Plug ‘n play. You hear that phrase a ton from NFL draft analysts. Guys who are Day One ready. You don’t always hear that from players. But Notre Dame OT Liam Eichenberg believes he is ready to start as soon as he’s drafted. He spoke on a Zoom call ahead of his Wednesday Pro Day.
“The biggest selling point for me is that I’m consistent,” Eichenberg said. “I think I’m a guy you can plug in and play right now. I’m not a guy who needs a lot of development. I think I’ve been coached well with my technique and fundamentals…I’m a guy who can go in there, get to the NFL, and play right away.”
Eichenberg’s experience is one component that has him prepared for the NFL. He made 37 starts for the Fighting Irish, all at left tackle, and blocked some of the best pass rushers in football. He’s part of a deep offensive tackle class with 7-8 guys potentially coming off the board in the first round alone. He’s jockeying with the likes of Alabama’s Alex Leatherwood and Texas’ Samuel Cosmi to go in the top 32.
Some analysts question his overall athleticism. But Eichenberg says those who do simply haven’t turned on the tape.
“There’s definitely concern by people when I go up against a speed guy. But I honestly think it’s easier to go against a speed guy. They’re more decisive with their moves and decision-making. The athleticism, I think if you turn on my tape, I blocked everyone I played against pretty well. I think people who say [I’m not athletic] don’t understand football very well and definitely didn’t watch my tape…I’ve gone up against some of the best pass rushers in the past years. Cle Ferrell from Clemson, Rashan Gary, Chase Winovich, Brian Burns. This past year, I think my tape speaks for itself.”
What scouts do agree on is his intelligence. Our scouting report noted his eyes and ability to recognize and pickup stunts and blitzes. The key to defending defensive games? Film study.
“I think it all starts with your film study. I don’t think you’ll be able to see that if you don’t watch film. For me, I get up to the line. I look at the line of scrimmage and who’s down based on their technique. Which hand, what foot’s back. For me, this was my 5th year playing, and you kind of pick up on things as you become older and play more. The amount of weight on their hand, where their body weight’s leaning. If it’s a defensive end and a three tech, you can tell based on the levels they’re on.
“For me, it’s all about snapping that defensive end across my face so the guard doesn’t get blown up. It’s very important that my guard doesn’t get drilled in the side. It’s a kill shot for him. At the end of the day, it takes five of us to block and for us to be successful on the offensive line. I think it’s all about repetition and practice. Without all the reps [o-line coach Jeff Quinn] put us through, I don’t think we would’ve been able to excel.”
If the Steelers do consider going offensive tackle in Round One, Eichenberg is likely on their list. He said he spoke with the team briefly in the pre-draft process and expects Pittsburgh to attend Notre Dame’s Pro Day. Whatever teams lands him will get a rock-solid prospect in this draft. And to hear him tell it, they’ll get a Week One starter, too.