The Detroit Lions continue to look at ways to bolster their interior offensive line.
Sidney Jones’ devastating injury dominated the news cycle both during and after Washington’s Pro Day, so it’s no surprise that many smaller stories flew well under the radar. Draft Analyst Tony Pauline reports the Detroit Lions took Washington left guard Jake Eldrenkamp out to dinner the night before his Pro Day and is a potential late-round option for a team that has spent considerable capital in the past two seasons to improve the offensive line. This further suggests that the team is trying to get more athletic along their interior, which could mean bad news for at least one player.
We don’t have full measurements for Eldrenkamp yet, so I can’t tell for certain if he meets the athletic thresholds we expect general manager Bob Quinn to follow with his linemen (which he’s kept to with all of his draft picks and free agent signings so far). He did measure an above average 40 and bench, but had a slightly below average vertical of only 26”. I had some time to review his tape a little bit and while there are some very clear technical limitations that are likely the cause of his lower ranking in this draft class it was still an entertaining watch.
Eldrenkamp plays with his pads high and doesn’t appear to have the best balance when taking on his defenders. Washington’s scheme had him pulling across the formation often, which he excelled at on most plays, and working a double team in the run game. He is a great example of a lineman that looks for work and is rarely in a position where he is neither grappling with a lineman or looking for a lineman to throw down with. A punishing finisher in the run game, he looks like he goes into every play thinking that either he or his opponent is going to eat some dirt on the play. He gets his, but there are far too many instances where he ends up on the ground rather than his opponent.
Not a smooth mover like Joe Dahl nor a powerfully built larger than life specimen like Graham Glasgow, Eldrenkamp looks to be athletic enough to play in the Lions offensive scheme. The team looks to be making the full conversion from a hybrid scheme that sucked at zone blocking and tried to do it too often to a full-blown zone blocking scheme. If that’s the case, a player like Jake Eldrenkamp makes sense as a late-round flier or UFA. He may not do the things the team is trying to do very well at this moment, but he looks like he has the athletic makeup to do them and has shown some very promising traits on tape that has scouts interested in what else he can do.