Sports Outside the Beltway

NFL Draft 2008 – Round 1 #15 – Kansas City – Branden Albert (via Detroit Lions)

NFL Draft 2008 Logo The Lions are up. Could they take yet another wide receiver? Almost certainly not, as there isn’t a consensus stud worth taking at the position.

The ESPN boys think they might be eager to trade down.

With less than 3 minutes left on the clock, they got the Kansas City Chiefs to bite. They take Branden Albert, the outstanding offensive guard from Virginia.

Scouts, Inc.: 12th

(6’5″, 309, 5.169) | VIRGINIA

Strengths: Is tall and thickly built. Also has long arms and big hands. Shows a quick first, takes proper angles to assignments and gets into position quickly. Plays with a mean streak and drives legs once locked onto the defender. Has very good initial quickness for his size. Shows above-average range and can pull around the edge. Shows smooth footwork getting into pass sets and shuffles feet to stay in front of defenders. Gets adequate hand placement and extends arms once in position. Keeps head up, shows good awareness and can adjust to line stunts as well as blitzes. Never missed a game because of an injury and is durable.

Weaknesses: Does not have overwhelming power and doesn’t knock many defenders back with initial punch. Plays too high at times and is going to have problems driving two-gap defenders off the ball. Runs well on a straight line but has some trouble hitting the moving target. Doesn’t get great knee bend in pass sets and can get pushed back into the pocket. Appears to take plays off at times and may lack ideal endurance at this point.

Overall: Albert started all 37 of Virginia’s games during his three-year career (2005-07), including two at offensive tackle in 2007. He allowed just one sack and received an All-ACC honorable mention in 2006. He was a first-team All-ACC selection in ’07. Bottom line: Albert needs to improve his power at the point of attack and learn to get under defenders’ pads. He also is a bit inconsistent when it comes to hitting the moving target as a second level run blocker. However, he is a massive guard with very good short-area quickness and tenacity. He could possibly move to ROT in the NFL but we think he fits best inside at guard, where he should quickly develop into an upper-echelon starter. He could be the top interior offensive lineman selected in 2008 draft  no later than the second round.

Rick Gosselin: 18th

Mel Kiper: 8th

Nothing sexy here but good value for the spot. And Brody Croyle can certainly use better blocking.

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