NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken
What do you do when it is freezing outside and gets dark by 4:30 in the afternoon? If you ask me, it is a fantastic excuse to sit down in front of the computer and watch a few hours of offensive line film, so I decided to check out T.J. Clemmings. He was not a name on my radar in the early part of the season, but the buzz kept building and now I know why. Here’s my take (both good and bad) from the film that I watched.
Name: T.J. Clemmings
School: Pitt, Senior
Wt: 315 Lbs.
Clemmings has the ideal size and frame for the position. His weight is well proportioned and he moves well for someone so large. He has long arms and a huge wingspan to neutralize pass rushers. He is very powerful and almost always wins one-on-one match-ups when it is power against power. He is the best run blocker I have watched to date. He also shows the athletic ability to get to the second level and to block linebackers and corners on bubble screens. Has a bit of a mean streak and will continue to block his man after the whistle. In the passing game he shows good balance and a nice stance enabling him to withstand the pass rushers initial punch and decent footwork to force pass rushers past the quarterback. Clemmings has only been playing on the offensive line for 2 years and has lots of upside moving forward. In the play below, you will see Clemmings get to the 2nd level and pancake the linebacker allowing his runningback to break through for a big gain.
While Clemmings upside is a positive, his lack of experience could be viewed as a negative and he has only played right tackle in college so it still remains to be seen whether he can play on the left side. He sometimes struggles to recognize his assignment in pass protection and can be fooled when going up against a pass rusher who has a variety of pass rush moves. This is especially obvious when a pass rusher uses an outside to inside pass rush move. Clemmings has difficulty stopping his momentum from going in one direction when a pass rusher changes direction. He also struggles with hand placement at times when pass blocking and can end up with his hands on top of the defenders shoulder pads rather than in the middle of the chest. The play below highlights these weaknesses. Watch closely and you will notice that his hands are very high and he should have gotten a flag for illegal hands to the face.
I really like Clemmings. Even though he has only played right tackle so far in his career, I think he has the athleticism and footwork to play left tackle as well. Not only that, with his combination of power and ability to get to the second level, I think he could be a great guard as well. He is raw but has shown the ability to learn the position quickly and the negatives in his game are easily correctable with some good coaching. I give Clemmings a solid first round grade.