Lucas Niang 2020 NFL Draft Profile

Lucas Niang

Lucas Niang Overview

Position: Offensive tackle
Height: 6’6”
Weight: 315 lbs
Arms: 34 ¼”
Hands: 10 ½”
School: TCU 

Lucas Niang 2020 NFL Draft Profile 

Niang was a highly recruited prospect who played his high school football for Connecticut’s New Canaan High. After helping lead New Canaan to three straight state championships, Niang earned himself a three-star prospect ranking along with being considered the number one offensive tackle throughout the state of Connecticut. Niang generated offers from schools such as Miami, Penn State, Auburn, and Pittsburgh before choosing to play for TCU. 

As a true freshman, Niang saw instant playing time and gained experience by appearing in 12 games for the Horned Frogs. Niang followed up his debut season with another solid performance as a sophomore where he again played in 12 games. However, as a 2018 junior, Niang had a breakout season in which he started all 13 games for TCU and did not allow a sack all season. The performance earned Niang Second Team All-Big-12 honors before he elected to return for his senior season in 2019. Niang had a rough senior year as he started and played hurt through six games for TCU before ending his season early due to a hip injury.          

Strengths

  • Outstanding frame;
  • Powerful blocker with heavy hands that deliver a strong punch;
  • Pleasantly surprising lateral mobility for his size;
  • Excels at run blocking with his power and lateral quickness;
  • Strong football IQ, rarely gets tricked with disguised blitzes;
  • A lot of competitive toughness, played through significant 2019 hip injury,

Weaknesses

  • Sloppy pass protection footwork, but has the athletic ability to improve those fundamentals;
  • Overall pass protection fundamental techniques;
  • 2019 hip injury needed offseason surgery;
  • His frame has some extra and unneeded weight;
  • Unsure how well he can develop at the next level, but he has an extremely high ceiling.

NFL Comparison: Morgan Moses 

Teams With Need at Position: Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Chargers, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, New York Jets, New England Patriots, Washington Redskins, Seattle Seahawks

Projection: Mid third to mid fourth round

Bottom Line on Lucas Niang

Generally speaking, Niang and Isaiah Wilson share several similarities and it will be interesting to see which player comes off the draft board first. Niang has incredible natural power to his game and is a mauler when opening up holes in the run game. Moreover, Niang possesses the athleticism, awareness, and football IQ needed in order to diagnose his blocking assignments as well as get to the second level of a defense.

However, while Niang dominates in the run game, he has shown noticeable struggles in pass protection. Niang’s footwork, punch timing, and balance in pass sets needs to be all-around improved with some areas needing a complete technique overhaul. Although some of Niang’s pass protection and mobility struggles were likely made worse by a significant hip injury he was playing through, cutting extra weight and improving pass sets are a must for Niang moving forward. Niang would benefit greatly from sitting throughout his rookie season as it would allow him to focus on rebuilding his pass set technique along with allowing his hip to fully recover. Furthermore, Niang has all the physical tools needed in order to become a top-end starting tackle, but without the proper coaching and development, Niang will struggle mightily against NFL caliber pass rushers.

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