Friday, 30 October 2009

Some thoughts on Ed Wang

I was asked by a couple of readers to keep an eye on Virgina Tech left tackle Ed Wang last night as the Hokies took on North Carolina. He's an intriguing prospect, owning prototype height and weight (6'4", 300lbs) and coming from an athletic background (both of Wang's parents were part of the 1970 Chinese Olympic team). It doesn't stand to be a deep class at offensive tackle in 2010, so it's worth having a look at what options will be there.

My initial impression was that Wang didn't play with a great deal of nastiness. He's very much a finesse player and on a few occasions he didn't really finish his blocks. It's not enough of an issue to be a red flag, because generally he did a good job overall and he did at least show some desire to get to the second level. However - some guys just lack a mean streak and Wang seems to be in that category.

When judging these lineman it's always important to decipher whether they'll be a good scheme fit. There's not much point dwelling on a guy who doesn't fit Mike Solari's zone blocking scheme, but thankfully Wang looks like he could slot into it based on the game tape. He's not overly big and reliant on power (although his body could use some toning). Wang has good footwork and manages to get into position quickly, whilst he also diagnoses plays quickly, knowing when to block off and when to pass the defensive end off to the guard inside.

The areas that he impressed were when performing cut blocks - something he does better than Charles Brown (USC) - and his ability to sustain blocks on passing downs. When an end or linebacker initiate one-to-one combat with Wang, he was virtually unbeatable. However, he did look susceptible to a strong bull rush and I'm not sure how he'd cope against physically bigger and faster lineman in the NFL - UNC didn't really threaten too much in this game. He also needs to do a better job of getting leverage because he's a waist bender who doesn't really get underneath the pads and drive upwards.

For some reason during the game the vast majority of VT's play seemed to focus on the right hand side. The quarterback Tyrod Taylor ran a lot of bootlegs to the right hand side and a lot of the running calls were to the right. To a certain extent, it's a credit to Wang for watching Taylor's blind side well enough to allow him to do this. But it puzzled me to a degree that they didn't run a few more plays to the left so we can get a better look at Wang under more pressure.

Overall I'd put Wang in the middle round bracket. I'm not sure he could kick inside because of his lack of a mean streak and I'm not even sure he's a viable option at right tackle. That might put some teams off, because he's a bit one dimensional as a left tackle only and even then he's going to have to prove he can cope against better pass rushers. That could affect his stock, but he fits what Seattle want from their lineman and could be a viable option in the 2010 draft in the middle rounds.


Anonymous said...

No Wang we draft Wang. I was interested enough in him at the start of the season that I've watched 4 games to focus on him and Cam Chancellor. Not impressed at all. Good college tackle that doesn't make a lot of mistakes, but does nothing really well, and seems soft. Another Kyle Williams at best.

Rob, I still think that Ruskell is going to bank on Locklear panning out on the left side, and Frye impressed enough to get a shot as the backup next year. Therefore, I think it's much more likely we spend a 1st or 2nd round pick on an elite left guard. If we don't re-sign Spencer, Unger moves to Center. Perhaps a nasty right tackle in round 2 and move Willis to guard. Too many other holes to fill to spend more than 1 pick on O-line anyway, so we better make it count.

JohnLWilliams4RingOfHonor said...

What exactly is a "mean streak" and how does it show itself on the football field?

Also, at the beginning of this article, you say that Wang "didn't really finish his blocks." But later on you say that he sustains his blocks better than Charles Brown does his. Here again, I'm confused about what conclusion you want me to draw.

Rob Staton said...

JLW4ROH - I think a mean streak is pretty self explanatory. Obviously some guys are pretty aggressive and others aren't, in Wang's case I saw little aggression. Now for some it doesn't matter and isn't what they're about, but personally I felt Wang could stand to be a little more aggressive at times especially when taking on a bull rush. As a reference case in point, I commented that "on a few occassions" he didn't really finish his blocks and that a greater level of aggression on these select plays would have been preferable.

Now, that doesn't mean he never sustains. When he was able to on passing downs by getting into position nicely, he did a good job. So if you want a conclusion to draw - the guy isn't perfect at finishing blocks and when he doesn't, he could show greater aggression to finish the job.

I also said he performs a cut block better than Charles Brown, not that he sustains better. said...

I fully agree with whatever thing you have presented. said...

So, I don't actually believe this will work.