In the film room: 2016 Commit Erik Swenson

Name: Erik Swenson
Class: 2016
Position: Offensive Tackle
Height: 6’7
Weight: 285
Offer Sheet: (5) Michigan, Illinois, Northwestern, Notre Dame and Ohio State
Ranking: 4 Star
Commit Date: 11/25/13

This is the first BBR evaluation for the class of 2016. I will be using a new and improved grading scale. Out of 100 points possible, I will be grading offensive lineman on their Pass protection and run blocking (broken down into their technique and footwork). I will also be grading their build, Athleticism and their “It” factor. Which for Offensive lineman will be nastiness, and finishing their blocks.
90+ = Elite. Day one starter without question
80+ = Highly polished player, likely to have early Play time
70+ = Needs a few touch ups to their game before college ready
60+ = Redshirt likely
Player Comparison: Joe Staley (San Francisco 49ers)

Erik Swenson was the first 2016 prospect to commit to the Wolverines as a sophomore in 2013. Even back then, almost two years ago, Swenson looked the part of an elite offensive line prospect. Wearing #77 and playing left tackle, I had visions of Jake Long and Taylor Lewan from the first time I watched his film. Swenson hails from Downers Grove, Illinois and is the second ranked prospect in the state. A large and physically imposing player, Swenson dominates every defender in his path.

Pass Protection-
Technique: 15/20 Footwork: 15/20 Overall: 30/40
After watching just one play of pass pro, you can tell just low long and hard he was worked on his craft. Swenson’s first step is quick and short, and his feet are never off the ground too long. His hands are constantly in motion, whether he is engaged or not. Once he is back in his kick step and a defender reaches him, Swenson is quick to deliver a blow, although it is not a great one. Often times a defender will try to beat him up field with speed, and Swenson will simply engage the defender and continue to run him up field and away from the play. His kick step is much smoother and more fluid than his post step, which will be a something for him to work on at the next level. His center of gravity is not great during pass pro, although Im sure it is tough for a 6’7 kid to stay low. His pad level never hinders him however, as he is just more physical than anyone that lines up against him.

Run Blocking-
Technique: 13/20 Footwork: 18/20 Overall: 31/40
Swenson can be somewhat enigmatic here. On one play, Swenson will drive his man thirty yards down field and end up on top of him like Michael Oher in the Blind side. On the next play, Swenson will simply stand up and use his big frame to shield the defender against a play to his side. Swenson’s biggest strength (aside from his size) is his ability to get to the second level. Watching film, I actually picked up on their blocking scheme for what I believe are their Iso plays. Swenson will get an inside release on the man lined up across from him, and go get a line backer, leaving his man for the full back to pick up (Iso plays are generally blocked the opposite way). Swenson’s pad level,base and hand placement are all top notch. Swenson preys on smaller linebackers, racking up pancake after pancake block. When engaged, Swenson will either punish the man he is blocking, or show a bit of laziness and use his size and size only to win the battle.

Athleticism: 7/10
Swenson is exceptionally athletic for his height and weight. While he is not spectacularly fast or mobile, he is certainly above average. He showcases his mobility on screen plays, where he releases and blocks a DB in open space. Swenson also routinely blocks smaller and quicker linebackers in open space.

“It”: 4/5
Swenson feeds off of mauling everyone he faces. Where he loses a point here is the occasional play off. According to his film, he averages seventeen pancakes a game, and that I believe. Once he gets his hands on you, Its over.

Build: 5/5
Swenson is all of 6’7 and 285, and not even out of high school yet. You cannot ask for much more out of a tackle.

Overall: 77/100
Swenson does a lot of things very well and only a small handful of things poorly. The strengths of his game are his ability to get to the second level, and to finish blocks, which he is often in great position for due to his great footwork. Swenson’s weaknesses are the occasional play he takes off, his center of gravity during pass pro and his post step. Swenson has an entire year to polish these areas of his game, and I have no doubt that he’ll do so. With all of the offensive line talent that the Wolverines currently have on their roster in addition to the talent being brought in, there are no playing time guarantees’. At this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Swenson redshirted and primed to take the field as a RS freshman or sophomore. While not elite, Swenson is most definitely an above average high school lineman, and with a little polishing of his game, we can expect big things from Swenson.