Despite Lacking Elite Athleticism, Ryan Bates Still A Surefire NFL Draft Pick
Ryan Bates has been a pillar on the Penn State offensive line for the last three seasons. After redshirting during his first year on campus, Bates started 37 games over three years for the Nittany Lions.
Much like fellow offensive lineman Connor McGovern, Bates was moved around a bit during his college career. A majority of his starts in college were at the left tackle spot, but Bates also appeared at left guard and right tackle.
Bates’ best position at the next level is up for debate. He lacks the physical profile and athleticism NFL teams are looking for at the tackle spot, and he also isn’t quite as big and strong as most teams want their guards to be.
That said, Bates’ versatility is quite possibly his biggest asset going into the draft. His ability to play virtually anywhere along the offensive line makes him a perfect sixth offensive lineman for an NFL team.
However, Bates’ lack of elite athletic ability will be his biggest drawback during the NFL Draft process. Going forward, he’ll need to strengthen his lower body and hips in order to effectively combat defensive linemen.
Bates also struggles to consistently gain leverage on opposing linemen, which obviously limits his impact as a run blocker. He’ll need to work on his hand placement to stick around and meet the grueling demands of the NFL.
NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein notes that Bates’ inability to gain leverage consistently generates “very little momentum into engagement as a move-blocker.” Zierlein also believes Bates’ “slow hands lack assertiveness in the run game,” which could prevent him from maintaining punch against hand fighters.
At the end of the day, Ryan Bates must improve his technique, but his versatility and plethora of game experience make him a near lock to be selected at some point during day three of the NFL Draft.
He could hear his named called anywhere between the fourth and sixth rounds — how high he goes will depend on how NFL scouts value his adaptability against the flaws in his game.
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