Sunday Sleeper Series: 2022 NFL Draft (offensive line)

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New to Steelers Depot, we’ll highlight a few less-heralded prospects in each position group ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft that likely won’t go until Day Three, but will present potential value as sleepers in later rounds. This week, we’ll be listing a few offensive linemen who may not get the same name recognition as some of their peers, but who have the traits to become quality players at the next level.

Jean Delance, OL, Florida

Delance began his career choosing to stay in his home state, signing with the Texas Longhorns. However, he decided to transfer after his freshman season at the Gators and became a three-year starter to complete his college career, making most of his debut at RT but also getting some inside guard action. . Delance isn’t the biggest tackle prospect (6’3 7/8″, 296lb), but he has phenomenal hand size (10 1/8″) and arm length (36 1/2″) you’re looking for in an attacking tackle.

He uses his long arms well to hit passers long before they enter his frame, keeping them at bay. Delance’s performance against Alabama’s Will Anderson was particularly impressive given that Anderson is considered the best defenseman in the country.

Delance was snubbed of a Combine invite earlier this month, but had a good week of practices at the Shrine Bowl in Las Vegas, impressing many scouts there, including Steelers Depot’s Josh Carney who m ‘ messaged Delance. Showing some guard/tackle versatility, Delance comes across as a sneaky third-day selection who could be a swing player early in his career, having the flexibility to play inside and outside on the offensive line. If he continues to develop using his natural athleticism and superior length to his advantage, we could see Delance earn a starting role sooner rather than later in the league.

Zach Tom, OL, Wake Forest

Tom is another slightly undersized (6’4, 304lb) OT prospect who cut his teeth at the Shrine Game before heading to Indianapolis for the NFL Combine. While at Indy, Tom impressed several scouts I spoke to regarding his personality in interviews as well as his athletic testing (4.94 40, 33” green, 4.47 short shuttle). Tom also has the hand size (10 3/8″) and arm length (33 1/4″) to meet the criteria for an NFL-caliber tackle. He played against stellar competition in the ACC, including potential top-ten pick Jermaine Johnson from Florida State, and represented himself well in those matchups as a clean pass protector.

Tom also showed some stance flexibility in Vegas, taking shots in the center where he looked comfortable. That should come as no surprise considering the redshirt junior started 14 games at center in his first two seasons with the Demon Deacons. Being drafted as a guard and having double-digit starts at center and tackle in his college career is a clear plus for Tom in this draft process for teams looking for linemen. can play in several places in case of injury. Tom will most likely be taken as a tackle, but can relax inside if needed there, but Tom should make a team happy with his selection of him on day three.

Alec Lindstrom, C, Boston College

When you hear Lindstrom’s name, your mind may flash back to when the Atlanta Falcons decided to select Chris Lindstrom 14th overall in the 2019 NFL Draft. His younger brother, Alec, is draft eligible this year and is currently battling to earn half of his older brother’s draft buzz. Most of the negativity surrounding Alec Lindstrom is about his size, or lack thereof (6’3, 296lb, 32 5/8″ arms, 9 1/4″ hands). Looking at Lindstrom at the Combine, there’s nothing impressive about her body makeup either, having more of a sloppy look than your freaks rocked on OL. However, Lindstrom is extremely cerebral at center position as he constantly watches a movie to perfect his technique to ensure he is in the correct position.

Boston College’s Alec Lindstrom thinks his football IQ separates him

His size and lack of scheme versatility will likely see him slip down the draft boards, given he’s a natural fit in an outside zone heavy system with questions whether he has the body type to play. in more gap/power schemes against NFL-size nose tackles. While his size will be a blow against him, Lindstrom compensates with great mobility and athleticism in space as well as the mean demeanor of running his blocks to and through the whistle, looking to plant his opponents in the turf. For a team looking for a zone system suited to the center and not wanting to pull the trigger on Tyler Linderbaum or Cam Jurgens early, Lindstrom would be the perfect target on day three of the draft.

Brock Hoffman, OL, Virginia Tech

Another notable name who was snubbed of a Combine invitation this year was Virginia Tech’s Brock Hoffman. The 6’3 1/2, 310-pound redshirt senior who began his career at Coastal Carolina for two seasons, racking up 12 starts at center and 12 at right guard before sitting out the 2019 season after deciding to transfer to the Hokies. Since then, Hoffman has been a mainstay at Blacksburg on the offensive line, making 22 starts through the centre, one at left guard, and has also shown he can kick outside to tackle on the right when he was called up due to injury.

Unlike most centers in this draft class, Hoffman has the required size and length (33 1/2-inch arm) that makes for a starting caliber center in the league. However, he hasn’t received the same love from scouts and the media as he doesn’t “excel in any particular area”. While the ceiling may not be there for Hoffman as the next level athletic freak, his consistent game paired with his positional fluidity to play all three spots along the inside as well as the ability to be a Glassbreak option on the outside should intrigue teams looking for a save option on the depth chart.

Given his experience and ability to get the job done, it would surprise me to see Hoffman become a road starter and potentially become a quality starter for an offensive line as a potential value pick on Day 3 of the 2022 NFL Draft.

What do you think of the names listed above as potential sleepers? Do you agree that there is some intrigue to these prospects? What other names would you like to group together as potential “sleepers” at the post who aren’t getting enough attention? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below and thanks again for reading!

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