It's nice to finally get back to writing some player profiles after all of the excitement surrounding the NFL scouting combine. As with my last post on TCU Offensive Guard Marcus Cannon I'm going to continue looking at a few players the Steelers may be targeting at the end of the second round. As it appears that Cannon may not be available as a result of him moving up draft boards, and because the Steelers may not select an offensive lineman in the first round, this time I thought I would profile another Guard that might make for a good fit in round two -- Clint Boling, University of Georgia.
40 time: 5.25
Pros: One thing that the Steelers front office will find particularly enticing with regards to Boling is his versatility and experience. He's a 4-year starter in the tough SEC against top competition and has played both Guard and Tackle positions. He's also a very smart player with the ability to pick up the blitz. Even though he may lack the lateral agility to play Left Tackle in the NFL he does possess ideal athletic ability to pull and trap from the Guard position. Boling plays with a bit of a nasty streak and with his large frame he has room to put on another 15lbs. to improve his strength. He's also very durable.
Cons: While Clint Boling can play Tackle at the next level he lacks the lateral quickness to do so effectively which is why most consider him a Guard-only prospect, with perhaps the chance to play Right Tackle with some added bulk. Because of his long frame if he gets stood up by a bull-rush he'll get pushed back. In addition to needing to gain some wight he'll need to learn not to play so high.
Draft Stock: Right now Clint Boling is considered a mid 2nd-early 3rd round prospect which would fit into the Steelers draft at pick 63. Right now I, and most others, rate Boling as about the 4th best Guard prospect behind Mike Pouncey, Ben Ijalana, and Marcus Cannon. Of course those rankings are entirely dependent on other factors such as position flexibility and skill-type as it pertains to a teams' preferences. Some teams will covet Cannon for his size and run-blocking ability while others will prefer Boling because of his pass-blocking and athletic abilities. If the Patriots fail to take a guard with the first 3 picks in the top 33 they'll definitely be looking for a smart, sound technician like Boling at pick 60.
Final Word: Boling could start at Guard right away. He has fairly sound mechanics and is a very smart player. His best attribute, aside from his versatility, is his ability to read and react to the blitz. Most of his issues could be fixed with a year in an NFL strength and conditioning program where he could at another 15lbs. of bulk. While some would favor Marcus Cannon because of the massive size, which makes him ideal in run-blocking, Boling would be much more valuable because of his ability to pull, trap, and seal the edge. If the Steelers go with a Cornerback in the first round, or miss out on Mike Pouncey, I would be happy if they chose Boling at the end of the second round.