Patriots NFL draft profile: TCU offensive lineman Obinna Eze

The New England Patriots have a number of questions to answer this offseason.

How will they handle JC Jackson’s unrestricted free agency? Will they retain the services of veteran leaders Matthew Slater, Dont’a Hightower and Devin McCourty? Can they find Mac Jones a number one receiver? These are all questions on the minds of Patriots fans, but one that may fly under the radar is how the team is going to meet its future tackle needs. Trent Brown is a free agent and Isaiah Wynn is entering the final year of his rookie contract.

With a few decisions to make at tackle, the easiest way for New England to meet their tackle needs is in the draft. With other – more pressing – needs, the Patriots would be well served to examine value. This is where Obinna Eze comes in, as he might be the most advantageous option in the class of 2022 at tackle.

Name: Obinna Eze

Position: Offensive tackle

The school: TCU (RS-Senior)

Opening day age: 23

2021 statistics: 11 games.

Cut: 6’8″, 315lbs

Planned tour: 3rd/4th

Strengths: Obinna Eze has some of the longest arms you will ever see. At 36 ⅛”, they are longer than fellow 6-foot-8 tackle Trent Brown. It’s not just a fun fact either, Eze knows exactly how to take advantage of his length by keeping rushers out. of his frame and controlling their trajectories from his set.As a run blocker, he is able to move the ball quickly and does a great job of positioning his big body.In his passing sets, Eze likes to get the upper hand on the rusher by setting it short and overpowering it.

One of the real pleasures of watching Eze is seeing how patient he is. He lets things evolve and never pushes his luck. A lot of power tackles like to press and it can get them in trouble because they don’t have the recovery ability to do it. Eze, despite being relatively new to the game, has the patience veteran players crave.

Weaknesses: Speaking of being new to the game, one wonders if NFL teams might be scared off by his lack of experience. Originally from Nigeria, Eze came to the United States to pursue a basketball career. Prior to his senior season in high school, he dabbled in football and quickly became a four-star recruit and number nine overall for Tennessee. That’s all impressive, but six years of football experience may not be enough for a team that needs to add a potential starter. At this point in his development, there’s no way of knowing what level an Eze player can truly reach.

In addition to the lack of experience, Eze is a modest athlete who plans to be just adequate at the next level. I don’t usually like to hit linemen for their game-changing lack of athleticism, but mixing that with a huge lack of experience raises red flags.

What would his role be? If you take an offensive lineman in the first four rounds, there’s hope that he can eventually become a starter. Eze has the exact makeup of a guy you could basically redshirt in his freshman year before giving him an opportunity in a starting role. Think Yodny Cadjus but without the medical setbacks. New England hoped he would take a big step forward in the second year and it didn’t happen. Maybe with a different background but the same potential, it could work with Eze.

Does he have positional versatility? I think Eze will be stuck as a right tackle. His athleticism isn’t going to cut him at left tackle in the NFL, and it might not even be enough to kick inside to guard. It’s a brick wall, the only place teams might feel comfortable putting it is in front of the quarterback’s blind side.

Who is his competition? New England has a lot more tackle than a lot of people realize. Justin Herron, Yodny Cadjus, Yasir Durant and Michael Onwenu are all options to earn a bigger role at tackle next year. Not to mention the fact that New England could still lock up Trent Brown or Isaiah Wynn with extensions. It’s a full house, the question is how much talent New England thinks there is.

Why the Patriots? There are a number of players on the roster who seem to be maxed out in terms of potential. Herron is a swing tackle who can substitute occasionally. Cadjus is a fullback on the roster who has been a healthy scratch for most of his first full season. Yasir Durant can play guard or tackle but does neither particularly well. Obinna Eze is a player who immediately raises the ceiling of an offensive line grouping compared to the others mentioned.

Why not the Patriots? What’s the worst-case scenario for New England in 2022? Trent Brown doesn’t re-sign, Michael Onwenu slides to right tackle and Ted Karras or another free agent signs to be left guard on a cheap offer. It doesn’t seem so bad to me.

Verdict: I will never say no to a talented prospect in the fourth round. This is where NFL teams take risks, and it’s worth it.

Comments are closed.