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- Position: Offensive Line (OT, C)
- Class: Senior (redshirt)
- College: Florida State
- Ht/Wt: 6'5", 313 pounds
If you've heard about Cameron Erving, you know he was a valuable member of the Florida State roster during his time with the program, because he was one of those rare linemen who played all around the line. He started as a defensive tackle, converted to left tackle, played a little guard, and eventually became the Seminoles' starting center in his senior year.
When I see Erving, I can definitely see how he has the versatility to play all over the offensive line. However, I think the versatility ultimately hurts Erving, because he doesn't have a position that strongly suits him and matches his skill set. Start with his size: at 6'5" and 313 pounds, Erving is just below the desirable height threshold for starting offensive tackles in the NFL. He's also above the desirable height for centers. He could project to guard, but he doesn't carry the extra 10-15 pounds that you usually see at that position.
Erving's technique manages to carry several desirable traits, but is still unrefined across the board. I love his footwork potential; he has very fast feet, so he can kick-slide with the best of them or pull across a formation in a hurry. That same footwork also puts him in trouble against bull rushes, as he often gets "happy feet" and is stepping so fast that he can't establish a strong anchor at the point of initial contact. Erving is not good at re-establishing an anchor, and this problem led to him being walked straight back into his quarterback several times, at both left tackle and center. Along with the footwork, Erving projects power by leaning forward rather than from squatting; that's no bueno. He plays too high, which especially hurts him on the interior, where shorter defensive tackles can establish stronger leverage.
In the running game, Erving can be a strong blocker when he gets underneath a defender, but most of his work involved sealing a space or putting together a combination block rather than opening a hole for the runner. When he's put on the move, he does an outstanding job getting into position for an edge block, but is still working on the best way to engage defenders in space. Though he's only been playing center for a short while, he does a competent job snapping the ball accurately, and he moves very quickly after the snap. He shows a good awareness of where defenders are coming from, and moves to get in their way.
Erving is a tough grade, because he's a projection pick. On the one hand, we have a guy who could technically play any position on the offensive line. He's one of the most athletic linemen in this class. He already shows some good nuance in his technique, and despite playing a shorter-than-usual career as an offensive lineman, has already improved significantly.
On the other hand, he's a 'tweener, and the technical concerns (especially his weak anchor) will be significant ones in the NFL. How much do you knock Erving for his technical flaws, knowing that he's coachable, and that you could potentially end up with a quality starting center or left tackle?
In terms of grading, I'm grading Erving as both a left tackle and a center. At left tackle, I think his size, combined with long enough arms and quick feet, would allow him to stick out there with improved technique. At center, he can benefit from having help on either side, and he can be athletic enough to stick in any scheme.
Ultimately, I have Erving graded as a second-round pick. I can see him becoming a future starter, and maybe a very good one, but there are questions left unanswered in my mind.