After an incredibly quiet start to his five year career, guard Cody O’Connell broke onto the scene with an All-America 2016 season. He was an Outland Trophy Finalist after a top tier performance as a pass protector in the infamous Mike Leake spread attack. O’Connell may be the biggest player in the draft class (6080, 354) and understands how to use that to his advantage. While his size can be a detriment in certain situations, the upside of a player that continues to get better each time I see him is something NFL coaches will be excited to work with.
What He Does Well:
Plays the role of a building that is simply hard to get around for most defenders. His reach and range are so long that even when he is beat off the ball, he can still delay the defender from getting off and around him more so than other interior linemen. Consistent with his post-snap set up, gets his feet set with knee bend and hands up. Smart and aware, can see things around him and will be assertive in his decision making. Good straight line athlete, can get out in front and make blocks in space.
Where He Needs Work:
Will always have to battle the leverage disadvantages at his size. Continually struggles to get under the pads of low-to-the-ground defensive tackles. Quick twitch game isn’t there, speed rushers can abuse him. Susceptible to holding penalties when he doesn’t initially recognize stunts and blitzes. Recovery speed isn’t there. A guy this tall can make things difficult for a quarterback as he tries to read the middle of the field post-snap. Slow to get out of his stance and move laterally on trap/counter blocks. Can be inaccurate with his hands on the move.