By Rob Staton
Regular visitors to the blog will know I'm not totally convinced with Russell Okung (OT, Oklahoma State). Visit most mock drafts and they'll tell you he's a top five pick. I don't agree. At best, I would give him a late first round grade. Resident scout Kyle Rota echoed those sentiments when he scouted Okung. It surprised me to an extent that the big left tackle was receiving such universal approval elsewhere. However, some concerns on a national stage have been expressed. The Scouts Inc group published these thoughts on ESPN's Draft Blog:
"Okung gets good hand placement and shows sound footwork once he's engaged with defenders, so he rarely gets beaten once he gets his hands on the defender in either the running game or the passing game. There's also a lot to like about his tenacity, and he can be seen on film pancaking defensive ends and linebackers.
"However, there is reason to believe Okung won't be as effective in pass protection in the NFL. First, he is not as strong at the top of his pass set as teams would like, because at 6-foot-8 he struggles to sink his hips. More importantly, Okung does not appear to have elite foot speed, so his footwork will always have to be sound. He also lacks the agility and flexibility Anthony Davis has shown. A potential fall from the top 10 to the later portion of the first round could cost Okung a whole lot of money." - Scouts Inc
I also think it's interesting they've referenced a potential rise by Charles Brown (OT, USC). I'm a big fan of the SoCal tackle and believe he'd be a great fit in Seattle's zone blocking scheme. He's under sized (not something that will put off Alex Gibbs) at around 290lbs, but he's had ample time since the end of 2009 to get above the 300lbs mark. His frame allows for some bulk, so it shouldn't affect his athleticism. Nice hand punch - something you don't often see from college prospects. He's aggressive and athletic, whilst showing good form getting to the second level.
Last year we saw another converted tight end shoot up draft boards after a good combine showing (Jason Smith). I'm not suggesting Brown will make a similar move, especially not as high as second overall. But if the Seahawks are thinking they need to take a left tackle early, even if Gibbs teams haven't in the past, Brown seems like the most obvious candidate to me. A good combine could push him into contention as a top fifteen pick.