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T. J. Clemmings is the nastiest offensive lineman in the NFL Draft

And that's a really good thing, says retired NFL defensive end Stephen White.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

I'm sure by now you can tell that I fucking LOVE my job. That is especially true during draft season. Getting to watch tape on all these top guys and write about what I saw is the description of the perfect job for me. Then there are some guys who are just so damn fun to watch that I would almost do their breakdowns for free.

I said almost! LOL

This guy T.J. Clemmings, a right tackle from Pittsburgh, fits that bill. He is an offensive tackle, but I swear he had the kind of on-field demeanor you would usually associate with a defensive tackle. Turns out that made sense because he started off his career at Pitt on the defensive side of the ball. As a matter of fact, he is also a former basketball player which explains his his high level of athleticism in space.

That's great and all, but it was his attitude on the field that most endeared him to me.

Most of the time when I watch offensive linemen, even some of the top-rated guys are not what I like to call "finishers." What I mean is they do their job and get on their blocks, but actually dominating the guy across from them doesn't seem to be one of their top priorities. Don't get me wrong, if you knock your guy off the ball and open up the hole for your running back, then you've definitely done what you were supposed to do on that play.

Good for you!

I, however, enjoy watching the kind of offensive lineman who is trying to drive the man across from him off the ball and into the fucking ground on every single play.

For the purposes of this breakdown, I went over to Draft Breakdown and watched Clemmings play against Virginia, Virginia Tech, Duke and Miami. Those represented the sixth, seventh, ninth and 12th games of Pittsburgh's season, respectively.

This Clemmings fella not only racked up a slew of pancakes in the four games I watched, there were also several other plays where he blocked opposing defensive players on the second level and sent them flying backwards. The shit was so funny I had to wind it back several times to make sure I had seen what I actually saw. Clemmings hit one linebacker so hard I could've sworn it had to have been a safety the way he went stumbling backwards.

Nope, linebacker.

Then there were the judo throws that Clemmings employed from time to time with his run blocking. Some poor soul would come off the ball and do a good job of initially engaging Clemmings only to wind up on their back in the blink of an eye wondering what the fuck just happened. I don't know whether Clemmings has actually taken judo in the past or not, but the dude was executing hip tosses like a black belt. That was a testament to the power he has in his core. I wasn't surprised at all to see him with a 32.5-inch vertical leap (just half an inch lower than Amari Cooper, if you are keeping score at home) because he plays with a lot of explosion, even though offensive lineman aren't traditionally thougth of as the most explosive athletes.

I was actually kind of shocked to learn that Clemmings has only been playing offensive line for a couple of years. Yes, he still has things to work on, but man he looks soooooo good from play to play when it comes to his technique. His kick step as a pass blocker is quick and consistent. He usually did a good job blocking speed rushers and recovering against counter moves inside.

I did say usually, dammit!

Yeah, the one cat from Virginia got Clemmings good. The problem was Clemmings was a little high, which he tends to do at times as a pass blocker. But you wanna see the next play?

Wait for it. Wait for iiiiiiit.

Yeah, this Clemmings kid wasn't with the bullshit. There weren't many dudes in those four games who gave him the business, but you can bet your ass he got some get back on them later if they did.

Clemmings looked good at every thing you could think of asking a tackle to do.

Run out and block a corner on a screen?


Lock down a wide pass rusher?


Wash a defensive lineman all the way over to the other side of the center.


Shoot off five yards on the snap and knock a middle linebacker right on his ass?

No problem.

And the crazy thing is I think his best days are still ahead of him!

I wasn't crazy about him only benching 225 pounds 22 times, but then I saw that the dude has arms that are 35 1/8 inches long. It's really hard for those longer armed guys to rep out a bunch of times, but if I had to guess, Clemmings will continue to get stronger as a pro. That will help him with maybe the weakest part of his game, his punch when he's pass blocking.

It was kind of crazy seeing a guy toss people around the way Clemmings did on a regular basis and then see him just absorb blow after blow as a pass blocker. The best offensive tackles use their punch to neutralize a pass rusher's initial move and then grab ahold of him to make sure he can't go anywhere. Clemmings has the grabbing part down pat, and he does a good job of clamping onto guys without getting a lot of holding calls. However, I rarely saw him shock a pass rusher with his punch and knock him off his track.

To his credit, Clemmings was still athletic enough to keep up with damn near everybody he faced in those four games, even without a good punch. However, he's going to face a much higher level of pass rusher in the NFL, and he is going to need to learn how to use those long ass arms to his advantage. He obviously doesn't have a problem using them as a run blocker. He just needs to integrate it into his pass blocking as well.

I'm not really all that concerned about it because again he hasn't been playing the position long and he appears to be a quick learner. That was really my only major knock on him. Yeah, he leans forward a little too much when he pass blocks, but I think a better punch will help fix that also. At the same time here is a guy who is still relatively new to the position who is passing off pass rush games like a boss and blocking up blitzes with ease. Imagine how much better he is going to look down the road with more experience and coaching!

Where it gets tricky with Clemmings is projecting where to take him in the draft. Primary because he was a very good right tackle in college, but we all know left tackles are what teams covet. The usual thinking is you can draft a left tackle and if it doesn't work out there you can always throw him over to right tackle. Every once in awhile you have a guy who is so dominant as a true right tackle that teams will go ahead and take him in the first round, but more often than not guys who played right tackle in college end up being devalued a little bit unless teams are sure they can play on the left side also.

I think Clemmings is athletic enough to play left tackle, but I'm not sure that's something you want him to do because he is still learning the position. If it were up to me, I would pick him to play right tackle and run behind his big ass for the next eight to 10 years.

I bet some teams are going to want to try him on the left side first, and let him fail there before deciding on whether to move him to the right side. And hey, that probably means they will draft him higher than they ordinarily would, so more power to him! At the same time, I worry that if he gets obliterated early and often while trying to learn how to play left tackle, he'll quickly lose confidence in his ability to play tackle in the NFL at all.

That would be the opposite of ideal.

I hope, for Clemmings' sake, that he goes to a team that doesn't rush him into that kind of situation, no matter where he is picked. As a right tackle, I think he has a very bright future in the league. As a left tackle, I just don't know. For me, he's a top half of the first round guy even as a right tackle only, and that's where I'm projecting him for the immediate future.

It's gonna be fun to see him trying to bury left ends on the next level!