Brian O’Neill | OT | 6067-297-34-9⅜ | Pittsburgh | 4JR | 9/15/95
Games Watched: Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Miami, NC State
History: Per 247sports, he was a 3 star TE prospect with offers from Penn State, Old Dominion, and Pitt. He redshirted as a true Freshman. Switched from TE to OT in his second year when the projected starting RT went down with an injury in the offseason. In his redshirt freshman year he played in all 13 games, starting 12 of them at RT. As a Sophomore, he started all 13 games at RT where he scored 2 TDs (One on an end around, other as a throwback) and was named 2nd team All-ACC. As a Junior, started all 12 games at LT and was named 1st team All-ACC, again catching a pass only to be tackled 10 yards later on the 1 yard line.
Context: Pitt runs a pro-style, power-run offense. He was deployed to block (and catch) on screens as well as pulling playside on tosses. He started 37 consecutive games during his career and hasn’t been injured.
Best: v. Speed rush, Footspeed, Reliable on long drops
Athletically, he has very good speed, good acceleration and COD in space, solid agility and balance. He has a long, lanky frame. He was often trusted to play from an island in pass protection and was solid at it. He appears to be a vocal leader and play caller on the line despite not being a captain. In pass protection, he is solid off the snap, has a solid first step, solid foot placement in drop, and a solid hand timing. He has very good footspeed, good at remaining balanced by resetting his feet, good at re-leveraging his hands on solid hand replacement. He is good to very good at turning the circle vs. a speed rush and solid at handling hesitations and cutbacks to set up a rush move. Initial moves he can handle are spin, speed, and hand swats/swims. Counter moves he can handle are spins and swims. He is good at switching off assignments and solid at handling stunts. As a run blocker, he has solid hand timing and foot placement to get into contact. Downfield, he is very good on playside toss pulls, very good at getting out in front of the runner, good in the screen game, good at walling off defenders downfield, and solid at latching on defenders.
Worst: Driving feet on runs, Toughness, Hips/core/lower body strength
Athletically, he has adequate upper body strength and poor lower body strength. He needs to add significant muscle to his frame. He is poor to adequate at finishing blocks/playing snap-to-whistle, does not appear angry or violent, doesn’t rise on the goal line or vs. better opponents, appears to have a relatively low motor, and lacks consistency. In pass protection, he has an adequate stance, adequate hand placement, adequate hand strength, adequate at flipping his hips to react to blitzes, poor first punch strength, poor at identifying blitzes, doesn’t appear to read the field pre snap, and wastes movement in his drop. Through contact, he has adequate core strength, anchor footwork, sinking his hips to anchor, reacting to getting beat, and is grabby. Initial moves he struggles against are crossface, bull rush, rip, rip-and-dip, and push-pull. He is better at handling inside moves than outside moves and curls slightly too much when bending the circle against speed rushes which may expose the QB on longer drops. He displays adequate hand fighting skills. Counter moves he struggles against are bull, push-pull, and rip moves, again moreso to the inside. As a run blocker, he has adequate burst off of the snap, adequate hand placement, and gets adequate arm leverage. Through contact, he gets adequate core leverage and strength, and doesn’t drive his feet. He has adequate foot placement and hip leverage when trying to reach block. Downfield, he wasn’t used pulling backside. When duo blocking, he doesn’t often climb to the next level even when the block is sealed. This may be coached and may be player preference.
Conclusion: As a pass protector, he is much better taking away moves to the outside(good) rather than the inside(poor), has adequate to solid fundamentals, is still learning the position (3yrs as a tackle), good on 3rd and long, and held up on longer drops. As a run blocker, he is good at performing zone drives and pulling, solid at boxing out players, adequate reach, adequate at duo-and-climbs, and poor at driving his opponents off the POS. He needs to improve his strength, hips, and use of his athletic feet heading to the next level. I have him as a late 3-4 developmental prospect for a hybrid run blocking team.
1st Year Projection: Backup/Developmental Tackle
3rd Year Projection: Win with Swing Tackle or sub package tackle/Win with starter if he can become stronger and improve his fundamentals