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2011 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Kristofer O'Dowd, C, USC

Shaun O'Hara - three-time Pro Bowler Shaun O'Hara - won't be around forever.

That statement has never been more than true than it is now, and it has never been more commonly asserted, either. With the future of the rest of the Giants' offensive line also clouded in doubt, New York very well could look for help in the draft. With that in mind, let's use today's 2011 NFL Draft prospect profile to look at a potential replacement.

Kristofer O'Dowd is a 6-foot-4, 303-pound center who spent all four years of his college career at Southern California. O'Dowd was the first true freshman in USC history to start at center, but his college career was mostly marked by injuries. Twice, O'Dowd dislocated his right knee. He underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in 2009.
Nevertheless, O'Dowd could present an intriguing middle-round opportunity for the Giants. His size - he's one inch taller than O'Hara and the same weight - is impressive, and he's athletic enough to pass protect.

Scouting reports after the jump.

Kristofer O'Dowd
6-foot-4, 303 pounds
Projection: Rounds 3-4

Scouting Reports

From CBS Sports:

Positives: Ideal size. Athletic enough to consider moving to guard in the NFL and has experience at the position. Good lateral movement to mirror defensive tackles. Long arms and strong hands to control his opponent. Good strength and balance to anchor against the bull rush.

Plays with good leverage despite his frame. Good quickness to get to the second level, but has only adequate change-of-direction agility and balance when adjusting to moving targets. Quick first step to vacate his zone to block downfield.

Gained the respect of the coaching staff and his teammates by playing through various injuries throughout his career, including only missing one game in 2009 after dislocating his kneecap in the spring.

Negatives: Has a quick first step, but struggles with balance once he gets into the open field and has to find his target. Is too often late getting to the spot, as a result. Relies on technique against power and can be knocked backward (see Oregon State). Has struggled with durability throughout his career and could be red-flagged by teams because of his multiple surgeries.

From National Football Post:

Possesses a good first step off the snap in the pass game and uses his length well to keep lineman from initially getting into his frame and bulling him off the ball. Does a nice job instantly dropping his base and has the ability to anchor vs. even bigger defensive lineman.

However, he isn't overly fluid on contact, has a tendency to get overextended and upright in his lower half and will allow opposing linemen to disengage laterally from his initial punch. He does have the ability to re-direct and get his hands back on defenders once they gain a step inside, keeping them from cleanly making their way up the field.

But, he doesn't strike me as a guy who can consistently slide his feet and stay on blocks through contact one-on-one at the next level. Isn't a real Velcro player, gets upright when trying to mirror and let go of blocks too quickly inside. Also, he's had a really tough time staying healthy during the course of his career and his medical report is something worth monitoring. He will play through pain, but there is a lot of tape of him out there where he just looks banged up.

Impression: I don't think he's the type of athlete or top-tier center prospect many are making him out to be. And I honestly can't see him excelling in any area of the game at the next level. Looks more like a reserve type center to me.

From Sideline Scouting:

Positives: Versatile, could get some looks at Guard... Heady, good instincts for the position... Explosive... Good pass blocker, quick first step... Solid flexibility and body control but not good... Carries his pads well... Plays with good technique... Good mental toughness... Aggressive, gives a good effort... Reminds me of San Francisco's Eric Heitmann.

Negatives: Plays a little high at times, rises up in pass protection, allows defender under his pads... High cut, long lower body makes it difficult to maintain pad level... Loses a lot of battles for leverage... Needs to get stronger and show a little more consistency at POA... Doesn't anchor well against bull rushers, can be moved off the point... Not a big-time pile mover, doesn't get a lot of movement... Doesn't look very fluid in space, will overextend, reach and lunge... Doesn't do an especially good job bringing his feet with him... Struggles to hit moving targets... Not a great finisher...