A Pro’s Pro: A Former Player’s Guide to Scouting Offensive Linemen


When debating prospects for the NFL Draft, it’s always a great idea to bounce ideas off of as many minds as possible. From coaches and scouts to other draft minds on Twitter, learning about prospects from different angles is always a great idea.

What about a former player? Especially one that has a Super Bowl ring to back up his knowledge of the game.

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I caught up with my former line coach, Spencer Folau, to see what he thought the keys to scouting offensive tackle prospects were. Folau played in the league for seven seasons and picked up a Super Bowl ring with the Baltimore Ravens in 2000. He was also a member of the New Orleans Saints and the Miami Dolphins. Now he is the offensive and defensive line coach for McDonogh School in Owings Mills, Maryland where he has sent a number of linemen to Division I schools including Maryland, Duke, and North Carolina.

Here’s his guide on what to look for when scouting offensive line prospects.

“Unfortunately, this is the one position were size really does matter.  Offensive tackles often measure over 6’4″ and over 315 pounds. Right tackles are usually more physical and stronger run blockers than the left side. Left tackles are very athletic and have great feet because they have to block the ‘blind side’ of the QB. The center position is played by someone who knows the offense just as well as the quarterback. Offensive linemen are some of the smartest guys on the team and they usually score pretty high on the Wonderlic Test. The guards are between 6′ and 6’4″ and go from 300 to 350 pounds.”

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Now we know that offensive linemen have to be big, strong, physical guys, but there is great value in the flexibility and the ability to show nimble feet as an offensive line prospect. Here’s Folau’s take on that: “Ultimately, an offensive lineman has to be able to bend his knees and move his feet I will take a guy who is flexible any day over a guy who can lift every weight in the weight room. I couldn’t bench over 400 pounds but I had pretty good knee and ankle flexibility. All the measurables aside, can the player stay healthy, be tougher than the next guy, and impose his will onto defenders?”

These are the key values that Folau took from his tenure in the NFL as an offensive lineman. It’s interesting to get a former player’s perspective about offensive line prospects. Size, flexibility, and a mean streak are what Folau likes to see in his offensive linemen; it’s a good idea to keep these traits in mind when finalizing how you feel about certain offensive line prospects.