[Remember to check the '2010 NFL Draft' section for all stories relating to the draft.]
As we continue our Daily NFL Draft Prospect Profile series let's look at one of those players who has used the post-season games and workouts to significantly improve his draft stock.
Indiana offensive lineman Rodger Saffold.
This is a player who was likely a late-round selection had the draft been held a couple of months ago. Now, though, he is a guy who could be off the board as early as the second round. SB Nation's Mocking The Draft rates Saffold as a potential sleeper pick in the April draft. From MTD:
Rodger Saffold has picked up a lot of game experience since starting as a true freshman for Indiana. All of Saffold’s starts have come at left tackle which is a very important position in the NFL. Saffold played in the Big Ten which isn’t short on play-making pass rushers. Saffold has good enough size and athletic ability to remain at left tackle in the NFL. I think that Saffold’s game experience against top competition will lead to a successful NFL career. Saffold could come off the board in round 2 but even at that position could be a steal.
Let's take a closer look.
Rodger Saffold Scouting Reports
From Consensus Draft Services.
Possess truly intriguing athletic tools. Saffold has an impressive frame, has above-average athletic ability off the edge, but lacks the power and balance to quickly redirect and stay with athletic pass rushers in space and though Saffold has played LOT, but he doesn’t usually display the strength or lateral quickness to slide, mirror or swiftly re-direct and keep the left side of the pocket clean in pass protection. So perhaps his future home is as a ROT or he might be suited to kick inside and play guard in a zone-blocking scheme.
If he can play OG as well as RT and LT in a pinch he should be in the NFL for several years.
From the National Football Post. I think, by the way, that this report had to be written well before the post-season game and Scouting Combine.
Saffold is a good athlete in the run game who has the ability to reach defenders at the second level and break down in space. But he struggles to generate power from his lower half and doesn't exhibit much of a punch on contact. He does a much better job off the snap uncoiling into blocks and using his upper body to create a push and seal opposing DEs from the play. He isn't explosive off the snap, and I can't see him staying with speed rushers off the edge. Saffold doesn't redirect well in space and struggles to keep his base down and remain balanced. He does a nice job using his long arms and length to get into pass rushers off the edge, but he isn't heavy-handed. He struggles to stay on blocks in all areas of the game and is too easily disengaged from in the pass game (Michigan DE Brandon Graham had his way with Saffold, shedding blocks all game). He isn't instinctive and will miss blocks and assignments in the pass game, a bad trait as the guy protecting the QB's blind side.
Prototypical size. A starter at left tackle for the majority of his four years at Indiana. Impressive lower body strength; holds his own against the bull rush. A decent run blocker. Limited athleticism; won't be a left tackle in the pros. May be a guard/tackle 'tweener that doesn't fit perfectly into either position.
What you see is what you get with Saffold He doesn't have much upside, but he's a reliable offensive lineman that could play right tackle or guard at the next level. He looks like a very safe bet to develop into a reliable backup, but he may never be much more than that. Due to uncertainty of the position he will play in the pros his grades could range from the 2nd round to the 5th round depending on who you talk to.
Why Saffold fits with the Giants
Couple of reasons. The Giants, as we have discussed over and over, have glaring defensive needs even after the free-agent acquisition of safety Antrel Rolle. Yet, beginning to revamp the offensive line is also on Jerry Reese's "to-do" list. A guy like Saffold might allow the Giants to do both. They can go defense early, and still be fortunate enough to grab a guy like Saffold who could have a long career as an NFL starter in a subsequent round. Even if he doesn't start, he offers positional versatility.
Why the Giants should pass
If they draft an offensive tackle in the first round Saffold would no longer be a consideration. Other than that the only major concern really is what will Saffold's best position be?