There's a decent article right now on Ryan Clady by Jim Armstrong of the Post. He made several good points, and it's worth a read (find it here). One point is that until Clady has played for a while in the league it's too early to be talking Pro Bowl for him. Still, I have a lot of respect for John Lynch, who said,
"I know we haven't put pads on, but he looks like a guy who could go to 10 Pro Bowls. He's got very good feet. That jumps out at you right away. And he's strong. I know from personal experience that, once he gets his hands on you, he's a strong guy."
That's high praise. And Montrae Holland added,
"I think the Broncos have a lot of good years ahead of them with him in there. He's 300-and-some pounds and he's moving like a guy 280 or 275. You get a kid like that who can learn to pick up the offense, you've got yourself a winner."
How do his tools compare to one of the best? An ESPN article on Joe Thomas created an interesting thought - Joe Thomas is one of, if not the premier, LT(s) in the league. The ESPN article praising him, and rightfully so, mentioned several key traits. The article can be found here. It's with ESPN Insider, and you might need to sign up to get the full read. Here's a sample:
"He is the prototype for the position and is a superior prospect in comparison with this year's first overall selection and fellow Big Ten alumnus Jake Long (Miami Dolphins). Thomas has tremendous height, long arms, the frame to continue to add weight and massive hands to control his opponent upon contact.
…While there are plenty of players out there with great size, what separates Thomas from the pack is his quickness, light feet and ever-improving technique. Like most of the great ones, he almost always appears to be in balance and rarely looks awkward. Mix all of those outstanding attributes with great competitiveness and tremendous work ethic and you have a player every team longs for in their backside protector. "
Now let's look at Clady. We have height (check), size (check), long arms (check), big hands, quickness, great feet, and 'rarely looks awkward' (4 more checks). All of this is right out of Clady's draft notes and early camp reports. Endurance is something we will have to see, the ability to continue to raise his technique to the NFL level is in the future and none of this is meant to fail to praise Thomas, who is at the top of the league.
A block of marble is not yet a sculpture and Clady is still unformed at the NFL level. But you always want to see the necessary tools for success in your players, and when you break it down, Clady compares well to what ESPN had to say about Thomas. It’s food for thought.
Note - I'm including a link to a nice pre-draft article (find it here) from the Ravens' media organization. Enjoy!