Does exhibit the initial burst to bucket step on the outside and set the edge vs. defenders in the run game. Possesses some short-area body control, keeps his pad level down and can be a bit heavy handed through contact. Possesses good power from his lower half and can routinely drive defenders off the football as an in-line guy and create a surge off the snap. Also, offers the type of size and power in his upper body to lock onto defenders and use his big frame to control blocks and seal away from the football.
Impression: Possesses good size, but isn't a natural bender. Lacks proper footwork off the edge, but can win for you in the run game. Looks more like a reserve-type right tackle at the next level."
Positives: Three-year starter at left tackle for the Tigers has a massive frame with quick feet. Agile for his size, good lateral agility. Can run and hit second-level targets. Extends his arms and can slide his feet in pass protection. Good punch, excellent hand placement. Very experienced, football smart, durable team leader who started four Clemson bowl games.
Negatives: Has a bad body, with long and relatively thin legs, high hips, a small spare tire, and is top-heavy. Doesn't bend his knees well, and generates very little power without proper knee-bend. Doesn't appear to have great power in his hands. Waist-bends and can't anchor against power. Can slide one way, but struggles against double moves. Doesn't change direction well. Did not fare well against top competition."
Movement: As I mentioned, Hairston's size limits his ability to play fluid and quick. However, for his size he does have some athletic ability but not enough to play left tackle in the NFL. Hairston showed that he can sit into his stance and take short balanced steps.
Pass Blocking: Hairston's biggest question mark will be whether or not he can reach the edge and hold off speed rushers. The key to that issue will be his ability to quickly get off the ball and into his kick slide. He showed some good foot movement and has long arms to reach the rusher. He has a strong anchor which helps him remain balanced after contact. That balance allows him to reset after the initial contact and hold up against power rush moves. However, I would not trust him protecting the blindside of my quarterback.
Quickness: Lacking good foot speed, Hairston relies on his ability to quickly get out of his stance and into his set. He has good awareness and fires off the football giving him a slight advantage. Hairston doesn't have good short area quickness which leads to him lunging at defenders in both pass protection and running game.
Run Blocking: Hairston possesses good size and strength which helps him move defenders off the line. He routinely keeps his pad level low giving him the leverage necessary to be an effective run blocker. While engaged, he takes short balanced steps as he works to open up running lanes. Hairston's lack of athletic ability limits his ability to climb to the second level and engage. He didn't show me a good nasty streak which is something I like to see in an offensive lineman. Overall, Hairston is an effective run blocker with the strength and size to move people off the line.
Strength: At 6'7 325lbs, Hairston possess both good size and strength. He maintains good leverage and balance which allows him to maximize his strength. However, he doesn't have very heavy hands and struggles to be a Velcro player and remain engaged through contact.
Technique: Overall, Hairston has solid technique that starts with remaining low and balanced. He has a nice natural bend that helps him anchor after contact. He avoids wasted hand movements which all him to punch and recoil quickly. Hairston is also committed to getting inside hand placement.
Final Word: I have Hairston as one of my sleeper picks of the 2011 NFL Draft. I feel that he has the ability to develop into a solid right tackle. He is going to slide a little in the draft because he lacks versatility and looks to be a right tackle only. He doesn't have the foot speed to hold up on the left side and is too long to be an effective guard."
Positive: Massive offensive line prospect who moves very well on his feet. Bends his knees, blocks with leverage and displays adequate footwork sliding off the edge in pass protection. Keeps his feet moving, works to stays square, and jolts defenders with violent hand punch. Anchors in pass protection, plays with quickness, and turns defenders off the ball as a run blocker.
Negative: Bends at the waist and struggles to adjust. Not a dominant run blocker.
Analysis: Hairston is a prospect who's watched his game take off the past two years and showed further progress as a senior. Likely a blocker who will be moved to the right side of the line, he must improve as a run blocker yet has the natural skills to succeed in the NFL."
Negatives: Gets too upright in pass protection, rises up almost instantly into his stance... Will bend at the waist and lose balance... Marginal lateral range, choppy kick slide... Can be beat by speed... Will lean and lunge to make contact on the outside edge... Can be pushed back by stronger bull rushers... Gives up ground at POA in the passing game... Doesn't dominate at POA like a man his size should... Looks a little stiff and awkward in space... Lacks the flexibility and body control to cleanly fit on linebackers... More of an obstacle in space than actual blocker... Will lunge into downfield blocks... Best in short area, will get some looks at Guard but might not have the overall strength to move inside... Doesn't always appear to be playing with much urgency."
At Clemson he redshirted in 2006, As a RS freshman in 2007 he played 248 snaps in 10 games, with a career-high 75 snaps in the Chick-fil-A Bowl against #21 Auburn andhad 16 knockdown blocks, including five intimidation blocks. In 2008, he played in 11 games but missed some time early while recuperating from a moped accident. He played the last nine games, but saw limited action at #24 Florida State when he suffered a concussion in the first half. He ended up fourth on the team in knockdown blocks (42.5) and had an 81-percent average grade, second-best on the team. Saw 517 snaps, fifth-most on the offense.
In 2009, he started 12 of the 14 games and played in 13 of the 14. Chris missed all of the TCU game with an injury and played just nine snaps at Maryland due to injury. He had 44 knockdown blocks for the year and a 79 percent average grade from the coaches.
Strengths: Has the size you are looking for. Gets good depth on his pass drops, and sets himself so that he can recover to the insider counter. Still can get beaten to the inside, but he gives good effort to wall of that threat. Has a pretty smooth backpedal, and does not over-commit often. Stones the straight ahead bull rush. Has an average punch. Average run blocker for an LOT, but will be found leading around the edge on occasion. Lacks elite feet but is not a waist bender and shows pretty good technique.
Weaknesses: Slightly undisciplined at times. Will draw penalties. Not a killer in the run game. Will take plays off in the run game, and/or just plain miss what he should be hitting. Not a great puller. Doesn't always fit that well on defenders while on the move.
Projection: Solid 3rd rounder."
For his efforts in 2009, Hairston was named to the second-team All-ACC squad and, heading into 2010, he was ready to take over for the departed Thomas Austin as the leader of the offensive line. Yet, there were some questions about whether or not this unheralded lineman was ready to emerge as a leader of the unit. Hairston answered those questions during his senior season and helped pave the way for the dynamic rushing duo of Jamie Harper and Andre Ellington.
Hairston is a very smart player. He may not be the most physically dominating offensive lineman in this class, but he rarely makes mental mistakes. Hairston has the strength to be a solid right tackle in the NFL, but teams will have to take a close look at his footwork before they use a second or third round selection on him."
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