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2020 NFL Draft Profile: Temple Center Matt Hennessy

Are the Broncos bringing in an Owl to lock down their line? | Photo by Nicole Fridling/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A savvy Owl who’s ready to fight for an early starting job.

When the Broncos’ front office made the decision to sign Graham Glasgow, it marked the end of Connor McGovern’s tenure in orange and blue. Shortly after the deal was reached to acquire the former Lion, a separate offer was rescinded from the future Jet.

In a vacuum, there is little reason to pan the Glasgow acquisition. I wrote shortly after it happened about how much I love his fit in Munchak’s scheme, and his versatility gives the Broncos options going forward. Everything we’ve heard since suggests the coaching staff wants to see him play at right guard though, which means there’s a rather pressing need at center.

Perhaps Patrick Morris is up to the job, but a formal meeting with Cesar Ruiz at the NFL Combine suggests an alternative would be their preference. After digging into this interior offensive line class, I believe the are maybe four pivots who could come in day 1 and compete for a starting job. Elway and Fangio seem to agree on at least two, as they’re set to meet with Temple Center Matt Hennessy.

Hennessy has played close to 2,500 snaps the last three seasons.

Scouting Report:

  • Very good athlete with very good balance and quickness.
  • Very good competitive toughness, he’s a scrapper who will fight ‘til the whistle.
  • Coaching staff awarded him single digit jersey, an honor for team leaders and tone setters.
  • His core and lower body strength are promising. Squatty dude.
  • Very good mental processing, he made line calls, anticipated and communicated opposing pressure packages, and constantly shows an ability to adjust to defenders post-snap.
  • Good, quick hands with nice placement and an ability to lock down opponents.
  • Brings the goods to be a center who can pull or factor into screen plays.
  • Very good one zone concepts, he’s good at timing combo blocks and reaching opponents.
  • The best second level blocker in this class, bar none.
  • Good in pass protection, displays the anticipation, balance, and lateral mobility to be an asset here.
  • According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed pressure on 1.25% of his true pass sets the last two seasons.
  • Solid anchor, has the kind of base and technique to withstand power.
  • 32” arms are in the 50th percentile for a center prospect.
  • Adequate play strength may limit his wins to a lot of “boring” blocks.
  • Adequate gap blocker who will not get significant drive at POA.
  • College blocking scheme did not ask a lot from him in pass protection as slides made him responsible for one gap.
It’s hard to blame him for his level of competition, and Hennessy did his part to look like he was in a class of his own against it.

What I’ve heard/read:

Matt Hennessy IOL Temple - Draft Player Profile | The Draft Network - Joe Marinoa

Matt Hennessy is one of the smarter interior offensive lineman in this draft class. The Owls coaching staff had full trust in him to spearhead lots of components of the offense. Normally responsible for setting protections at the line, he was given even more responsibilities during his final season. That type of path and outlook is a microcosm of what could be next for his NFL future. Hennessy has continued to get better each step of his career and throughout the pre-draft process. He’s not a blocker that will have a highlight tape full of bone-crushing blocks, but like a chameleon, he is one that will blend in and simply do his job without being noticeable. He’s essentially scheme proof as he can fit in either type of blocking scheme, but his potential would be best reached in a zone-based scheme as his skill set caters better to the techniques used. Hennessy projects as an early Day 3 selection and a prospect that could turn out to be a starter early on in his career.

Matt Hennessy IOL Temple - Draft Player Profile | The Draft Network - Kyle Crabbs

Matt Hennessy is a savvy Center prospect who projects as a plug and play starter on the inside. Hennessy’s skillful leveraging will anchor the run game in both gap and zone concepts and his foot speed and low pads will afford him effective pass protection efforts to control the heart of the pocket. Polished, tenacious and mobile — exactly what you’re looking for in a starter at the next level. He’s not a bruiser but he’ll drop anchor and wins consistently against heavy handed defenders.

Matt Hennessy IOL Temple - Draft Player Profile | The Draft Network - Jordan Reid

Matt Hennessy is one of the smarter interior offensive lineman in this draft class. The Owls coaching staff had full trust in him to spearhead lots of components of the offense. Normally responsible for setting protections at the line, he was given even more responsibilities during his final season. That type of path and outlook is a microcosm of what could be next for his NFL future. Hennessy has continued to get better each step of his career and throughout the pre-draft process. He’s not a blocker that will have a highlight tape full of bone-crushing blocks, but like a chameleon, he is one that will blend in and simply do his job without being noticeable. He’s essentially scheme proof as he can fit in either type of blocking scheme, but his potential would be best reached in a zone-based scheme as his skill set caters better to the techniques used. Hennessy projects as an early Day 3 selection and a prospect that could turn out to be a starter early on in his career.

