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    2007 DRAFT PROSPECT PROFILES: OTs

    (Ed note: Players not necessarily listed in order of grade)

    Joe Thomas, Wisconsin... 6-8, 306, 4.95, SR… Appeared to be on his way to a likely top 5-10 selection at the 2006 draft, but returned to school after tearing an ACL in the Badgers’ bowl game while filling on the defensive line. Good athlete who has played TE and DT at Wisconsin; in fact hurt his knee filling in on the depleted Badgers’ defensive front last January; Thomas was also a national level discus and javelin thrower. Thomas is a prototype LT prospect with long arms and very athletic feet; text book pass blocker who plays with a wide base, gets great arm extension and easily slides around the pocket; very agile for a player that size with good change of direction; not a dominating run blocker but is more of a seal-off blocker; has a decent first step off the snap although he will come off the snap too high on occasion; gets good angles; has good strong upper body strength and locks onto defender until the whistle. Former TE who runs well and can get out into space but lacks the agility to always hit a moving target in space. Character player who is a good student, Thomas has top 5 potential for the 2006 draft if the knee checks out.

    Levi Brown, Penn State... 6-5, 323, 5.25, SR… One of the most productive offensive linemen in the country in a pretty good year at the position; Brown is a prototype road grader drive blocking with a powerful lower body; comes hard off the snap, keeps his pads low and really delivers a pop at the point of attack; really locks onto defender; has decent straight-line quickness and can make a block in space; adequate pass blocker with long arms who is a long way around; has an assertive punch but doesn’t always get much arm extension; tends to be a little heavy-footed and will struggle to stay with fast outside speed rushers; also doesn’t always keep feet alive and has limited change of direction agility. Hard worker with weight-room strength. Summary: Potential mid-to-late first round prospect for 2007, although more a RT prospect because of lack of pure athleticism.

    Doug Free, Northern Illinois 6-6.5, 305, 5.05, SR… Free may be one of the more athletic OTs to come along in a while; indeed, Free is a former TE who actually started two games at the position as a freshman before sliding inside to OT where he has started since. Free has bulked up to around 305 pounds and has the frame to add more weight; lower legs, though, look a little on the skinny side; strong upper body; Free is a good athlete who runs well; will likely time in the low 5.0 range at pre-draft workouts this winter; moves well in space and can get well downfield to make blocks, although he doesn’t always make contact; good technician in pass protection who gets excellent arm extension and slides around pocket with ease, although he is sometimes slow to pick up blitzers. Not a road-grader, but decent run blocker who gets good angles and stays with his blocks until the whistle. Does have a tendency to come off the snap too high and doesn’t always absorb initial contact from defender all that well; as a result will give up too much penetration especially to strong bull-rusher. Did not have the expected senior season after suffering a stress facture in his foot in the season opener, an injury he played with all year. Summary: Solid first-day prospect with the athleticism to raise his grade with some good post-season workouts, especially if pro teams decide that his struggles in 2006 were mostly due to the foot injury.

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