Colorado State's Ty Sambrailo would like to be Denver’s answer at right tackle. He might fit as a left tackle instead, although not necessarily for the Broncos. The reason? He may have Chris Clark Syndrome.
Ty is a very athletic lineman, just as Clark is. Chris will draw a $1.4M salary this year if he makes the 53-man roster, and he'll become a free agent after the season. He was athletic enough to take over for Ryan Clady in 2013 and do a good job at left tackle. But when Clady returned in 2014, Clark moved to right tackle, and the house fell in.
It was one of the biggest mistakes of the offseason.
Not having a functional option at right tackle caused a domino-like cascade of issues. Manny Ramirez went backwards in his progress at center. The struggles of Clark and Paul Cornick forced Louis Vasquez, a man born to play right guard, to shift out of position. Orlando Franklin had already been moved to left guard, where he played exceptionally. They weren’t going to keep him anyway, so I still don’t understand their reasoning for not moving him back to right tackle. The guard position must lack any vestige of depth. Shelley Smith and a developing Ben Garland could help there.
There isn’t a position at which being athletic has a downside. Despite that, there are positions where power and aggression mean more than in others. Both strength and speed are always preferable.
Right tackle is one position where power is essential. Sambrailo is 6’6” and 311 lb. With that size, I had hoped for more functional strength from him. He’s likely to look a lot like Clark at right tackle. The full stretch zone scheme will help, but only in degree. He is athletic enough to play left tackle in a full stretch zone.
Mike Mayock pointed out that Sambrailo’s attempts at the guard drills were disastrous. He doesn’t have the power for it. Denver would like to see him at right tackle. The same issue arises there. That quandary has scouting grades all over the board as far as his upside. He’s been compared to Tyson Clabo, who was briefly in Denver. Clabo, too, had trouble finding his best fit.
Ty’s athleticism can still position him as a left tackle in the right scheme. His lack of functional strength might be a problem that Luke Richesson and Co. can train him past. If so, he’ll be a solid prospect for the left side. His quick feet might permit him to play either tackle in a full stretch zone. If not, his athletic skills could still make a place for him at left tackle.
At the combine, Sambrailo put up the bar just 23 times. With his size and shorter, 33-inch arms, he should be do better. His athletic skills showed in his 4.58-second 20-yard shuttle and 7.54-second three-cone drill, two drills where footwork is best tested. I don’t see him as a first-rounder due to his strength issues. In a full stretch zone system, he could still be effective at left tackle. He is going to need some development and a lot of strength training. That translates to giving him time, but Denver’s problem needs a fast solution. I like the player, but what I saw suggests that he’s more of a project than they’re in need of.
Denver has several developmental players already. What they really need right now are a few quality starters. This would appear to rule Sambrailo out for Denver, unless they feel that he could provide a younger, more cost-effective replacement for Clady in a year's time.