How I Evaluate Each Position:

Offensive Tackle

By Bill Walsh

PSX Draft Insider Special


Ideal size: 6-4, 310

Of course, you could have great ones at 330 pounds, but the reality is they play well in spite of being 330. The only value of 330 is they attract the TV cameras. Some of them are not going to be 300, they are always going to be 330 or whatever. But others could be a finely tuned, highly conditioned athlete at 300, but they play at 330 and can still play.

So natural body girth for all offensive linemen, especially in how football is played today, is absolutely essential. In the case of a tackle, you add the girth and the strength -- and a lot of strength is added by weight training -- with agility. The agility is utilized in a two-yard square. The skill to move the feet within there is critical. A good part of it can be developed and acquired. But if a man is dead slow on his feet, he can get better, but he will always be limited.

You would like long arms that are strong, for leverage. But the timing of the extension, the timing of the block itself, is important. The tackle must have a knack at feeling or knowing where to intersect people.

So you are looking for the girth, the agility in a small area, the strength and then skill and technique. It takes a dedicated man to focus on his skills year after year in this position.

The offensive tackle, especially in today's football, must be ready for three or four things that can happen. Historically, he had to be ready for only one or two things. Now he must adapt to a linebacker blitzing outside and the man he was expecting to block dropping into pass coverage. He is going to have to be quick enough to identify this and move and adjust. So now he must be extremely well-versed and prepared for the techniques of what will happen to him once the ball is snapped.

The nature of this position also requires an inner confidence and natural self control to deal with frustration and, in a football sense, disaster. And then he must recover and function at a high level in 30 or 40 seconds. Some people have a disposition to deal with that so much better than others.

How Bill Walsh Evaluates Positions

1997 Draft Prospects:

Offensive Tackles