by Tyler Aston
T.J. Clemmings: RT, Pitt, 6’6, 315lbs
Overview: TJ Clemmings didn’t start playing football until his junior year of high school. Despite that, he was the top rated player in the state of New Jersey when he committed to the Panthers. The Redshirt Senior from Pitt moved from defensive to offensive line during the bowl practices his redshirt sophomore year. Clemmings is one of the top offensive linemen in the 2015 draft, a bit raw, but with a high ceiling.
Clemmings was a key figure in opening up big lanes on the right side of the line for standout RB James Conner. He provided a mauling yet athletic focal point for Pitt’s power run game. Clemmings does a good job engaging his defender. He caves in the right side of the line on down blocks, consistently pancaking his man, typically on the other side of the center. He does a good job on double teams and understanding who needs to remain with the defensive lineman and who needs to continue up to the second level. He is an effective cut blocker on the backside of sweeps. He does a good job using his body to position block on outside running plays. He does however end up on the ground too often. This is a byproduct of overextending and not keeping his feet under him. Such a problem is common among linemen in power blocking schemes, but is an area he needs to improve at the next level. Needs to develop more core and lower body strength.
Clemmings is a good athlete. He does a good job of getting to the second level in the run game. He gets there in a hurry, and his punch can send unsuspecting linebackers and safeties flying. His athleticism also allows him to get out in the open field on screen plays. He excels in this regard as he gets into good position, but then does a is patient, letting the defender come to him.
In pass pro, Clemmings has good footwork. His kick-slide is natural and technically sound. He does a good job communicating with other players in protection to identify his man against blitzes and line stunts. He has a solid punch that deadens the defender’s momentum, and does a good job not to overextend. This allows him to thrive in the play-action and short passing game. Against good speed rushers in the five-step game he drifts upwards, ends up too high, and opens his hips. This occasionally causes him problems with skilled pass rushers who can throw a club counter or run the corner. It looks to be a correctable problem, which with more experience should work itself out.
If you only watch one game: Miami (2014)