PROS: Is a good athlete with nice feet to match up with speed rushers. Does a good job adjusting in space. Is strong and shows good pop with potential as a drive blocker. Shows good mean streak and finishes blocks. Plays with good base. Has a strong hand punch and does a nice job locking on. Initiates contact with defender and uses his hands well to ride defender wide and prevent the counter move. Shows potential as a cut blocker.
CONS: Needs to improve his footwork and technique. Doesn't always stay square and will open up his stance too early. Is a bit of a waist bender. Will block high at times, losing base. Doesn't always stay locked on and will miss his hand punch. Needs to do a better job hitting his assignments when he's blocking on the move.
OVERVIEW: Bulaga is a solid all-around blocker that has good feet, is strong, and can be an impact player in both the ground and passing game. There are no major flaws in his game, but he could use more polish. He missed some games early in the season due to a thyroid condition, and didn't play great when he first got back. But his game improved as the season wore on.
NFL FORECAST: Bulaga and Jake Long are similar players. I don't think he's as consistent snap to snap or his technique is quite as polished as Long's was, but he came out a year early. So with another year he could have been as polished as Long was, but it really doesn't matter. Since Long was NFL ready as a junior, and so is Bulaga. He has the potential to be one of the top tackles in the league like Joe Thomas and can solidify a side of a line for any team. When I first saw Bulaga played, his technique was sloppy and inconsistent, making me think that he could become another Robert Gallery. But with each game I saw him, his play improved and he got more consistent. So the concerns about him being a disappointment at the next level pretty much subside. I'm not sure he'll be a dominant run blocker, but he should be very good in that realm.
ATL FORECAST: Bulaga is an upgrade over Baker since he's a two-way player. But the Falcons would be better off keep Baker on the left side, and moving Bulaga to the right side. There he would be an upgrade over Clabo in pass protection, and probably as well in the running game. He would allow the team to move Clabo to one of the guard positions, potentially upgrading that spot, so he would essentially be an upgrade at two spots for the team. Bulaga and Baker would form a formidable pair of bookend tackles and it's likely that Matt Ryan would rarely have to worry about being hit.
VALUE: Bulaga is a Top 10 talent for a team looking for a left tackle prospect that can improve both their pass protection and running game.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
PASS BLOCKING: 4.0
RUN BLOCKING: 4.0
MEAN STREAK: 4.0
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.