Tommy Doyle, Tackle, Miami RedHawks
One player this fan has had an eye on include Tommy Doyle of the Miami University RedHawks, a 6-foot-8 326-pound tackle who performed brilliantly on a very tough offensive line that kept quarterback Brett Gabbert upright all year. He was named First-Team All-MAC as well as Academic All-MAC. Fans like to make jokes about dumb offensive linemen, but make no mistake, brains on the offensive line count for something. If nothing else, someone who can study textbooks will also be good at understanding the playbook
The Browns seem to have addressed the long-standing issues at tackle this year (finally) by drafting Jedrick Wills this year and signing Jack Conklin as a free agent. Hence a stud tackle may no longer be a great match to the Browns’ needs. In any case, Doyle is good enough to be one of the first MAC players to be drafted, if not by the Browns, then by some other team. It’s possible that he will play football in some other context this season while tuning up for the NFL. At press time his plans were not known.
One of the reasons it would be so great to have a player like Doyle on the team is that the Browns have a bad habit of trying to convert linemen from other positions to the tackle position. Although it’s usually possible to convert tackles to guards, it is very hard to go the other way, and the Browns need to stop doing it.
Jedrick Wills is really the first player to break that cycle since Cameron Erving. They need to stop doing it. Chris Hubbard was the smallest tackle in the NFL before he became the smallest guard in the NFL. Austin Corbett was even smaller at 280 pounds as a tackle for the University of Nevada Wolf Pack and needed to move to guard in the pros, though the Browns entertained thoughts of keeping him at tackle. Now he’s listed at 306 pounds for the Los Angeles Rams, where he starts as a guard.
Similarly, 303-pound Drew Forbes played tackle at a smaller college, Southeast Missouri University, as a tackle, but needed to be a guard in the pros. As usual, the Browns were reluctant to allow him to commit to the guard position, and had him take practice snaps at tackle and center also, thus establishing a pattern of failure for the young man.
Tommy Doyle is actually built to play tackle in the NFL. The pass protection film on Doyle is particularly impressive, as his opponents really have no answer for him. They look like the northern invaders trying to push back the Great Wall of China. He just does not move.
There is some talk that Doyle may make it into the first round, although Day Two might be a more likely match, given the turmoil that will exist this year.