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Beyond size and speed: Feet don't fail
Some NFL coaches would rather draft a mediocre athlete with great footwork than a great specimen with awful footwork. A mediocre athlete can improve with a year in a pro weight room. A guy with sloppy fundamentals can also improve, but some have tuned out coaches for so long that their bad habits are almost irreparable.
That being said, there's always a market for behemoths with a little more to learn when it comes to technique. Here are three players who get high grades for footwork, and three others who may have to take ballroom dancing lessons before they take the field.
Jeremy Trueblood, tackle, Boston College: Many fundamentally sound NFL linemen, including the Patriots' Dan Koppen and the Giants' Chris Snee, have come out of Boston College in the last few years. One common trait is that they learned their technique from former Boston College offensive line coach Dave Magazu, now the Carolina Panthers' tight ends coach. Trueblood isn't a super athlete, but he makes the most of his ability by rarely taking a false step.
Jonathan Scott, tackle, Texas: A sure-footed pass protector who was often on the move when blocking for Vince Young.
Nick Mangold, center, Ohio State: Mangold draws comparisons to Broncos center Tom Nalen, in part because he sets quickly in pass protection and excels at stepping out to the second level to cut off linebackers.
Andre Whitworth, tackle, LSU: A 330-pound stud for the Bayou Bengals, Whitworth isn't particularly quick-footed, and his technique wasn't pretty. He will be too slow to be effective at the pro level if he doesn't improve his footwork.
Mike Degory, center, Florida: Degory gets high marks as a center because of his size, toughness, and experience. His footwork has improved, but he still has trouble trapping or climbing out to take on linebackers.
Brad Butler, tackle, Virginia: D'Brickashaw Ferguson's line mate at Virginia was big enough to beat up on most ACC defenders, but he often got crossed up when pass blocking and didn't do a great job when blocking on the move.
Fire It Up, Let the engines roll, It's time to burn it down
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