Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel spoke with anonymous scouts prior to the 2017 NFL Draft and shared their notes on both offensive tackles and edge defenders. The scouts did not have either Derek Rivers or Deatrich Wise Jr. in their top 10 edge defenders, so McGinn did not share their evaluations, but he has some interesting quotes about the Patriots two offensive tackles.
5. ANTONIO GARCIA, Troy (6-6 ½, 301, 5.13, 2-3): Started at LT for 3 ½ years.
“Intriguing guy,” one scout said. “You know how it is. You can’t find those guys (athletic left tackles). He is athletic. He’s raw and he’ll make mistakes, but I like his tenacity. If you just said left tackle, he’d be second behind Bolles.”
Has the shortest arms of the top-10 tackles (33 3/8) but posted the best vertical jump (31).
“The flashes say Day Two,” said another scout. “From a consistency standpoint, I’m not there yet on him. He’s not (good) in the run game. He played in a two-point (stance) the entire time. He didn’t tee off the ball on people. This guy starts off as a backup and, with the right coach, he can evolve into a starter.”
From Atlanta, where he was a standout prep basketball player.
“Not very football intelligent,” a third scout said. “At the combine he looked shell-shocked. Didn’t know where the hell he was. He’ll get drafted late. Not a big fan. That’s just me.”
The Patriots drafted Garcia in the third round, which represents the back-end of the range he was expected to go. Garcia is an athletic player that is explosive off the snap, but he doesn’t convert that into positive space in the run game. He needs strong coaching in the NFL to prepare him and fortunately the Patriots have offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia.
That third scout just seems spiteful.
8. CONOR McDERMOTT, UCLA (6-8, 309, 5.19, 4): Started 31 games at LT. High-effort player.
“He’s unassuming and gets his job done,” one scout said. “He’s a better athlete than you realize. He’s like Nate Solder. He won’t go that high but he plays like that. He could be a starter.”
Voted Mr. Basketball as a Tennessee prep (Nashville). Huge hands (11).
“I think he’s too strength-deficient, to tell you the truth,” said another scout. “Not a bad athlete. But he doesn’t play with any power and he doesn’t bend real well. Got bad shoulders. Hurt all the time. You want to like the kid but he’s 6-8 and can’t anchor because he’s not a good bender. He’s got long enough arms (34 ¾). Like his feet. I don’t see it.”
Brother, Kevin, is the Vikings’ long snapper.
This is a pretty solid evaluation of McDermott, who the Patriots appear to have selected a few rounds later than expected. The Solder comparison makes sense for the Patriots, although I think Solder is much more fluid in his blocking motions and much stronger in the run game.
The second scout nails all the criticisms of McDermott, who looks mechanical in his blocks and looks like the Patriots offensive tackles in 2014-15 under Dave DeGuglielmo with how they would bend and attack the defenders. McDermott also battled shoulder injuries at the start of his career and a knee sprain in 2016.
If he remains healthy, McDermott could be a good project for Scarnecchia.