2023 NFL Draft

2023 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Illinois OT Alex Palczewski

From now until the 2023 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents. Today, I will be profiling an All-American offensive lineman, Illinois’ Alex Palczewski.

#63 Alex Palczewski, OT, Illinois (SR) — 6060, 314 lbs.

Shrine Bowl/Combine/Pro Day


Player Ht/Wt Hand Size Arm Length Wingspan
Alex Palczewski 6’6”/314 9 1/4 33 3/8 82 5/8
40-Yard Dash 10-Yard Dash Short Shuttle 3-Cone
Broad Jump Vertical Bench Press

The Good

— Good size and solid length
— Extensive starting experience
— Positional versatility at right tackle, right guard and left guard
— Solid hand placement and good refitting within the play
— Good half-man relationship in pass pro, doesn’t leave the inside open
— Good snap quickness and aggressiveness in the run game
— Very good leg drive and desire to move defenders
— Mobility to pull in either direction and climb to the second level

The Bad

— Inconsistent timing with his hands leaving his chest open in pass protection
— Punch strength is adequate to stun defenders
— Core strength and hand strength needed to handle torque and lock on to defenders
— Adequate awareness on twists and stunts
— Aggressiveness will cause him to miss quick defenders
— Needs to play under his pads, not get over his toes
— Susceptible to reacting/jumping early to defensive line shifts
— Saw five penalties (3 holds, 2 false starts) in games watched


— 65 games, 65 starts – 49 at tackle, 16 at guard
— Team Captain
— 2022 Sporting News First Team All-American
— Second Team All-American – AFCA, CBS, PFF
— Second Team All-Big Ten
— Ended career with 713 consecutive pass-block snaps (99% at RT) without allowing a sack, according to PFF
— Did not allow a sack in 2022
— No. 10 graded tackle in the nation and fourth in the Big Ten (81.4), according to PFF
— In high school he wrestled, played water polo and track and field
— Birthday 8/3/1999 (age 23)

Tape Breakdown

You won’t find a player with more starting experience than Alex Palczewski. He is a sixth-year senior with a whopping 65 starts in his career. Primarily a right tackle he also has experience at left and right guard.

As a pass blocker, he shows good snap quickness and a smooth kick step in his set and likes to keep a half-man alignment. He has solid hand placement to gain control of the pass rusher and is solid refitting his hands to counter those of the defender. Against inside moves, he displays good timing and patience to react and cut off the lane and uses his length to slide with rusher to the outside. He didn’t allow a sack in 2022. When uncovered he looks for work and will get a slab of ribs when he can. He used all types of pass sets including jump and vertical sets as well as the chase-down block.

At Penn State, playing right guard Palczewski (63) at right guard wins with his hands and leverage to hold out the pass rusher.

A few pass protection reps showing him controlling the rusher up the arc and displaying patience when the defender starts inside initially.

This looks like the chase-down block taking an aggressive line to the wide pass rusher.

There is aggressiveness to Palczewski’s game that you like to see in your offensive lineman. He looks to move everyone in his path. Illinois used a lot of Power and Gap concepts and that fit well for him. He displays very good snap quickness to fire out at his target. Using good leg drive he gets a nice push on down, base and drive blocks. On double team blocks he works well with teammates to pave the road and he shows good timing and quickness when climbing to the second level. He has very good mobility used to pull in both directions and locates his target well. Working on the end of the line he can kick out and move defenders on runs his way and wall off on hinge block on runs going away.

In 2021, he was working back from a back injury so he played guard half the season. Here are a few samples of him at the right guard position.

From the right tackle position, here are a couple of Combo blocks. The first shows him climbing to the second level. In the second play, he is the post driving #99 toward the sideline.

A few blocks on the move. The first and last are him pulling to his left, locating his target and getting a good push. The middle clip sees his him moving to his right and sustaining the block on the edge.

Areas to work on include improving his hand strength to lock on to defenders and improving his punch timing to get more power behind his hands. He shows adequate awareness on twists and stunts and will follow the end inside forcing him to catch up to the looper. When he misses with his hands he becomes a hugger allowing his arms to slip around the player. He has room to add some weight and strength to handle the torque involved in pass protection and when anchoring.

In pass pro, he misses with his hands wide giving up his chest and losing his anchor. In the second play, the defender makes first contact to his chest and he ends up tackling the defender drawing the flag.

In the run game, his aggressiveness can backfire. He gets over his toes and a ready defender will be able to swim over him. Improving his pad level and playing with his hips under him would be helpful to sustain blocks and remain in front of the defender. His hands will get too wide, outside the defender.

Here are a couple of examples of him firing toward his target and the defensive lineman slipping him forcing Palczewski to grab the defender from behind.


Palczewski has a ton of experience and the versatility to play three positions. He has good size, solid length and good mobility. Quick off the snap, he has solid positioning in his pass sets, adjusts well to the inside and looks to help when uncovered. He shows very good aggressiveness, leg drive and effort to execute the role. Pull blocks and climbing to the next level highlight his mobility and he has yet to meet a defender he doesn’t want to move off of his spot.

Areas to improve include hand strength, placement and punch timing. Recognizing stunts and twists as well as adding core strength will help him as a pass blocker. In the running game, controlling his aggressiveness, playing under his pads along with more consistent hand placement will help along his game.

I think the best fit for Palczewski is in a Gap/Power run scheme to use his leg drive and aggressiveness. He has experience with different pass sets and that will help him with passing schemes. His play strength versus NFL lineman will be a test but there is plenty to work with here. I believe he is more comfortable at right tackle but some may see him as a guard. I think he could become a backup early initially with a chance to start down the road with improvement. For a comp, I will go with Blake Brandel of the Vikings. He has similar size and length and had a lot of experience coming into the NFL but Palczewski is a better run blocker.

Projection: Mid-Day Three

Depot Draft Grade:  6.6 – Backup/Special Teamer (6th Round)

Games Watched: 2021 vs Penn State; 2022 – At Wisconsin, vs Minnesota, Vs Purdue, At Michigan

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