Taking a look at players the Washington Redskins could select in the NFL draft at some point, starting Thursday (and running through Saturday).
Player: T.J. Clemmings
Weight: 309 pounds
Projected round: Late first, early second
Games watched: Virginia, Virginia Tech, Miami
What I liked: He’s athletic and he improved greatly from his first year at tackle (2013) to last year. Although he is a bit raw, he has multiple tools that make him enticing. He displayed an excellent base in protection, using good footwork as well. I loved where he put his hands at the snap: They were above his waist and ready to strike. Saw that time and time again. Saw him execute combo blocks, getting off quickly to the second level and taking care of a linebacker. At times against Virginia Tech he arrived at the linebacker with some pop. He usually did a good job with his first step in the run game and showed that he could recover in protection. Clemmings looks to block someone all the time (not every linemen does that once their initial assignment is executed). Against Miami on several blocks he stayed after his man and drove him out. He did well in that game on several blocks with dominating his man (partly because he stayed square, enabling him to drive him). It was mostly a good game for him.
What I didn’t: The inconsistencies. With coaching and experience, a lot of this can be cured. But when? And what will the finished product look like? Against Virginia Tech, there were times when his hands were in the perfect place initially but he was too upright and still moved back. Or his hands would end up in the wrong spot on the rusher. Sometimes he'd lunge and get off-balance when he'd get in trouble. He’d have one excellent play followed by a bad one followed by another good one. He’d sometimes overset and get a little upright and his hands would be slow allowing a rusher to get his hands into his chest. Occasionally he needed more lower-body explosion in the run game. A few times Clemmings was late off the snap. Though Clemmings played right tackle in college, he'll face much better pass-rushers than he did playing at that spot in college.
ESPN Insiders on intangibles: "Played just two seasons of high school football because mother didn't want him to play, but is a hard worker who has come to love the game. Moved from defensive end to offensive line during bowl game prep in 2012. Majoring in administration of justice."
Why the Redskins would want him: Because they want to upgrade their offensive line and he’s an intriguing prospect. They drafted Morgan Moses in the third round last year to be their future starting right tackle. But he was more comfortable on the left side and is coming off a Lisfranc injury. There’s no guarantee he’s the answer. Fourth-year lineman Tom Compton struggled in pass protection during his seven starts last year.
How he’d fit: Clemmings would give the Redskins an athletic right tackle who has more potential than Moses or Compton. Clemmings’ film was better than Moses’ a year ago. But here’s another part to the equation: If they drafted Clemmings and they somehow lost left tackle Trent Williams to free agency -- if they decided his price was too steep -- then Clemmings could slide over to the left side. If nothing else, though. he can play right tackle.