Friday, 18 September 2009

Meet Russell Okung

I won't be doing the detailed scouting reports I did last year until December, in all likelihood. It takes a while to accumulate enough 2009 games to scout a player accurately. Even though I can't push out a full scouting report, doesn't mean that I can't introduce some of the prospects in the 2010 draft.

One such player is Russell Okung, LT, Oklahoma State. Entering his 4th year starting (3rd as a left tackle), many consider Okung the top Senior tackle prospect in 2010. Okung is expected to contend for every postseason OL award this season, and is a big part of the explosive Oklahoma State offense. So far, I've scouted Okung against Missouri (2008), Oregon (2008) and Georgia (2009). I also watched Okung play against Texas, but I wasn't taking notes or re-winding plays so I'm not reading a ton into that game.

Pros: Natural pass-protector with long arms. Skilled at reaching the corner and preventing the DE from turning it. Plays with good but not great effort. Smart player. Footwork in pass protection is very good. Very fluid. Good athlete. Keeps his hands on the defender and battles in pass protection. Very good cut blocker for a college player.

Cons: Gets almost no push in the running game. Lacks explosion in all aspects of the game (doesn't explode to second level, no explosion with his punch). On the 2nd level, he adjusts pretty well to LBs but doesn't overpower them like you'd hope from a 305lb player. While he generally defends the edge well, he can be pushed back in the pocket with a strong bull rush. Stands up his man run blocking, but Okung doesn't use his legs once contact is made. Not a natural runner on the second level.

Overall: I certainly understand why Okung gets the hype. He has a lot of promise protecting the quarterback against speed rushers. For Seahawk fans, he probably will find himself working on a line that runs a lot of zone rushes, as he lacks the power needed for a man-to-man scheme. Either way, his value is as a pass protector, not a run blocker. He is a clear cut below Jason Smith, Eugene Monroe, and Michael Oher in my opinion. He probably will never be a powerful or terribly ferocious, but if he improves his hand technique and beats some quality competition (he struggled quite a bit against Nick Reed and Brian Orakpo) he could find himself rising to the top of what appears to be a weak tackle class.


Anonymous said...

Can you compare Okung to Eugene Monroe? They both seem like great pass-protecting LTs without much of a mean streak/killer instinct.

Kyle Rota said...

Monroe was quite a bit better - and I wasn't crazy about him.

Okung probably has a better attitude. You'd see Monroe not make plays due to laziness. Don't see that from Okung. But Monroe was more athletic, stronger, and had better technique.

Rob Staton said...

There certainly doesn't seem to be that 'buzz' around the left tackles this year that we've seen previously. I'm not sure we'll see that Jake Long/Joe Thomas/Jason Smith right at the top of the draft this year.

Having said that, tackle has become a premium position in the NFL. Whoever is regarded as the #1 at that position isn't going to fall too far next April.

Rotak said...

Yeah. What worries me is that Okung really got beat by Reed (who was moved to the right side quite a bit that game) and by Orakpo. Not promising, but he's miles better than Ciron Black and might be better than Trent Williams.

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