The best offensive lineman prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft is Western Kentucky's, Forrest Lamp. He played tackle in college, but because of his size and arm length, many have pinned the talented lineman as the top guard in the 2017 NFL Draft, but could he also be the top tackle prospect?
Pro Football Focus's Mike Renner doesn't give a damn about Lamp's arm length and believes he is talented enough to play tackle in the NFL.
"I don't give a damn about his arm length, I'm playing Forrest Lamp at tackle in the NFL" - @PFF_Mike pic.twitter.com/qnmojxjZuF— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) April 7, 2017
This is interesting and noteworthy for Broncos fans because the Broncos desperately need a left tackle and if Lamp can be an NFL starter at the position, he could be a potential option for them at 20.
Lamp is listed at 6'4", 309lbs with 32 1/4" arms. That's not the measurables you normally see at tackle, but not uncommon. At 6'4", he has enough length to play tackle, but the real question comes down to his 32 1/4" arms. Normally you look for guys having 34, 35, and even 36-inch arms, but sub 34-inch arms are not uncommon for the position.
Oakland Raiders tackle Donald Penn has 33-inch arms, Jason Peters has 33 1/8" arms, and Joe Staley has 33 1/2" arms. Hell, Joe Thomas who has been the best tackle in this league for the past decade has 32 1/2 inch arms. Only a half inch longer than Lamp. All of these players are also 2 or 3 inches taller than him so Lamp's arms are actually more proportionate to his size.
Here are the tackles from the All-Pro and Pro-Bowl teams from the last five seasons and their arm lengths. (Note: This table is from a 2015 article from MHR's Joe Mahoney)
|Ryan Clady||36 3/4|
|Tyron Smith||36 3/8|
|Jake Long||35 7/8|
|D'Brickashaw Ferguson||35 1/2|
|Jermon Bushrod||34 1/2|
|Trent Williams||34 1/4|
|Matt Kalil||34 1/4|
|Michael Roos||33 5/8|
|Brandon Albert||33 5/8|
|Joe Staley||33 1/2|
|Duane Brown||33 1/4|
|Sebastion Vollmer||33 1/4|
|Jordan Gross||33 1/4|
|Matt Light||33 1/4|
|Jason Peters||33 1/8|
|Joe Thomas||32 1/2
So like Renner says, maybe we shouldn't give a damn about his arm length?
Lamp has the skill set, athletic traits and feet to be an NFL tackle. His stand out game at left tackle in college came this past year when he had an excellent game against the dominant Alabama defense that was loaded with talent.
He held his own in the passing game and was a dominant run blocker.
Lamp was a dominant left tackle at Western Kentucky. According to Pro Football Focus, Lamp only allowed only 31 pressures on 1,620 attempts over the last three years. Also from PFF, Lamp performed well against top SEC talent. He only allowed five total pressures combined against LSU in 2015 and Alabama in 2016.
Also, the Bleacher Report's Matt Miller was told by an NFL General Manager that we may see two offensive tackles selected in the top 15, and that Lamp could sneak into the top 20.
If the run on signal-callers won't happen in the top 20 picks, one general manager I spoke to thinks there will be a push to get offensive tackles early. "Look at the numbers. Two left tackles will go in the top 15 picks and maybe an offensive guard [Forrest Lamp] in the top 20."
Utah's Garett Bolles and Wisconsin's Ryan Ramczyk figure to be those two tackles selected in the top 15 and would leave Alabama's Cam Robinson and Western Kentucky's Forrest Lamp for the Broncos.
If it's between Lamp and Robinson I would go with Lamp. Both have been projected as guards, but if one had to play tackle I would rather go with Lamp. He's the best offensive lineman in this class and his only weakness his is arm length. I would much rather roll the dice on Lamp than worry if Robinson has the feet and balance to play left tackle.
I would agree that Lamp likely projects better at guard, but if you can squeeze a year or two of tackle out of him before moving him inside to guard I would call that a win.
@Skotty_Payne I do. They might not though— Mike Renner (@PFF_Mike) April 7, 2017
So I ask you Mile High Report, do you think the Broncos should roll the dice on Forrest Lamp and play him at tackle? Or does his height and arm length concern you and believe he is a guard or center in the NFL?