Ross Pierschbacher, OG/C
School: Alabama | Conference: SEC
College Experience: RS Senior | Age: 23
Height / Weight: 6-4 / 309 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 3rd or 4th Round
NFL Comparison: Cody Whitehair
Ross Pierschbacher is the type of interior offensive lineman that should peak the interests of the Redskins come draft night in April. He has the wide frame, solid anchor, experience and versatility to make a difference at the next level. He was a four-star recruit coming out of Cedar Falls, IA, and had originally committed to playing for the in-state Hawkeyes. Then, Nick Saban and company came calling and they were able to lure him down to Tuscaloosa to play for the Crimson Tide. Pierschbacher took a red-shirt his first year on campus, before going on to becoming a starter in his next four seasons. He originally started off playing Guard, but moved over to Center for his Senior year after the departure of Bradley Bozeman to the NFL. After his first campaign in college football, he garnished Freshmen All-SEC honors. He then went on to be a mainstay on the All-SEC list for the next three seasons (2016- Third Team, 2017 & 2018- First Team). After his Senior season, Pierschbacher was also named as a Second Team All-American and was a finalist for the Rimington Trophy (Best Center in college football). He also just made history as he became the first college football player to start four consecutive national title games.
In watching his film, Pierschbacher has a few noticeable traits. First, you almost never see him getting knocked into the backfield or clearly beaten by the opponent lining up across from him. He does an outstanding job of quickly latching onto the defender and setting up his anchor. While he rarely rag dolls defensive linemen, he does a solid job of sealing off his man from the running lane. He does this regularly throughout games, with ease, while generating very few penalties. Second, he does not seem to be overly athletic. He appears to be the type of lineman that just wants to fight you inside of a phonebooth. While there does seem to be some athletic limitations, it does not show in his pass protection, which appears to be more than adequate for an incoming rookie linemen. It should be noted that he only gave up two sacks and a single QB pressure all season. Watching the recent national title game, it was clear that Pierschbacher did more than just hold his own versus what was a very talented Clemson front. There were many times when he looked like the best Alabama offensive linemen on the field, which is saying something as Bama’s Left Tackle, Jonah Williams, is expected to come off the board in the first round.
If there is an “elephant in the room” for Pierschbacher it is his questionable arm length. While we don’t have official NFL measurements yet, he does not appear to have the “long vines” for arms that we typically seen in today’s game. Pierschbacher has accepted an invitation to play in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, which will be teams first chance to get a measurement on his arm length. This should be a very important part of his pre-draft lead up. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt for him to have a solid week of practice and game in Mobile either.
- Versatile linemen who excelled at playing both Left Guard and Center
- Anchors extremely well and does not let opposing linemen knock him into the QB’s lap
- Possesses a large, wide-bodied, corn fed frame that is ideal for interior linemen. He should still be able to add a few pounds at the next level as well
- Technically sound, good hand placement and does not commit a lot of penalties
- Clean and explosive when asked to pull on running plays
- Very experienced, 57 career starts, including four in national championship games
- Spent college practicing and reforming his game against teammates the likes of Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and Quinnen Williams
- Short Arms for an offensive linemen, would not be able to move out to Tackle to assist with injuries
- Not overly athletic. May have some games where he struggles against smaller, quicker DT’s
- Doesn’t seem to play with a mean streak and he is not a mauler
- Tends to get too upright in pass protection, but that can be cleaned up with the proper coaching
Let’s see his work:
How He Would Fit On The Redskins
The Redskins have been lacking a viable starting Left Guard for quite some time now. Shawn Lauvao is considered serviceable, on his absolute best day. When he is on the field, and that is a huge “when”, he has proved to be an average road grader, but his pass protection has been atrocious. I’m pretty sure there was a collective groan from Redskin Nation when fans heard he would be returning as the team’s starter last year. There is little doubt, at least we can all hope, that 2018 was his last year in a burgundy uniform. So looking forward there is a large hole that needs to be filled on the left side of our offensive line. I believe Ross Pierschbacher would come in and start for us on day one. He could be available to us when we will be using our Kirk Cousins compensatory pick in the third round or even in the fourth if the Skins pick up additional picks by trading back.
If the Redskins coaching staff was to determine that Pierschbacher was a better Center than Chase Roullier, Then Roullier could move over to Left Guard. He would clearly be an upgrade to Lauvao as well. EITHER WAY, by drafting Ross Pierschbacher, the Skins would give Offensive Line Coach Bill Callahan (assuming he stays for 2019) the opportunity to put his best starting five linemen on the field at the same time. Will the Redskins pull the trigger on him? Stay tuned Skins fans.