With the 122nd pick in the 2011 NFL Draft - The Buffalo Bills select Chris Hairston offensive tackle Clemson.
When those words were spoke after the Bills 4th round pick I got pretty excited. It wasn't Dareus excited, but I knew that we had just drafted a solid player. While it wasn't an early round tackle - there is still a lot to like about this pick.
First - Hairston is a massive human being. He measures 6'6" and 323 lbs - the most interesting part though is his long arms - he's got 35 1/4" arms - which is really, really long. He's got the same arm length of guys like D'Brickshaw Ferguson and Ryan Clady. Basically he's got LT arms and he will be playing RT for us.
The other ridiculous part of Hairston is his upper body strength. With those really, really long arms he put up 33 reps at the combine - I believe that either tied him for 1st among offensive tackles or it put him 1st among offensive tackles. Anyone that knows anything about weight lifting knows that the longer the arms the harder it is to push weight. The fact that he put up more reps than any other tackle with some of the longest arms in the draft should tell you something about his strength.
You will hear time and time again that his lower body is his main issue. That he doesn't bend his knees well and has work to do with his agility. He doesn't have the prototype body for an OT because he is lean in the lower body.
I don't understand the sentiment that he isn't agile - playing in the ACC at LT he's had to face guys like Robert Quinn, Gholston (yes - he was good in college) and even Bowers in practice. He was a 3 year starter for Clemson at LT against some top notch competition. It's not like he hasn't had to face good pass rushers and he's graded out very well. So i'm a little perplexed as to why people think he isn't agile enough - especially playing RT where those guys aren't usually the most agile.
Coming into the NFL he will be playing RT and as a result he won't be matched up against the other teams best pass rusher as much as a LT would. He's had plenty of experience playing against other teams best pass rushers and he's graded out great.
First-Team All-ACC offensive tackle according to ACC Media, Rivals.com, and Phil Steele … has 29 knockdowns in a team-high 754 snaps in 12 games (12 starts) … a big reason Clemson is among the top-30 teams in the nation in avoiding sacks; he has allowed just one sack … team's highest-rated offensive lineman in film grade in six games and his 82.3-percent grade is the team's best average … has graded in the 80s in all but one game and has a streak of seven straight games in the 80s … has had at least one knockdown in every game … led the team in film grade in each of the first two games, including 86 percent against Presbyterian College … had an 86-percent grade in 86 snaps at #15 Auburn, tied for his best grade of the season … had an 80-percent grade and three knockdowns against #16 Miami (FL) … had an 82-percent grade and earned team offensive player-of-the-game honors by the coaches against Maryland … had an 82-percent grade and four knockdowns against #23 N.C. State … had an 84-percent grade at Wake Forest in his hometown.
As you can see he's played very well against top competition. Anyone can beat up on the sisters of the poor but he's graded out well against teams like Auburn, Miami (FL) etc...
He's basically got LT feet playing RT - so i'm not sure where the agility questions come into play - maybe someone here can shed some light on that one?
Run blocking: Hairston possesses good size and strength which helps him move defenders off the line. He routinely keeps his pad level low giving him the leverage necessary to be an effective run blocker. While engaged, he takes short balanced steps as he works to open up running lanes. Hairston's lack of athletic ability limits his ability to climb to the second level and engage. He didn't show me a good nasty streak which is something I like to see in an offensive lineman. Overall, Hairston is an effective run blocker with the strength and size to move people off the line.
After doing a lot of research it seems to me that he's going to be one of those sleeper picks in the draft. One of those guys that when you do a "redraft" you put him much higher than 122nd in the 4th.
He was a 3 year starter at LT for Clemson playing in the ACC going up against top pass rushers. He has excellent size, put his hand on the ground in Clemson, good run blocking skills, excellent strength, very intelligent player who is clean off the field, has long arms and will be able to keep defenders off of his body and push pass rushers past the QB.
So I ask you Rumblers' - Is Chris Hairston the RT we've been looking for?