OT Vinston Painter, Virginia Tech
I actually don't quite understand why this guy hasn't gotten more press in the draft scouting community because when I sat down and watched tape from three or four games last night, I came away very impressed.
The measureables and eye test are the first things that pop out at you though -- 6'6, 310 pounds, long, sinewy arms with a strong, muscular base. Reading more on Painter, I discovered that he originally played DT for Virginia Tech early in his career, then switched to the offensive side of the football, playing at both guard and tackle. Ok, now I'm intrigued.
Further research showed he tested out with a 30-inch vertical, 4.72 time in the 40, 430 pound bench press, 336 pound power clean, and an absurd 500 pound front squat. That 40 time is probably not all too accurate, but as I said earlier this morning - anything under 5.0 seconds and you're talking about an athletic lineman that can 'move and create violence,' as Tom Cable so aptly puts it.
Back to my first thought when I saw Painter: 'This guy looks just like a poor-man's Menelik Watson.' He's big, smooth, yoked up, and has the frame to add a little weight, if that's what a coaching staff wanted. Here's a picture of Painter prior to last season LINK.
Of course, Watson is being projected as a high-second to late-first round player, but for Painter, according to everything (read: nothing) I saw, he's being projected as a UDFA. I literally couldn't find one scouting report on him. Regardless, Painter was honorable mention All-ACC (voted by coaches), started 13 games for the Hokies in 2012, and may just be worth a look in the mid- to late-rounds for the Seahawks. If he goes undrafted, if I'm John Schneider, I would personally write him a letter persuading him to come to Seattle,.
Take a look at some tape. Painter is at Right Tackle, #71. Obviously, the box highlights other players (Clemson DE Malliciah Goodman to start), but keep your eyes on the right tackle. The guy keeping Goodman from doing pretty much anything.
Painter has a smooth kick-step at the snap and mirrors pass rushers very well. In the run game, he fires off at the snap quickly to engage his block, and more often than not, maintains his block at the point of attack until the runner has gone by. In the games that I watched last night, I didn't see him get straight beat to the quarterback to the outside in pass pro one time.
Now of course, to avoid hyperbole, he's no where near a perfect prospect: I did see him overextend himself at times -- you'll see him reach for a defender, bend too much at the waist, allowing the defensive end or linebacker the ability to swim-move counter underneath him and into the pocket. The majority of the times I saw this, the play was going in the opposite direction, and thus was fairly inconsequential, but it's a concern nonetheless. I do think that he uses his arm length well in spurts to keep opposing defenders away from his body - a skill that can be coached up - and against the absurdly long-armed Goodwin above, he holds his own in keeping himself clean and holding onto his blocks.
I like how light on his feet he looks -- he's a lean 6'6 with long arms, and that ability to mirror on the edge and push pass rushers out of the pocket as they overplay is important for a RT in any scheme. His mobility in this Seattle scheme though, is even more important. The Seahawks don't pull a whole hell of a lot - but they do at times (and the read-option stuff does tend to require more movement up front from the offensive line), and his ability to get up out of his stance and move downfield will be a plus.
Much like Menelik Watson though, he does look lost on the 2nd level, often missing on blocks and getting turned around, but of all skills necessary for the job, this feels like a coachable aspect. At least, Painter needs work when it comes to second-level blocking and target acquisition.
The reason I can see him in Seattle is that they like to move their right tackle laterally at the snap in their zone stretch schemes, either doubling down on a defensive tackle, leading the way right to create cutback lines, or stretching outside to extend the pocket like an accordion in pass protection. An ability to move around is key. Painter's footwork is strong, and when he stays balanced, he's hard to move off of his spot. I never saw him get bullrushed, and yet he's light enough on his feet to move around to protect Logon Thomas, who like Russell Wilson
, likes to get outside the pocket and improvise.
Painter is not a complete prospect, obviously. I don't project him to be a year-one starter, but given the Seahawks' scheme, I think he could be developed as a longer-term replacement for Breno Giacomini
at RT, or a longer-term swing tackle that could provide some depth. He has a Combine invite, so he'll be one player that I'm watching closely this week. If he runs a sub-5.0 forty and puts up solid workout numbers, we might see his perceived stock rise a bit in the coming months.