With the Atlanta Falcons season heading into a downward spiral, Erik Sandelin takes a look at targets the Falcons should be scouting.
Beau Benzschawel OG Wisconsin 6′ 5″ 317 pounds Sept 15 vs Brigham Young
Positives – stereotypical Badger lineman. Big, strong, cornfed-looking farmboy type. Looks as big as he’s measured, and it’s all solid. No sloppy fat. Not cut like a bodybuilder, but clearly, someone who spends time in the weight room. It’s not just weight room strength, either – shows plenty of natural functional football strength. Routinely manhandles his opponent. Has a good anchor and rarely gets moved back in pass protection. A straight bull rush is not going to work on him. At the very least holds his own in the running game, and more often than not is moving his man off the line of scrimmage. Technically sound. Shows good awareness. Knows when he can pass somebody off to a linemate and when a linemate has passed somebody off to him. Doesn’t get fooled on stunts and twists. Can pull and can get downfield and block on the second level. Good demeanor for an offensive lineman. Always looking for someone to block and always looking to finish his block.
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Negatives – strictly a right guard. Built for the power game. A decent athlete, but my guess is he would struggle in a zone scheme like what the Falcons run. He can pull but looks like he’s plodding when he does so. Can get downfield to block on the second level, but often misses targets to hit when he gets there. Looks like the farther he has to go the more lost he gets. Most likely at his best in a phone booth.
Summary – worth a late first round pick based on ability and not accounting for the position he plays. Given that he’s a guard and not an exceptionally gifted one like Quenton Nelson, he could wind up falling into the second round. Would be more valuable to somebody like the Cowboys who play power man-blocking scheme than to a zone team like the Falcons. I’m not saying he’d be a bust if he went to Atlanta, but his skill set wouldn’t be maximized there.
Next week – Raekwon Davis DL Alabama 6′ 7″ 308 pounds Sept 22 vs Texas A&M