Today I wanted to look at and provide some data for interior offensive lineman in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft. Couple notes before we dive in. First, the players we view today were invited to the combine, and/or the Shrine or Senior Bowl games. Second, the player needed a minimum of 150 total snaps to make the list, and some small school names were left off due to Pro Football Focus not grading them. Also, there may be disagreements/names missing depending on personal opinions, and my list took into account size, projected position moves in the NFL, and/or substantial snaps at the position in their final college season in 2022.
With those things in mind, let’s dive in starting with rush and pass snaps to get a gauge of the players opportunities and how often they were able to stay on the field for their squads last season:
Let’s start with the players on the top right, who provided above average availability for their squads in both the run and pass game. From a total snaps perspective, Ole Miss’s Nick Broeker topped the ranks with 929, having the most run blocking snaps (505) along with tying for 15th in the pass game (424) out of the 32 qualifying players. Ricky Stromberg from Arkansas had the second most total snaps in 2022 (898), also with a high number of 482 rush snaps (second) and 416 pass snaps that was much closer to the mean at 20th. Oklahoma’s Chris Murray had 879 total snaps which was third most, having more balance in his opportunities with 454 snaps in the pass game along with 425 rush snaps which each ranked sixth.
Eight other players land on the top right of the chart with a good balance of rush and pass snaps comparatively. UCLA’s Jon Gaines had the fourth rank in total snaps (871), with 464 pass snaps (third) along with 407 in the run game (ninth). Sidy Sow from Eastern Michigan was fifth in total snaps (856) with 447 in the pass game (ninth) and 409 rush snaps (eighth). UCLA’s Atonio Mafi had 849 total snaps which ranked sixth, with 448 pass snaps (eighth) and 401 rush snaps (11th). Jordan McFadden from Clemson had 844 total snaps which ranked eighth, with 434 pass snaps (12th) and 410 in the run game (seventh). Penn State’s Juice Scruggs landed at the ninth rank in total snaps (836) with noticeably more pass snaps at 453 (seventh) along with 383 rush snaps (16th). TCU’s Steve Avila and Alan Ali land nearly identical on the chart, with the former having four more total snaps (820, 10th) that each came in the pass game (427, 14th), along with each having 393 rush snaps (T-13th). The final player of this group is Braeden Daniels from Utah, with his 12th ranked total snaps being the final to eclipse 800 (810), and had more opportunity in the pass game (424, T-15th) along with 386 rush snaps which landed alone at 15th.
There were also some players that had interesting splits towards one facet of the game or the other. North Dakota State’s Cody Mauch is the most striking, with a whopping 480 rush snaps (third) compared to his 256 pass snaps which was noticeably the least of any player on the chart and the 24th rank in total snaps. John Michael Schmitz from Minnesota had similar opportunities in 2022, with substantially more opportunity in the run game (465, fourth) compared to his 302 pass snaps that were second least, for a total of 767 snaps that ranked better at 18th.
Maryland’s Spencer Anderson led the group with 498 pass snaps, but was noticeably below average with 349 rush snaps (21st), but still landed seventh in the total snap ranks (847). Henry Bainivalu from Washington had a similar snap split, with 496 pass snaps (second) along with even less rush snaps (296) that ranked 27th, bringing his total snaps to 792 (13th).
With this important quantity context laid out, let’s look at the PFF run and pass blocking grades for the 2022 college season:
Schmitz and Mauch land very similar in the grades, with the former having the top 92.4 run block grade, and the latter grading second with the only other +90 run block grade of the group (91.5). Their pass block grades are also very strong above 80, with Schmitz at 81 (seventh) while Mauch came in at 80.6 (ninth), but important to remember their least amount of pass snaps of the group. Florida’s O’Cyrus Torrence was the third ranked run blocker at 89.9 but was average as a pass blocker with a 76.1 grade (21st), while having low snap totals comparatively (698 total, 28th).
The top ranked pass blocker was Chattanooga’s McClendon Curtis, who had the only +90 grade (90.9) and paired this with a strong 80.2 run block grade that tied for eighth best. Luke Wypler from Ohio State ranked second as a pass blocker (87) which was a bigger drop off than the run blocking results, where he also fared well with an 80.9 grade that ranked seventh. Both Curtis and Wypler were below the mean in opportunity though, with the formers total snaps ranking 25th and the latter at 21st. NC State’s Chandler Zavala ranked third in the group with an 86.5 pass block grade where he had a slightly above average snap count, and landed just above average as a run blocker at 73.4 which ranked 15th where less of his opportunities came.
Five other players landed above the mean in both data points, starting with USC’s Andrew Vorhees. His 82.5 run block grade was his stronger mark but had the fifth least snaps in this regard, and also fared well with an 80.1 pass block grade where he saw more opportunity (436 pass snaps, 10th). Jaxson Kirkland from Washington had an 83.1 pass block grade on an above average number of snaps (435, 11th) with his grade also landing respectively in the ranks (sixth), pairing this with a 76.2 run block grade (13th) that came on the least amount of snaps. Stromberg fared best as a run blocker (83.7) on the second most rush snaps of the bunch, and was also just above the mean as a pass blocker (77.1) and pass snap opportunities. Wisconsin’s Joseph Tippman had pretty even grades, with a 79.2 pass block (13th) and 78 run block grade (10th), with more of his snap opportunities coming in the run game. Gaines is the final player on the top right of the chart, with each of his grades coming in at 77, ranking 11th as a run blocker and 19th in the pass game on the fourth most total snaps of the group.
So, the players that graded and were available for their teams at above average rates were Stromberg and Gaines. Schmitz and Mauch highlighted the grades particularly as run blockers, where the majority of their opportunities came which is impressive. Torrence run blocking is also intriguing though on less opportunity, as well as the well-rounded grades from Vorhees, Wypler, and Curtis with the former having the most total snaps of the three. This rounds out the longer list of names I hope the Steelers do their homework on as potentials to wear the black and gold. While it’s still early in the process, I hope you enjoyed the information and learned something new about the players.
What are your thoughts on the data and the prospects? Thanks for reading and let me know your thoughts in the comments!