Gut Reaction: Broncos draft Philip Blake at #108

J.D. Walton is officially on the clock.

The Broncos' pick at #108, Center Philip Blake of Baylor, tells us more about what the Broncos think about J.D. Walton than it does about what they think of Philip Blake.  Walton has been slow to develop, and despite the Broncos' stellar running game last year, most Broncos fans recognize it had more to do with the unpredictability of the zone-read option than it did with Walton moving mountains up front.

It's not enough anymore that Walton played well against Ndamukong Suh in college.

It's not enough anymore to say that playing center in the NFL takes patience (Maurkice Pouncey, anyone?).

It's not enough to hope that Peyton Manning turns Walton into Jeff Saturday.

It's just not enough.

Walton needs to go beast mode, and soon.  Why?  Blake is a natural beast.  At almost 6-3 and 315 lbs., Blake is a load.  He can squat over 600 lbs. and anchors like an ocean liner.  Despite this, he has enough mobility to get to the second level, something we've noticed Walton has had trouble doing in the past.

Here's some tape (note: these are RG3 game films, but watch Blake, #74, on each play):

Pros:

  • Achors well in pass blocking
  • Powerful frame and good bulk
  • Quick to the point of attack, good initial burst and push
  • Super strength
  • Good mobility for size

Cons:

  • Limited in zone blocking schemes
  • Age a slight concern (Blake is 26)
  • Needs to do a better job of finishing blocks 
  • Could improve recognition of stunts and blitzes, drifts from time to time
  • Could improve his punch

Don't think this lets Zane Beadles off the hook, either.  Blake is talented and nasty enough in a man-blocking scheme to move over to guard if Walton holds him off.  Long term, Blake is a starter in this league.

I’m glad we had this talk.  Now, vaya con Dios, Brah.

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