NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken
I have taken a break from my film study of the Corners and decided to look at another position that I think the Patriots should consider addressing early in the draft., Offensive Tackle. I am glad I did as I really enjoyed what I saw on tape from Indiana’s Jason Spriggs. Here are my thoughts on him.
I was not planning on writing any more reports this week since I figured fans would be focused on the game coming up on Saturday. Living in the KC area, it has been tough to deal with the barrage of Chiefs talk. Although I worry about the injuries, offensive line play, and the uncertainty of some of the Patriots key players, I have confidence they can win this game. They must not turn the ball over and they must force Alex Smith to make some plays with his arm. If the Patriots can do that, then I think the Patriots go to their 5th consecutive AFC championship game. Anyways, back to my report. I enjoyed watching Spriggs so much that I couldn’t wait to get my thoughts down on “paper” for you all to read.
Name: Jason Spriggs (#78)
School: Indiana (Sr.)
Weight: 305 Lbs.
Spriggs has prototypical size for the position. He has a thick lower half that allows him to anchor and long arms to keep defenders off of his body. He has great athleticism for his size. He shows good burst out of his stance when run blocking and shows a good combination of balance and footwork in pass protection. Spriggs uses his athleticism to his advantage when pulling and taking on defenders at the second level. He does not lumber and is smooth in his movements, showing enough speed and quickness to get down field on screens. Spriggs is not a mauler in the run game, but shows a good demeanor to lock onto his defender and play through the whistle. He shows good awareness in space and keeps his eyes up to find someone to block.
The most important think Spriggs needs to improve on is his upper body strength. He can struggle to keep his arms locked when facing players that win with power and strength. When run blocking or taking on a player at the second level, he tend to lung when he tries to punch them. This leads to his shoulders getting in front of his feet and he can get off balance. Spriggs will need to work on his overall hand work and hand placement.
If you cannot tell, I really like Spriggs. I think his issues are minor and easily fixable. He has the traits that both Vollmer and Solder possess and if the Patriots want to continue with that type of Tackle, then Spriggs has to be high on their list. I really like his combination of quickness, agility, and aggressiveness. After watching his tape, I don’t see any way Spriggs makes it to the Patriots at the end of the second round. For me, Spriggs has the look of a late Day 1/early Day 2 guy.