There's nothing quite like the baseless speculation around the NFL Draft, is there? We're months away and the order isn't even locked in yet, and yet here we are talking about professionals' evaluations. ESPN analyst Todd McShay released the first round of his first mock draft, and I'm inclined to take it as fact because it has the Saints winning the NFC South (as evidenced by the fact that he has the Saints picking 21st).
McShay has the Saints taking Tackle T.J. Clemmings out of Pittsburgh, a fairly bold pick given Payloo's track record of not taking offensive linemen in early rounds. In fact, the Saints haven't spent a first round pick on a lineman since Jammal Brown back in 2005 which, incidentally, was the year before Sean Payton came to town. It may be time to buck that trend, of course, but there are obviously no guarantees that the Saints will do so. If there's one thing that Saints' fans have learned from Payton, it's that he does things his way, no exceptions. Clemmings is a 6 foot 6, 315 lb. tackle that is quickly rising up draft boards. He recently accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl, and is getting some talk as the best offensive tackle that this year's draft has to offer.
For anyone interested, at the bottom of this article are two games that showcase Clemmings. They're both ACC matchups, and both videos highlight Clemmings before the play. Source is Draft Breakdowns, a terrific site to look at prospects.
This was one of the more impressive plays that I saw from Clemmings in the videos given. Duke runs a twist on the right and left side of their defensive line from tackle to end. Clemmings is at the top of the screen (right tackle). He is able to engage the end on the initial rush, before forcing the end seamlessly into his right guard's block. The right guard, likewise, passes the tackle off onto Clemmings, who engages him effortlessly. Pittsburgh's entire offensive line does a brilliant job of picking up the stunt, and they give their quarterback the time that he needs to make a solid throw on third down.