Friday, February 4, 2011

NFL Draft Prospect Scouting Report: Will Rackley

Will Rackley

Position: Guard/Tackle

School: Lehigh

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 310lbs

Before you read this scouting report you have to know, I’m really rooting for Will Rackley. I want him to be a good NFL player. I’ve always had irrationally high hopes for small school guys (Jahri Evans, Jacoby Jones, Lawrence Sidbury, etc.) and Rackley is also a local guy so I’m doubly stoked on him. I like local, small school guys so much that when Corey Huerta declares for the NBA draft after his senior season I’ll probably write a full page scouting report detailing why he should be a lottery pick. I’m a sucker for underdogs. That said, I’ll do my best to stay as objective as possible here.

Run Blocking: Rackley is not particularly fast off of the ball but he’s not too slow either. He is strong and plays with good leverage, rarely getting pushed back by opposing linemen. He places his hands well and is swift in hunting down second level defenders that are straight ahead of him. The general consensus with Rackley is that he’ll move to guard in the pros so we’ll have to wait until he does some combine drills where he’s moving in space to get a full gauge on his athleticism when it comes to things like pulling and kicking out. Another problem with judging run blocking for Rackley is sample size. Other than seeing him in person once, the only film I have on him is the East West Shrine game. He played most of the second half and the East only ran the ball a few times, and some of those were draw plays. In the small sample I saw he looks good but ideally I’d like to see more.

Pass Blocking: Stands straight up coming off the ball instead of exploding at a 45 degree angle into his kick slide. This is the primary reason he has no chance at sticking at tackle in the pros. It takes him too long before he gets a-kickin’ and even once he does he is too slow to stay in front of anyone. You can see it in the video below. In the NFL, on obvious passing downs, Rackley will be able to start plays in a two point stance, already in the upright position he loses time getting into post-snap. But his feet are still too slow to play on the outside.

Other Stuff: Rackley isn’t slapped together like Michael Oher or Joe Thomas. Don’t get me wrong he’s got the physical presence to play on Sundays, and he’ll likely improve upon his physique once he has access to an NFL weight room, but right now he’s got room to improve. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the lack of elite competition Rackley has faced, so growing pains are inevitable at first.

My Prediction: Rackley will be a late round pick in the 5th-7th rounds, a raw prospect with potential to be an above average starter at guard one day. I think he’ll spend the prime of his career as a decent starter (think Deuce Lutui) and the time before and after that as a primary backup interior lineman. It’d be cool to see him work at center eventually, versatility is always nice. I also think there’s more than a 1 in 32 chance the Eagles take him which increases his potential thanks to the excellent coaching he’ll receive from Howard Mudd (and I’m sure Juan Castillo will still feel free to give suggestions). No matter what, I’m rooting for Will Rackley.

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