The Oklahoma Sooners have a rich heritage of sending offensive linemen to the NFL. This year they have the opportunity for another two to hear their name called. Has a stellar Senior Bowl week helped increase Oklahoma offensive tackle Adrian Ealy’s 2021 NFL Draft stock ahead of the annual selection meeting in April?
Adrian Ealy NFL Draft Profile & Senior Bowl Measurements
- Position: Offensive Tackle
- School: Oklahoma
- Current Year: Redshirt Junior
- Height: 6’6 1/2″
- Weight: 326 pounds
- Wingspan: 82 3/4″
- Arms: 32 5/8″
- Hands: 10″
When redshirt-junior Adrian Ealy declared for the 2021 NFL Draft, it caught some analysts by surprise. However, to anyone familiar with the Oklahoma offensive tackle’s football journey, his desire to quickly ascend to the next step on the ladder should come as no surprise.
The Louisiana native transferred from University Laboratory High School to East Ascension as a senior in order to graduate early. Laboratory didn’t allow students to graduate early, and Ealy wanted to get a head start on his college football career.
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A high school defensive end and offensive tackle, he’d already begun to make a name for himself. As a junior, he earned Class 3A All-State and All-Metro honors while attracting early recruiting attention from Louisiana State University. As a senior at East Ascension, he once again earned All-State and All-Metro honors, this time in Class 5A.
High school coaches raved about his athleticism, speed, size, and technical ability. As a four-star recruit and the 11th ranked player in Louisiana, offers came flooding in. An LSU fan, the Tigers were the presumptive front-runner throughout. However, in a lavish video announcement, Ealy announced his commitment to Oklahoma.
“I was impressed by the school, the players, and the program. I think I’ll be able to put myself in a position to play.”
Adrian Ealy’s college football career at Oklahoma
Although he would eventually put himself in a position to play, Oklahoma offensive tackle Adrian Ealy would have to wait until the 2018 Joe Moore Award-winning offensive line headed to the NFL Draft before seeing significant playing time.
As a freshman in 2017, he redshirted. Although he saw the field in 2018, his snaps came as a backup tackle. Sitting behind Cody Ford and Bobby Evans, he would learn from Coach Bill Bedenbaugh and be ready for when his time came. Evans, Ford, Ben Powers, and Dru Samia, left for the NFL at the end of the season. That left Creed Humphrey as the sole member of the award-winning line.
Ealy stepped into the void, starting 12 games at right tackle in 2019
Missing just two games due to injury in 2019, Adrian Ealy’s performances earned him Second Team All-Big 12 honors as he helped to protect Jalen Hurts in the potent Oklahoma offense.
He once again earned Second Team All-Big 12 honors in 2020. Showcasing some versatility, he started the season opener at left tackle before switching back to right tackle for the remaining 10 games. Although the Sooners’ season started off slowly, Ealy was credited with allowing just three sacks on 421 offensive plays in 2020.
After winning the Big 12 Championship and defeating Florida in the Cotton Bowl, Oklahoma offensive tackle Adrian Ealy declared for the 2021 NFL Draft in early January.
Analyzing Adrian Ealy’s NFL Draft Profile
Tall and long, the Oklahoma offensive tackle is a man-mountain on the field. He is easily distinguishable on the end of the offensive line. His size and length make him a difficult roadblock for pass rushers to get around. In terms of a pass-protecting offensive tackle, this is Adrian Ealy’s biggest advantage as an NFL Draft prospect.
Ealy’s height and length make him appear extremely lean. However, he measured in at 326 pounds at the Senior Bowl. He shows a decent amount of athleticism for a man of his weight, which is more clear in the run game than it is in pass protection.
There is quite a bit to like in the run game. Oklahoma pulled him around the backside of the offensive line with regularity, and this is where his athleticism paid dividends. Ealy is able to get out to the second level and make blocks with power. He seems to excel when taking blockers head-on. There are multiple examples of him using his strength to hurl people out of the way to create running lanes.
What are some potential concerns with Adrian Ealy?
With great height unfortunately comes significant issues for Adrian Ealy’s NFL Draft projection. I mentioned before that he is easily distinguishable at the line of scrimmage. He plays very upright and where lower pad level wins in the trenches, Ealy has a problem.
Defensive linemen find it far too easy to get their hands into his chest, causing issues in pass protection. This is a combination of playing too high and inconsistent handwork. There are some decent examples of his handwork, but there are equally — and perhaps more — examples where he gets his hands outside, leaving himself vulnerable.
Overall, there are a lot of inconsistencies in his tape. For as athletic as he can look getting out to the second level in the run game, his lateral mobility often leaves a lot to be desired. Although he moved to answer some of these with a solid performance at the Senior Bowl, there are still plenty of questions to be answered.
In a modern NFL that places a higher value on the passing game, someone who is significantly better as a run blocker than a pass protector will perhaps have less value.
Adrian Ealy’s best fits in the 2021 NFL Draft
Although he has seen snaps on the left, Oklahoma offensive tackle Adrian Ealy enters the 2021 NFL Draft as a right tackle. There may even be potential for him to kick inside to guard in the NFL where his lack of lateral mobility may be less of an issue. Any team that places a priority on the run game that is in the market for an offensive tackle may look towards Ealy as a mid-late round developmental prospect.
In his latest big board for Pro Football Network, Tony Pauline has a slightly higher opinion of the Oklahoma offensive tackle. Pauline ranks Adrian Ealy as his eighth offensive tackle and 56th overall 2021 NFL Draft prospect. Pauline gives him a second-round grade. In a disrupted process, his impressive performance at the Senior Bowl may well elevate his stock to those levels.
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