Sports Outside the Beltway

NFL Draft 2008 – Round 1 #19 – Carolina Panthers – OT Jeff Otah (via Philadelphia Eagles)

NFL Draft 2008 Logo The Eagles are on the clock. The ESPN gang is yapping about quarterbacks but the Eagles just took one in the 2nd round last year. Is a trade in the offing?

We’re two hours, ten minutes into the draft at already 18 guys gone. That’s fantastic for me as a fan of the Cowboys, who have the 22nd pick, but it’s hard to live blog at this speed!

The Eagles have traded the pick to the Carolina Panthers. The speculation is that they’re after Jeff Otah, the last stud offensive linemen, or one of the remaining quarterbacks.

Otah it is!

Scouts, Inc.: 19th

Strengths: Is a massive, mauling right tackle type. Has a huge frame with very long arms (35.3 inches). Not a great athlete but does play with good balance. He has a massive base. Will get low and uproot DL. Does an excellent job of anchoring versus the bull rush. Shows very good overall strength. Rarely loses a battle once he is locked on. Will drive his legs and create a new line of scrimmage as a run blocker. Still learning technique but is intelligent and continues to improve with more experience and coaching.

Weaknesses: Below average athlete. The more space he’s in the less effective he becomes. Lacks ideal initial quickness out of his stance and struggles to get set in time versus speed edge rushers. Struggles to reach the second level as a run blocker. Will have trouble hitting moving targets in space. Hands are smaller than ideal (9.2 inches).

Overall: Otah was born in Nigeria, came to the United States when he was seven years old and did not play organized football until his senior season of high school. He attended Valley Forge (Pa.) Military College in his first two years out of high school (2004-’05), making 17 consecutive starts at left tackle. He also averaged nearly 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Valley Forge basketball team. Otah transferred to Pitt in 2006 and made an immediate impact, starting all 24 games of his junior and senior seasons with the Panthers. He was an All-Big East first team selection in 2007. The Nigerian-born Otah lacks ideal playing experience and is still unpolished. While he is not a great athlete, he is not as slow as his combine workout numbers might indicate, as he participated despite an ankle injury. Otah is a massive mauler with the size, power and short-area quickness to develop into a good starting right tackle in the NFL, which is why we grade him as a mid-to-late first round prospect.

Rick Gosselin: 16th

Mel Kiper: 12th

A great value at the spot, presuming they didn’t give up too much in the trade. But it’s unusual to move up to take a tackle.

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