Ali Marpet is arguably the most interesting prospect to discuss this draft season. He doesn’t hail from a Division I powerhouse program like Alabama or Ohio State; Marpet played at Hobart College — a very good Division III football program.
As has become the norm for my scouting reports, let’s take a look at Marpet’s combine numbers — which are extremely important for him as he tries to make the gargantuan leap from Division III to the National Football League.
As the table above shows, Marpet is an excellent athlete for an offensive lineman. When you watch him versus Division III opponents, it’s very clear that he is head and shoulders above his competition. Marpet dominates in the run game showing off impressive knee bend and ankle flexibility as he reaches the second level with ease.
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In pass protection, Marpet absolutely stonewalled defenders before they could even dream about getting to the quarterback. He shows quick feet with the ability to mirror and deliver quick, heavy punches to throw rushers off course. Marpet played left tackle in college, but he would be better suited for guard or center in the NFL. He doesn’t have the length or experience to handle NFL edge rushers just yet — and he struggled at the Senior Bowl in one-on-one pass protection drills at left tackle.
Due to Marpet’s excellent athleticism, he would be an ideal candidate as a guard in a zone blocking scheme. During the Senior Bowl, he excelled in both run and pass blocking drills as a guard. He flashed a mean streak in the drills and came off as an intelligent, hard working player who knows the challenges he’s going to face this upcoming season.
It was nice to see Marpet play well against players from some of the bigger name schools.
Marpet won’t be able to play left tackle in the NFL, which isn’t the end of the world. He doesn’t have the length to play on the edge which showed through at the Senior Bowl when he was playing against a heightened level of competition.
All of this being said — Marpet faces an uphill battle to become a consistent, viable NFL starter. His Division III tape has to be taken with a grain of salt because he was in a different stratosphere in terms of overall talent and ability. He’s supposed to dominate — that’s why he’s being viewed as a potential mid round draft pick.
Marpet will probably go higher than he should; he’s going to need some time to translate to the NFL level. Some Division III teams have players that were barely serviceable high school players — that won’t be the case at the NFL level.
Marpet has a solid third round grade from me, but patience will be key for him. He has the tools to develop into a very good lineman — it might take some time.