Grade: 85.25 (Late 2nd)
Projected: Late 1st/Early 2nd
Blocks with his feet
Footwork against defenders who utilize one pass rush move on certain plays
Footwork on anchoring
Limited positional utilization
Climbing up to the 2nd level
Utilizing natural strength
Notre Dame offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg is an interesting prospect. He plays extremely inconsistently, as one play he’ll look like a star and the next play he’ll look foolish.
His best trait is blocking with his feet. Defenders who tried to get around him without a pass rush move and cut back inside often did not find success. Pass rushers who tried to utilize just one pass rush move also didn’t find success. This was due to great footwork and hip mobility. One of his biggest concerns will be defenders who make him anchor and then utilize a pass rush move. Against bigger defenders they would often push him back, as he struggled to match their power, which then allowed the defender to utilize a pass rush move. That’s where he struggles the most. This is due to poor footwork while anchoring which lets defenders utilize a pass rush move to get around him to beat him. This will be a major concern going into the NFL. If drafted by the Bengals, he would struggle tremendously lining up against defenders such as T.J. Watt and Myles Garrett.
A big issue with why Eichenberg struggles with anchoring is his hand placement. He often found himself placing his hands at shoulder height, which makes it easier for defenders to bullrush him. This also makes it difficult for Eichenberg to explode his hips or use power to counter bullrush-type moves.
As listed above, Eichenberg has many inconsistencies, which could lead to a difficult transition into the NFL. There were times on film where Eichenberg played with nastiness and blew defenders off the line, and other times where he just stalled. He will need to learn to play with nastiness on a consistent basis in the NFL. Him stalling, whether it was off the line or climbing up to the second level, led to mixed results. At times, due to natural strength, him stalling was enough for him to make the block. However, there were also times that his stalling led to him getting bullrushed into the hole and creating a cluster which limited the success of the play. If he stalls at the NFL level, he will find himself not creating the holes that he should be.
As mentioned, with so many inconsistencies, his transition to the NFL will be difficult. If he will be successful in the NFL, he will need a great offensive line coach. If he can find consistency, he can be a good NFL tackle. I don’t think he’s a good option at guard. Though he has natural strength, it won’t match the power of interior defensive lineman. As noted, his footwork while dealing with defenders who bullrush isn’t good, and that leads to him losing. If he has to go against interior defensive linemen consistently, he will struggle.
Should the Bengals draft him? Unless he falls to round three, absolutely not. He is projected to go in late round one, early round two, but I believe him to be a late 2nd round prospect. Taking him early 2nd would be a reach, and reaching for lineman, even if a need, is a bad idea.
Grade: 85.25 (Late 2nd)