Does a good job getting position with good pop off the snap. Does a good job walling off the defender when he's uncovered. Does a good job getting on the second level and shows ability to adjust to hit a moving target. Has a nice punch there to jolt and lock onto the middle linebacker. Does a nice job moving the middle linebacker out of the hole. Has good hand placement for the most part and is able to create leverage against bigger defensive tackles. Shows some ability to lock on and redirect the nose tackle. Does a good job initiating contact in pass protection and shows nice lateral footwork to stay in front of defender. Moves well, and is comfortable pulling or blocking in space. Does a nice job moving laterally on the stretch play. Shows some leg drive and has decent knee bend. Plays with good mean streak and consistently finishes his blocks.
Lacks size and is not a guy that is going to get much push in the middle against NFL-caliber defenders. Doesn't always show you the quickest hands or get the greatest placements. Can struggle to lock on when facing against power. Has short arms and can get overextended at times when trying to deliver punch as a run blocker and pass protector, losing his balance and getting tossed aside by the bigger defender. Gives too much ground to the bull rush when facing the nose tackle. Limited in pass protection outside a short-area because of his less than ideal footwork and short arms. Will whiff on assignments when blocking on the second level, in front of a screen or as a cut blocker.
Molk is your classic undersized center, but makes up for it with nice athleticism and good technique. He's one tough S.O.B. and is the type of guy that should be able to overcome his physical limitations. But that won't stop NFL teams from knocking him during the draft process. You like his movement, mean streak, and ability to consistently get position. But he does struggle when he's facing a big, physical nose tackle. He's a guy that is tailor-made for a zone-blocking scheme, similar to what he played in at Michigan. And in that scheme, he should be able to overcome most of his flaws and limitations to be an effective starter at the next level. Won the Rimington Trophy as a senior, for the nation's top center.
2011 GAMES WATCHED:
(9/10) vs. Notre Dame: Downfield: 1/1; Screen: 0/1
(9/24) vs. San Diego St: 3 key blocks, Downfield: 3/4; Screen: 1/1
(11/12) at Illinois: 2 key blocks, 1 missedblock; Downfield: 6/7, Pull: 1/1
(1/3) vs. Virginia Tech: 1 key block, 1 QB hit; Downfield: 3/3, Screen: 0/1, Pull: 0/1, Cut: 0/2
2011: 13 GP/13 GS, center
2010: 13/13, center
2009: 4/4, center
2008: 12/12, center
- had surgery in January 2012 to repair ruptured tendon in his foot
- played with a chipped bone in his right foot for entire 2010, had surgery following year to fix it
- missed 4 games in 2009 with a broken right foot, and most of 5 games due to torn ACL
Molk will be knocked because of his subpar size and arm length, but in truth there are a lot of centers that have nearly identical measurables that have gone on to have success in the pros. Dan Koppen and Todd McClure are two good examples. And just like the pair of them, Molk will likely be a late round pick. And I think just like the pair of them, he'll have a nice long productive career as a starter in the NFL. He's not going to fit for every team. He'll work best in a zone-blocking heavy offense like Houston, or like Atlanta's back when Alex Gibbs was around. Because he'll never be a guy that pushes the pile and will struggle on an island against the bigger defensive tackles in the league, you want to play him in a scheme that will minimize those instances, and that's why a zone blocking scheme is ideal. It's less about pushing defenders downfield, as much as it is about getting position and creating lanes for your running back. And in pass protection, he won't be forced into one on one situations because the line operates more as a single unit rather than five distinct entities. I don't think he's going to come in right away and be a stud, although I think in that scheme he should make a competent rookie starter. But I think if he gets a year or so to learn, add some muscle and refine his technique, then by his second or third year he should be able to become a solid starter for such a team. Chris Myers, who is probably the master zone blocking center in the league today sat for two years in Denver before getting his opportunity to start. The problem for Molk is that there is only a handful of teams that run that Alex Gibbs-style of blocking scheme, so there is a finite amount of fits and opportunities for him early on. But he's a guy that will at least stick around as a backup, and if he doesn't get that shot with the team that drafts him, then by the time he's a free agent four years from now, he should be able to find that opportunity. If he can stay healthy, he's the type of player that can play for over a decade. That is arguably the biggest concern about him, because he definitely has the ability to find a place in the NFL. Almost all of his injuries were to his right foot or knee, and the fact that he dealt with it for three straight years makes you wonder if it's just going to continue to be a chronic issue going forward, or whether it's a case where NFL-level doctors can get things straight. I'm not sure Molk has the upside to be an elite center even in the ideal scheme, but I think like a Todd McClure he should at least be an above average starter.
Molk brings similar skillset that Todd McClure brings and like McClure has the chance to be a long-time starter in Atlanta. He's probably not going to unseat Joe Hawley as a rookie. The Falcons look like they'll use more zone-blocking under Dirk Koetter and Paul Boudreau which fits Molk, but it'll probably still mix in a lot of man principles. And rather than maybe a 50-50 scheme, he really needs to be in a scheme that is like 90-100% zone blocking to be effective. He'd be a nice long-term insurance policy and developmental piece in case after a year or two Hawley isn't progressing. You could be fairly confident that two or so years from now, he can step in and at least be a capable stopgap. But without the team moving towards a much more zone-heavy blocking attack you don't know whether he'll play well enough to stick long-term beyond his rookie contract. And because he can't really play guard, it'll make it harder for the team to justify a roster spot for him early on unless he's the starter.
For a pure zone-blocking team looking for a solid developmental starter, I would potentially take Molk in the late third or fourth round. For most other teams you can probably wait until the sixth or seventh round because he doesn't have as much upside as a starter.
1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite
Pass Blocking: 7.0
Run Blocking: 6.5
Mean Streak: 8.0
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.