blockers in college football. He had tremendous lower body strength and he does a good job of using leverage to his advantage. He also does a good job of finishing his blocks. Justin is an intelligent player who knows his assignments and rarely makes mental errors. He is a surprisingly good athlete for a player his size. He can get to the second level in the running game and can get out and make a block in space on a screen pass. He is a good pass blocker who uses his hands well and rarely gives up a sack; however, he lacks the quick feet to play left tackle at the next level and he could have problems with speed rushers coming off the edge. Weight issues could be a cause for concern with Blalock. He was able to shed 13 pound prior to his senior season and he will need to keep that up to prevent running into weight problems at the next level. He played the majority of his career at right tackle although I feel he would be a better guard at the next level. Justin is a versatile player who could play right tackle, guard or possibly even center in the NFL. He should be among the top offensive linemen selected in the 2007 NFL draft.

Football’s Future
by Robert DavisBlalock earned freshman All American honors in 2003, and things have just taken off from there. A fixture at RT for the Longhorns, he has gone on to 1st Team Big 12 honors as a sophomore and junior, and also collected All American honors as a junior. Splitting time at right tackle and right guard as a senior, Blalock managed to dominate again and repeated as an All American. As far as guards go, it is tough to draw up a better specimen than Justin Blalock. He is a very good athlete for an interior lineman, and is very good in pass protection. He can adjust to a defenders moves, and keep his quarterback clean. In the running game, he has the power and strength to drive players off the ball and open up major running lanes. Blalock may also bring the versatility to play at guard or right tackle in the NFL. Even though Blalock has played tackle his entire career at Texas, he seems to be a better fit inside at the next level. He is tad over 6’3, so he is short for a tackle, but his height is not a concern inside. Justin Blalock may be able to play right tackle in the NFL, but he has the look of a dominant guard prospect. He has the talent to be a pro bowler inside at guard, and most teams will draft him with that idea in mind.

About.com
by Conor DowleyPositives: Blalock is a strong and powerful blocker who displays a good base and excellent use of hands. He balances well, and is very hard for all but the most powerful defensive tackles to disrupt. Blalock is a beast in the running game, often driving defenders back to the second level. He’s arguably the biggest mauler and the nastiest lineman in this year’s draft.Negatives: Blalock is not athletic enough to pull well or often, which won’t endear him to some teams. His footwork occasionally gets him in trouble, taking him out of position to make a block, especially in pass protection.Overview: The top guard prospect in the draft, and has the versatility to play right tackle as well. His raw talent coupled with that versatility should land him in the back half of the first round. If he lands in a system that coaches well, especially a power-blocking system, he should be a star in the NFL.

Draft Ace
by Ryan McCrystalStrengths: Big, physical lineman. Has experience at both guard and tackle. Excellent combination of size and strength. Very smart player. Picks up blitzes quickly. Has very good technique.Weaknesses: Not a great athlete. May not be quick enough to play tackle at the next level. May not be in great shape, seems to ware down throughout the game and he looks sloppy at times.Comments: Blalock has the potential to be a dominant lineman at the next level. He has elite strength and adequate quickness for an interior lineman. He has the potential to be selected late in round one but his performance at the combine will determine his final ranking.

Draft Board Insider
by Curtis PopejoyPOSITIVES: Big strong blocker, with a powerful lower body, and gets great leverage on defenders. Dominant in run blocking, and is surprisingly good in space, finding players, and finishing his blocks. Smart player, with experience and it shows in his leadership on the field. Solid in pass blocking, but it’s clear run blocking is his strength.NEGATIVES: Not the quickest player at tackle, and will need to improve his footwork greatly, or lose some weight, to play left tackle in the NFL. He doesn’t have a great first step, and can be beaten on the outside, by quick rushers. Weight and conditioning have been issues, and he needs to work harder in the weight room, to stay fit all season long.FINAL WORD: Blalock has the potential to be a great tackle in the NFL, if he can get his body in shape, and improve some of the finer points of his game. He reminds me a lot of marcus McNeil. If he can’t get quicker to the outside, he may have to move inside to guard in the NFL, while he works on his conditioning.

Consensus Draft ServicesOverview: Justin Blalock is an experienced, durable offensive guard out of Plano East HS (Plano, TX). He was a very highly regarded prep, who was listed as the top guard prospect on most recruiting services and made numerous first team All-American lists. He received offers from Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, but he chose to sign with Texas. After redshirting his first season, he immediately became the starter, and he never looked back. He set a school record with 50 consecutive starts, mostly at right tackle with six starts at right guard due to a teammates injury. He has proven to be a durable, dependable, tough leader for the Longhorns.Strengths: He is a strong player who can be an anchor in the running game. His well built upper body allows him to lock on to defenders, keeping them off of his body. His legs are equally as strong, and after he locks on to a defender, he can drive them backwards. His awareness and athletic ability allow him to locate and lock on to defenders on the second level. He is an excellent blocker on screens and pulls. He is light on his feet for a big man, and he is able to position himself easily in front of oncoming pass rushers. He has played at both guard and tackle during his career, although he is more suited at the guard spot on the next level.Weaknesses: He lacks the ideal height to be a tackle on the next level. He doesn’t have the ideal range for a guard. He is an experienced prospect who lacks upside.Projection: His lack of ideal height will necessitate a move to guard at the next level. His character and experience make him a solid second round choice in the 2007 NFL Draft.


Northwest ScoutingAthletic, physical and very strong. Mauling run blocker who explodes into his blocks and constantly moves the LOS. Great drive blocker. Very good hand punch. Knocks down defenders and creates huge holes. Plays with a wide base and good anchor in pass protection. Can handle bull rush. Gets in position reasonably quick and can wall off defender. Can reach second level and appears comfortable on short pulls, but is not especially good blocking in space. Appears to lack good awareness while on the move. Lunges and is on the ground too much. Lacks top lateral mobility and can be beat by countermoves. Doesn’t always seem to be giving his best effort… and that could cause a slide come Draft Day. Can play Right Tackle in a pinch. Best in short area. Passion for the game has been questioned. Lifted the bar 40 times at the Combine. Late first/second round prospect. Not likely to make it past the first 50. Baltimore at #29 seems likely. Arizona at #37 looks good as well. Similar to: Vernon Carey.

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Author: Aaron Freeman

Aaron is the founder of FalcFans.com.

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