Sep 1, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide offensive linesman Cyrus Kouandjio (71) during the game against the Michigan Wolverines at Cowboys Stadium. Alabama won 41-14. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Dolphins Scout's Take: OT Cyrus Kouandjio


Sep 1, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio (71) on the line of scrimmage during the second quarter against the Michigan Wolverines at Cowboys Stadium. Alabama beat Michigan 41-14. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins will certainly be “in” on the offensive line talent during the first three rounds of this year’s NFL Draft; I don’t think that statement will surprise anyone. The more surprising statement one could make is that the Miami Dolphins could look to fortify the right tackle position with their 19th overall selection, instead of fortifying the left tackle position.

Enter Alabama OT Cyrus Kouandijo.

“Big Cy” has been widely known throughout his tenure with the University of Alabama as a “good” left tackle prospect, but a “great” right tackle prospect. Cyrus has been one of the best offensive linemen Nick Saban has been able to “reel in” out of high school, and Saban stuck this kid into the fire of the SEC from day one.

Kouandjio has been a starter along this ‘Bama offensive line since his freshman season, seeing time at both left and right tackle. He has played three straight seasons against the best talent college football has to offer in the SEC Conference, and is a two time National Champ.

Once thought to be a potential top-ten selection, his inconsistent play during the 2013-2014 season caused his draft stock to fall a bit, but the kid will still be a first round selection in this year’s NFL Draft.

 

Name: Cyrus Kouandijo

Height: 6’6”

Weight: 310 lbs.

School: Alabama

Class: Junior

Draft Stock: Rising with Cam Erving (FSU) and Cedric Ogbuehi (A&M) both returning to school.

Draft Range: First round picks 10-19 (he won’t get past Miami….)

 

Strengths:

The obvious here is that Cyrus Kouandjio is one of the more pro ready tackles in this year’s class due to his collegiate pedigree. He’s played 3 straight seasons as a starting tackle for one of the best teams in all of college football, facing some of the best talent college football has to offer via the SEC, and he plays in a pro-style offense at the University of Alabama. Right now he is a pro-ready right tackle.

Kouandjio is at his best when his hand is in the dirt and he can fire out of his stance. He is one of the best blockers out of this stance, but he may need to get used to standing up in a two-point stance because the 3-point is “out-of-style” in our modern NFL passing league.

Kouandjio is one of the best run blocking tackles in this year’s draft. He bends well at the hips while run blocking, and uses his athleticism to get to the second level. I found that whenever Alabama needed to get crucial yardage on the ground, or they found success on the ground, it came behind big #71. He is very good at “sealing the long one” by making impact blocks via the run game.

 

Weaknesses:

Cyrus Kouandjio’s biggest weakness is his inability to perform consistently over the course of a full game. Yes, a game….not a season. ONE GAME. We saw it during the Sugar Bowl just a few weeks back against Oklahoma. Kouandjio played extremely well against the Sooner’s top pass rusher, Eric Striker. Striker and Kouandjio went back and forth for the majority of the game, and Kouandjio won the majority of those battles….except for three key plays.

The first of which, Kouandjio was beaten badly off the edge on a good jump by Striker. AJ McCarron was able to elude Striker’s pressure by coming underneath the rusher and tackle, to scramble for a first down.

The next of which Kouandjio was beaten again by Striker off the edge, but Kouandjio was able to regain his footing and wash Striker out of the play, while McCarron, again, escaped the pocket.

The final play, and ultimately the worst of Kouandjio’s Sugar Bowl, was the final play of the game in which Striker was able to get a good jump, and beat Kouandjio off the edge to force a strip-sack, which resulted in a Sooner touchdown to end the game.

 

Which leads us to our next weakness, he struggles with footwork and mechanics against speed rushers. If Kouandjio faces a speed rusher, he feels he must get a great jump off the line to accommodate for that speed. The problem is that Kouandjio should be focused on moving along the ring of the pocket, rather than trying to move laterally towards his assignment.

The last weakness we can draw from Kouandjio’s game is that he needs to do a much better job getting his hands on his assignment quicker off the line of scrimmage. As I already stated, he is a very good run blocker and excels when his hand is in the dirt. But when Kouandjio is in a two-point stance, he tends to get lazy and does not get that desired push up front. He needs to become a better “punch” blocker out of a two-point stance – Yes I technically just made that term up….sue me….

