With a new year, comes a new tackle class and a new pecking order at one of the sport’s most important positions. Can UCLA OT and NFL Draft prospect Sean Rhyan reach the top of the 2022 tackle group with his scouting report? As it turns out, Rhyan may be one of the most underrated OT1 candidates yet.
Sean Rhyan NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Offensive Tackle
- School: UCLA
- Current Year: Junior
- Height: 6’5″
- Weight: 320 pounds
Sean Rhyan Scouting Report
There was a time when UCLA was known for its offensive line production. Over a two-decade span from 1976 to 1996, the Bruins produced several Pro Bowl linemen, including Randy Cross, Max Montoya, Luis Sharpe, Duval Love, and Mike Flanagan. More notably, UCLA was the initial stomping ground of Hall of Famer Jonathan Ogden.
The Bruins forged an offensive line factory, then fell under the radar for a spell. Not a single UCLA lineman was drafted in the 21st century until Jeff Baca in 2013. Since then, however, UCLA has picked up the pace again, with players like Xavier Su’a-Filo, Caleb Benenoch, Conor McDermott, and 2018 first-rounder Kolton Miller. Can Rhyan complete the cycle and get UCLA back to the days of old?
Sean Rhyan’s athletic profile
Some tackles aren’t physically ready for the NFL when they’re drafted. That won’t be the case for Rhyan. Rhyan is a 6’5″, 320-pound behemoth. He has a large, burly frame, and stores massive amounts of power in his lower body. His torso is incredibly dense, and that, in conjunction with solid flexibility, allows him to absorb opposing power with ease.
In addition to his size, Rhyan is an exceptional athlete. The UCLA OT possesses an observable explosive burst heading into contact, and he gets to the second level quickly. Rhyan blocks well in motion, and he’s also a very smooth lateral mover who transfers his weight well. The UCLA product is fairly light on his feet, with smooth footwork when changing direction or blocking angles, as well as excellent recovery athleticism.
As evidenced by his frame, Rhyan is visibly powerful. He has impressive raw strength, and opponents are rarely able to dominate him head-to-head. He can go toe-to-toe with longer, more leveraged athletes with his strength, and he drives smaller defenders into the dirt. Rhyan’s grip strength is also exceptional, and he combines this with steady leg drive.
With his lateral athleticism and width, Rhyan easily gathers opponents around the edge. His traits amalgamate to provide him with consistent balance as well.
Execution beyond the physical traits
Rhyan’s combination of athleticism and raw power can be the subject of awe. Shockingly enough, his operational traits are just as impressive at times. Rhyan keeps his feet active when anticipating attacks on the edge. He also keeps his elbows in when awaiting rushers, effectively maximizing his potential energy.
When rushers meet him in pass protection, Rhyan’s hands are fast, heavy, and powerful. He’s shown he can target arms and reset his anchor quickly, and he has the hand precision to attack and neutralize counters. The UCLA OT exceptionally times his extensions. He also combines hand movements with terrific efficiency. He instinctively adjusts his approach in real-time.
Rhyan’s punches have good energy. In this sense, they’re emblematic of Rhyan himself. The UCLA OT has a nasty disposition. He’s a high-motor blocker all the way to the whistle — not polite by any stretch of the imagination. He strikes and drives defenders backward in one motion and actively takes advantage of opponents who try to bend beneath his frame.
Among other things, Rhyan has the awareness to repeatedly stack and disengage blocks when moving upfield. He also has some positional versatility. Against Oregon in 2020, Rhyan switched to right tackle at times and did not falter. He also projects well inside if NFL teams prefer to see him there.
Areas for improvement
Overall, Rhyan has an enticing NFL Draft scouting report. However, even a dominant player like Rhyan has his downfalls. Most notably, his proportional length is not elite. In fact, it may be closer to average. This contributes to many of the inconsistencies seen from Rhyan on tape.
Rhyan’s lack of length limits his ability to maintain extensions. Additionally, players with superior length can assert leverage and wrench down his anchors. Going further, linemen with combined burst and length can force Rhyan backward more, pinching the pocket as a result. Similarly, he can’t always seal out defenders when tracking around the pocket, and edge rushers who time direction changes can exploit Rhyan’s length.
Furthermore, he can afford to improve his blocking angles at times to exert power more efficiently. His hands don’t always strike cleanly on running plays, and he gets caught lurching against more explosive linemen. In pass protection, the UCLA OT sometimes plays with his pads too high. He’s also slow to react to extra rushers sneaking inside, and he can be more consistent in responding to stunts.
Sean Rhyan’s NFL Draft scouting report overview
Rhyan’s length is a definite concern. The UCLA OT doesn’t have the wingspan that other blindside blockers have, and it’s noticeable. Conversely, it’s even more impressive how good he is with average length. Sometimes longer edge rushers can make a dent in his positioning, but he rarely loses reps outright. His strong base enables him to stand his ground, and his grip strength can effectively suffocate rushes.
In pass protection, Rhyan has the mobility, grip strength, hand proficiency, and torque to neutralize attacking defenders. As a run blocker, Rhyan’s athleticism, power, and road-grading mentality serve as extremely positive characteristics.
Rhyan’s lack of elite length limits his upside a bit. Still, his ceiling is incredibly high because of his rare mix of power and athleticism. He has the tools to be a standout starter at both tackle and guard. Thus, he could end up being worthy of a first-round pick.
Sean Rhyan’s Player Profile
As UCLA’s production record on the offensive line has strengthened, so too has their reputation. The Bruins have steadily added more talent in the trenches in recent years, and Rhyan was a highly-coveted recruit who swung their way.
A four-star tackle in the 2019 recruiting class, Rhyan was one of the nation’s best up-and-coming prospects at the position. Already looming at a monstrous 6’5″, 300 pounds, Rhyan was the 134th-best prospect in the nation and had offers from Alabama, Notre Dame, Oregon, and USC.
Nevertheless, proximity to home proved a strong factor for Rhyan, who lived just over an hour outside of Los Angeles. He ultimately signed with UCLA and became the Bruins’ next star lineman in the pipeline.
Sean Rhyan’s career at UCLA and NFL Draft ascension
There’s truly no progression to write about for Rhyan because he began ahead of most. He came to UCLA and became a starter almost immediately. He started all 12 games as a true freshman in 2019, earning Freshman All-American recognition in the process.
In 2020, it was simply more of the same for Rhyan. Although UCLA only played seven games due to COVID-19, the Bruin dominated in his time on the field. He was somehow left off the Pac-12 awards list, but that should change in 2021.
Even with Washington’s Jaxson Kirkland returning, Rhyan might have a claim to being the best tackle in the conference. And with his rare physical profile, he appears to be equipped to make the leap from college football to the NFL as an early-round pick.