We've all seen and read the analysis on all the Miami Dolphins draft picks, but to get the real lowdown on each prospect, we went straight to those who have covered those players on a regular basis in college.
In this case, who better than Irish Breakdown Publisher Bryan Driskell to give the scoop on second-round pick Liam Eichenberg, the offensive tackle from Notre Dame.
What made Eichenberg stand out at Notre Dame?
“He just was a steady guy. He wasn't that guy like (former first-round pick) Mike McGlinchey, who would just have those blocks where he would just take the guy and just drive him like 6, 7 yards off the ball. (Quinton) Nelson had those. That's not what Liam was. He became a much, much better run blocker by his fifth year. But he was always just a guy that you just looked at every week and you're like, "Yeah, the guy he was going against didn't really do anything, didn't really make any plays." And just the steadiness to me is the first thing that you think of and as a former quarterback, to me, give me the steady guy over the guy that's going to give up a sack in a clutch moment like McGlinchey had a tendency to do but had the highlight reel plays. Give me the guy that I know is going to keep my jersey clean snap after snap after snap and that's really what made Liam Eichenberg so good.”
What his Eichenberg's best position in the NFL after he played left tackle at Notre Dame?
"I think his athleticism is good enough to where he can certainly play tackle at the NFL. He understands positioning and angles and leverage and he's an intelligent player that just knows how to get the job done. If he had 34-inch arms, we'd be saying, hey, he's a blindside tackle, I mean, that just would be what we'd be saying. The shorter arm thing to me. I then say OK, well, it's not something that flashed on film. I don't remember very many instances where his lack of perceived length became problematic. It didn't seem problematic to me, so I view him as a tackle. Could he play left tackle? If you had a traditional blindside situation, absolutely. If they're gonna stick him at right tackle, which in Miami means you're protecting the blind side of Tua Tagovailoa, I'm my confident he's going to be able to get that job done."
What is Eichenberg's ceiling as an NFL player?
"When you look at Notre Dame's recent offensive line picks, Zack Martin was considered the best guard in the NFL until Quenton Nelson came along. Now they're the two best guards. Ronnie Stanley has been a Pro Bowler. Those guys to me have the talent to be elite best of that position type of guys. I don't think Liam has that. ... Zack Martin has exceptionally powerful hands for his size, and he's very athletic and he has a lot of the traits that Liam has, which is why I think if Liam had to play guard, I think he can play guard at a high level. I just don't think he is a guard in that he can't play tackle. If you move him to guard because that's how you get your best five on the field, so be it. You could do it. I just don't see him as a guy that's gonna make 8, 9, 10 Pro Bowls and he's not a Joe Thomas kind of guy. I don't see him as being that dominant player, but he's just that guy that you can depend on snap after snap after snap, which, honestly, sometimes can be a good thing because that means when he becomes a free agent in four years, he's not going to be demanding the highest-paid player in the league at his position thing, which is what Zack Martin did, which is what Quenton Nelson is going to do and which is what Ronnie Stanley is going to do."
How quickly would you anticipate Eichenberg being able to compete for a starting job?
"I'll be surprised if Liam Eichenberg isn't competing for a starting job right away. I think he's a guy that you put out there in year one and he's gonna have ... as most tackles have, I mean, we saw Jedrick Wills had his ups and downs last year. Andrew Thomas had his ups and downs last year. Tristan Wirfs is probably about the most steady that we saw. He's gonna have his rookie ups and downs. I think Liam is going to have to have an adjustment, I think the speed of the game is going to probably give him some issues early, because he doesn't have the elite athleticism or the elite length like Ronnie Stanley had, where he could kind of make up for some of those, "Oh, guy's a little faster than I am, or that I'm used to." So I would, I expect that by sometime in the middle to late of his rookie year that he settles in and you start saying, OK yeah, this is a guy that we can count on for a long time."