There are some who are down on the 2018 offensive line class. That is likely because there isn’t an elite offensive tackle prospect to headline the class, and just a little bit more work needs to be done to get a read on most of the talent available.
That, however, doesn’t mean that there aren’t good players, or players with really nice upside. There are, and that’s good news for the offensive line hungry New York Giants.
Western Michigan has quietly become an offensive line factory of late. Left tackle Chukwuma Okorafor is a big, imposing lineman with some intriguing upside and could be the next WMU Bronco lineman drafted in three years
Will he catch the Giants’ eye?
- Impressive size. Big, thick frame but carries his weight well.
- Quick feet for a big tackle, and shows decent movement skills in space.
- Consistently tries to gain inside leverage on defenders.
- Plays with power and generates movement on man-gap runs.
- Reliable pass protector who generally blocks through the whistle once engaged.
- Pad level rises if asked to block for an extended time.
- Seems to struggle blocking on outside zone runs.
- Seems lost blocking in space and at the second level.
- Hands can drift outside.
- Doesn’t always strike defenders, instead absorbing rushes.
- Rarely (if ever) played in a 3-point stance
What they’re saying
”Chukes is going to be the guy to watch if you are looking for a riser in the draft at (offensive tackle). Big, long and athletic. (Those players) go high.” -- NFC area scout on Western Michigan’s Chukwuma Okorafor”
The most difficult part of evaluating Okorafor is figuring out whether or not he is scheme versatile. He’s athletic enough to play in a zone blocking system, but seem lost when he has to move more than a yard or two. He’s at his best when he can just line up and hit a defender in the mouth.
He seems sound mechanically -- outside of a tendency to be inconsistent with his hands and some ankle stiffness. With his size and athleticism it isn’t hard to see an NFL team looking at Okorafor and seeing a player they can develop into something special.
Giants’ head coach Pat Shurmur has placed the emphasis in building his staff on teaching. He has said that he wants coaches who can inspire and teach players, rather than just preach X’s and O’s at them. Given Dave Gettleman’s preferences in offensive linemen, Okorafor could be high on his board. If so, he could benefit from an environment focused on teaching him and unlocking his full potential.