Drafting Offensive Tackles: The Importance of Footwork and Technique

Drafting Offensive Tackles: The Importance of Footwork and Technique

In the world of football, offensive tackles play a crucial role in protecting the quarterback and creating openings for the running back. However, their success heavily relies on two key factors: footwork and technique. This article delves into the significance of these aspects when drafting offensive tackles. By understanding the importance of proper footwork and technique, teams can make informed decisions during the drafting process to secure talented players who can effectively contribute to the success of their offense.

Importance of Footwork in Drafting Offensive Tackles

Proper Footwork for Pass Blocking

In the world of football, offensive tackles play a crucial role in protecting the quarterback during pass plays. To excel in pass blocking, offensive tackles must possess impeccable footwork. Proper footwork enables them to maintain balance and agility while countering the opponent’s moves.

One key aspect of pass blocking footwork is maintaining a solid base. Offensive tackles must start with their feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. This stance allows them to have a strong foundation, making it easier to react to the defender’s rush. Additionally, keeping their weight evenly distributed between both feet helps offensive tackles maintain balance and quickly adjust their position as needed.

Another essential element of pass blocking footwork is the kick step. The kick step involves taking a quick step backward with the outside foot while simultaneously lifting the inside foot off the ground. This motion allows offensive tackles to create distance between themselves and the defender, making it harder for the opponent to get past them. By using the kick step, offensive tackles can maintain a safe pocket for the quarterback, giving them ample time to make accurate throws.

Importance of Quick Feet for Run Blocking

While pass blocking requires proper footwork, run blocking demands offensive tackles to have quick feet. When executing run plays, offensive tackles need to move swiftly to create holes for the running back to exploit. Quick feet enable them to engage and drive the defender effectively, creating opportunities for successful running plays.

In run blocking, offensive tackles need to be agile and light on their feet. This agility allows them to quickly change direction, adjust their blocking angle, and seal off defenders. By maintaining quick feet, offensive tackles can effectively mirror the movements of the defender and prevent them from disrupting the running play.

Furthermore, quick feet enable offensive tackles to reach the second level of the defense. As the play progresses, offensive tackles may need to disengage from their initial block and move to block linebackers or safeties. Having quick feet allows them to swiftly transition from one block to another, ensuring the running back has a clear path to gain valuable yardage.

Footwork Drills to Improve Technique

Improving footwork is a continuous process for offensive tackles, regardless of their skill level. By incorporating specific footwork drills into their training routine, offensive tackles can enhance their technique and become more effective in their role.

One effective footwork drill is the ladder drill. This drill involves placing a ladder on the ground and having the offensive tackle perform various footwork patterns by stepping in and out of the ladder’s rungs. This drill helps improve coordination, quickness, and agility, all essential elements of proper footwork.

Another beneficial drill is the mirror drill. In this drill, the offensive tackle pairs up with a teammate or coach who acts as the defender. The offensive tackle mimics the defender’s movements, focusing on maintaining proper footwork and balance. This drill enhances the offensive tackle’s ability to react quickly and mirror the opponent’s actions effectively.

Lastly, the cone drill is an excellent drill for improving lateral movement and change of direction. By setting up cones in a specific pattern, offensive tackles can practice moving laterally, simulating game scenarios where they need to quickly adjust their position to block defenders.

In conclusion, footwork plays a vital role in drafting offensive tackles. Proper footwork for pass blocking involves maintaining a solid base and utilizing the kick step technique. Quick feet are essential for run blocking, allowing offensive tackles to create holes and reach the second level of the defense. Incorporating footwork drills like the ladder drill, mirror drill, and cone drill into training sessions can significantly enhance an offensive tackle’s technique and overall performance.

Significance of Technique in Drafting Offensive Tackles

Hand placement and leverage

Proper hand placement and leverage are crucial for offensive tackles when it comes to effectively blocking their opponents. By having their hands in the right position, tackles can gain control over the defender and manipulate their movements. This allows them to steer the defender away from the quarterback or running back, creating open lanes for successful plays. Additionally, correct hand placement enables tackles to establish a strong grip on the defender, making it harder for the opponent to disengage and get past them. It is essential for teams to prioritize offensive tackles with impeccable hand placement and leverage skills during the drafting process.

Body positioning and balance

Effective blocking requires offensive tackles to have excellent body positioning and balance. A well-balanced stance provides stability and agility, enabling tackles to quickly react to the defender’s movements. By maintaining a low center of gravity, tackles can generate more power and leverage, making it harder for the defender to overpower them. Proper body positioning also allows tackles to effectively absorb the impact of the defender’s rush, preventing them from collapsing or being pushed back. When drafting offensive tackles, teams should consider prospects who demonstrate exceptional body control and balance, as they are more likely to excel in pass protection and run blocking.

Understanding different blocking techniques

An essential aspect of a successful offensive tackle is their understanding and proficiency in various blocking techniques. Different defensive formations and plays require tackles to employ diverse strategies to effectively neutralize defenders. Some common blocking techniques include the kick slide, punch technique, and cut blocking. Each technique has its specific purpose and application. Tackles who possess a deep understanding of these techniques can adapt to different scenarios and execute them with precision. When teams are evaluating offensive tackle prospects, it is crucial to assess their knowledge and ability to execute various blocking techniques effectively.

By focusing on the significance of technique in drafting offensive tackles, teams can identify prospects who possess the necessary skills to excel in the position. Hand placement and leverage, body positioning and balance, and understanding different blocking techniques are all key factors in determining the success of an offensive tackle.

In conclusion, the success of an offensive tackle in football heavily relies on their footwork and technique. These two fundamental aspects not only determine their ability to protect the quarterback effectively but also contribute to their overall performance on the field. By emphasizing the importance of footwork and technique, teams can ensure they are selecting the right players during the drafting process. Coaches and players should continuously work on improving these skills through practice and training, as they play a significant role in the success of the offensive line. With the right footwork and technique, offensive tackles can become invaluable assets to their teams and contribute to their overall success.