Mitch Petrus – Arkansas
Scout: David Syvertsen
Awareness/Reaction: Quick thinker that can make decisions and act on them quickly. Keeps his head on a swivel and understands the complex stunting and blitzing schemes.
Balance: Keeps his feet whether he is stagnant or moving, but will lost control at times. Likes to lunge without his full balance, making him appear to be out of control.
Initial Quickness: Very explosive for a lineman, fires out of his stance with power and speed. Gets to the second level in a blink, reaches top speed in a hurry.
Movement/Space: Has experience at both tight end in fullback, a comfortable mover in space and can react well against the quicker athletes at the second and third level of the defense.
Pass Blocking: Inconsistent. Looks like a star on one play, and a newcomer to the position on the next. Can deliver a strong initial punch, but his hands get too wide and he will get called for a lot of holds. If his initial punch misses, he does not recover well and is often found chasing after a quality pass rusher instead is mirroring him.
Pulling/Trapping: Might be the best lead blocking lineman in the country. Gets out of his stance fast and low, creating a nice pivot point with maximum power. Locates the defender well and is at his best on the move.
Run Blocking: Gives a lot of effort on each play, plays through the whistle. Tries hard to get his hips in to the hole, but will lose track of hands. Too much of a shoulder blocker as he fails to lock on and drive.
Size/Length/Hand Size: Has the wide frame to hold more weight. Solid reach for his size, needs to bulk up his lower half to add power to his game.
Strength/Explosion/Pop: Can deliver a big time pop when his technique and balance are on point. Can send a linebacker airborne when picking up a blitz. Strong player up top that could use more drive power from his base.
Technique: The element of his game that keeps him from being one of the best interior blockers in the class. Can fire out low and put his hat on the numbers, but will stand straight up and get driven back on the very next play. Hands are usually too wide, footwork is choppy at best.
Final Word: Mitch Petrus is one of the more interesting prospects to keep an eye on over the next few years. I talked to an AFC scout about him at the Senior Bowl and he told me that he has never seen a player so up and down in his scouting career at the guard position. He looks like a legit first round prospect one week, and an undrafted free agent the next. He shows tremendous mobility and power and would be a perfect fit for a scheme that implements a lot of zone blocking. Before he sees the field however, he needs to refine his technique and make sure his leverage and footwork become second nature to him. He started off his career as a tight end, was moved to fullback and then to guard, but sat out the 2008 season because of academic ineligibility. With that in mind, it is understandable that he struggled with the week to week performance as a guard in the SEC and now that he has his position for the future in hand, his level of play and consistency will only go up. He will likely be a 3rd-4th rounder that could be one of the league’s best after a couple years of NFL coaching.