The 2019 NFL Scouting Combine kicked off just like many of the last 15 I’ve attended – with some naïve members of the media exaggerating the importance of a few eighths of an inch.
Foreshadowing the firestorm coming Thursday when Kyler Murray’s measureables are released to the world, some raised the alarm Wednesday when Alabama’s Jonah Williams and Washington’s Kaleb McGary – two of the more impressive and battle-tested offensive tackles available – were found to have shorter than-ideal-arms.
Cue the fake news alert, folks, because this just isn’t that “big” of a deal.
Williams has maintained his position atop not only NFLDraftScout.com’s but my own personal rankings as the top offensive tackle in this draft because of his stellar play on the field. While his arms are undeniably shorter than preferred at 33 ½” inches, Williams has shown the initial quickness, lateral agility, balance and core strength against elite competition throughout his career to alleviate concerns about his ability to remain at the left tackle position in the NFL.
Is he a future Hall of Famer like former Cleveland Browns star Joe Thomas, who also had 33 ½” arms?
Probably not, but he’s a step-in starter at the most important position along the offensive line and therefore well deserving of the first round projection given in both Ric Serritella’s and my own mock drafts.
I’m far from the only one with this thought.
Similarly, excuse me if I don’t drastically re-think the solid second day grade assigned to Washington offensive tackle Kaleb McGary – a 51-game starter at right tackle for the Huskies, the Morris Trophy winner as the best blocker in the Pac-12 conference this season (as voted by the league’s defensive linemen) and one of the 10 best players on the field at this year’s Senior Bowl – just because his arms apparently shrunk since he was measured in Mobile and Indianapolis.
As noted by Nagy, long-armed pass rushers were not an issue for McGary throughout his career at Washington, nor at the Senior Bowl.
The 6-7, 317 pound McGary is an exceptional athlete for an offensive lineman, which I expect will be proven once the athletic testing begins – and the real news from Indianapolis – begins to trickle in.