Thursday, 28 January 2010

Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State

Scouting report by Kyle Rota

Name: Russell Okung
Position: Offensive Tackle
School: Oklahoma State University
Height: 6050 E
Weight: 302lbs E

The Big 3:
Athletic Ability: Okung possesses above average athleticism for an NFL tackle, but fits more into the “smooth” than “explosive” category. Okung is a natural knee bender who usually plays with great leverage. His short area quickness is very good, and he is an above-average athlete shooting off the snap and sliding his feet. Okung also has long arms that lock up defenders, which helps mask the lack of strength. 6.5

Run Blocking: Most teams will grade Okung critically on his run blocking. He does not have the lower body power to push even college defensive ends backwards, and too often his man is able to shed the block and make a tackle. However, Okung is an excellent cut blocker (run and pass) and is one of the best collegiate tackles I’ve seen at getting to the 2nd level and locating/blocking linebackers, and could be at least adequate in a zone blocking system. 6.0

Pass Blocking: This grade surprised me as much as it will surprise you. I actually have huge concerns about Okung’s ability to play left tackle in the NFL. He lacks the anchor to consistently hold up against stronger DEs (and I really worry about what a 3-4 DE could do to him), and often gets pushed backwards. He also really struggled to stay in front of the more athletic defenders I saw him against, allowing even mediocre NFL talent like Nick Reed to turn the corner against him a couple of times. To me, he’s good at sliding his feet and has long arms, but when facing a good athlete who is able to keep those arms off of him (like Brian Orakpo, Nick Reed, or Greg Hardy) Okung really struggles – he doesn’t have the athleticism to fall back on when his arms don’t land, and he doesn’t get his hands into his man’s pads regularly enough when he plays good competition. 6.0

The Rest:
Motor: 6.5 While Okung does not have the nastiness of Jake Long, he’s nowhere near as lazy as some prospects and generally plays to and sometimes through the whistle.

Feet Slide: 6.5 Great first step, but there are going to be NFL defenders capable of beating Okung around the corner. Good enough for most players, but the elite athletes will give him trouble.

Initial Quicks: 7.5 Very quick out of the snap, even when OkSU has Okung out of a three-point stance (not very often). One of his best traits is that he does force DEs to take steps outside, rather than just penetrating off the snap.

Playbook Understanding/Blitz Pickup: 6.5 Okung is generally a smart blocker who makes few mental errors. He usually picks up the right man on the blitz and locates the right man when going to the second level.

Pulling/Trapping: 6.0 For a player who is so good short-range, the longer Okung has to run the worse he looks. After about 5 yards Okung looks awkward running. He locates the linebacker well, though, and can usually land a block. Less effective when asked to trap defensive linesmen, as he lacks the strength to jolt then backwards.

Combo Blocking: 6.5 When Okung needs to get outside and find a LB, he does a very good job. When Okung is asked to hold the block on the DL, he usually does a good job but will struggle when asked to block defensive tackles 1v1. Lots of experience with zone blocking principles.

Hand Use: 6.0 Okung has no punch (sadly, not uncommon at the collegiate level) to speak of and does not recover quickly (if he misses his first attempt, will take too long to shoot his hands a 2nd time). The only reason this is not lower is that Okung’s long, surprisingly strong arms allow him to get his hands on defenders more often than not, and this projects as something Okung can fit.

Character: 6.5 Everything I’ve heard about Okung has been generally positive. He’s smart, demonstrated by his awareness locating linebackers and following his assignments. He has a reputation for being a hard worker and has no off-field issues. Demonstrated maturity coming back for his senior year when he would’ve been a first day pick.

Summary: I was really hesitant to put up this report, and have now seen more on Okung than any other offensive tackle I’ve scouted. I had a very difficult time reconciling what I saw on tape with what I’ve heard about Okung. While his run blocking is going to turn off a lot of teams, I think he would be pretty solid for a team that runs a lot of zone blocking. The area where I really disagree with just about everyone is in regards to athleticism and pass protection. I think Okung has benefitted greatly from playing in the weakest, defensively speaking, BCS conference. It worries me that Okung struggles against good competition – against Orakpo, Reed, and Hardy, Okung turned in bad games - when good-but-not-great would’ve been expected. In the end, I can only go by what I’ve seen in the games and that just was not very impressive.

Computed Grade (Weighted): 6.35
Final Grade: 6.4 - Late 1st round grade.


Charles said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charles said...

Kyle, in your sections titled Motor: and Feet Slide: you accidently referred to Okung as Orakpo because you had just mentioned Orakpo in the paragraph above. I just wanted to let you know because it might confuse other readers. Thanks and great job.

Kyle Rota said...

Thanks, Charles. I'll fix that!

Mark said...

Great post Kyle. I would love to see another post on some of the other highly rated LT in the draft to compare to Okung.

This is the first time I've read Okung being viable in a ZBS. Great analysis!

Anonymous said...

Hey Kyle,
Are you gonna be doing your website again this year? Loved reading it last year!

Kyle Rota said...

Mark - my goal is to look at the top 7 or so (arbitrary number subject to change) OTs that I see Seattle examining. Truthfully, Okung is the only 1st-rounder I expect to scout. Anthony Davis, Trent Williams, Ciron Black... none of those guys seem to project to a Gibbs scheme. I was already scouting Okung when it was announced we were bringing Gibbs to Seattle (and, thus, retaining Zone Blocking).

I know for sure that Charles Brown will get a final report, as will Jason Fox and truthfully I might give Selvish Capers another shot. The other names will be mid-round prospects who fit what Gibbs is looking at.

Anonymous - I will be putting up a new website in the next week or two, but everything I post there will also be available here at SDB. It'll be a different site, just so I don't have to get rid of my 2009 reports, but the general site will remain the same.

