Matt Williamson is a former scout for the Cleveland Browns and spent the last 10 years at ESPN as a scout and co-host of “The Football Today Podcast.”
How would you build the ideal player? We tried to answer that question by using the head, eyes, arm/hands, body, and feet of several great players to assemble the ideal specimen at eight different positions. We decided that you could only use one aspect of each player – no double dipping allowed. This edition covers offensive linemen.
Mack isn’t the biggest, most powerful center, nor is he an elite athlete for the position. But he’s a huge difference-maker, as the Falcons quickly found out after signing him away from the Browns in free agency a year ago.
Mack is so good at his craft because he has developed into an excellent technician with a great head for the game. He has clearly worked hard on the finer points of playing center, developing a deep understanding of the position and the game of football overall. This is demonstrated by his ability to make calls and adjustments at the line of scrimmage.
As he showed last year, Mack uses his head to make the entire offensive line much better.
Having great eyes is extremely important for offensive linemen. Opposing defenses throw a multitude of stunts, twists, and blitzes at the offense’s front five, and these dangerous defensive athletes get on top of the blockers in the blink of an eye and arrive with ferocity.
Seeing what’s coming, often before the ball is snapped, is a crucial skill, and no one does it better than Thomas, who has been the league’s best offensive tackle of his generation but is easy to forget on a team that hasn’t won many games during his tenure.
Compared to the other great tackles in history, he doesn’t have elite gifts. But what Thomas does have is technique, toughness, durability, reliability, and great vision.
Frederick is the best center in football. He’s helped by playing next to Zack Martin, but would be elite in any system or on any team.
No one in the league snaps the ball, quickly gets into his opponent with power and perfect technique, and then moves on to the second level quite like Frederick. When he gets his hands on his opponent, it’s over. His hand technique, whether in the run or pass game, is outstanding, and he consistently gets his powerful paws on the inside of his opponent’s frame.
Frederick’s punch is like two sledgehammers, and he can lock his opponent out with his powerful arms extremely well.
Let’s just say there are a lot of successful offensive linemen in this league that don’t have the prettiest of bodies.
Smith looks like a Greek god. He has extremely long arms, massive and powerful hands, wide shoulders, a chiseled frame, and a narrow waist that’s more reminiscent of a body builder than an offensive lineman. His lower half isn’t as spectacular, but it’s still impressive, with powerful thighs and huge feet that get great traction like a perfect set of tires.
Few have looked the part like Smith, but he certainly isn’t a “Look like Tarzan, play like Jane.”
Sure, he was oversized for that position and a terrific blocking tight end, but he also contributed as a receiver. Peters, a potential Hall of Famer, went undrafted, and is one of the best success stories of this generation. To put it mildly, he’s a ridiculous athlete. And as Peters has put on more and more pounds, his great feet haven’t been compromised.
Even at his advanced age, Peters’ athletic gifts are apparent. They just don’t make many like him.
Other entries in the series:
- Building the perfect NFL quarterback
- Building the perfect NFL running back
- Building the perfect NFL wide receiver
- Building the perfect NFL tight end
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