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Texas Tech NFL Prospects Combine Preview

Let's talk about the draft prospects from Texas Tech.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Schedule:

Wednesday, February 24th:

  • Media interviews for Running Backs, Offensive Linemen, and Special Teamers
Thursday, February 25th:
  • Media interviews for Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers, and Tight Ends
Friday, February 26th:
  • Media interviews for Defensive Linemen and Linebackers
  • On-field workouts for Running Backs, Offensive Linemen, and Special Teamers
Saturday, February 27th:
  • Media interviews for Defensive Backs
  • On-Field workouts for Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers, and Tight Ends
Sunday, February 28th:
  • On-field workouts for Defensive Linemen and Linebackers
Monday, February 29th:
  • On field workouts for Defensive Backs

Prospects:

DeAndre Washington, Running Back

Height: 5'8

Weight: 199 LBS

Overall Ranking: 179

Position Ranking: 16

Projected Round: 5th or 6th

DeAndre Washington is a man who needs little introduction to the Red Raider faithful. His tenacity and willingness to do anything for the team have made him a fan favorite over the past couple of years. In my opinion, he's easily one of the top Texas Tech running backs of all time, and the 1,455 yards and 14 touchdowns he tallied this year bolster that opinion. However, as we've seen time and time again, college success does not necessarily translate into NFL success. DeAndre has a few things about him that might hurt his draft stock.

Strengths:

Washington has the kind of balance and acceleration that give defensive coordinators nightmares. His vision as a running back might be his best asset at the next level, he truly does see the big picture. He's an impossibly hard worker who will do whatever is needed for the team, and team players are always sought after by scouts.

Washington's biggest asset at this point is his presence in the passing game. He's a capable receiver out of the backfield as well as a stellar pass protection blocker. This could help him crack rotations as a 2nd or 3rd string back as he gains weight and works his way up the depth chart.

Weaknesses:

While Washington has the acceleration, and he is considerably fast, he might not be fast enough to jump out on film to scouts. His first three seconds of burst and immediate change of direction are great, but scouts are wary about his ability to finish breakaway runs. Washington has a chance to change their minds with the 40-yard dash and 5-10-5 shuttle run.

Unfortunately, he can't change minds about his height. His stature will hurt him, as it's a slight indicator of his ability to hold up with the grind of the NFL schedule. Washington can gain weight, but he can't grow any more.

Le'Raven Clark, Offensive Line

Height: 6'5

Weight: 312 LBS

Overall Ranking: 62

Position Ranking: 8

Projected Round: 2

Le'Raven Clark has been one of the cornerstones of the Texas Tech offense the past 4 years. His freshman season he started at Right Guard, and for the past three years he's starred at Left Tackle. Clark has produced many big moments for the Red Raiders, including his two point conversion against Kansas and his utter annihilation of Shawn Oakman.

Strengths:

Le'Raven is a thick dude. He's a solid wall of protection, and has excelled in pass protection. The biggest asset to his pass protection is his wingspan, which is considerable. Essentially, Clark was created by God to protect the passer.

In intangibles, Clark is patient. He doesn't go after anyone that he isn't supposed to, and doesn't try to overstep his bounds in pass protection. He'll wait for the rusher to come to him instead of forcing the issue with the rusher, which can lead to colossal failures. Clark doesn't go for the big hit or big block, not because he can't pull it off, but because it helps the team more to have a nice, secure block.

Weaknesses:

Clark played in a 2-point stance only, which is counter to how many NFL teams play. Try as we might, but we won't change the NFL's ways. Many of the three-step drops that are used in the NFL require the OL to fire off the ball and engage the DL, and Clark hasn't had to do that in Kliff Kingsbury's offense.

Also, the way Texas Tech run blocks is very different from the NFL version. Clark's "punch" is not terribly strong, but it isn't awful. He's going to have to learn how to double-team chip block all over again if he wants to get playing time right off the bat at the next level.

Essentially, Clark is going to have to unlearn everything he's been taught over the past 4 years in a matter of months. If he can do that, he'll go at a higher round than he was projected. For Clark, the combine is everything in terms of showing how his technique and stances have changed to suit the NFL game.

Branden Jackson, Defensive End

Height: 6'4

Weight: 268

Overall Ranking: 485

Position Ranking: 40

Projected Round: N/A

Branden Jackson was a guy that has the misfortune of playing on a defense that struggled as a unit. When you give up as many yards and points as Texas Tech did, everything gets put under a ridiculous microscope to try and understand why they're so bad. Sometimes the actual issues may be small, such as time to adjust to the new scheme, or playing as a unit instead of playing as individuals. Jackson and the rest of the Texas Tech defense could have potentially been catching a huge amount of unfair flack over something that is well on it's way to being fixed, but we won't know for sure what could have been done until at least 5 years down the road.

Strengths:

Jackson plays with great pad level in run defense, doing his job well. He plugs gaps in an above-average manner, and has proven that he can make plays in the backfield. In essence, Jackson is patient off the ball, and waits for the play to develop before attacking, which in the right situation is a great asset. Jackson also possesses a bigger frame than the average NFL defensive end, he is certainly not lacking for size. Jackson's hand movements aren't bad as well.

Weaknesses:

For whatever reason, explosiveness, hand placement, scheme, strategy, Jackson doesn't rush the passer terribly well. Some fans over the years have said that this lack of pass rush was due to laziness, but I don't think that's the case. I think that there are other things that Jackson must improve in order to rush the passer well, including his explosiveness and technique. Can't bull-rush 'em all.

Jackson is going to need to prove a lot of people wrong at the combine. He's going to need to be both faster and more explosive in everything he does. The 40-yard dash and the 5-10-5 shuttle will be crucial for this. He could sneak into the later rounds if he shows explosiveness at the combine.