The Detroit Lions need help all along the offensive line. They have pieces, but they do not have a cohesive unit at this point. ESPN’s Michael Rothstein expects that the Lions will address that at some point in the first three rounds of the draft. They currently do not have a left guard, and they have question marks at tackle. Riley Reiff is under contract this season, and general manager Martin Mayhew is still deciding whether or not to pick up Reiff’s option. Coach Jim Caldwell stated that he does not see Reiff as a guard, but did not rule out moving him to right tackle, a spot currently manned by two undrafted free agents. If the team moves him, they need a replacement left tackle. Andrus Peat could be that player.
Peat is almost a lock to be a first round pick. He is the most NFL ready tackle in the draft. He was well coached at Stanford and is a mammoth of a tackle. He stands 6’7 and weighs 313lbs. His weight is well proportioned, making him look more solid than fat. He has ideal size to play either tackle spot, which is good considering the Lions are still unsure of which spot needs to be filled. Ideally they will draft a left tackle and move Reiff to the right, but if they select a guy who cannot play left in the NFL, they have a proven commodity in Reiff.
Some of Andrus Peat’s strengths are that he has good hand placement in both run and pass protection and have a decent understanding of protections. He has good instincts and is a powerful drive blocker. Some of his weaknesses though are that he has a fear of edge rushers which is a negative for a left tackle. His technique takes a hit when facing speed rushers. He sticks to his first block too long, allowing the secondary target to get through.
Below is a table containing Andrus Peat’s combine numbers. The disappointing part of them is the lack of bench press information as he skipped that drill at the combine.
||40 Yard Dash
||3 Cone Drill
||20 Yard Shuttle
Peat not doing the bench press is disappointing as we do not have an official measuring stick for his upper body strength. While many believe tape is more important than the measurables, sometimes tape can be deceiving. Regardless, he was a 28 game starter at left tackle in college. Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett says that a scout told him that Andrus Peat has “pro-bowl feet” meaning that his footwork is exactly where it needs to be for him to be a pro-bowl caliber tackle. The concern for the Lions, as well as other teams, is whether or not Peat can play left tackle in the NFL. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein says that Peat has right tackle strength but left tackle foot quickness. Whether or not that foot quickness can be developed into a comfort in protecting against edge rushers on the quarterback’s blind side is the big question.
Peat is the second best offensive lineman and best tackle according to NFL.com. If he is somehow still available when the Detroit Lions pick, I have a hard time believing they would pass on him. He has first round talent, no obvious character flaws, and appears to be NFL ready, regardless of whether he plays left or right tackle. Mayhew would not hesitate to patch a hole here with the best player available at offensive tackle should be be on the board.