|Chicago (IL) Hales Franciscan offensive tackle Denzel Ward|
Strengths: Huge body, listed at 6'9", 295 lbs. . . . Long arms should aid in keeping defenders out of his body . . . Instinctively active feet . . . Moves feet beyond initial contact . . . Impressive knee bend for his height . . . Uses hands fairly well for such an inexperienced player . . . Very athletic . . . Runs well downfield . . . Should be effective on perimeter and at second level . . . Good attitude on finishing drive blocks
Weaknesses: Sometimes takes a false initial step before engaging defender . . . Occasionally overstrides when drive blocking . . . Can get off balance in pass protection, though long arms negate this issue slightly . . . Shows occasional tendency to be a waist bender . . . Leans a little too much in pass protection and can get feet crossed up . . . Needs to stick with pass blocks a little longer and play to the whistle
Projection: Left offensive tackle. Ward is a prototypical left tackle, but his footwork leaves a little to be desired. He has the athleticism to be great but is inconsistent with his technique. That's understandable because he didn't start playing organized football until his junior year. The potential is there, but it will take some refinement of his technique and some good coaching to help him reach his potential. I could see him developing into an All-American, but the biggest question is: Will he work at it? Some guys who start playing football late in high school don't necessarily show the long-term commitment to the sport. Obviously, nobody knows how much he loves the sport except him, but he could be a premier left tackle if he stays committed to his craft.
Reminds me of: Andrus Peat (freshman offensive tackle at Stanford)
TTB Rating: 86 (rating system)