Sports Outside the Beltway

NFL Draft 2009 Round 6 #181 – Miami Dolphins – OT Andrew Gardner

Miami goes for help in the trenches.

Good height with adequate build on the edge. Plays strong, attacking his opponent through the whistle in pass protection by punching and continually extending his arms to keep his man outside the pocket. Keeps his feet moving, which keeps him locked on his man. Will go through the whistle on his man when necessary. Good movement to the linebackers, giving good effort to get his hands on quicker defenders in space. Effectively uses angles to direct speedy defenders around the play. Gets low on cut blocks, which he did quite often in Tech’s option attack as a senior. Steady player, hard worker.

Weaknesses: Not the elite athlete most teams want at left tackle. NFL speed rushers may give him problems due to his average lateral movement and tendency to overextend or miss his punch. Inconsistent initial quickness off the ball. Needs to prove strong enough to play inside or on the other side of the line. Does not recover quickly or retain his balance after the initial hit while cut blocking, and sometimes whiffs on the cut itself. Struggles to sustain in space because he overextends and lacks recovery speed.

ESPN writes-

Gardner is a relentless blocker who possesses just adequate overall strength. However, he has excellent upside in terms of agility and athleticism. He will need some development in terms of footwork.

Someone to fight for the right offensive tackle job. Last year’s #1, Jake Long, will hopefully have the left tackle job sown up for years.

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