Thanks for the kind words everyone!

Anonymous said...

Well deserved kind words I might add. Great analysis. Thanks!

A LT with poor pass protection skills doesn't sound like a high #1 to me.

The draft is a lot of hype (not this beloved site by the way) and Okung sounds like he has been the beneficiary. Will the hypesters bring him down in the comming weeks. Stay clicked.

Anonymous said...

Great work Kyle. It's that time of year: Draftmas! Keep these reports coming. I love them.

I wonder why Okung is touted so highly the last couple of years. He has a big wingspan and is athletic looking--he's pretty trim for a guy his size.--Nano

Kip Earlywine said...

Great stuff. From what little I've seen of Okung, I also noticed the "smooth" style you referred to, and I also liked his motor, which isn't something that gets mentioned much elsewhere.

I couldn't put my finger on the exact reasons, but Okung just didn't look dominating to me, so it was really informative reading your observations.

CLanterman said...

I was listening to 950 AM on the way back from work yesterday and a reporter for the Oklahoman was talking about Okung. He said he had great character, was an excellent pass blocker as well as an excellent run blocker, and didn't see him falling much past 6. He also mentioned that he shut down Orakpo, which I found to be odd. Also that Oklahoma State has been really good at both running and passing the ball in the past 4 years. He also mentioned that his blocking at the second level is where he really excelled at. Personally I could see him as one of the guys having an Oher-type slide because there are whispers of him having weaknesses, such as your report mentions. It's good to see what some of his weaknesses are in specific terms (unlike Oher, who I felt never really was given a fair evaluation by the media with the blanket excuse of 'character concerns').

Rob Staton said...

It's interesting CLanterman, because as Kyle testifies - there are many out there who rate Okung very highly. As a short sample, Mel Kiper has him at about 7-8 on his big board. Rob Rang has him going third overall to a team that - in all fairness - did a good job protecting Josh Freeman in 2009.

However, I have to agree with Kyle. When you watch the tape, I see no evidence to suggest Okung warrants a pick in the top 15. If he had declared as a junior, he would've been taken after the initial cluster of tackles - Smith, Monroe, Smith. I think he would've found a similar range to Oher.

It only takes one team to rank him as highly as the Kiper's or Rang's and he's a top ten pick. However, I must admit mild surprise that he gets such a generous review almost exclusively elsewhere. For me, Kyle's review absolutely hits the nail on the head.

Jon said...

The more I hear about the first round LT's and the type of guys a Gibbs system is looking for I would be surprised and disappointed if we take a LT in the first round.

It's looking more like the value is going to be DE, CB/S, QB...with an outside shot at playmaking RB or WR in the range of our first round picks.

Kyle Rota said...

CLanterman - That Orakpo comment puzzles me as well. Okung was thoroughly dominated by a very good player. That's why I don't trust journalists to comment on what actually happened on the field. I don't think anyone could watch the game with me and say Okung shut down Orakpo... it'd be like saying Michael Vick has great touch. I can't even wrap my head around it.

Oher was a funny case. The first time I saw him, I gave him a high grade. Then I started getting worried about whether or not he'd be able to pick up a pro offense - and the former scout I know killed him (got a very low grade), so I started questioning myself. Big mistake, Oher looks like he'll earn the grade I originally gave him.

That's one reason why I am giving Okung this grade even though I know others, with more experience, are giving Okung a high grade. Just based off of what I saw on film, I can't give Okung a high grade. Even if I don't fully believe that grade will be true.

ivotuk said...

Nice work Kyle, I think this is the first in-depth report I have seen on Okung and it reflects what I saw in the few games that I watched him in.

I couldn't agree more with Jon:

"Jon said...
The more I hear about the first round LT's and the type of guys a Gibbs system is looking for I would be surprised and disappointed if we take a LT in the first round."

I think ALL of this years OTs are getting overhyped. After watching film on Anthony Davis I was severely disappointed, even though he looked good in pass protection, the guy was like a statue at the 2nd level. No way he deserves coming off the board before the 15th pick.

Bruce Campbell has very little experience and has nagging little injuries that have popped up in the few games he has played. He's a risk at LT and I wouldn't value him any higher than the mid-20s.

Then there are the guys that have Trent Williams in the top 10, just blows me away that when there is so much talent elsewhere that someone would demonstrate what a real "reach" is.

I really hope we wait until the 2nd round and pick someone like Charles Brown or Jason Fox because I think they are talented enough to play LT. We don't need an elite LT for the ZBS, just look at teams that have been successful without one.

Good work Kyle and Rob, love the site and especially the fact that you guys provide legit info on why you don't agree with the plethora of draft experts out there.

Anonymous said...

I hope you include Bryan Bulaga in your analysis. He is from a ZBS and is nasty enough to warrant consideration. Run blocking is one thing, but sooner or later our LT is going to have to block a Jared Allen type and he better have elite skills if you want your QB to remain upright and in one piece. IMHO we need to get the best LT we can, (even at 6), as soon as it makes sense, and secure the blindside of Matt or whatever rookie our future holds, ASAP.

Anonymous said...

Hey Kyle, what do you think of Bill Stull?

People compare him to Teel, but he has performed better against better competition.

Kyle Rota said...

Anon - Sorry for the late response, just saw this. I haven't seen Stull since last year, but he didn't look very good when I was scouting LeSean McCoy. They both played pretty similar competition (both Big East), so that doesn't stand out. I didn't think Stull had the physical talent of Teel.

Again, I haven't scouted Stull. But I didn't see much to be impressed last year. I thought he was holding the team back at times, as the passing game struggled a bit even when McCoy was running all over guys.

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