It’s offensive line day at the combine, or in other words, the greatest day in the month of march!
Running backs will also be taking the field to test but who really cares about that position right now? It’s hog-molly time.
Like yesterday, I wrote about four players I’ll be keeping an eye on when prospects take the field later today in Indianapolis. With offensive line being more of a priority, I discussed two of the better players at along the offensive line while the pair of running backs I highlight are better off as day three picks who could bring a good amount of value to the Chargers.
Let’s get right into it.
OT Trevor Penning - Northern Iowa
I have to add Penning here since he’s been mocked to the Chargers in the first round on numerous occasions up to this point in the offseason. At 6’7 and 325 pounds, he’s one of the biggest prospects at his position and he’s got the ideal temperament to match. Penning dominated the competition at the FCS level and has been hard at work this offseason to make sure no one can say he isn’t up to par with the rest of the top talent in this draft.
His play in 2021 got him an invite to the Senior Bowl where he continued to dominate. My favorite line from Lance Zierlein’s scouting notes is that he, “Plays with a desire to snatch the will of opponents.” I mean, you just have to love hearing that.
I expect Penning to test very well later today and end up near the top for most of the day’s tests. While he may need. year to adjust to the skill gap going from FCS to the NFL, Penning has plenty going for him that should breathe confidence into a team’s front office that they’re getting a good one no matter where he’s selected.
As a side note, I’ve fallen in love with Trevor Penning. pic.twitter.com/3hGuJD1gav— Willie Lutz (@willie_lutz) March 3, 2022
OT Daniel Faalele - Minnesota
Have you all seen Game of Thrones? Remember the character, The Mountain? Well, Faalele is essentially the same size as Hafpor Bjornsson at an official 6’8 and 384 pounds as of Friday morning.
Faalele is still a young pup when it comes to his experience playing American football but it’s been amazing to see is progress in just a handful of years. In the three seasons in which he competed at Minnesota (he sat out 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic), Faalele started 31 total games and ended his career as a First-Team All-Big Ten performer.
His massive girth immediately makes him a problem for power rushers while his 35-inch arm length and elite grip strength will cause fits for edge rushers who will look to find a way around him.
No matter how he performs, a team is going to essentially draft the largest player in the NFL should they decide to pull the trigger on the Australian native.
This is likely (*hopefully*) the closest you’ll get to what 6’8” and 387 pounds feels like coming off the ball. Any report on @GopherFootball OL Daniel Faalele must include the words “engulfs” and “mauler”.#TheDraftStartsInMOBILE™️ pic.twitter.com/JqBySJgec2— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) February 25, 2022
RB Pierre Strong - South Dakota State
Strong is the second FCS-level player to make this list and, coincidentally, he also played in the same conference as the aforementioned Penning. He’s another dominant player who performed the way he needed to in order to receiver NFL looks after a career at a mid-major program.
At 5’11 and 205 pounds, Strong doesn’t stand out all that much with his measurements but his impact on games was immediate when you throw on the tape. In his final year for the Jackrabbits, Strong was crazy productive, averaging seven yards per carry en route to 1,686 yards and scoring 18 touchdowns. In his four years for SDSU, he totaled 4,527 yards and 40 total rushing touchdowns, with 10 coming from over 50 yards out.
Zierlein calls Strong a “rhythmic runner” who consistently keeps a forward lean and low pad level. He also notes on his keen sense for finding cutback lanes, of which he hits extremely hard to break into the second level.
I’m not entirely sure how Strong will test later today, but if he can put together a decent performance, he could solidify himself as quite the value pick in the later rounds.
RB Tyler Badie - Missouri
A year ago, the Chargers took another running back from the University of Missouri. This year, there’s another notable back from the Tigers that’s worth keeping an eye on during the pre-draft process.
After sitting behind Rountree for three seasons, Badie broke out as a senior with 1,612 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. He also caught 54 passes for another 330 yards and four more scores. The 2021 First-Team All-SEC performer has also proven he could be a formidable third-down option at the next level after catching 126 passes for 1,149 yards and 11 touchdowns through the air in college.
While Badie is undersized at 5’8, he’s still just under 200 pounds and showed he could handle a sizable workload, though he’s not likely to see one should he end up in Los Angeles. Zierlein calls him a “relaxed runner” that can casually shoot through tight creases as an inside runner.