BTB Cowboys 2012 Draft Prospects: OGs Josh LeRibeus and Ronald Leary

Discussion in 'Draft Zone' started by RS12, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. RS12

    RS12 Well-Known Member

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    We conclude our tour of Dallas' interior offensive line prospects with a Conference USA double-dip - a pair of guards who figure to hear their names called somewhere in the fifth or sixth round. The first of these gentlemen is SMU's Josh LeRibeus, a rather peculiar two-year starter. He started nine games as a junior in 2009, then was declared academically ineligible for the 2010 season before returning in 2011 to start all 12 games at left guard. Although he's certainly not an elite athlete, LeRibeus plays with good technique. As might be expected for a fifth-round type, he is a scrappy effort player who will fight to sustain his blocks downfield, plays with a good motor and can be effective when pulling (although he struggles to hit targets on the second level).

    The other candidate is Memphis' Ronald Leary who, unlike his SMU counterpart, has been rising on NFL draft boards of late. One reason for this is his strong measureables: at the Combine, Leary ran the 40-yard dash in 5.36 seconds, bench pressing 225 pounds 30 times and posting a 29-inch vertical leap, an 8-8 broad jump and scored very respectable short shuttle (4.91) and three-cone drill (7.87) scores (his Combine workout can be found here). Leary started the last three seasons at tackle for the Mustangs, collecting 44 career starts, and helping to pave the way for running backs Curtis Steele and Greg Ray.

    Leary is a technically proficient player with strong hands. Once engaged, he generates movement in the running game. Moreover, Leary is extremely competitive; on tape, he can be seen routinely sustaining blocks several yards downfield, and trying to get in one last hit before the whistle. That said, he'll have to kick inside, to guard, in the NFL, because his feet appear to be cased in cement, which will make it impossible for him to mirror NFL pass rushers. Luckily, the 6'3", 314 pound Leary is built perfectly for an NFL guard.

    After my review of Illinois OL Jeff Allen, I noted that Dallas extended a national invitation to every interior offensive lineman who might conceivably be selected in the second round. To my mind, that's an awfully clear indication that they're looking guard or center at pick # 45. What happens, however, if one of their first round targets falls into the second round, as Sean Lee and Bruce Carter have done the past two years? Coming away from the first two rounds with, say, Fletcher Cox and Courtney Upshaw would certainly salve any wound caused by missing out on a much-coveted second-round guard. But what would the Cowboys do to address the interior OL positions? They have to develop a contingency plan--and I think these two C-USA products reflect just such a contingency.

    Of the two, Leary appears to be the more draftable candidate, by a substantial margin. In addition to the Cowboys, he has scheduled visits with Carolina, St. Louis, Jacksonville, Chicago, and the New York Jets. LeRibeus, on the other hand, seems to have spent the same time sitting at home, watching reruns. Although both may be drafted, I'll put the former Tiger on my "little board" a full two rounds earlier than the former Mustang--let's say Leary in the fifth and LeRibeus in the seventh.
  2. RS12

    RS12 Well-Known Member

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    Leary has the fact that he played LT at Memphis going for him.
  3. RS12

    RS12 Well-Known Member

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    Pro Football Weekly (Nolan Nawrocki): 12th -rated OG; not in top 150 overall

    Positives: Big and physical. Outstanding arm length. Good anchor strength. Can generate some movement in the run game. Surprising recovery speed and finishing power. Flashes some nastiness and will drive defenders into the ground. Has a passion for the game. Outstanding work ethic.

    Negatives: Has very small hands. Average athlete with heavy legs. Tends to catch a lot and can do a better job of using his hands to strike. Is late to reach linebackers and initiate contact on the move. Weight has fluctuated in the past and pushed 350 pounds upon his arrival.

    Summary: Thick-bodied, three-year starting college left tackle who projects best to guard in a man-blocking scheme in the pros. Has eventual starter potential.

    NFL Scouting Combine Profile:

    Overview: Leary is a big offensive lineman who was a three-year starter for Memphis and a stalwart at the end of his career. Although he played outside at tackle throughout his collegiate career, he projects as an NFL guard, where his height (just over 6-foot-3) won't be as much of a hindrance to him. He performed well in the run game and will always have the frame to compete against interior defensive linemen. He could be selected in the later rounds out of team need, but he is more likely to get a shot as an undrafted free agent.

    Weaknesses: Leary is a classic heavy, laboring mover. He could benefit from a move inside, as he could struggle in getting into an effective pass set in the NFL. He is slow off the ball and rarely shows much explosion into his man. Although he didn't show it much at Memphis, he had difficulties maneuvering around trash at his legs and getting free to the second level to block linebackers. There aren't necessarily technical hitches in Leary's play, but his heavy, slow feet inhibit his ability to move and be effective on the line.

    Strengths: Leary is reliable to keep his man sustained in pass protection. He is a heavy-legged mover, however, and he relies on reactionary movements and upper body strength to recover from a shallow pass set. He uses his hands well in both pass protection and run blocking, and he keeps a strong grip and generates movement once engaged. He uses his frame well and keeps himself in an uncompromising position at all times. Although not a "pretty" blocker, Leary is extremely competitive and was routinely seen working downfield at the end of plays to keep his blocks going and get extra hits. His competitiveness will be the driving trait that keeps him on an NFL roster.

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