Offensive Tackle, San Diego State
40 time: 5.30
As most amateur and professional football gravitates to the passing game, a few – like San Diego State head coach Rocky Long – persist that running the football is the best strategy.
Utilizing a traditional power-based, I-formation attack that has churned out four NFL-drafted running backs in the past six years alone, Long has joined Stanford’s David Shaw as the go-to west coast stop for scouts looking for runners and run blockers.
In Pope, Long may have the most gifted blocker of his San Diego State tenure, though the physically-imposing tackle’s lack of consistency could have interested NFL teams praying for divine intervention.
Despite his size and basketball background, Pope was lightly recruited out of talent-rich California, perhaps due to academics. He spent a year at Long Beach City College before joining Long at San Diego State, where he redshirted his first year and only saw spot duty his next season. He started the first five games at right tackle in 2017 but rotated much of the rest of the year, starting 11 overall and playing in all 13 games.
Pope rewarded the faithful in 2018, starting all 13 games and earning second-team All Mountain West Conference honors, splitting time between the tackle positions (first 10 at right tackle, final three at left).
Certainly looks the part of an NFL offensive tackle with elite size, including 34 1/4” hands and frying pans for hands (11 1/8”). More agile than his massive frame suggests, showing good agility to slide in pass protection as well as intriguing burst to climb and adjust at the second level.
For all of his traits, Pope gets fundamentally lazy. Too often he bends at the waist and stopping his feet on contact, leaving him flat-footed and unable to quickly react to counters in the passing and running game.
To this point, Pope has proven maddeningly inconsistent, playing up and down to his level of competition. The hope is he will see the light in the NFL.
Projection: Fifth Round
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)