A few weeks ago I noted that NFL teams in need of help at offensive tackle were hoping for a significant influx of talent from underclassmen to save a weak 2012 crop of seniors.
As expected, Southern Cal's Matt Kalil, Iowa's Riley Reiff and Stanford's Jonathan Martin all accepted the challenge. On Friday, another junior offensive tackle decided that he too would be making the jump and attempting to take advantage of the talent vacuum at the position this year.
According to a report from the Clarion-Ledger, Mississippi right tackle Bobby Massie is heading to the NFL.
The Clarion-Ledger report does not quote Massie nor any members of the Ole Miss program. Instead, they cite Massie's Facebook account, which reads, "2012 season I will be playing on Sundays. It was fun Ole Miss."
If Massie is indeed leaving school early for the draft, it isn't a surprise. It was well known that Massie was considering making the jump. He and fellow Rebel offensive lineman A.J. Hawkins each petitioned the NFL Advisory Committee for a grade.
The actual grades given by the committee are rarely leaked (which is why this story is interesting)
NFLDraftScout.com had projected the 6-6, 325 pound Massie as a possible 2nd round pick to begin the 2011 season. A disappointing year for the Rebels caused his stock to slip a bit as the year went on but a top 75 remains a possibility due to Massie's rare blend of size, strength and durability.
An extremely highly touted prep prospect who originally signed with Virginia Tech and was heavily recruited by Alabama and others, Massie played an extra year at the prep level for Hargrave Military Academy before seeing action with the Rebels. Once on the field for Ole Miss, however, Massie quickly established himself as a standout. The long-armed, surprisingly nimble Massie started the final 29 games of his career at right tackle for the Rebels.
Though he never earned post-season honors while at Ole Miss, the Rebels' struggles at quarterback played a role. Mississippi rotated three quarterbacks in 2011 and their differing styles contributed to a talented offensive line that had been counted on as a team strength struggling. The Rebels, in fact, gave up 34 sacks last year which was just one behind Kentucky for the worst in all of the SEC.
When scouts break down Massie on tape they will see a fundamentally flawed prospect but one with a great deal of natural talent. Considering the concerns scouts have about the senior class of tackles available in the 2012 draft, Massie could prove one of the more intriguing raw speciments at the position.
Massie currently ranks fifth among NFLDraftScout.com's 2013 tackle prospects.