PFF Draft Guide - Mike Renner

Hennessy’s lack of athleticism really shows up on the move. That’s not the biggest concern at center but considering his competition it’s scary projecting to the NFL. Still there’s far more good than bad on his tape.

NFL Draft & Combine Profile - Matthew Hennessy | NFL.com

Three-year starter who uses hand placement, leverage and athletic ability to make up for his lack of mass and length. He’s patient to center blocks and runs his feet to lock in and begin sustaining. He has the lateral quickness and body control to reach, pull and stay connected to blocks on the move. He has issues with timing blocks up to linebackers, but that should be correctable. Below-average physical traits could limit his suitors, but scheme fits will like the movement and intangibles he brings to the table. He has early backup, eventual starter potential.

Biggest Offensive Line Winners At 2020 NFL Combine | The Draft Network

Just hours before the offensive linemen took to the field Friday, I asked a current NFL offensive line coach which player they were most excited to see and the coach quickly replied, “the dude from Temple.”

Matt Hennessy, the dude from Temple, did not disappoint. Hennessy’s mobility shines on tape and his work on the field backed it up. After running the 40-yard dash in 5.18 seconds, Hennessy leaped 30 inches in the vertical leap and 110 inches in the broad jump. His most impressive times came in the agility drills where he registered a 7.45-second 3-cone and 4.60-second short shuttle. Hennessy showcased fluid movement skills and it’s exciting to forecast him to an NFL offensive line given his mobility to get out in space and ability to connect with moving targets. His three seasons of starting experience give him a chance to claim a role early in his career and it would be no surprise for his name to be called on Day 2.

Team Fits For The Top Interior Offensive Lineman in 2020 NFL Draft | The Draft Network

MATT HENNESSY, C, TEMPLE Best fits: 49ers, Seahawks, Vikings Matt Hennessy was one of the more productive interior blockers in this class. He was seen as a stalwart for the unit and the clear communicator across the board when dealing with relaying messages to his counterparts. Hennessy still plenty of room to grow and will be a prime target for teams looking for interior help during the third or fourth round. Hennessy’s demeanor will surely carry over into his NFL career. He’s projected best as a center and has mental fortitude and ability to step in as a team’s starter early on during his career.

Matt Hennessy from the NFL Combine - Temple University Athletics

When did you first think you could play at the NFL level?

“I think it goes back to high school, Don Bosco Prep in North Jersey. I played guys like [49ers DE] Nick Bosa and Packers LB] Rashan Gary and while those matchups weren’t favorable for me in high school, I definitely saw that I could compete with those guys. Then getting to the college level, I saw that even more.”

How did you go from a high school tackle to a college center?

“I was a right tackle throughout my high school career. I was a lightly-recruited guy because I think colleges saw me as a tackle but just a small one. So I didn’t get heavily recruited, just by the Ivy’s up in the Northeast. And then Temple asked me to come down to a recruiting camp before my senior year. And Coach Rhule actually found me during one of the one-on-one sessions in the camp and ended offering me a scholarship. And he was like, ‘I know you’re playing tackle but you have the ideal skill set for center.’ From day one at Temple, he bumped me down to center.”

Why he fits

With the Broncos likely to continue utilizing a hybrid zone/gap scheme, there is a lot of emphasis placed on versatility from the interior offensive line. Players need to be able to reach and fill for a puller, hold up against a bull rush, drive on a gap block, or get off a combo to the second level. Add on top of that the mental demands that are placed upon a center and it’s a lot to ask of a rookie.

Of the four centers I see likely to fit into that mold from this class, Matt Hennessy provides the best overall fit out of the gate. His physical ceiling isn’t as high as a Cesar Ruiz. He doesn’t bring the National Champion pedigree Lloyd Cushenberry does, and he didn’t come with first round hype like Tyler Biadasz did leading up to this year. He’s just whip smart with phenomenal balance and the kind of temperament and traits to be an early contributor in the run game.

Hennessy isn’t a household name, but don’t hold that against him. He’s darn good.

Final Thoughts

The longer I’ve stewed on Matt Hennessy’s tape, the more I like him. If the Broncos want to keep Glasgow at guard and still make Patrick Morris fight for his starting job this year, they could do a lot worse than the Temple Owl.



This post first appeared on Mile High Report, A Denver Broncos Community, please read the originial post: here

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2020 NFL Draft Profile: Temple Center Matt Hennessy

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