Can Kellen Diesch become the first Arizona State Sun Devils offensive tackle to be drafted to the league in 15 years at the 2022 NFL Draft? The former Texas A&M transfer is earning attention after an impressive East-West Shrine Bowl week and even more impressive athletic testing at the NFL Combine. However, does Diesch’s scouting report reveal a long-term future at left tackle in the NFL?
Kellen Diesch NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Offensive Tackle
- School: Arizona State
- Current Year: Graduate Senior
- Height: 6’7 1/8″
- Weight: 301 pounds
- Wingspan: 78 3/8″
- Arm: 32 1/4″
- Hand: 9 1/2″
Kellen Diesch Scouting Report
Although Arizona State last had an offensive lineman selected in 2018 and have had several guards selected in recent years, Andrew Carnahan was the last OT that the program produced for the NFL Draft back in 2007. Diesch has the opportunity to end that drought in 2022.
We begin Diesch’s scouting report with the obvious. At over 6’7″, the imposing figure looks the part of an NFL offensive tackle. Like several OT prospects in this class, Diesch has a slender frame at 301 pounds. While this may be a concern for NFL teams, it does allow the Arizona State offensive tackle the ability to mitigate some of the issues that taller OTs have in the NFL.
Sometimes taller tackles, like Diesch, have issues playing with high pad level. However, this isn’t a concern for the Arizona State OT. He routinely plays with a low pad level, allowing him to get under his opponent at the point of attack. Where the low man wins in the trenches, this is a distinct advantage.
An athletic offensive tackle with the grip strength and understanding of leverage
Diesch’s slenderness has other distinct advantages as an NFL Draft prospect. He showcases quick footwork for his height. This allows him to be impressively reactive when he has to recover to counter opposition moves. Although there is still some improvement to make here, the Arizona State OT also consistently demonstrates excellent body control.
The athletic ability displayed at the NFL Combine is apparent on tape. In addition to the quick footwork mentioned above, Diesch gets out to the second level exceptionally well in the run game. He’s also seen use as a pulling tackle. Here, his speed allows him to get quickly across the back of the formation and take down his opponent with relative ease.
In those moments, you can see some of the strength that Diesch possesses. That is also apparent in his ability to manipulate his opponent in the run game. There are multiple examples on film of Diesch displaying excellent grip strength and walking his man out of the way to clear rushing lanes.
Areas for improvement
At present, Diesch presents as an athletic NFL Draft prospect who would best fit in a run-focused offense. Having switched to the offensive line late in his high school career, and with few opportunities early in his career, there’s still room for him to develop. As such, Diesch could hold down a swing tackle role in the NFL. However, there are some limitations that could curb his ascension as a prospect.
Without diving into a murky arm-length debate, there’s precedent where the NFL is concerned. Some teams won’t even entertain an offensive tackle with sub-33″ arms. Diesch measures in at 32 1/4″. Sometimes, the tape will overcome those objections. But issues such as lunging and inability to protect his frame from longer pass rushers are evident on film for the Arizona State OT.
Meanwhile, there are some issues with penalties on his tape. Moreover, there were penalties that went unpunished at the college level that he might not avoid in the NFL. Those included some holding calls he was able to get away with and several facemask penalties that would be costly on Sundays.
While Diesch has shown the ability to manipulate his opponent with low pad level and leverage, he isn’t the most impactful offensive lineman on initial contact. He doesn’t shock with power and doesn’t routinely drive opponents with sheer strength alone.
Diesch’s Player Profile
While Diesch was a heavily recruited high school offensive tackle out of Byron Nelson High School, the Trophy Club native was relatively late to the position. Up until his junior season, Diesch played on the defensive line, earning second-team All-District honors as a defensive end following the 2014 season.
An extremely athletic high school prospect, Diesch made the switch to offensive tackle for his senior season. Taking to it immediately, he earned first-team All-District honors in his very first season at the position.
A four-star recruit, Diesch was viewed as the 12th-best offensive tackle in the 2016 recruiting class. Additionally, he was a top-25 player in Texas as per 247 Sports. Barely missing out on a top-100 ranking from the recruiting site, he held over 30 offers from schools across the country.
Having originally committed to Arkansas, Diesch made a U-turn on his college future, telling 247 Sports that he wanted to “re-evaluate things a little bit.” Ultimately, the Texas native would choose the Texas A&M Aggies over offers from USC, Arkansas, and Florida.
Diesch’s college career
As a relatively inexperienced offensive tackle, Diesch redshirted during the 2016 season. During his redshirt freshman campaign in 2017, he made just one appearance against New Mexico State. Although he remained a depth piece for the 2018 season, he saw action in nine games as a rotational piece on the Aggies’ offensive line.
Diesch gained even more experience for the Aggies in 2019, his redshirt junior campaign. Although he never earned a start for Texas A&M, Diesch appeared in 12 games, the most of his career in a single season. Yet, at the end of the season, he entered the transfer portal, bringing his Aggies career to an end without a single start.
Diesch’s NFL Draft ascension
Looking for a place where he could start, and with Arizona State short of offensive tackle depth, Tempe was a perfect fit for the athletic OT. Herm Edwards’ team’s propensity for the run game allowed Diesch to showcase the best of his ability.
Despite the shortened 2020 campaign, Diesch started four games and allowed just 4 quarterback pressures. Additionally, Arizona State averaged the seventh-most rushing yards in the nation while leading the Pac-12 in the same metric by a considerable margin.
The 2021 college football season gave Diesch the opportunity to spend a whole season as a starting left tackle. His performances earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors. Furthermore, he was rewarded with an invitation to the East-West Shrine Bowl, where he “impressed everyone with his athleticism,” according to PFN Chief Draft Analyst Tony Pauline.
That athletic ability was on full display at the NFL Combine. Diesch set top-five times for the offensive line in the 20-yard shuttle (4.43 seconds), 40-yard dash (4.89 seconds), and vertical jump (32.5″). With his athletic ability and upside due to relative inexperience at the position, the Arizona State OT has the potential to be a long-term swing tackle in the NFL.
Tony Pauline’s scouting report for Kellen Diesch
Positives: Tall, athletic tackle with a large upside. Quickly sets up in pass protection, blocks with a wide base, and stays patient. Keeps his feet moving, gets his hands into defenders, and stays square. Keeps opponents in front of him, easily anchors at the point, and plays through the whistle. Fluid pulling across the line of scrimmage, moves well on his feet, and shows ability blocking in motion. Makes proper use of angles, can slide laterally, and keeps his feet moving. Always works to get a pad on defenders and can hit a moving target.
Negatives: Shows stiffness in his game. Doesn’t get much movement run blocking and must finish blocks. Arm length is just 32 1/4 inches.
Analysis: Diesch is a large, athletic tackle prospect with growth potential and a lot of upside. He’s fluid moving about the field, shows ability in pass protection, and has improved the past two seasons. The lack of arm length will turn a number of teams off, but once Diesch finishes his game, he has starting potential on Sundays.