2014 NFL Draft Scouting Report – Michael Schofield, OT Michigan

November 17, 2012; Ann Arbor, MI, USA;Michigan Wolverines tight end A.J. Williams (84) – quarterback Devin Gardner (12) and offensive linesman Michael Schofield (75) during the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Taylor Lewan draws a significant amount of attention when it comes to looking at Michigan prospects in general, but especially with the offensive line and he deserves it, but their right tackle, Michael Schofield, is a talented prospect in his own right with experience at both right tackle and left guard.  Had Lewan declared for the NFL Draft after last year, Schofield looks like he would have slid over to the left side, but Lewan staying in Ann Arbor gave them a talented set of bookends.

Schofield is an athletic tackle that seems to understand the position, can get behind his pads and make the most of his strength to get a push in the running game while he seems to be a natural pass protector.  The fundamentals seem to be there for Schofield but he needs to continue gaining strength and filling out his frame.  While he plays right tackle for Michigan, he appears capable of playing on the left side and although he is not ready to play right away, he could make for a valuable swing tackle with the potential to develop into a full time starter on either side of the line.  As such, it would not be a surprise if he ends up sneaking into the third round but seems more likely to end up as a solid third day pick as great depth with terrific potential going forward.

Vitals & Build

Schofield is listed at 6’7” 304lbs with an extremely lean build for the position.  He does not carry much weight around his midsection and looks athletic.  Schofield has good feet and can move really well laterally as well as moving forward.  He has also shown to be a fluid athlete who can function pretty smoothly.  The big thing with Schofield is he needs to get significantly stronger.  He makes the most of what he has but he can be simply overpowered by opponents at times.  The good news is his frame looks like it could take on a great deal of bulk without losing athletic ability.  If he can do that, his physical potential is significant.

Athleticism

Schofield is extremely light on his feet and is a natural athlete.  Some of this might be due to the fact that he is so light, but it does not seem like gaining an extra 10-15lbs is going to slow him down that much.  He shows impressive agility and foot quickness, he can get to the second level with ease and he has shown the ability to pull and reach effectively.

Run Blocking

While Schofield is not an overpowering player, he gets the most out of what he has.  He does a good job of getting behind his pads, which enables him to get a push in the running game.  He is able to turn and shield opponents out of the play and out position to open up running lanes.  There are times when Schofield will simply get out muscled and caught under his pads resulting in being driven into the backfield and occasionally with him ending up on the ground.

For the most part, he takes good angles to plays and does a good job of making his blocks count, but there are certainly times when he is just not strong enough to finish an opponent or prevent them from getting into to make a play.

Schofield is able to reach, pull, and get to the second level with ease.  He is able to maintain body control and make sure he lands the blocks in space.  Occasionally, he will go with the easy route and go for cut blocks but he has shown he can do the job when he stays up on his feet and make the block.

The lack of power that shows up is what prevents him from being ready to contribute right away.  His technique and positioning is promising and once he can add the bulk, he could potentially be an extremely talented run blocker in the NFL.

Pass Blocking

In terms of pass blocking, Schofield’s feet and arm length really stand out in his play.  He never seems to be outmaneuvered in terms of speed.  Schofield mirrors really well and is able to stay balanced while he slides.  His arms appear to be long and he is able to keep opponents out of his body which can make up for some of his lack of power.

Schofield is able to do a great deal when it comes to shielding opponents from the play, being able to slide and stay in front of opponents, but his lack of power does cause him problems.  The results are evident when he has trouble keeping opponents out of his body, being unable to sustain blocks and having trouble pushing people out of plays when they are able to run the arc or when they are able to work alongside him.

Schofield has a good base and is able to hold up well against power when he is taking on a bull rush for the most part.  He will occasionally get caught off guard, but the lack of power is more of a problem when he is blocking and moving at the same time and his functional power drops off in the process.  Opponents can use power are better off getting Schofield to move and then hitting him with it as opposed to just going after him when he is anchored.

Schofield does a good job of adjusting to and anticipating stunts and blitzes by opponents and is able to slide into position to stop them before they get going.  He has a great deal of playing experience at right tackle, some at left tackle and has seen plenty of opponents try to attack them with various pass rushing concepts.

While he plays right tackle for Michigan, he has the tools to block the blind side at the next level and could play either side once he is able to add more bulk and generate more power on a consistent basis.  When that happens, he will be able to finish off opponents, keep them out of the pocket and just ride them out of plays.

Technique

For the most part, Schofield has good hand use but there is just not enough behind it.  His punch is average at best and while he can demonstrate good hand placement, the times he is unable to get his hands in a good position, he tends to get beaten.  The fact that he does not have the power he does has forced him into better habits with technique to survive.  If he can maintain that hand usage when he has heavier hands, he could be extremely effective both in the running game as well as protecting the pass.

Footwork

This is where Schofield is his most impressive.  He is incredibly light on his feet, has good steps and can mirror well.  Schofield is also able to be effective in the running game going forward, moving laterally and pulling and reaching.  Occasionally, Schofield will overextend and end up too far forward, but for the most part, he is good at staying balanced and quick enough to get in position to make the blocks with good body control.  As a result, he is able to make blocks in open space as well as slide in pass protection.

System Fit

On the surface, Schofield is best served to play in a zone blocking scheme that takes advantage of his athleticism and range.  While that is true, virtually any scheme is going to be interested because of his potential to add strength and fit their scheme.  His length and foot quickness could enable him to make him to be a left tackle with added strength, which makes him attractive for most any team.  Schofield could also end up as a starting right tackle but needs more power to play the run consistently, but his range as a pass protector is definitely valuable to a lot of teams.

NFL Comparison

Schofield’s game is similar to that of Donald Stephenson of the Kansas City Chiefs.  Stephenson was a left tackle at Oklahoma but he had similar ability and needed to add strength, which is why he was selected as a third round pick.  Currently, he is a swing tackle for the Chiefs but if they move on from Branden Albert, he could move into the starting lineup as their right tackle presumably with Eric Fisher moving to the left side.  Stephenson had great feet coming out and needed to add strength just like Schofield.  That is the type of situation that Schofield could be drafted into as the swing tackle with development in mind to get him in the starting lineup once he is able to add more power.

Draft Projection

There is a lot to like about Michael Schofield as an offensive tackle and the key missing ingredient is simply adding power.  His frame suggests he should be able to do it, but it has to happen for him to be a successful player in the NFL.  If he can do it, he could potentially be an excellent player at the next level on either side of the line.  His feet and length are great for the position and he seems to have a good understanding of what his job entails.  It would not be a surprise if he ends up getting looks at left tackle in the postseason process and at an All-Star game which could see his stock get boosted.  Schofield projects as a day three pick in terms of how he grades out at this point, but his athletic ability and upside could see him sneak into the latter part of day two.

Some of the film used in this scouting breakdown was provided by the good folks at draftbreakdown.com

Topics: 2014 NFL Draft, Michael Schofield, Michigan Wolverines Football, Tackles

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