Is Lucas Niang among the top offensive tackles in the 2020 NFL Draft class?
As we all know, there are four offensive tackles who are clear favorites to be among the top players taken in the 2020 NFL Draft. However, some of you might be asking, “who is a guy who might be available in the second round for my team to get?” Well, I have the answer for you! It’s Lucas Niang! He might not be the fifth offensive tackle taken, but on my board, he’s OT5.
Weight: 315- pounds
Niang’s name isn’t one that’s being used in the 2020 NFL Draft first-round conversation very much, but the tape showed a player better than some guys whose names are in that conversation.
Games Watched–2018: West Virginia, Texas; 2019: Texas, Purdue
Pass Sets: Has good physical tools; length, mobility and strength are all good. Pass sets seem a bit clunky and not smooth; he needs to work on transitions as he works up the arc. Will occasionally false step out of stance and lose some explosion. Niang has good foot speed to move laterally, but hips are almost locked at times. Said at the combine that he needed to alter pass sets due to hip injury.
Power: I was really impressed with his power. Shows great ability to maintain his ground and stop defenders in their tracks. He does well to find work and will knock guys back. Really fun to see his mobility and power work in tandem. Maintains leverage and shows good drive as he’s engaged with defenders.
Anchor Ability: Has good play strength. The lower body has good strength and he is able to maintain his power and positioning against bull rushes. Won’t be pushed around easily, has a really dense frame throughout and can stop defender’s momentum with it. This stems from his power; he’s able to maintain leverage, coil his hips, and absorb rushes.
Hand Usage: Niang does well to keep hands inside the pads and maintain leverage. Has shown good ability to reposition hands once they’ve been compromised. He has good hand strength and can torque defenders out of the way once he’s got a good grip. Smart player who knows how to hand fight with defenders and knows how to regain positioning inside the chest pads.
Functional Athleticism: Really smooth mover. Normally wouldn’t expect someone with his frame to move the way he does. Explosive out of his stance and smooth in the open field and when climbing to the second level. Niang does well to identify defenders on the second level and will consistently hit blocks.
Best Trait: Power
Worst Trait: Fluidity through pass sets
Lucas Niang projects as a starting offensive tackle in the NFL. His blend of size, power, mobility and technique is fantastic and makes him a very attractive target at the position. His hip injury, as listed above, hindered his pass sets in 2019, so that is something to be aware of, but if he’s fully healed, whatever team drafts him has drafted a starter.
You might hear names like Austin Jackson and Ezra Cleveland being thrown around in the first-round conversation, but if it were up to me, Niang’s name would be there as well. Keep an eye out for Lucas Niang in the 2020 NFL Draft.