The good, the bad and the verdict on Arkansas OT DeMarcus Love
I love his overall physical make-up. He possesses a thicker, well-built lower half and has the ability to sit into his stance, extend his long arms and anchor with consistency on contact when he has his feet under him. Plus, the guy is a gifted athlete who possesses good range off the edge, has the athleticism to recover quickly laterally and can stick to blocks through contact. Looks really comfortable playing from a two-point stance and displays much better balance and coordination toward the corner. Plus, he has some upside from a technique standpoint, as he consistently is forced to bounce back and forth on both sides of the line of scrimmage throughout the entirety of a game. Therefore, if given the opportunity to really hone in on either tackle or even a guard spot, my bet would be he could dramatically smooth out his overall footwork at either spot.
For a guy who is only 6-4½ he really is a leggy individual on his kick-slide, causing him to get overextended and lose balance into contact when trying to reach the corner. He can be jolted at the point of attack when he doesn’t have his feet under him. Doesn’t consistently sit into his stance through contact and will get doubled over trying to stick to blocks. Isn’t as natural working from a three-point either and tends to bend too much at the waist trying to sit into his stance. Also, needs to do a more consistent job getting off the football on time, as too often he’s a half second late off the snap, which forces him to rely on his athleticism to hold up on the outside and his technique goes out the window.
Does he have the range and athleticism to play left tackle in the NFL? Absolutely. However, the left tackle spot is about so much more than pure athleticism. Balance and an understanding of angles are two of the most overlooked attributes of the position as you need your tackle to cleanly be able to redirect without much wasted motion, as well as understand his positioning based on his opponent and the pocket. Now, do I think Love could play left tackle in the NFL? Yes. But, do I think he’s a potential blue-chip player at the left tackle spot? No. He reminds me a lot of Texas LT Duane Brown. A guy whose athletic skill set says he can play on the blindside, but because of his lack of great balance in space, he will give up some pressure off the edge and through contact.
Therefore, when looking at Love as a whole, I think he could end up being a much better guard in the NFL as opposed to left tackle and I will end up grading him out higher as a guard prospect than at tackle.
Negatives: Frustratingly inconsistent... Narrow base... Bends at the waist... Looks top heavy... Will occasionally lunge into his blocks on the move and lose his balance... Not an especially good finisher... Rolls off too many blocks... Doesn't dominate at POA... Initial kick step can be bouncy... Inconsistent kick slide, either overextends or steps are to narrow... Either way, he loses his balance trying to reach the edge... Leans into the defender, too much of a catcher... Gets to upright in pass protection... Inconsistent footwork and technique and lack of balance will necessitate a move to Guard... Kind of a boom or bust type prospect."
Love is one of the most experienced players in all of college football. He redshirted in 2006, played in eight games and started three as a freshman in 2007, started eight games as a sophomore, and has been a full-time starter ever since. The offensive tackle has great size at 6'5'' and 315 pounds and he has experience at both the right and left tackle positions. For now he is slightly better at run-blocking than pass-blocking, which points to him being a right tackle at least for a while in the NFL. Love could be off the board as early as the second round in the 2011 draft."
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