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T-Rock's Phinfever FFL 2014

The Miami Dolphins selected Tennessee OT Ju'Wuan James with their 1st pick, #19.  James shows the ability to slide to protect the edge against a variety of edge rushers he faced.  Plays with his knees bent, butt down, which is good for a kid that is 6'6.  Strong at the point of attack and can get to the 2nd level and anchor against the bull rush.  Pad level is the main concern for a kid of his height.  James stock had been on the rise and was considered a late 1st, early 2nd round pick.  Miami obviously liked him more than the remaining offensive tackles on the board, and he will be given every chance to come in and be the Day 1 starter at ORT.

 

There was a good bit of buzz about Miami possibly trying to move down in this draft, but that did not happen as it is apparent that the Dolphins did not get any trade offers that they were happy with.

 

 

Ju'Wuan James Highlights

 

Ju'Wuan James, OT
School: Tennessee | Conference: SEC
College Experience: Senior
Hometown: Suwanee, GA
Height/Weight: 6-6 / 311 lbs.

ESPN INSIDER ANALYSIS

ESPN INSIDER ANALYSIS **

WHAT HE BRINGS
James is a reach at this point in the draft, as he slips off run blocks, his footwork is inconsistent in pass pro and he doesn't have the killer instinct teams covet in offensive linemen. There's a lot to like about his upside, though. A four-year starter at Tennessee, he has the lateral quickness and balance to develop into an excellent zone run-blocker. He also has the length (35 inches) and athletic ability to hold up on an island in pass pro when he sinks his hips and keeps moving his feet.

HOW HE FITS
James might be a little bit of a reach in the first round, but Miami's offensive line was terrible in 2013, and the team had no choice but to go in this direction after giving up 58 sacks a year ago. We will see more zone-blocking concepts with stretch plays, misdirection with draw plays and screens. These are all things that James can do well. He will likely start at right tackle but could slide inside to guard. Remember that center Mike Pouncey is the only returning starter. James is not a power player, but his feet and athletic ability should fit well in this scheme.

OVERALL FOOTBALL TRAITS

Production 1
2010: (13/13) 2011: (12/12) 2012: (12/12) 2013: (12/12)

Height-Weight-Speed 3
Good height and weight but soft upper body and narrow shoulders. Ideal arm length (35') and adequate hand span (9 7/8'). Moves well on tape but timed speed at Combine was below average (5.34 in the 40).

Durability 2
Started every game of college career. Sprained knee week of Senior Bowl but was healthy enough to participate in all drills at combine (2/27/2014).

Intangibles 2
Son of Nichelle James-Mickens and Burkley James. Enrolled at Tennessee in January of 2010 and participated in spring ball that year. Graduated in December of 2013. Majored in Arts and Sciences.

1 = ExceptionaL | 2 = Above average | 3 = Average | 4 = Below average | 5 = Marginal

OFFENSIVE TACKLE SPECIFIC TRAITS

Pass Protection 2
Very good natural tools in this area, but needs some refining for next level. Light on feet. Quick enough to take away the edge and has upper-echelon speed rushers (like Auburn's Dee Ford) extremely well. Redirects well and can stay in front of athletic edge rushers. Swinging gate that turns shoulders instead of staying square. Inconsistent hand placement. Lazy feet once engaged. Sets high and gives too much ground to speed to power.

Run Blocking 3
Has lateral quickness to develop into an above average zone blocker and seal the edge. Washes smaller defenders down the line of scrimmage. Flashes an adequate power base but pad level is an issue. Top-heavy and slides off too many blocks. Adequate body control and can cover up linebackers at second level.

Awareness 3
Makes sound pre-snap reads and quickly locates assignments when defense tips its hand with alignment. Doesn't appear to have great natural instincts though. Late picking up some line stunts and blitzes. Adequate at locating second level assignments as a run blocker.

Toughness 3
Flashes killer instinct when catches defenders off balance but inconsistent finisher and not an instigator that regularly blocks through the whistle. More of a positional blocker than a mauler.

1 = Exceptional | 2 = Above average | 3 = Average | 4 = Below average | 5 = Marginal

 
NFL DRAFT SCOUT

NFL DRAFT SCOUT DRAFT ANALYSIS **

STRENGTHS/WEAKNESSES

STRENGTHS:
Surprisingly quick off the snap, showing the ability to slide to protect the edge against the variety of speed rushers he has faced in the SEC. Plays on the balls of his feet but with his knees bent and his butt down, putting him good position to shuffle laterally as well as anchor against a quality bull-rush. Surprisingly light feet also stand out while run-blocking, as does his competitive spirit.

Powerful at the point of attack and can drive defenders off the ball. Not shy about peeling off of them to target would-be tacklers at the second level, as well. A plug and play candidate, James looks like a solid bet to crack the first 100 picks of the 2014 draft.

WEAKNESSES:
Like most blockers with his frame, James occasionally struggles with pad level. When he drops his head, he can be beaten with a swim move over the top. This occurs most often while run blocking.

--Rob Rang

PLAYER OVERVIEW

With a school-record 49 consecutive starts for the Volunteers, James is more fundamentally sound than talented junior left tackle Antonio "Tiny" Richardson and offers a similar package of size and athleticism.

James' get-it-done attitude is reflected by a career that began as a starter when he arrived in 2010. Forty-nine games, 49 starts and one Bachelor's Degree later (December 2013), he is ready to take his study on the Arts and Sciences to the NFL. But it will be his size, strength and lateral quickness that serve him well at the next level. Seems to make pre-snap reads well but sometimes misses stunts.

James has the mentality and physicality to step in and perform immediately in the NFL. He was impressive at Senior Bowl before spraining knee, but was fine at his April Pro Day.