 

As I stated to open this piece, I really have no problem with Miami taking Kouandjio at 19, or even higher if they feel that they must move up to get him in the first round. He would be a great fit for Joe Philbin’s scheme, and he is the type of “athletic” offensive line prospect this regime desires.

That being said, Kouandjio will never be an elite left tackle, so if you are going to take this guy in the first round you must feel comfortable with whoever your left tackle is or you have to go out and grab a left tackle either in rounds 2/3, via free agency (which hopefully you have already done so), or the trade market – which why wouldn’t you trade up into the top picks for Matthews or Robinson?

I’ll be comfortable with this selection if Miami grabs a guy like Albert or Monroe via free agency to stick at left tackle. I am not a fan of Kouandjio as left tackle protecting Ryan Tannehill’s blind-side.

Scout’s Take Update: This week we will be taking a look at UNC T James Hurst, OSU RB Carlos Hyde, and Washington TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins! Be sure to check those out!

 

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Tags: 2014 NFL Draft Cyrus Kouandjio Miami Dolphins University Of Alabama

  • Kirk Schappaugh

    I’ll buy in on this ot but I’ll say no to OSU RB Hyde OSU Running backs really don’t do well in the NFL I’d go with what we have for now if the ol improves and wait for Mason from Auburn

    • TylerMcMullen

      Agreed on Hyde. His off the field concerns really take him off the “Philbin-list”, but he is the type of back Miami will be in the market for.

    • Emmett Buck Stiernagle

      If I was going power back the Andre Williams from BC. He is a beast and so hard to tackle and with a little speed. It’s a shame o line has to be addressed cuz sankey and seastrunk are studs and are definitely worth second round pick. If somehow one of them fell to us at third then no hesitation pls future GM

  • tpl

    My guess is Miami will re-sign McKinney. Then the draft the best available tackle at #19, be it RT or LT. Plus he’s a good run blocker, and Miami could certainly use a good RT.

    • TylerMcMullen

      Yessir. I think they’ll definitely entertain the thought of Albert, Monroe, or any of the other top LT’s on the market. But, when it’s all said and done, I think you’re correct in re-signing BMack for one more year.

  • Johnny

    If he drops… That would be a blessing.. If not.. Then you have to go with the unsexy pick with Gaurd YANKEY.. The best Gaurd in the draft..

    • Emmett Buck Stiernagle

      Lewan might be available

    • Emmett Buck Stiernagle

      I don’t know if he is. Richardson and hurst have big potential moving inside. Also Xavier sua FILO is being overlooked right now he has excellent hand technique but I’m afraid might not be strong enough. We will see in the combine.

      • TylerMcMullen

        Indeed, tooooo early to tell.

  • Johnny

    Maybe Oher, Monroe, or Albert… If Cyrus falls, then great.. put him at RT.. And if not.. Got to go with guard Yankey.. (To take Incognito’s spot at LG)

    • TylerMcMullen

      Love it, butttt I think Miami can grab Yankey in round 2 right now. He’s a late first, early second guy. I think the only way they take him round one is if they trade back to pick up some more selections, which is definitely a possible scenario.

      • Emmett Buck Stiernagle

        Definitely agree on that

  • Johnny

    LT will be the crucial spot to fill… As it is the most important position on a football team other then QB… (this relates to Right-handed QBs)…

    Don’t think we can address LT at 19… That’s why I say address LT in FA (Monroe, Oher, or Albert)…

    And then draft G Yankey IF he falls to us at 19.. I’ve seen mocks with him going AHEAD of us to Chicago…
    I obviously would rather draft the best #1 Guard in the draft then the 4th ranked LT… (Which is why I say FA will most likely be way to go for a LT)

    I know guard is not a sexy pick… But it’s necessary… And Yankey is the best at his position…

    • Emmett Buck Stiernagle

      This draft has a lot of good tackles. At 19 we are looking good at drafting a talented tackle. Yankee is not the best guard in draft well at least in my eyes. It may change depending on combine numbers but Cyril Richardson is the top guard. I love Yankee in the second but first is a big big big reach.

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