Drafting Offensive Tackles: The Importance of Arm Length and Foot Speed

Drafting Offensive Tackles: The Importance of Arm Length and Foot Speed

When it comes to building a successful football team, one position that often gets overlooked is the offensive tackle. However, the importance of drafting the right offensive tackles cannot be emphasized enough. In this article, we will explore two crucial factors that every team should consider when selecting offensive tackles: arm length and foot speed. Understanding the significance of these attributes will not only help teams make informed decisions during the drafting process but also improve their chances of finding the best players to protect the quarterback and create opportunities for the running game.

The Importance of Arm Length

When it comes to drafting offensive tackles, arm length plays a crucial role in determining their blocking ability and effectiveness in pass protection. Evaluating and scouting for offensive tackles with ideal arm length is a key aspect of building a successful offensive line. In this article, we will explore the significance of arm length and how it affects the performance of offensive tackles.

How Arm Length Affects Blocking Ability

The arm length of an offensive tackle directly impacts their blocking ability. Longer arms provide a greater reach, allowing the tackle to engage with defenders at a distance and keep them at bay. This extended reach provides a significant advantage in both run-blocking and pass-blocking situations.

In run-blocking, a tackle with longer arms can effectively use their reach to engage with defenders early and create separation. This separation allows the offensive tackle to control the defender’s movements and dictate the direction of the play. With the ability to keep defenders at arm’s length, the offensive tackle can prevent them from gaining leverage and penetrating the backfield.

Similarly, in pass-blocking, arm length plays a vital role in keeping the defender at a distance. A tackle with longer arms can establish an initial punch and maintain separation, preventing the defender from getting too close and disrupting the passing lane. This extra space allows the offensive tackle to react quickly to the defender’s moves and adjust their positioning to protect the quarterback.

Arm Length and Pass Protection

When it comes to pass protection, arm length is particularly crucial. Offensive tackles with longer arms have a natural advantage in this aspect, as they can create a wider barrier between themselves and the defender. This barrier not only makes it harder for the defender to get around the tackle but also provides more time for the quarterback to make decisions and release the ball.

Additionally, longer arms enable offensive tackles to effectively use their hands and arms as weapons. By extending their arms fully, tackles can lock out defenders and prevent them from getting into their chest, which is essential for maintaining balance and control. The longer the arms, the greater the leverage the offensive tackle can achieve, making it harder for the defender to overpower them.

Scouting for Offensive Tackles with Ideal Arm Length

When scouting for offensive tackles, arm length is a critical attribute to consider. While there is no exact measurement that guarantees success, there are general guidelines to follow. Typically, offensive tackles with arm lengths of around 34 inches or more are considered ideal. This length provides the necessary reach and leverage to excel in both blocking and pass protection.

Scouts and coaches look for offensive tackles who possess the ability to use their long arms effectively. They should be able to initiate contact early, extend their arms fully, and maintain separation throughout the play. Tackles with shorter arms may still succeed, but they often need exceptional technique and footwork to compensate for their lack of reach.

In conclusion, arm length is a vital aspect when evaluating and drafting offensive tackles. It significantly influences their blocking ability, especially in terms of run-blocking and pass protection. Offensive tackles with longer arms have a natural advantage in creating separation and maintaining control over defenders. Therefore, when building a strong offensive line, considering arm length is crucial to ensure the success of the team’s blocking schemes and pass protection strategies.

The Significance of Foot Speed

When it comes to drafting offensive tackles, foot speed plays a crucial role in determining the effectiveness of a player on the field. The ability to move quickly and efficiently is essential in both run blocking and pass blocking scenarios. Let’s delve into the importance of foot speed and how it impacts an offensive tackle’s performance.

The Role of Foot Speed in Run Blocking

In the realm of run blocking, foot speed is instrumental in creating openings and driving the opposing defenders back. Offensive tackles with good foot speed can quickly get off the line of scrimmage and engage with the defenders, enabling them to seal the edge or create running lanes for the ball carrier. The ability to move rapidly laterally and stay in front of the defender is crucial for maintaining control and executing effective run blocks.

Moreover, foot speed allows offensive tackles to swiftly adjust their positioning during run plays. The agility and quickness provided by fast footwork help them react to the movements of the defenders, ensuring they can sustain their blocks and prevent the opposing players from disrupting the play. Overall, foot speed is a vital attribute for offensive tackles when it comes to run blocking, as it directly impacts their ability to open up running lanes and sustain blocks.

Foot Speed and Quickness in Pass Blocking

In the realm of pass blocking, foot speed is equally significant. Quick and nimble footwork allows offensive tackles to effectively mirror the movements of the opposing pass rushers. By maintaining proper positioning and staying in front of the defender, offensive tackles can create a secure pocket for the quarterback, providing them with the necessary time to make accurate throws.

Foot speed enables offensive tackles to quickly react to the pass rush moves of the defenders, such as spin moves or speed rushes. With fast footwork, they can swiftly adjust their positioning and counter the moves of the defenders, effectively nullifying their impact on the play. The ability to move laterally with speed and precision is crucial in pass blocking situations, as it allows offensive tackles to protect the quarterback and prevent sacks or pressures.

Evaluating Offensive Tackles Based on Foot Speed

When evaluating offensive tackles, it is essential to consider their foot speed as a key factor. The ability to move quickly and efficiently on the field greatly enhances an offensive tackle’s effectiveness in both run blocking and pass blocking scenarios. Coaches and scouts closely analyze a player’s foot speed during drills, game footage, and combine workouts to assess their potential as an offensive tackle.

In terms of run blocking, scouts look for offensive tackles who can explode off the line of scrimmage, display lateral agility, and sustain blocks with quick footwork. The ability to quickly adjust positioning and mirror the movements of the defenders is crucial for maintaining control and creating running lanes.

For pass blocking, offensive tackles with fast foot speed and quickness are highly sought after. The capability to react swiftly to pass rush moves, maintain proper positioning, and protect the quarterback is paramount. Fast footwork allows offensive tackles to effectively neutralize the opposing pass rushers and ensure the quarterback’s safety.

In conclusion, foot speed holds immense significance when it comes to drafting offensive tackles. Whether it’s run blocking or pass blocking, the ability to move quickly and efficiently greatly impacts an offensive tackle’s performance on the field. Evaluating a player based on their foot speed ensures that teams select the most effective offensive tackles who can excel in their roles and contribute to the success of the team.

In conclusion, when it comes to drafting offensive tackles, arm length and foot speed play a vital role in determining the success of a player. The longer the arms, the better the reach and ability to keep defenders at bay. Additionally, quick foot speed enables tackles to react swiftly to defensive moves and maintain a strong position. These two factors combined contribute significantly to a tackle’s ability to protect the quarterback and create opportunities for the offense. Therefore, teams looking to enhance their offensive line should prioritize arm length and foot speed when selecting and developing offensive tackles.