ANALYSYS

STRENGTHS:
Alert and comfortable at right tackle. Recognizes stunts and line games. Surprising initial quickness, lateral agility and flexibility for his monstrous frame. Powerful and competitive with grit to knock defenders off the ball and continue downfield. Plays to dominate one-on-one battles, letting his hands to the work with good body control. Can slide to protect the edge against the variety of speed rushers faced in the SEC. Technically sound, maintains position to mirror. Surprisingly light feet, natural power and quickness off the ball. Could play guard.

WEAKNESSES:
Because of his massive frame, pad level is a constant battle. Drops his head when run blocking, an easy target for swim moves. Gets over his feet when on the run, "brushing" opponents to maintain course downfield.

 

NFL.COM ANALYSIS **

OVERVIEW

Prepped in Georgia. Enrolled in January 2010 and immediately took ownership of the right tackle position. Started all 49 games of his career (2010-13), setting a school record for career starts by an offensive lineman. Sprained his knee during Senior Bowl practice.


ANALYSIS

STRENGTHS
Outstanding size, girth and overall body mass. Good hand placement. Can steer and control blockers once he gets his hands on them. Very patient pass protector. Matches up very well vs. size and power (see Alabama). Battle-tested, experienced four-year starter in the SEC. Outstanding personal and football character. Very smart, mature and highly respected.

WEAKNESSES
Raw footwork. Has a lot of heaviness in body and can improve sustain. Lumbers to the second level and struggles to cut off and adjust to moving targets. Does not roll off the ball with power and generate strength or movement in the run game.

DRAFT PROJECTION
Rounds 2-3

BOTTOM LINE
Big, strong, heavy pass protector with good balance, anchor strength and hand use to handle power and speed. Does not affect the run game the same way and almost appears more destined for the left side in the pros. Has instant-starter potential.

-Nolan Nawrocki

 

 

"EXPERT" OPINION

ESPN’s Mel Kiper:
“They forced a need and took a guy who’s a good player. Started all 49 games of his college career at right tackle. I was impressed with the way he played all year. Consistency game to game was excellent. Plays stronger and tougher than his [poor] 22 reps in the bench press” suggest. (link)
NFL Network’s Mike Mayock
rated him 60th on his Big Board but didn’t accuse the Dolphins of reaching: “The more tape I watch, the more I like him. He started off in a lot of peoples’ minds as a third- or fourth-round pick, became a solid second-round consideration. Right tackle, can play right guard [too]. Either way, day one, he will be a starter.”(link)
ESPN’s Todd McShay:
Rated him only the 55th-best prospect in the draft, said he “needs some refining of his technique.”(link)
ESPN’s Jon Gruden:
“This is a dire, desperate situation for Miami. I’m sure they would like to have had one of those frontline tackles. His size and experience will serve him well in Miami.”(link)
NFLDraftScout.com’s Frank Cooney:
“James has the mentality and physicality to step in and perform immediately. He was impressive at the Senior Bowl before spraining his knee, but was fine at his April Pro Day.”(link)
Draftinsider.net’s Tony Pauline
projected him as only a middle round pick because of “limited upside. Lacks fluid footwork in pass protection. Lumbers around the field and is ineffective blocking in motion. Lacks range and falls off blocks.”(link)
NFL.com’s Nolan Nawrocki:
“Outstanding size. Can steer and control blockers. Matches up very well vs. size and power. Very smart, mature and highly respected.” The bad news? “Struggles to cut off and adjust to moving targets. Does not roll off the ball with power and generate strength or movement in the run game.”(link)
An unnamed NFL scout in the NFL Draft 2014 review:
“I thought he was hands-down the best offensive linemen of any in the Southeast. The issue for me is the strength and power he can generate.”(link)
 
ESPN's James Walker:
"I thought Miami reached with this pick to fill a major need at right tackle. The Dolphins were put at a disadvantage when some of their top targets were taken off the board. The Dolphins lost two of their top reported prospects -- offensive lineman Zack Martin and linebacker C.J. Mosley -- to the Dallas Cowboys at No. 16 and Baltimore Ravens at No. 17, respectively. Miami took a second-tier offensive tackle in the first round when trading back for more picks could have been a better option." (link)
CBS Sports Pete Prisco:
"They had to get a tackle, and he's played at a high level in a good league. Good pick." (Grade B) (link)
MMQB Greg Bedard:
"The nearly complete overhaul of the Dolphins’ offensive line, with the drafting of RT Ja’Waun James, is now finished. James isn’t a big name, but he’s got a lot of experience and is a sure-fire upgrade over Miami’s mess at right tackle last season." (link)
KFFL's Corey Bononi:
Fantasy football analysis: "James is penciled in as the starter at right tackle. The Dolphins expect him to combine with free-agent prize left tackle Branden Albert to improve one of the worst lines (58 sacks allowed) in the league from a year ago. This will go a long way in helping QB Ryan Tannehill turn the corner in his third season." (link)
 
Miami Herald's Armando Salguero:
"It's hard to reach when you pick a first-day starter. And that is what this plug-and-play tackle will be. He is Miami's starting right tackle." (link)
Sun Sentinel's Dave Hyde:
Let me start there. The new right tackle actually played right tackle at Tennessee, which means there’s no transition from left tackle. He started 49 games, which shows durability. He was a captain, which shows leadership.

There are some issues if his talent merited the 19th overall pick, but I’m on board with this pick given the Dolphins’ utter desperation to rebuild the offensive line this off-season. There was one of four tackles they could have picked in this spot and they took James. That was their call - they had more information than anyone. (link)


 

 

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