The WVU football program is tasked with replacing three-year starter Tyler Orlosky this off-season, but is the NFL a real option for the former Mountaineer standout?
Orlosky led a West Virginia offensive line that ranked 4th in the Big 12 in passing, 2nd in rushing and 25th nationally in rushing. He also compiled a number of accolades as a senior; first-team All-Big 12, second-team USA Today, a Rimington Award finalist (best collegiate center) and participated in the Reese’s Senior Bowl.
Will this success in college translate to the next level, though? Here are Orlosky’s pre-draft strengths.
"“Team captain and three-year starter. Has mentality teams look for. Weight-room strong with good thickness through chest and arms. Field demeanor fueled by mean streak. Plays with desired body control and very little wasted motion. Works to maintain balance through contact. Compact, snap-to-punch motion. Great hands. Consistent hand placement as run blocker looking to carry defender out of the gap with low, cradling motion. Hands like powerful clamps that latch and allow for longer sustainment of blocks. Has redirect power to push pass rushers off their track to the quarterback. Quick punch allows for control in pass pro. Can drop a shallow anchor if pad level is right.”"
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According to NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein, Orlosky possesses a number of tools needed to be successful. The emphasis on his hand usage is important because Orlosky lacks arm length, compared to other prospects in the draft. Of the top-10 overall lineman, only one other player mirrors Orlosky’s 33″ arm length. This doesn’t mean he can’t be successful, though.
Zierlein’s comparison for Orlosky is Green Bay Packer center Corey Linsley. Here’s Linsley pre-draft profile (from Nolan Nawrocki). Note the similarities.
"“Stout base. Works to re-anchor. Jolting punch. Strong upper body to latch onto and control defenders in short area. Generates movement in the run game. Understands angles and positioning. Excellent weight-room strength — bench-presses 500 pounds and squats a small house. Smart and dependable. Communicated all the line calls and checks. Is tough and will play hurt. Hardworking team captain with leadership traits.”"
A strong base, quick punching abilities, an understanding of the game, able to make adjustments at the line – these attributes made Linsley a 5th-round selection in 2014 after he helped lead Ohio State to two consecutive undefeated regular seasons. Linsley’s NFL impact was felt right away as he started all 16 games after the previous starter went down with an injury.
In late October, Dane Brugler interviewed Orlosky and found out some interesting nuggets of information. The one that stood out the most? Orlosky’s admiration of the relationship between former Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday and quarterback Peyton Manning. Of course Orlosky had praise for his quarterback as well, saying Skyler Howard was a “competitor” who “gives his all no matter the situation.”
Orlosky is considered a Day 3 NFL Draft prospect by most scouts. This mid-round grade isn’t an unfamiliar position for him, though. He wasn’t the highest-rated high school recruit and had to earn everything at West Virginia. Whichever NFL team drafts Orlosky should expect that mentality to continue.