Thanks to Jeff Otah's lackluster performance at the combine, many mock drafts have him sliding down to the middle to late first round. I'm not sure how a 6'6 340 pound offensive lineman is supposed to perform well in a forty yard dash or a vertical jump, but oh well I'm not an NFL scout. His bench press wasn't horrible but it was still outside the top ten and a full ten reps below the leader among offensive linemen, Jake Long (37). Unlike a couple of tackles that we've looked at so far, most think that Otah may actually have to lose some weight to excel. Most of the knocks on his abilities are that his feet aren't fast enough or that he is inconsistent in effort and/or technique. He didn't start playing football until his senior year in high school and only has two years of experience at Pitt after transferring from a Military Academy. Since he's still relatively new to the game he still hasn't developed some of the football instincts that come naturally to most players.
During his two seasons as a starter at Pitt, Otah racked up very impressive numbers though. He totaled 192 knockdowns, with 26 of those blocks leading to touchdowns and finished with an 81.58% grade for blocking consistency. During his two seasons he finished with allowing only four sacks, all of which came during his first season with the team. Otah, who served as offensive captain, has the size to simply engulf defenders especially when he keeps his hands inside. He excels in driving forward and knocking defenders off the ball in the ground game. His lack of experience is also one of the reasons that Otah is thought to have such an upside over some other players though. He has enjoyed a great deal of success despite playing football for only five years.
If you're looking for a massive OL, Otah
is your guy.
Odds are some other team will roll the dice on Otah before the Steelers take the podium at 23, but if he is there it could be very interesting. Otah is a high risk, high ceiling type of prospect. With the right coaching he could develop all phases of his game and be truly dominant, but he could also already be at his ceiling and just be another big body who struggles in pass protection. Tell me if this sounds familiar: a massive offensive lineman that struggles against speed rushers but has the size to dominate in the running game. That's right; Max Starks is the current pro that a couple scouting reports (here and here) say most closely resembles Jeff Otah. Most think he'll have to start on the right side if he plays early on in his career, also mirroring the Starks career. I'm sure some of you guys have seen Otah first hand being that he played (literally) in the Steelers backyard so what are your thoughts on his future in the pros? Would he be a good fit at #23 and is he a younger version of Starks?