29 Days of Draftmas begins with a pro-ready offensive tackle
A very Merry Draftmas to you!
We continue our tradition of profiling an NFL Draft prospect every day in April, leading up to the NFL Draft on April 29th. Every day, you’ll get a prospect profile that includes how they would fit with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Let’s start with a profile from our recently-completed KC Draft Guide, which will be published on Monday. Here’s a pro-ready offensive tackle the Chiefs could consider as early as their first pick in the NFL Draft.
Liam Eichenberg, tackle
6’6” | 305 lbs | Notre Dame
Grade (round): Second
Background: Four-star recruit who redshirted his first year and played sparingly as a redshirt freshman. Earned the starting left tackle role as a sophomore, and he continued to start every game there for the next three seasons. As a redshirt senior in 2020, he was named first-team All-ACC and to the AP All-American second team.
Strengths: Eichenberg is an incredibly pro-ready tackle prospect who has advanced technique and IQ. As a run blocker, he does a good job utilizing his length and footwork to take good angles and connect to a lot of blocks. He does a great job using leverage to attack down blocks to open up running lanes. He does a great job working down and then climbing up to the second level quickly to cut off second-level defenders. Eichenberg stays balanced in almost all aspects of his game, but it’s especially noticeable in his pass sets. He comes off the line of scrimmage with good pacing and does a great job of not opening his hips up when his outside shoulder is being pressured. He does a good job timing his two-hand punch and landing it within the frame of the edge rusher, allowing him to keep them in his frame.
Weaknesses: Eichenberg’s greatest weakness is a lack of a specific trait to hang his hat on. As a run blocker, powerful defensive ends can control him at the point of attack and elusive linebackers can slip around him at the second level. He’s a technique-centric run blocker; sometimes top-end athletes on the defensive line can take advantage of him. In pass protection, Eichenberg’s biggest flaw is his reliance on the two-hand punch. In the NFL, pass rushers specialize in the cross chop and the ghost technique, which eats up two-hand punching tackles. He’s also an average athlete in terms of play speed, which means explosive edge rushers really threaten his edge and put him into recovery early on.
How he fits with the Chiefs: With the Chiefs releasing both starting tackles before the 2021 season, they will be looking for new starters on both sides of the line. Lucas Niang — the team’s 2020 third-round draft pick — should be in the mix, but without the team yet committing to him, that leaves both tackle jobs open. If they don’t add significant help in free agency, the Chiefs will be in the market for an instant starter along the line — and Eichenberg provides exactly that. His technical prowess and prototypical size allow him to come in and play early on, which would be a huge boost for the Chiefs. His scheme fit with the Chiefs is above adequate, but he also may be pressed to fulfill the demand for deep vertical sets the Chiefs ask from their tackles rep in and rep out.
Player Comp: Bryan Bulaga
Fit Likelihood: Medium
KC Draft Guide
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