+Plays with ideal on field intensity
+Solid height and length
+Good strength for size
+Excellent on field awareness
+Uses excellent fundamentals
+Good lateral quickness
+Can drive defenders off the ball
+Creates a wide base
+Pretty good when entering the second level
-No flexibility. Can’t block short players on pass plays, struggles to get good leverage
-Rarely successful if he attempts a cut block
-Lacks straight line quickness
-Struggles to block quick linebackers when entering the second level
-Could add bulk
-Doesn’t get a good initial punch, especially as a pass blocker
-Balance is only average
I’ll be honest. I rarely get excited about underrated offensive linemen. I was a huge Kelechi Osemele fan last year, but, other than him, I rarely feel the urge to rant about underrated O-linemen. But San Jose State offensive tackle David Quessenberry is awesome. He first caught my eye in a masterful performance during the 2011 UCLA game, in which he basically played perfectly. In that game, he could do know wrong. And, as I continue to watch him, I continue to like him, seeing him dominate Ezekiel Ansah, Chase Thomas, and basically every other player he has ever tried block 6’2 and taller (he doesn’t have much flexibility, struggled against 6’1 I.K. Enemkpali of Louisiana Tech, and that’s it).
Quessenberry has solid measurables. He has solid height at 6’5, not enough bulk at 295lbs, but mediocre speed with a 5.18 40 yard dash. He does have a fairly nice, muscular build, though, and should have no problem adding 15lbs without compromising much athleticism.
Quessenberry is a phenomenal pass blocker. He’s a solid athlete with average lateral agility but good lateral quickness, which helps him recover against a good counter move or a quick move to the outside. He has nice, long lateral strides and he has the body control necessary for a quick change of direction if he has been caught out of position. Among other things, what definitely jumps out is his hand placement. If I’m a defensive line coach, the thing I preach the most is hand usage. I love a defensive lineman that can control the arms of opposing offensive linemen. But that doesn’t happen to Quessenberry. His hands are quick, they’re always in good position, and he has extremely long arms, making his arms even more difficult for opposing linemen to control. He’s a quick processor who sees things quickly and feels comfortable playing the position. He knows how to use his length to drive pass rushers out of the pocket, and, more importantly than maybe anything else, he creates an extremely wide base and he has a naturally wide frame. Sometimes if a tackle tries to hard to create a wide base, he can be knocked off balance by a hit to the upper chest. This occasionally happens to Quessenberry, but it’s not all too frequent because his long arms and good hand placement make it difficult for opposing linemen to simply hit his upper chest. Although he really needs bulk, he has excellent strength for a guy his size, and he has no problem defeating the bull rush or blocking defensive tackles against the pass. He still needs 15lbs, or he will be eaten alive for 3-4 defensive ends like Justin Smith, or even large 4-3 ends like Julius Peppers and Cameron Jordan, but, as long as those 15lbs aren’t comprised of fat, he should be fine there in the NFL. The one issue he does have as a pass blocker is very poor flexibility. He’s an adequate knee bender at best who can’t get low enough to be trusted to block anyone shorter than 6’2 or 6’3. Louisiana Tech’s I.K. Enemkpali proves that. First of all, I mentioned that Quessenberry is awesome with his hand placement. As a pass blocker, he consistently uses the heel of his outside hand to punch the outside of the defender’s breast plate (admittedly, it’s a soft punch. Phenomenal lower body, excellent core, arms are practically pudding), then getting his hands inside and using his legs to drive the defender off the ball. However, against short rushers, his inability to get low makes it difficult for him to have his hand extended with his initial punch, and although he puts his hands on the inside of the defenders chest like he is supposed to, his shoulders are above the shoulders of the defender, and the direction of the applied force ends up being about 60 degrees relative to the ground, as opposed to 90. Essentially, the net result is that one third of applied force goes toward pushing the defender down (not useful), while the other two thirds of the force pushes the defender backward (useful). 60 degrees may be a bit of an exaggeration, but it still hurts. Opposing defenders get more and more leverage until he is completely off balance and they basically get under his arms. So he struggles against shorter defenders for this reason. Still, all of his good attributes make him a net positive as a pass blocker.
Quessenberry is a very good run blocker. Let’s start off with the bad. He doesn’t get a great initial punch, he struggles with cut blocks, and, every once and a while, a defender (Kyle Van Noy) will get Quessenberry to lunge at him, while the quick defender sidesteps the attempt to engage in the block and gets into the backfield. That’s it for the bad. Now with the good. His lower body strength is phenomenal for his size, and his core is pretty strong too. He plays with terrific on field intensity, does a great job of using his legs to drive defenders off the ball, and he doesn’t “lean on his hands” (which means driving defenders off the ball by shifting your weight forward, leaving you vulnerable to a jerk move). He creates a very wide base and displays solid body control. He usually does a good job of squaring up and getting good position before engaging in a block in the second level. So he’s a pretty good run blocker.
Quessenberry has excellent on field awareness. He is a brilliant pass blocker who is clearly in sync with his San Jose State teammates. There was one pretty awesome play in particular against BYU. Quessenberry blocked the 5 technique end (Ezekiel Ansah), while the left guard and the center double teamed the 3 technique. However, as the play started, he saw the outside linebacker (possibly Van Noy, I don’t remember) blitzing. He drove Ansah inside and handed him off to the left guard (presumably yelling out a call) and then blocked the linebacker, while the guard blocked Ansah just long enough for David Fales to get the pass off. It was pretty awesome. He has great on field awareness and is always on the same page with his teammates. He only takes average angles to defenders as a run blocker, but he has a good sense of the field and understands defensive schemes. Overall, his on field awareness is very good.
I rarely get this excited about a lineman. But that’s how good Quessenberry is. He is one of the most underrated prospects of this draft. His excellent technique, combined with solid athleticism and good strength make him a force to be reckoned with. He’ll be a good player.
NFL Comparison: Nate Solder, but a bit less athletic. Many people will think this is a weird comparison, but hear me out. Solder is 3 inches taller. But height doesn’t matter for offensive linemen; it’s about arm length. Solder’s arms are 35 1/2 inches long, and I think Quessenberry’s will fall in that range at the combine. The other similarity; the bad thing about being too tall as an offensive lineman (like Solder) is that it is difficult to stay low and get good leverage against shorter defenders. Quessenberry has that same problem not due to height, but a lack of flexibility. They’re equally bad at blocking short, flexible linemen. Beyond that, both are strong, have excellent toughness, etc.
Grade: 85 (worthy of a mid second round pick)
Projection: 61 (will be a late fourth round pick)