Update: The Chargers drafted Lamp with the 38th pick.
I'm going to just cut to the chase when it comes to Western Kentucky left tackle Forrest Lamp. We all know that he didn't play against a lot of top-notch edge rushers in college. Out of the five games I watched, the only team that had players who actually challenged Lamp was Alabama.
The other four games, for the most part, he looked like a man against boys.
Half the time those guys looked like they weren't supposed to be on the same field as Lamp. He was like the big-for-his-age kid in Pop Warner football who the league officials say can't play because it would be unfair.
In those other four games, by my count, he was beaten just three times in one-on-one pass-rush situations. Which isn't to say he gave up three sacks, but rather that the guy beat him with a move, whether he made it to the quarterback or not.
To my eye it looks like he relaxed because he thought the ball was thrown and also because he was probably bored from blocking the shit out of that guy all day long for the second time last season. Not excusing it, but I'm not exactly going to kill the guy about it either.
I could show you play, after play, after play, after play, of Lamp just owning cats in those other four games, but really, why waste everybody's time? I mean, if that's what y’all want, sure I could do that, but it really doesn't prove anything. A projected first-round left tackle is supposed to whup up on the likes of Louisiana Tech, MTSU, and Memphis State (I grew up in Memphis when it was Memphis State and we spanked that ass when I was in college, so it’s going to be Memphis State to me ’til the day I die)! That's not going to tell me a whole lot.
I mean, he was so much better than the rest of his teammates on that offensive line that his quarterback literally tried to hide behind him one time.
The plot twist is that it worked!
Yeah, I could point out Lamp owning this guy with the shitty spin move, but I was too busy critiquing the shitty spin move tbh.
What am I supposed to do with that?
So let's just focus on that Alabama game and be done with it.
Against Alabama, Lamp had what I would describe as 17 money plays.
That is to say on those 17 plays Lamp was either going against a very good player and or he made a very good block against a the National Championship runners-up.
I watched Lamp against the likes of Jonathan Allen ...
Tim Williams ...
and Ryan Anderson.
Those are three very different, very good edge players.
Not only was he not intimidated by those guys who may all go in the first two days of the draft, but he gave as good as he got several times.
And I'm not talking about Lamp just as a pass blocker in that game. He also had some outstanding run blocks against Alabama.
If you could somehow focus solely on Lamp and were able to block out his teammates getting their asses kicked all around him, it was readily apparent that Lamp was not outclassed at all. In fact, he looked like he belonged in the SEC, so to speak.
I'm going to take a break here and let some of y’all vent about SEC bias and how the SEC is overrated.
OK, got that out your system?
Good, because like. I. said. Lamp looked every bit like a standout SEC offensive lineman that day. Even Allen, who I'm a huge fan of, didn't have much success against Lamp, either.
Lamp did not give up a single pressure against Alabama in a one-on-one blocking situation as far as I can tell.
There were a few plays where it looked like either Lamp or somebody else busted the protection against the blitz, but since there is no way for me to know for sure whether it was Lamp's bust or not, I am not going to make a judgment on those plays.
And there was another play where he had Allen pretty well handled, but Lamp's quarterback had to scramble to the offense's left to try to avoid pressure from one of Allen's teammates and Allen ended up hustling to get a half sack on the play.
Again, I'm not holding Lamp responsible for that. He had Allen under control until the quarterback scrambled.
Lamp got beat in a one-on-one pass-blocking situation one time all game, but the quarterback was already scrambling away from his side that time so Williams didn't sniff him.
As I kept re-watching this game as simply as I can put it, against a trio of probably NFL draft picks, Lamp looked like he belonged.
Lamp had to know that that game was his one opportunity to really show what he could do against top-notch competition, and under the bright lights with all eyes on him, that kid brought his friggin’ A game.
Now, as far as the other four games, I only had like three concerns.
1) When I first started researching Lamp, I saw that he was projected as a guard, but watching his film he looked pretty good against those Bama edge rushers (as well as everybody else), so maybe he could spend some time at tackle in a pinch. But then I saw that while he was pretty athletic and he had 34 reps of 225, he was also only 6'3 and 2/3 with arms that are only 32.5 inches long, that started to make a little more sense to me.
And if you really want to nitpick, Lamp didn't always look really smooth with his kick step, whether he was effective as a blocker or not. You can get away with blocking edge rushers with poor feet in college, not so much in the pros.
Ask Ereck Flowers about it.
Sticking him inside at guard means just by alignment he will always have someone inside and outside of him who, even if just by being in the way, will ensure a defensive tackle normally won't have as much space to rush as an edge rusher would against a left tackle.
And with him already being a pretty good pass blocker in college, despite his not-always-great feet, I think he should do pretty well as a pass blocker at guard from day one.
2) The effort on Lamp's run blocking at times appeared to be inconsistent.
Some plays he looked like a beast.
It wasn't a huge deal, but if he can be more consistent with his effort as a run blocker, I think Lamp has a good chance of being special at guard.
3) I am not sure I've ever seen an offensive line run 5 or more yards down the field time after time, after time, after time, and not block a soul.
I mean he looked good running, though. Good form and everything. Pumping his arms and he had the high knees going.
How do you get that far down the field and don't block nobody?!
I don't imagine that he will have to do much of that as a guard, but that is just a pet peeve of mine with offensive linemen. If you get 5 or more yards downfield, at least pinch somebody!
I mean it happened eight times, I just don't get it.
On the flip side, one of the more impressive things I saw Lamp do consistently was pull outside and then cut one of the linebackers who were coming from the inside.
Not only did he show off his athleticism on those kinds of plays, but also his violent tendencies as well.
There is a ton to like about Forrest Lamp. He almost definitely will end up inside as a guard, but I think he has a ton of potential to step right in and be at least good from day one, working his way up to dominant in three years or so.
Drafting a guard in the first round is a little tricky, because some folks don't feel like they are worth enough for that. But if you have a need there and Lamp is the best player available on your board, you take that chance because these days you need your offensive line to be as strong up the middle as they are on the edges, if not stronger.
I don't think the team that selects Lamp, no matter where he goes, will live to regret it, barring major injuries.
Since I don't have access to all-22 for college football games I use the next-best thing for my draft profiles and go to Draft Breakdown where they the TV copy of a bunch of top prospects already cut up and ready to go. Also their site is compatible with the new NoHuddle app, which turns your cell phone into a "cowboy clicker," which is pretty damn neat. For the purposes of this breakdown I watched Western Kentucky left tackle Forrest Lamp against Alabama, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee State, Louisiana Tech again, and Memphis. Those represented the second, sixth, seventh, 13th, and 14th games on Western Kentucky's schedule last season, respectively.