As we delve further into the Pittsburgh Steelers offseason, our attention has begun to shift towards the draft. Like we’ve done all offseason, these reports will cover the prospects of the 2015 NFL Draft, placing an emphasis on those who could help the Steelers the most.
We’ll check out another Day three lineman. Kansas State’s B.J. Finney.
#66 – BJ Finney/C Kansas State – 6’3/6 318
– Exhibits lots of upper body strength and generates a great push in the run game
– At his best in a phone booth, consistently wins at the LOS
– Sticks to his blocks when working in confined spaces
– Keeps lower half under him in the run game, coordinated blocker
– Shows a mean streak in the run game, classic throwback lineman
– Upper body strengths allows him to anchor in pass protection
– Shows some lateral movement, keeps his legs pumping in pass pro
– Plays with proper hand placement and leverage
– Versatility to play multiple spots along the line
– As much experience as you could ask for, four-year starter
– Decorated career
– Less than ideal body type, pudgy body and short arms (32 inches)
– Plays too upright in pass protection, locks back out, must sink hips and bend knees
– Average athlete at burst, doesn’t showcase a burst off the ball
– Inconsistent at hitting a moving target, whiffs too often, better in a booth
– Experience at tackle but can’t mirror vs counters, only a backup option
– Maxed out, limited ceiling
– 52 career starts, a school record
– 51 at center, one at right guard, saw time in two games at RT in 2014
– First-team All Big-12 twice by coaches (2013, 2014)
– 2014 Co-Offensive Lineman of the Year
– 2014 Rimington Award Finalist
– Three-year captain at KSU, first offensive lineman in school history to achieve that feat
– Lowly rated prospect out of high school, two-star prospect who walked onto to Kansas State
– League MVP senior year of high school
– Letter four years in wrestling, state runner up junior year and won state title his senior season
Finney doesn’t look like much. He has some weight to him but overall, is a round body type. Not a chiseled and lean specimen like some lineman in this class.
But it doesn’t matter how you look if you can play. And he can.
Best in a phone booth, he can be a punishing run blocker. Capable of sticking and driving lineman out of the hole.
Watch him, the center, stick to highly touted NT Jordan Phillips, not letting him shed and fill the lane until the back scoots past.
Turns and washes this DT out of the hole.
And one of my favorite plays from Finney, he shoves this DT down the line, helping to create a big cutback lane and splash play for the running back.
Upper body strength gives him the ability to anchor in pass protection. Doesn’t get run into the pocket.
As mentioned, he has some weight and height but has stubby, 32 inch arms. He’s a limited athlete who doesn’t snap out of stance, though I understand he’s a little slower because he’s a center, has trouble consistently sticking to the second level. There are times where he can do it but it’s hot and cold. Example of the latter below. Linebacker runs around and knifes in for the tackle.
He is a squattier player who usually wins the leverage battle but he gets too upright in pass protection. Tends to lock his back and knees out. Harder for him to generate power from his lower half and it will get him run over at the next level, even if he typically got away with it in college.
Some GIFs and pictures below.
He has received work at right tackle but the tape is marginal. Versatility makes him attractive and overall, it should be viewed as a positive. Just don’t expect him to be a season-long starter on the outside.
Beat inside by Owamagbe Odighizuwa, who doesn’t even attempt to line outside or rush that way, allowing the sack.
It’s always hard to judge a man’s character from afar. But there’s everything to indicate Finney is a strong character prospect. There was a great article in The Kansas City Star of Finney’s life. His dad passed away from a heart attack when he was 13, leaving his mom to raise three children.
Out of high school, he had one DI offer – Ohio University – but turned it down to attend his dream school. He walked on, taking a huge risk. His mom told him he could only financially support him for one year. Either earn a scholarship or transfer. Despite being redshirted, Finney was offered a scholarship and never looked back.
The article speaks to his work ethic and intelligence. His high school coach called him a “coach on the field,” high praise for the position.
I love lineman with a wrestling background. Guys that are strong, tough, and understand leverage. Not only did Finney participate, he thrived, winning his first state title when he was eight years old.
Finney is similar to last year’s fifth rounder Wesley Johnson. Not the experience at tackle but an overall, technically sound player who is maxed out, but offers something in the run game and can play multiple spots along the line. With Johnson being poached by the New York Jets and as it stands, the backup guard situation being unchanged, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see the team find another mid-round interior lineman.
The Kansas State alum isn’t one of those flashy guys but one that’ll probably make many an offensive line coach swoon and get in the ear of the head coach to give him a second look. I don’t blame them.
Projection: 5th Round
Games Watched: vs Auburn, vs Texas Tech, at Oklahoma, vs UCLA (Bowl)
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